Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 2

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 2

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Ruger Superhawk while based on the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 is pretty much its own gun with Ruger trademarks, different barrel design and different sights. With the optics rail removed from the top of the barrel the gun takes on a more practical look and with pellet loading shells is a pretty accurate shooter. The shells are more efficient to load into the cylinder using Bianchi Speed Strips. The speed loader hits the side of the grips making it a little awkward to use, i.e., not as much “speed” in speed loader, which is a moot point with pellet shells since they don’t fit the speed loader.

As might be expected, a revolver up against nine semi-autos of varying design would have little chance of prevailing, unless it was a 4-3/4 inch, rifled barrel Umarex Colt Peacemaker, (just a hint to Umarex about the standards and expectations we have here at Airgun Experience), so the first of the 10 to go is the Ruger Superhawk, but not without a good run at the title. While it is a blatant re-branding of the S&W 327 TRR8, the Ruger name, logo in the grips and shorter bull barrel are neat touches that set it apart from the S&W DA/SA model. The real surprise for me came with the improved trigger having a smoother 6 pound, 7.0 ounce DA and 5 pound, 11.0 ounce SA average pull and a solid staging of the hammer firing double action. read more


Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

Replica Air Pistol of the Year Part 1

What it takes to become 2018’s Top Gun

By Dennis Adler

Each year since I began writing the Airgun Experience I have selected one new model as my Air Pistol of the Year. For 2018, given the variety of new air pistols and satisfying, though not overwhelming number of models introduced, the focus has specifically turned to CO2 air pistols that are based on actual centerfire handgun models, whether new (like the Sig Sauer M17) or older (like the HK USP) so long as the air pistol is new. I am also establishing an updated point system based on five comparative categories with values from 1 to 10 points for each. This is going to separate out a number of guns simply because of their various features, or lack thereof. The gun chosen as Replica Air Pistol of the Year will be based solely on total points earned. read more


Umarex Ruger Superhawk Part 3

Umarex Ruger Superhawk Part 3 Part 2 Part 1

The sum of its parts…

By Dennis Adler

There are two good reasons to use Bianchi Speed Strips with the Ruger Superhawk and pellet-loading cartridges. One, the speed loaders are hard to align with the cylinder since they are generic designs and hit the side of the grips on the Superhawk making it harder to load and drop the rounds into the cylinder. And two, the pellet shells won’t fit the BB cartridge speed loaders. You can get Bianchi Speed Strips at most gun shops and on line. The ASG pellet cartridges fit the .38 Special/.357 Magnum Speed Strips.

What do I mean by “The sum of its parts” when describing the Umarex Ruger Superhawk? As I have pointed out, the Ruger uses the same frame and internal parts as the Umarex S&W-licensed 327 TRR8. This platform was also used for the original ASG Dan Wesson models (obviously not accurate in styling), but not for the newer Dan Wesson Model 715 pistols introduced in 2016 and 2017. These latest models are almost 100 percent matches for the original centerfire Model 715 Dan Wesson revolvers, as well as the current DW models sold through CZ USA (which owns the Dan Wesson brand and licensed the design to ASG). The S&W 327 TRR8, early Dan Wessons and new Ruger Superhawk are all shared platforms. read more


Umarex Ruger Superhawk Part 2

Umarex Ruger Superhawk Part 2 Part 1

The sum of its parts…

By Dennis Adler

The Umarex Ruger Superhawk looks better with the top accessory rail removed. While the lines of the bull barrel are accentuated the top of the frame looks cleaner and better contoured. Top rails work for a lot of guns, including the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8, but unless you plan on adding optics to the Superhawk, the rail is more of a distraction than an asset.

If the 2.5 inch ASG Dan Wesson Model 715 is the most authentic CO2 revolver made today then the Umarex Ruger Redhawk-based Superhawk is the antithesis, but don’t let that discourage you from considering this latest Ruger branded wheelgun. Despite having very little to stake a claim on Ruger Redhawk or Super Redhawk styling, it comes up strong in its more S&W-like characteristics and Model 327 TRR8 handling. And none of that is bad.

Removing the accessory rail is simple and only requires a good quality gunsmith’s screwdriver like the Grace USA model pictured, and the small hex-head tool that comes with the Superhawk. Step 1 is to remove the elevation screw, step 2 remove the pin holding the front of the sight tang and 3, be careful not to let the coiled spring under the rear sight fly out. After removing the rear sight, loosen the two set screws holding the rail in place (you can also do this first and let it slip forward) and then slide it off the frame. This is a completely different approach to mounting optics than Ruger took with the Super Hawk, which came with its own set of dedicated scope rings, but the removable rail works well for the CO2 pistol.

First let’s clean up the gun a little to put its best face forward. The question has already been asked whether the top rail can be removed and the answer is yes. It is a multi-step process but easy to do if you have a good screwdriver and are careful not to drop or worse loose some very small parts. To derail the Ruger you begin by removing the rear elevation screw. This allows the rear sight to rise up above the frame. It is pinned at the front (see arrow in the photo) and the Ruger comes with a small hex-head tool that also fits the opening of the pin. Push the tool into the pin hole and using a light mallet (or just use the handle of your screwdriver) lightly tap the tool until the pin starts to come out the other side of the frame. Remove the pin and the rear sight will lift off. Now comes the “watch for small parts” part. As you remove the rear sight there is a small coiled spring in a recess under the rear sight tang and it will either drop out or fly out as you remove the entire rear sight. This has to go back in exactly the same way when you reattach the rear sight. read more


Umarex Ruger Superhawk Part 1

Umarex Ruger Superhawk Part 1

The sum of its parts…

By Dennis Adler

There are a lot of aspects to the Umarex Ruger Superhawk that echo Redhawk styling cues, including the general shape of the triggerguard and bull barrel, but there is the egregious use of S&W-style recoil shield contours and cylinder latch designs that conflict with the overall appearance of the gun as a Ruger. The CO2 model comes with six BB loading cartridges and a speed loader. As for the finish on the air pistol, that’s another interesting feature. The Super Redhawk was offered in Target Gray when chambered in .454 and .480 calibers (until 2009), though not in .44 Magnum. Target Gray was a proprietary Ruger finish that has been somewhat duplicated here for the CO2 Umarex Ruger Superhawk model.

This is a tale that begins in the mid 1970s when Bill Ruger, Sr., one of America’s preeminent firearms designers began development of a large frame, double action .44 Magnum revolver, the Ruger Redhawk, introduced in May of 1979. The improved Super Redhawk model was added in 1986, and both were to become two of the most famous double action handgun designs of the late 20th century.

The Redhawk looked different than most large frame double action revolvers back in 1980 and the new .44 Magnum incorporated a number of Bill Ruger-engineered improvements in its design and manufacturing, including a new type of ejector rod that allowed for a heavier frame to surround it (according to Sturm, Ruger designers Harry Sefried and Roy Melcher who worked side-by-side with Ruger, Sr., the frame’s strength was effectively doubled compared to S&W and Colt designs); the cylinder latch was a new system that positively locked the cylinder in place when the gun was fired. The ejector rod was equally innovative not latching to a lug under the barrel like an S&W, something that Ruger considered a somewhat fragile point of conventional double action revolvers. In addition, Ruger worked out a leverage in which the cylinder crane was locked at the front and the rear. Designer Harry Sefried noted that, “This gave us an extremely good way to maintain alignment between the cylinder and the barrel, for strength and accuracy. And again it was a stronger system than their (S&W’s) little tab going into the ejector way out on the end of the ejector rod. Ours was a lot more rugged than it needed to be, and would last about indefinitely.” read more