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.

Comparing the Ruger Superhawk and S&W 327 TRR8, the shared designs used by Umarex for the two brand name-licensed pistols makes each distinctive yet allows rationalizing parts manufacturing for two similar models clearly distinguished by barrel styles, rear sight designs, and grip medallions. Both share the same BB loading cartridges and speed loaders.

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Now, there are two possibilities for removing the rail. First is that the rail was mounted far enough back on the frame that it is blocking the front edge of the rear sight tang and preventing you from lifting it up. I saw this as an issue when I began and using the hex-head tool loosened the two set screws before starting and thus allowed the entire rail to freely move forward away from the rear sight. Either way, after you have removed the rear sight the rail simply slides off the back of the frame. Don’t let it drag, as this will scratch the entire top of the frame. If you need to remove the two set screws, make sure each one is firmly on the hex-head tool as you remove it, then pull it off and put the screw where it can’t drop on the floor or roll away. They are small. After the rail is removed, reverse the steps and reattach the rear sight. The Ruger looks better without it, and unless you plan on fitting the revolver with optics, take it off.

The rear sight on the Ruger is adjustable for elevation and windage and has a wide rear notch and grooved rear to reduce glare. The wide hammer spur on the Ruger is identical to the S&W but the two guns have different hammer and trigger pull weights.

The 327 TRR8 parts

Everything from the barrel back is the same on the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 and the Ruger Superhawk except for the medallion in the grips. I know that’s a disappointment to Ruger enthusiasts and maybe a non-starter for some, but if you want the Ruger name and a shorter, more manageable CO2 pistol than the TRR8, the Superhawk is exactly that. In the photos showing the two guns you can easily see that the cylinder, recoil shield configuration, cylinder latch thumb release and manual safety (a very smart feature that makes both guns easy to use without compromising their designs any further with a hokey manual safety added to the frame or trigger), hammer, trigger, and grips are identical. Both guns use the same front-loading BB cartridges and speed loaders, so another plus for ease of use if you already have a 327 TRR8 CO2 model and spare cartridges and speed loaders.

While they look the same, the Ruger (left) has a crisper, smoother hammer draw for cocking and firing single action than the TRR8. It also stages more precisely when firing double action.

The one noteworthy difference is the sights. The S&W has what I consider the very best fiber optic sights of any CO2 revolver on the market, period. It is actually the best feature of the gun. The Ruger uses a more traditional windage and elevation adjustable rear notch sight and a pinned (via the muzzle retainer ring) front blade sight. No white outline on the rear or white dot front, just good old fashioned black on black sights. (And I’m thinking, gosh, they added a vent rib the Ruger doesn’t have, why didn’t they use the TRR8 sights and make this a better target gun?) Price per price the Umarex S&W 327 TRR8 has an MSRP of $120 and the Umarex Ruger Superhawk of $130. For about $10 more (MSRP) the Superhawk also comes as a kit with six BB loading cartridges plus six pellet-loading cartridges and a speed loader. So, the Ruger is a Dual Ammo model!

During the velocity tests for the Superhawk the author fired double action, staging the hammer for each shot.
Since S&W and Ruger BB-loading shells and speed loaders are interchangeable, I was able to use my spare shells and speed loader from the 327 TRR8 for quicker reloads during the 12-round velocity tests. I dumped the spent shells into my hand and pocketed them before dropping another six into the cylinder.
The speed loader hits the side of the hard rubber grips and has to be worked in from an angle to reload the cylinder.
Once roughly aligned you can press it in against the ejector and the rounds will release but it is not a smooth operation. If you are less hurried and have 6-round .38 Special Bianchi Speed Strips, which hold the BB or pellet shells quite nicely, you can reload with a bit more precision, chamber by chamber. I’ll show this in Part 3.

First Test Evaluation

Keeping in mind that the internals for the Ruger Superhawk are the same as the S&W 327 TRR8, the first evaluation is going to be a comparison of trigger pull and hammer operation between the two guns, and surprisingly the Ruger hammer draw for cocking and firing single action is crisper and smoother than the hammer on the TRR8, even though they are from the same design! How will this affect staging the hammer? Double action trigger pull on the TRR8 (and this is a well broken in gun) averages 6 pounds, 15.5 ounces. The Ruger averages 6 pounds, 7.0 ounces. Single Action averages 5 pounds, 2.5 ounces and 5 pounds, 11.0 ounces, respectively. But, the feel of the Ruger’s trigger pull is smoother, as is the counter clockwise rotation of the cylinder. Not a great deal of difference, but perhaps enough to make the Ruger a little more accurate?

The big reveal is that the Ruger is a Dual Ammo design and was built to fire either steel BBs or 4.5mm pellets. For Saturday’s Part 3 the tests will be done with lighter weight alloy pellets to make the most of the Ruger’s established average velocity with steel BBs of 396 fps.

The first velocity test for the Ruger was shot using Umarex Precision steel BBs and the average velocity clocked 396 fps with a high of 410 fps, a low of 388 fps and a standard deviation of 7 fps for 12 rounds. The factory specs for velocity are 390 fps.

In the Part 3 conclusion we will chronograph the Ruger with pellet-loading shells and head to the target range.

4 thoughts on “Umarex Ruger Superhawk Part 2”

  1. Hi Denis
    Nice to see this gun under review. I have been looking at it for a while with thoughts on buying one.
    I have a few remarks and questions about it though!
    First is the price. You mention $50 more than what it’s listed for on Pyramyd Air’s web site??
    Second, you failed to mention it’s the exact same gun as the Dan Wesson 4” with the only real difference being the rail, colour, logo and price. A good example of paying for the ‘NAME’.
    Being smooth bore I don’t think you will see significantly better accuracy with pellets than BB’s. I don’t on my other Dan Wesson smooth bore revolvers. Not enough to offset the extra cost of pellets and the extra work of cleaning a lead fouled barrel
    I’m thinking these guns all come off the same factory line in Taiwan as a generic run then have cosmetics and trades applied to meet the requirements of the distributors. It seems like today you can buy the rights from any of the real steel producers and put them on a brick if you so desire.
    The only thing left is the accuracy and that’s all that counts. I’m looking forward to your Part 3 conclusion.
    One last question re: the holster.
    You said it’s a Galco Outdoorsman – what are the particulars and where can you purchase online.

    • Red:
      I generally use MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) in comparison articles as air pistol prices vary by retailer, including Pyramyd Air. They are always discounted and discounts even change from time to time, thus for a fair comparison I use MSRP to keep the playing field level. Your point about not mentioning the early ASG Dan Wesson models actually preempts Part 3 which gets into the use of basic platforms for multiple models, and I think you’ll enjoy the analogies. As for Dual Ammo guns like the Crosman Remington Model 1875 and the Ruger Superhawk, this is a marketing decision to make the guns more appealing. Shooting pellet cartridges (many of which are also shared designs for ease of interchangeability between models) does make a difference. As to “offsetting the extra cost” that’s a personal choice. I have never really given it that much consideration and I may be a bit disconnected there because I do as many centerfire gun tests as I do air guns, and the cost of the centerfire guns and ammo in comparison to air pistols, BBs, pellets, and the respective cartridges to load them, is vastly disproportionate. That’s one reason CO2 models based on centerfire guns are great for low cost training. I avoid issues with leading in the smoothbore barrels by using alloy pellets. As to the Galco Outdoorsman holster, I used that as an example of a holster that fits the air pistol. I also happen to have one because it fits a centerfire revolver I own. The holster costs more than the Superhawk, so unless you have a centerfire pistol to use with it as well, it really doesn’t offset the extra cost. If you want one though, just look for the brand and model, it will come up on line.

      Hope you enjoy Saturday’s wrap up on the Ruger.

      • Hi Denis
        Found the Outdoorsman online. There seems to be quite a choice of gun manufacturers and gun models. Can you be more specific on the gun make and model of your holster that you’re using for the Superhawk.

        • Mine is marked A619T DAO170 on the back and is for the Taurus Model 444 revolver. I should tell you that the safety strap fits tight with the Ruger, so it takes a little working it to snap closed. After leaving it snapped closed in the holster overnight the leather stretched enough that it works fine. Still works with the Taurus, too, so you’re not ruining the safety strap with the Ruger Superhawk.

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