“Power is nothing without control“
I had been looking for a Ruger Superhawk for some time. I liked the Umarex 586 I owned, and my Umarex TRR8 BB shooter was just amazingly accurate. So, I reasoned, the Superhawk had to be even better. I read reports which mentioned lots of power and, with a barrel that long, surely it was bound to be accurate? Finally I got hold of a well-used black 8″ version. It was a huge disappointment. Power was very good but accuracy was, well, let’s be charitable and say indifferent. Some time later I had the opportunity to buy another 8″ version, this time virtually new and in the shiny polished finish. Surely this one would be better…
Real steel background
Sturm Ruger & Co. was founded in 1949 in Connecticut, USA. One of the partners, Bill Ruger, had become interested in the possibility of manufacturing firearms after successfully making copies of a Japanese Nambu pistol in a rented machine shop. With Alexander Sturm, he designed the .22 calibre Ruger Standard, which borrowed design features from the Colt Woodsman pistol and the German Luger. The Ruger Standard became so successful that almost on its own it enabled the company to become commercially viable. The Mark 3 version of the Ruger Standard is still sold by Ruger today.
Ruger expanded to become a major force in the production of .22 rimfire rifles and pistols in the US, and later added large calibre revolvers to its range. Ruger products are famed for their very high quality and the company has regularly won the handgun and manufacturer of the year titles in the US Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence Awards.
Ruger Super Redhawk
Ruger don’t make a revolver called a Superhawk, though they do produce the Super Redhawk, a double action revolver with modern styling. The Stainless Steel Super Redhawk is available in barrel lengths from 2½” – 9½” and chambered for .480 Ruger, .44 Magnum and .454 Casull rounds. It’s a massively powerful handgun, popular for both target shooting and hunting and often fitted with optical sights.
Umarex Ruger Superhawk
The Umarex Ruger Superhawk is an all metal, licensed replica which has accurate Ruger markings and Ruger logos on the grips. It’s available in 6″ and 8″ form, but only in 6mm calibre. Finish is either black (which is actually a speckled dark grey) or polished alloy. CO2 is retained in the grip and is accessed by sliding the plastic grip to the rear. CO2 is placed inside the grip and pierced and tightened by turning a small plastic tab. An optional accessory rail to mount on top of the barrel is provided. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation and windage and the front sight incorporates a red dot. The cylinder swings out on a loading crane and up to eight 6mm BBs are loaded into a plastic carrier which is then fitted to the rear of the cylinder.
My first Superhawk
The inner barrel is sprung so that it locates firmly into the front of the cylinder face, to prevent loss of gas pressure. The plastic pellet carrier also features soft lips which help to seal round the BBs, again preventing loss of gas. These features certainly seem to work, as the Superhawk is one of the most powerful replicas I have ever tested.
The overall look and function of the Ruger Superhawk is very similar to the ASG range of Dan Wesson revolvers (though the Superhawk doesn’t have removable shells). That’s probably unsurprising as both are manufactured by Taiwanese company Wingun on behalf of their respective distributors.
Capacity: 8 BBs
Barrel length: 6″/8″
Weight: 918g (6″), 1kg (8″)
Overall length: 295mm (6″), 345mm (8″)
Sights: Front: Blade, fixed, red dot. Rear: Notch, adjustable for elevation and windage.
Packaging and presentation 2.5/5
The Umarex Ruger Superhawk comes in a serviceable cardboard box which features the Ruger logo. It is provided with a brief user manual, an upper picatinny rail and an allen key for rail fixing/removal. One nice touch is that the Superhawk comes with three BB carriers. Overall, packaging and presentation are adequate but nothing special.
Visual accuracy 7/10
It’s difficult to rate the visual accuracy of the Superhawk as, despite the Ruger markings, it isn’t a replica of a specific Ruger product. The polished version of the Superhawk does look a little like the stainless steel Super Redhawk, but it really isn’t close enough to be considered a replica of that pistol. It does look good and the full size revolving cylinder, contoured grips and coloured grip medallions do help to improve the visual appeal.
My second Superhawk
It’s probably fair to say that it does look like a firearm revolver, so the mark above is assigned on that basis.
Functional accuracy 10/15
The Ruger Superhawk has a full-size revolving cylinder which swings out on a loading crane, mimicing the function of a real revolver. However, unlike (for example) the ASG Dan Wesson replicas or the Umarex S&W TRR8, it doesn’t have shells which can be removed and loaded. The trigger, hammer and cylinder lock work as they would on a real revolver. The Superhawk has good weight, with the 8″ version weighing over 2.2lbs.
Loading CO2 in the Superhawk is easy – the plastic grips are slid back, giving access to the CO2 chamber and CO2 is tightened and pierced using a slightly flimsy plastic tab. When the grip is closed, there is still some slight movement from the rear part as the pistol is gripped. BBs are loaded into the plastic carrier, which is then inserted in the rear of the cylinder (an ejector rod is provided to assist in removing the carrier from the cylinder). The cylinder is then closed and the pistol is ready to shoot.
The sights are clear and easy to read, and the rear sight is fully adjustable. The pistol can be fired in single or double action, though the double action pull is a little notchy. The pistol fires with a satisfying bang.
Having such a long barrel certainly gives plenty of speed to BBs. I have chronoed .12g BBs from this pistol at over 600fps on a warm afternoon, the highest speed I have seen for any replica air pistol. Even much heavier 0.3g aluminium BBs fire in the range 450 – 470fps.
Ruger Superhawk, eight shots, 6yds, free standing, two-handed grip with Cybergun 0.12g plastic BBs. Outer circle diameter is 6”. Only seven shots have hit the A4 sized target, number eight hit the backstop somewhere outside the area.
Sadly, this power doesn’t seem to translate into accuracy. The Superhawk isn’t just the most powerful replica air pistol I have tried, it’s also one of the least accurate. Using .12g BBs at six yards, I was seeing groupings of around 3″, but with around one in three shots being a flyer which hit anything up 8″from the point of aim. Shooting at a target printed on an A4 sheet at this range, it was unusual to have all eight shots actually hit the paper, not just the target area. Accuracy was a little better with 0.3g aluminium BBs – groups were generally around 2″ – 2½” though two or more shots out of every eight landed anywhere up to 5″ from the point of aim.
Ruger Superhawk, eight shots, 6yds, free standing, two-handed grip with 0.3g aluminium BBs. Outer circle diameter is 6”. Again, only seven of the eight shots have hit the A4 sized target.
I was very disappointed with the lack of accuracy with this replica. Occasionally, it’s possible to get a reasonable group with maybe six of the eight shots, but there always seem to be fliers which spread out much further. I have no idea what causes this – mechanically the Superhawk seems good, though the inner barrel is very flimsy compared to, for example, the barrel on the very accurate Umarex S&W TRR8 revolver. It is also possible that the fairly lightly sprung inner barrel is moving as the pistol is fired. There certainly appears to be some issue which unpredictably causes a proportion of shots go very wide.
Adjustable sights are great, but there is little point in having them if you can’t reliably hit where you are aiming. And as for fitting a red-dot or telescopic sight – forget it. It might look cool, but the BBs still aren’t going to go where you aim. At six yards, accuracy is so poor that it’s even difficult to reliably hit a target the size of a beer can, so even as a plinker, this leaves something to be desired.
The 8″ Superhawk is also very heavy, and most of the weight is carried forward, so it doesn’t feel well balanced. After a relatively few shots, my wrists and arms became tired, which probably also contributed to the poor accuracy. Although I also tested it from a rested position to check this, and it still produced a regular crop of fliers.
I’m aware that other folk have reported very different, and much better results using the Superhawk, but I can honestly say that both mine were woefully inaccurate. Perhaps I was just unlucky, but I would suggest that you may want to try before you buy if you’re looking for an accurate shooter.
Quality and reliability 13/15
The Umarex Superhawk appears to be very well made and finished. The finish on the black version is very hard wearing and the polished version looks very good indeed. The release and locking action of the cylinder is good and the trigger and hammer action are good.
The grip does feel a little flimsy, and there is noticeable movement as you grip the pistol. The double action trigger pull is notably notchy, but the single action pull is clean and short.
I had no problems or issues with either of my Superhawks and I’m not aware of any problems in general. This feels like a well finished, well made and generally reliable replica.
Overall Impression 7.5/15
There are lots of things to like about the Superhawk – it’s hefty, it looks good and it appears to be well made. The supply of extra BB carriers is a nice touch, as is the inclusion of a fully adjustable rear sight. But on the examples I owned, accuracy was so poor that it was a replica I seldom chose to shoot. If you can find one that is more accurate than either of mine, you may be happy. Otherwise, it’s very difficult to recommend the Ruger Superhawk.
I wanted to like this one so much! Umarex make some really decent replicas and four Joules of power and over 600fps sound great. A pistol on which you can mount a red-dot or even a telescopic sight is very tempting. And of course a massive, shiny revolver looks good in anyone’s collection. Sadly, the reality just didn’t live up to the expectation and it’s difficult to see who this replica is intended for – it’s way too powerful for skirmishing, and it doesn’t have the accuracy for target shooting.
So, if what you want is a replica that makes a striking wall ornament and which allows you to quote huge power figures, this may be the one for you. If however you want a pistol which is capable of shooting in the general vicinity of where you’re aiming, it may be better to look elsewhere: the Umarex S&W TRR8 and the ASG Dan Wesson revolvers for example, are better replicas in every way.
Total score: 55/100