Ruger Alaskan Mod by Gemini Customs–Gun Review

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Perhaps the most impressive angle for a .44 Magnum is from the front!

Perhaps the most impressive angle for a .44 Magnum is from the front!

The Ruger Redhawk Alaskan is an impressive gun out of the box. This snub-nose .44 Magnum is built on Ruger’s largest revolver frame, and weighs a portly 45 ounces. Nothing about this gun is small, including the muzzle diameter.

Even the name evokes the large size of the revolver. Although a member of the Super Redhawk family, this configuration gets a special moniker—the Alaskan. Without a doubt this gun would be well suited for duty in the arctic wilderness, but it has far more potential than just being a bear defense gun. A revolver chambered in .44 Magnum is an amazingly versatile firearm, and the Alaskan platform has tremendous potential.

Gemini Customs and Ruger Revolvers

As impressive as the stock Alaskan may be, master gunsmith Marc Morganti at Gemini Customs sees this big bore revolver as a starting point for a lot more. Gemini Customs is a high end shop that has been customizing 1911s and revolvers since 1997. For the last decade or so, Marc has mostly limited his work to revolvers, and primarily Ruger revolvers.   The Alaskan has become the canvas for some of his best work.

Gemini Customs offers a wide variety of custom work on the Alaskan, with an emphasis on making this .44 Magnum a better tool for personal protection and concealed carry. Although some may scoff at the idea of an Alaskan for self-defense, I would suggest the idea is not as crazy as it may first seem.

As a defensive gun, the Alaskan has two major drawbacks—the massive size and the potentially violent recoil. There is not too much that can be done about the size and weight. Gemini Customs does, however, smooth and dehorn all the sharp edges for carry. Gemini Customs also provides excellent hand crafted wooden stocks that can be fit to your particular hand size. These stocks are far better for carry than the rubber Hogue grips that come standard. Rubber grips are nice for shooting, but are usually poor for concealed carry because they tend to snag on cover garments, and make the gun less concealable and harder to draw.

The right side of the stock Ruger.

The right side of the stock Ruger.

The same gun after the Gemini mods.

The same gun after the Gemini mods.

The left side of the stock Ruger.

The left side of the stock Ruger.

Why not make a good thing better?

Why not make a good thing better?

The action work by Gemini Customs includes eliminating cylinder endshake, honing the cylinder chambers, and throating the barrel.

The action work by Gemini Customs includes eliminating cylinder endshake, honing the cylinder chambers, and throating the barrel.

Specs

  • Model:                            Ruger Super Redhawk Alaskan (Modified by Gemini Customs)
  • Frame Size:                  Large
  • Caliber:                         .44 Remington Magnum
  • Action:                            Double Action / Singe Action
  • Capacity:                        6 Rounds
  • Barrel Length:             2.5 in.
  • Front Sight:                  Bowen Classic Arms Front with 14k Gold Dot
  • Rear Sight:                    Bowen Classic Arms Adjustable
  • Overall Length:           7.62 in.
  • Grip:                                Wood, Custom Fit
  • Weight:                            45 oz.
  • Barrel Material:          Stainless Steel
  • Cylinder Material:      Stainless Steel
  • Frame Material:         Stainless Steel
  • Finish:                             Matte Glass Bead Blast

As for the recoil, Gemini Customs has at least a partial solution—V-8 Hybra-Porting. This proprietary porting technique, originally developed by Jack Weigand, involves drilling four ports on either side of the barrel, at approximately the 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock positions. As with any type of barrel porting, the Hybra-Ports re-direct a portion of the hot, expanding gasses out of the top of the barrel, causing a downward force on the barrel, which counteracts the natural inclination of the barrel to rise sharply on recoil. Contrary to popular belief, porting does not actually reduce recoil, but does reduce muzzle rise and the “snapping” of the wrist that is part of the recoil impulse.

A tasteful Gemini Customs logo can be applied to the barrel.

A tasteful Gemini Customs logo can be applied to the barrel.

A big bore revolver like the Alaskan benefits greatly from Hybra-Porting. Full power .44 Magnum loads will always get your attention in a snubby revolver, even a very big one. However, the porting makes this revolver far more tolerable to shoot. The porting significantly reduces the unpleasant snapping sensation, and makes follow up shots much quicker. There is still significant muzzle rise with Magnum loads, but it seems far less violent. Having shot the Alaskan both before and after the Hybra-Porting, I would opt for the porting every time.

Even apart from recoil issues, snubby revolvers are notoriously difficult to shoot accurately. Gemini Customs has a prescription for some of the other snubby shortcomings as well. You can’t shoot well without a good trigger. Ruger revolvers are not known for the smoothest of actions out of the box. However, the Ruger lock work can be excellent with proper attention from a gunsmith. The Gemini Customs complete action tuning process results in a smooth 10 pound double-action pull, and a light 2.5 pound single-action pull. The DA trigger pull is buttery smooth, and about as good as a revolver can get. The SA trigger is as light and crisp as you could expect on any target gun. It is amazing what a talented gunsmith can do to tune this Ruger action.

The author prefers a 14k gold bead front sight.

The author prefers a 14k gold bead front sight.

Another typical problem with snubby revolvers is the sights. Gemini Customs can’t make the relatively short sight radius any longer, but can offer sight upgrades so you get the most out of the sights. The adjustable factory sights are not bad, but you can opt for various upgrades, including a Bowen Classic Arms “Rough Country” rear sight. The Rough Country rear sight is adjustable, but has opposing tension screws for windage and elevation, making the sight much more durable than the factory rear target sight. Gemini Customs also offers your choice of a fiber optic front sight, a tritium front night sight, or even a 14k gold dot front sight. One of these options should work for you, and will provide a marked improvement over the standard black front ramp sight.

Gemini Customs also offers various finishes for the Alaskan, starting with a superfine matte glass bead blast. I personally like this type of traditional finish on a stainless steel gun. However, if you are looking for something different, Gemini Customs also offers premium finishes like mirror polishing or hard chrome.   You can finish your custom revolver most any way you prefer. The Alaskan pictured here has the bead blast finish.

The Alaskan sports the classic Ruger push-button cylinder latch.

The Alaskan sports the classic Ruger push-button cylinder latch.

How much does it cost?

The basic Gemini Customs carry package for the Alaskan is $895, plus return shipping. This includes the action and tuning work, dehorning, a Bowen Classic Arms rear sight, a fiber optic front sight, and the bead blast finish. My review gun included the optional V-8 Hybra-porting, a 14k gold bead front sight, custom Bolivian rosewood grips, and removal of various lettering and engraved warnings. All in all, my total charges came to about $1,800 in parts and labor. And, of course, you have to provide a Ruger Alaskan, which will cost you around $800 at typical retail prices. When finished, you have a serious investment in a firearm, but certainly nothing all that unusual. It is fairly common to pay $3,000 or more for a semi-custom 1911 pistol, and there is nothing “semi” custom about this Alaskan.

The end product is a very accurate and shootable big bore snubby revolver. The action and trigger are as smooth as I have ever experienced in a revolver. Between the smooth trigger and the excellent sights, this Alaskan shoots like a dream.

All that being said, the recoil on the Alaskan may be an issue for some shooters. This is a .44 Magnum, and the felt recoil is significant. Each shot transmits significant force to the body. I find that shooting a single round is not particularly unpleasant, but repetitive shooting does start to beat on your hand and wrists. The weight of the Alaskan helps, and the porting helps—but even a couple thousand dollars of custom work can’t repeal the laws of physics. I found that keeping a hard crush grip on the revolver helps, and with good form, shooting 25 to 50 rounds in a session is tolerable. Of course, if you are very sensitive to recoil, no snubby .44 Magnum is going to be the right gun for you.

The grip offers a solid hold--a benefit for such a large caliber.

The grip offers a solid hold–a benefit for such a large caliber.

How does it shoot?

Another option is to shoot .44 Special ammunition rather than .44 Magnum. Although .44 Special is a bit harder to find, I tested two different brands in the Alaskan. Without a doubt, shooting .44 Special is quite pleasant. The felt recoil and muzzle rise is minimal, and rapid follow up shots are easy. The weight and size of this revolver are probably overkill for shooting .44 Special, but at least you have the option of shooting lighter loads. My only caveat is that the .44 Special loadings I tested (Blazer 200 gr. GDHP and Hornady Critical Defense 165 gr. FTX) both achieved less than about 850 feet per second from the snubby barrel of the Alaskan. This is likely not fast enough for reliable hollow point bullet expansion. While you still have a large projectile, you are not likely to get maximum performance from expanding bullets. Those who load their own ammunition may be able to tailor a hot .44 Special load that would exceed 1,000 feet per second and make a great defensive load.

I also fired about 200 rounds of premium defensive Magnum ammunition through the Alaskan, including loads from Federal (240 gr. JHP and 240 gr. Hydra-Shok JHP), Hornady (240 gr. XTP), and Winchester (240 gr. Soft HP). Each of these rounds averaged over 1,100 feet per second, even from the short barrel. Every round performed flawlessly, and any would be a fine choice as a defensive round in the Alaskan. Even at 25 yards, this snubby revolver has no problem shooting in the black of a standard NRA bull’s eye target.

This Simply Rugged Sourdough pancake holster has multiple belt slots and can be ordered with IWB straps.

This Simply Rugged Sourdough pancake holster has multiple belt slots and can be ordered with IWB straps.

Carrying this beast

So can you carry an Alaskan concealed? Size is the real issue, but the Alaskan may not be as big as you think. A standard Series 70 Colt 1911 weighs about 38 ounces, while the Alaskan weighs only 45 ounces. The weight is manageable, but definitely requires a good belt and holster. The width of the cylinder can also be an issue, especially for inside-the-waistband carry. I preferred to carry the Alaskan outside-the-waistband for better comfort. For concealed carry I primarily used the Simply Rugged Sourdough pancake holster pictured. This holster is very versatile, with options for both inside and outside the waistband carry. So long as you have a proper cover garment, carrying the Alaskan concealed is definitely possible. In short, I would say—if you don’t think you can carry this gun, you probably can’t. On the other hand, if you really want to carry a gun this size, it can be done.

Even if you are not up to carrying a big bore revolver concealed, the Alaskan makes a great car gun or home protection gun. A .44 Magnum revolver provides plenty of power, along with a lot of versatility. One of the true advantages of a revolver is the ability to shoot all manner of loads reliably, including snake shot, lead round nose, jacketed hollow points, and frangible bullets. You are certain to find a defensive load that meets your particular needs.

As you can certainly guess by this point, I am exceptionally pleased with the work done by Marc Morganti and Gemini Customs. This is the third custom revolver from his shop that I have tested, and they have all been impressive. Although custom work is never inexpensive, personal attention from a master gunsmith can turn an ordinary revolver into an amazingly accurate and efficient weapon. And while Marc’s work is certainly beautiful, it is also very functional and turns a basic revolver into a custom defensive firearm that is worthy of protecting your life and your family.

You can learn more about the services provided by Gemini Customs, and view more photos and pricing information, at www.geminicustoms.com. As you might expect, there is a waiting list for custom work, and your turn-around time will likely be at least three months. However, Marc is very good about communicating with his customers and keeping you informed on the status of your work.

I understand that many readers will see this Alaskan project gun as over the top, and frankly, I understand the reaction. The Alaskan itself is an “over the top” kind of gun in an “over the top” caliber. Then add in a few thousand dollars’ worth of custom work, and you have what many readers will see as a whole lot of excess. However, you also have an exceptional defensive weapon that will protect you for the rest of your life and can later be passed down to the next generation. A Gemini Customs Alaskan is a rare but obtainable luxury. To quote Ferris Bueller: If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

The author would like to thank Winchester , Federal, Hornady, and Blazer, for providing ammunition for testing. All shooting was done at the Southern Exposure training facility in Lakeland, Florida.

The hammer has been polished and the factory rear sight replaced with a Bowen Classic Arms Rough Country adjustable rear sight.

The hammer has been polished and the factory rear sight replaced with a Bowen Classic Arms Rough Country adjustable rear sight.

The ported barrel helps reduce muzzle flip, crucial for a gun like this.

The ported barrel helps reduce muzzle flip, crucial for a gun like this.

mply Rugged ammo pouches work with Tuff QuickStrips brand speed strips for .44 Magnum (www.tuffproducts.com).

mply Rugged ammo pouches work with Tuff QuickStrips brand speed strips for .44 Magnum (www.tuffproducts.com).

A .44 Magnum speed strip is much easier to carry than a traditional speed loader.

A .44 Magnum speed strip is much easier to carry than a traditional speed loader.

The trigger has been recontoured and polished.

The trigger has been recontoured and polished.

Carrying a reload for your revolver is always a good idea.  The Simply Rugged “Most Versatile Ammo Pouch” is a great option for belt or pocket carry.

Carrying a reload for your revolver is always a good idea. The Simply Rugged “Most Versatile Ammo Pouch” is a great option for belt or pocket carry.

The custom wood grips have been sized to roughly fit my hands.

The custom wood grips have been sized to roughly fit my hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Smiddywesson April 28, 2017, 10:27 am

    Good price for what you get, however I’m not on board with porting a barrel that’s already too short to take full advantage of the cartridge. The issue is accuracy and rate of fire when discussing recoil in a combat gun, not comfort. If you punch someone in a fist fight, it’s supposed to hurt. Why should combat shooting be any different? If you can’t handle the recoil, move to a less gun. Beautiful gun, and beautiful work, but I’d apply those ports to a 5″ Toklat, THAT would be something to see.

  • Chris April 7, 2016, 3:07 am

    What a ridiculous waste of money. And I thought 1911 folks were bad. Its a revolver, I have the 454 Alaskan and you couldnt pay me to do half of these mods most of all the porting. Nothing wrong with stock sights, and the gold front sight is about total vanity not accuracy. Trigger job maybe. Dehorning is personal preference. Ive done some dumb things to firearms many unnecessary mods and accessories but this one is beyond excess. Putting over 1000 into a 1000 wheel gun I never thought it possible. Rather have 1000 in ammo. Practice makes you a better shooter not ridiculous mods. It doesnt help recoil but helps with the snap? LOL. The porting destroys the already weakened ballistics of stubs, makes them harder to clean and are only needed on large caliber semis not revolvers. I shoot my 500mag SW 4″ with the solid muzzle attachment because the porting doesnt help recoil and only causes more flash and cleaning. Ya lets drill into the little rifling we have just so we can have a placebo to make us think it will help with controlling magnum force. I guarantee Ruger has nothing to do with this company whatsoever. Can you say warranty voided?

  • David September 7, 2015, 4:32 am

    I love my Alaskan. Can’t believe any owner claiming it is “not fun.” It’s an absolute joy for me and everyone who has shot mine. Of course I don’t shoot massive 300 plus grain boolets! But the Alaskan can take a steady diet of those “grizzly stoppers” so anyone who needs the gun for that purpose can become well practiced with them. Most who gripe about the Alaskan have never shot one. The recoil is more than manageable outside of “grizzly stoppers.” As far as man stoppers go the bulk of .44 special feels like a pop gun and still give great performance for the intended purpose. For woods/hunting sidearm carry, any stout .44 magnum load will do. BB anti personel 44 magnum is my carry and nightstand ammo (along with my electronic earmuffs and cell for the complete package). At real life self defense distances, the velocity loss from the 2.5 inch barrel will not matter much, and is grossly exaggerated by most. This is just a handgun chambered in an extremely versatile caliber, and the barrel length makes it even more versatile. From snake shot to grizzly protection this gun can fill any defensive need.
    Durability is second to none, it works hard and cleans up really nice. I wouldn’t dare drag my 629 on the hunting trips I’ve dragged my Alaskan on. Just doesn’t “feel right.” Anyhow, outside of the hydra porting, the author has the package I have been considering. With that package, I feel my 629 will become an inferior carry piece. The Smith beats the ruger in weight, finish, and trigger. The Gemini Customs work takes care of all but one of those, and with a my simply rugged rig I can deal with that comfortably. If I can bring myself to sell my Dirty Harry piece, I can afford the work… descisions, descisions.

    P.S. The author has a huge set of mitts! My alaskan has never looked that small in my hands, and I’m 6’2!!

  • David September 7, 2015, 3:04 am

    First off, great review on an exellent weapon. Most who have gripes about the Alaskan have never shot one. Unless you are firing “grizzly stoppers” the recoil is not unmanageable for a seasoned(or just well practiced) shooter. The velocity loss is not what folks make it out to be either. I love my Alaskan better than any handgun I own. It is tough as nails and cleans up real nice! Great .44 special defense ammo provides a good man stopper with minimal recoil (feels like shooting a toy, keep a box for the wife when I’m out of town), and easy follow up shots. At the other end of the spectrum are the “grizzly stoppers” massive 300 plus ammo packs a wallop!! But the gun can take a steady diet of it, and any person who needs that from this gun can make themselves ready to do so. I have landed in the middle with BB 44 mag anti-personel 180 grains for carry and nightstand duty (my electronic earmuffs and phone complete the “package”). Much more bang than a .45, and I can make lethal follow up shots smooth and consistently at true self defense distances. I carry Any decent 44 mag for woods carry and when carried as a hunting sidearm. Just a versatile firearm. Along with my glock 19, I need nothing in the handgun department.
    Second, the authors mitts are huge!! I’m a big guy, but my alaskan never looked that small in my hands!
    Lastly, I am going back and forth with the Gemini Customs mod. With the internal work and dehorning, it beats the Smith in every department that counts. Durability and shootability . No hydra ports for me though. The gold bead and rear sight upgrade would just send my love for the Alaskan into the stratosphere. If I could just clear it with the wife,lol! Great read! Thanks!

  • jeffrey labrum July 15, 2015, 1:23 am

    The bead blasting is all i would want on mine. Get rid of that giant billboard on the side of the firearm. Otherwise i feel the rest of the customization is unnecessary and takes away from the gun,but looks real pretty!

  • Joe Pavlik January 9, 2015, 3:43 pm

    My understanding for the inception of the Alaskan was POWER plus ease of carry FOR THE WOODSMAN. Most of the BIG BORE revolvers 357,44mag,454,460,480,500 were 4,5,6 inch barrels and longer .The Alaskan is all beef so it can handle the hot rounds of a hard cast Buffalo bore with a short barrel.This is a lot of gun for human stopping power.I will say the custom work is beautiful perhaps the trigger work ,front and rear sight add to the performance but that is pretty much it.The Hogue Grips have a GEL pak in the handle that help absorb some of the recoil.BUT a gun like this you will not tame recoil and this is not a fun gun this gun is all business.This gun was designed for stopping much bigger things than a human being.This gun met a nitch ,as a bear defense gun for archers,and hikers that wander and hunt in bear country.I realize that although not the most optimal for bear defense when compared to a 12gauge slug gun or 300 win mag rifle but it does have the power to stop a pretty BIG bear if need be. This Alaskan has traveled a few trails with me in a Guides holster and carried quite comfortably .As far as concealable if you absolutely have to carry a 44mag you can conceal this gun under a jacket or coat or even a zip up sweat shirt.

    • Ed Anderson April 12, 2015, 12:14 pm

      I agree. I purchased this gun earlier this year… with a Guides Choice Chest Holster. I have a 9mm for conceal carry. For me, not too “practical” for conceal carry. I bought this for woods carry. It is a GREAT firearm!! Extremely well built and designed… a TANK!!! Yes… it is a bit heavy. But, if you want something compact and “beefy” to carry in the woods, I think this is a great choice.
      As far as “recoil”… I was VERY impressed! I am “61” and was a bit concerned about recoil when I first purchased it. But, to date, the recoil has been on par with other 44 mags I have shot throughout my lifetime. NOTHING like some of the things I have read. I have not fired really “heavy” loads (300gr., etc.). But, I never planned on it!
      I have fired: 44 special (like a “cap gun”… ha!), Hornady Custom 240gr. XTP rounds and reloaded Hornady 265gr. Flat Point. All have shot well… recoil was very tolerable.
      Looking forward to carrying it during the upcoming deer season!!! No… not for “hunting deer”! 🙂
      I admire the work in the Gemini Mod… looks very nice- and, I am sure it performs well. For me, however, the cost of the mod is a bit much for a handgun that I believe is great… right out of the box.

  • Al November 13, 2014, 7:19 pm

    Awesome gun. But let’s be realistic: It’s more or less a compromise for an Alaskan who’ll need it to clean up the 2 legged riff-raff in Fairbanks with a .44 special; and yet still have the option to drop a bear with a .44 magnum load outside city limits.
    It’s probably a good option for anyone besieged by feral hogs in Texas as well. Too unwieldly for IWB carry though.

  • Cam King November 10, 2014, 3:34 pm

    I want,,I want,I want….Had a .480 Ruger I wish I had not sold…

  • Rocky November 10, 2014, 12:30 pm

    The author mentioned .44 Special being hard to find. One can get around this, assuming that one doesn’t care to fire the .44 mag. caliber, by obtaining a revolver that fires the .45 Colt Long. I like my Taurus Judge pistol in .45 Colt Long, which gives me the option of shooting everything that the Ruger can (except in .45 cal.) as well as .410 shot shells (including 0, 00, 000 & 0000 buckshot). I have the ultra light frame variety, which makes it alot lighter than the all steel Ruger pistol.

  • uncle leo November 10, 2014, 11:38 am

    how dose it compare to taurus 44mag .with 2.5 ” barrel ???

  • Blufox November 10, 2014, 9:49 am

    Not one word about muzzle blast , WOW
    I have been shooting the 44 mag since 66 .
    You need to have your ears on …

    • Duane Daiker January 11, 2015, 10:03 pm

      Unfortunately, space constraints don’t always allow me to discuss every aspect of a particular gun. However, I rarely address muzzle “blast” in my reviews. I always wear top quality hearing protection when I shoot anything. I’ve lost enough hearing already. If I have to shoot without ears to save my life — I guess I will lose a little bit more. 😉

  • Jon November 10, 2014, 9:43 am

    Beautiful gun and I love my Alaskan. I have always been impressed with Gemini’s work.
    I have always had an eye for detail and something one might mention to Gemini and have them do if you plan on sending an Alaskan into them…. that during smoothing and dehorning , if they would touch up and smooth out those areas under the rear sight, next to where the top of the hammer rests and behind the cylinder release button, where Ruger leaves those ugly casting marks, it would sure clean it up. Even after bead blasting, those areas still stand out like a sore thumb.
    Another added touch, would be to polish the holes in the barrel porting too. I think that would be a really nice look. It would go with the polishing job done on the trigger and hammer.
    After all, if you are looking at the details in their work and you are going to spend $895 and up, have them do a little more.

  • tulsamal November 10, 2014, 8:43 am

    The only way to make this better……. start out with the .480 Ruger version!

    I love mine and the cartridge is actually better behaved in a short barrel than .44 Magnum. Larger diameter bullet, heavier weight…. you don’t have to push it as fast. Lot less muzzle flash and blast. Mine is actually a lot of fun to shoot.

    As far as the custom work… if I was really going to CCW this sort of gun, I would be interested in high visibility fixed sights. Like on the WP GP-100.

    There is literally only one thing I don’t like about my .480 Alaskan. The way the Oklahoma CCW law is written, it is illegal to carry since it is “larger than .45 caliber.” I keep hoping they are going to drop that sentence from the law!

  • Steve K November 10, 2014, 7:01 am

    That’s a Beauty! The Alaskan is already my favorite revolver, and they made it even better. I suppose they could do the same with the .454 version?

  • Christopher November 10, 2014, 5:36 am

    So, my only question is how much velocity do you lose with the porting? I understand that the .44 is a big bullet and that’s a great thing, however if it’s going at softball velocities, that’s not a great thing.

    Nice pistol. I’ve admired the Gemini stuff for quite a while.

    • Craig Ramsey November 10, 2014, 3:35 pm

      I agree, porting a 2.5 inch barrel makes it about a 1 inch barrel as far a velocity goes.
      You’ve already lost most of the velocity going to the 2.5 inch barrel.
      BBTI says 240gr Hydra Shoks in a 6 in barrel will do 1380fps, in a 2 in barrel 944fps… about what my 1911 does.
      So you’ve reduced the .44mag cartridge to a .45. No wonder the author likes the recoil.
      http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/44mag.html

      My Alaskan fishing guide suggested filing off the front site so when the bear takes it away from you and shoves it up your *ss it doesn’t hurt as much.

      • Duane Daiker January 11, 2015, 10:01 pm

        Actually, I did muzzle velocity testing. All the Magnum loads were significantly over 1,100 feet per second. That should be an acceptable velocity and is far better than .45 ACP.

        • Brian Fortin November 9, 2015, 12:34 pm

          The issue traces to the methods used to measure the barrel. Semi autos are measured to the breech face, whereas revolvers are only measured to the cylinder face. Now, a cylinder is not a barrel, so it won’t impart spin, but it burns powder every bit as well as a barrel, and that adds to velocity. If we are talking velocity, the distance from the primer to the muzzle is the issue, minus whatever pressure is lost through the cylinder gap. The very website Craig brought up (ballisticsbytheinch.com) tested a variety of ammo and barrel lengths to determine what .006″ and .001″cylinder gaps had on velocity. With the .001″ gap, they saw as much as a 2% drop in velocity, but often less. On the other hand, the cylinder on the Alaskan is fully 1.75″ long for the .44 mag and the .454, and the ballisticsbytheinch data was generally showing a 10% increase in velocity for every 1″ increase in barrel length. This means the Alaskan has 17.5% more velocity potential than people would expect, minus 1-2% loss from the cylinder gap. Bottom line: A 2.5″ barrel with a 1.75″ cylinder equals 4.25″ inches over which that powder is pushing that bullet. That’s plenty of length, ESPECIALLY when you consider that big heavy bullets give the gun more time to build up pressures (velocity). The issue isn’t just barrel length, the issue is time for the powder to burn. People are so mind numbed that I’ve actually heard pretty well informed people express surprise at the velocities of semi auto ammo fired from revolvers.

          • Mark May 4, 2017, 10:15 pm

            Well written Brian…best explanation I have yet to read! Thank you!

  • Pierce Colman November 8, 2014, 2:04 pm

    Great pics on this article!

  • Damon November 7, 2014, 4:30 pm

    I’ll take two! Friggin awesome!

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