At one time sixgunners thought they had reached the pinnacle of sixgun development with the coming of the .44 Magnum in 1956. The way of the big forty-four had been prepared with the "World's Most Powerful" .357 Magnum in 1935 and with handloading of the .44 Special to Magnum levels with 250 grain hard cast bullets at 1200 feet per second. With the coming of the .44 Magnum we had reached the top. This was the absolute most we could ever expect from a revolver.

As a teenager in the 1950's I fired all of the first .44 Magnums, the Smith & Wesson .44 in both six and one-half inch and four-inch barrel lengths and the Ruger Flat-top Blackhawk six and one-half inch barrel and I was convinced we had reached the top and then some. Yes, it would certainly be impossible to put any more power in a portable package.

Then came Casull and in the 1980's the .454 Casull became a factory reality and the finest revolvers ever assembled began to come out of the Star Valley Freedom Arms factory. The .44 Magnum's hold on the title of World's Most Powerful Revolver was broken and the .454 became not the end but the beginning of really powerful revolver development. The .454 remains the most powerful factory chambering available and probably always will be but the custom 'smiths have not been resting.

Along came the .475 Linebaugh (TAFFIN TESTS, AMERICAN HANDGUNNER NOV/DEC 1990) and the .500 Linebaugh (TAFFIN TESTS, AMERICAN HANDGUNNER JUL/AUG 1992). The bullets got much larger and heavier than the 260 and 300 grain .454 bullets and now we were shooting 400 grain .475 bullets and 450 grain .500 bullets at 1400 and 1200 feet per second respectively from six-inch barreled revolvers. Surely we had reached the top. Not so.

The coming of the .357 Maximum/SuperMag in the mid-1980's opened the doors for other Long cartridges. Elgin Gates had sample SuperMag cartridges all the way up to .600 caliber when he encouraged the creation of the .357 SuperMag. Soon after the .357 Supermag came along, custom 'smiths were reaming out the Dan Wesson cylinders to .44 caliber and a few years later we had the .445 SuperMag gun and brass. Even the .375 SuperMag snuck in between the .357 and the .445. It remains semi-illegitimate with no factory brass available even though guns have been offered by at least two companies.

John Linebaugh , who always thinks big-bore, really BIG BORE, turned his talents to the Maximum frame of mind and the result is the .475 Linebaugh Long. Using the .45-70 case as his basis, Winchester brass is cut to 1.610" and loaded with .475 caliber bullets. Other .45-70 brass will work but requires inside neck reaming . Winchester brass is thin enough that it simply is a matter of trimming and loading with the proper dies of course, and the standard .475 Linebaugh dies work fine in loading the Linebaugh Long. These dies, as well as those for many wildcat rounds, are available from RCBS.

With the new cartridge, it was necessary to have a different gun for the base. For the .475 and .500 Linebaugh, John uses the Ruger Bisley as his basis fitting them with new barrels and five-shot cylinders. Hamilton Bowen builds the .475 and .500 on both Bisleys and Redhawks. But when it comes to the .475 Maximum, only one gun is a candidate for the rebuilding project and that is the Ruger .357 Maximum, now out of production. Both Bowen and Linebaugh use the Ruger Maxi as their basis and fit new five-shot cylinders and six or six and one-half inch barrels. For cast bullets both NEI and LBT have moulds available for the bullet caster.

Loading dies for the .475 are non-carbide type and require lubing of cases. Trimmed .45-70 brass is run through the full length sizer, belled, and loaded as with any revolver cartridge. Some cautions are necessary. Crimp is very important with the recoil we are dealing with. I have had no problem with cast bullets jumping the crimp but jacketed bullets are a real problem and will require special dies that size the case tighter and also do not expand the case as much. Bullet fit must be very tight or jacketed bullets will jump the crimp on the first shot.

With these large capacity cases, I also weigh all charges on an RCBS Electronic scale both for safety and uniformity. We are not talking loads that will be shot 500 at a time or 100 or even 50 rounds. Recoil is such a factor that I have never shot more than 35 rounds at a session and that is pushing it. So, there is no great problem in reloading the brass slowly and weighing every charge.

My favorite cast bullets for loading the .475 Linebaugh Long are NEI's #390.477, a 370 grain flat-nosed plain base bullet, and LBT's #476.370 (380 grains), #476.420 (410 grains), and #476.440 (430 grains). All weights are, of course, with my casting alloy of two parts lead to three parts type metal.

Powders used for the .475 Linebaugh Long are H110 and WW296 for full house loads, H4227 and Blue Dot for medium loads, and WW231 for light loads. Federal #210 Rifle Primers are used for all loads. Maximum loads for the .475 Linebaugh Long are a 380 grain cast bullet at 1600 feet per second, a 410 grain cast bullet at 1500-1550 feet per second, and a 430 grain cast bullet at 1400-1450 feet per second. Believe me, you do know that you have hold of something special with loads like this and shooting these loads should be approached very seriously or one can get hurt from the recoil.

Accuracy? This is a tough one to call. Personally, I can put three rounds right at one-inch at 35 yards and then all bets are off. It simply takes too much strength and concentration to shoot five in a row for groups. Of course, this is not a target round by any means but is designed to put down big game at close ranges and do it fast.

Often muzzle energies are quoted to compare cartridges. Many big bore sixgunners use the Pondoro Taylor Knock Out Theory for a better comparison. Elephant hunter Taylor calculated his TKO formula by multiplying Bullet Weight times Caliber times Muzzle Velocity divided by 7000.

This formula gives a 240 grain .44 Magnum at 1400 feet per second a TKO of 21, while a .475 Linebaugh Long with a 410 grain bullet at 1550 feet per second is rated at 43 or more than twice that of the standard .44 Magnum. Mathematically, a full house .475 Linebaugh Long in a revolver probably delivers three times the recoil of a .44 Magnum. That is why both Linebaugh and Bowen install Bisley grip frames on any Ruger .357 Maximum they convert to .475 Maximum.

Favorite loads for the .475 Linebaugh Long are as follows. With NEI's #390.477 (370 grain), I like 38.0 grains of H110 or WW296 for 1550 feet per second for a fullhouse load, 28.0 grains of H4227 for a milder 1200 feet per second load, and 10.0 grains of WW231 for sedate 900 feet per second load.

Switching to LBT's bullets, #476.370 (380 grain) also cruises at 1550 feet per second with 38.0 grains of H110 or WW296, 1300 feet per second with 28.0 grains of H4227, and 900 feet per second again with 10.0 grains of WW231. Going up to the 410 grain #476.420, 36.0 grains of H110 or WW296, or 40.0 grains of WW680 are right at 1500 feet per second; 20.0 grains of Blue Dot or 27.0 grains of H4227 yield 1200 feet per second, and 10.0 grains of WW231 again yields right at 900 feet per second. The 1200 feet per second loads are very reasonable in their recoil and will certainly handle 95% of all hunting chores.

Going to LBT's heaviest bullet for the .475 Linebaugh Long, 34.0 grains of H110 will give muzzle velocities of just under 1500 feet per second and as expected, recoil is fierce. I much prefer lighter loads of 27.0 grains of H4227 for 1250 feet per second or 20.0 grains for Blue Dot at 1200 feet per second. Nothing says we have to run a car full bore all the time and the same holds true for these really big revolvers. It makes much more sense to me to run them at 1200 feet per second and practice every once in awhile with the full house loads for the rare occurrences they will be needed.


BRASS: WW .45/70 @ 1.600" 

NEI #390.477  (370 GRAIN) 35.0 GR. H110 1456
  36.0 GR. H110 1526
  37.0 GR. H110 1553
  38.0 GR. H110 1576
  39.0 GR. H110* 1621
  35.0 GR. WW296 1450
  36.0 GR. WW296 1478
  37.0 GR. WW296 1520
  38.0 GR. WW296 1546
  39.0 GR. WW296* 1659
  28.0 GR. H4227 1192
  30.0 GR. H4227 1299
  32.0 GR. H4227 1395
  10.0 GR. WW231  928


LBT #476.370 (380 GRAIN) 35.0 GR. H110 1460
  36.0 GR. H110 1486
  37.0 GR. H110 1527
  38.0 GR. H110 1549
  39.0 GR. H110* 1604
  35.0 GR. WW296 1407
  36.0 GR. WW296 1445
  37.0 GR. WW296 1499
  38.0 GR. WW296 1541
  39.0 GR. WW296* 1599
  38.0 GR. WW680 1296
  39.0 GR. WW680 1371
  40.0 GR. WW680 1402
  28.0 GR. H4227 1231
  30.0 GR. H4227 1301
  32.0 GR. H4227 1359
  20.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1285
  22.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1385
  10.0 GR. WW231



LBT #476.420 (410 GRAIN) 33.0 GR. H110 1398
  34.0 GR. H110 1458
  35.0 GR. H110 1493
  36.0 GR. H110 1503
  33.0 GR. WW296 1392
  34.0 GR. WW296 1417
  35.0 GR. WW296 1470
  36.0 GR. WW296 1479
  36.0 GR. WW680  1307
  37.0 GR. WW680  1370
  38.0 GR. WW680  1414
  39.0 GR. WW680  1435
  40.0 GR. WW680  1491
  27.0 GR. H4227  1207
  29.0 GR. H4227  1298
  31.0 GR. H4227  1344
  20.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1239
  22.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1296
  24.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1391
  10.0 GR. WW231 911


LBT #476.440 (430 grain) 30.0 GR. H110 1329
  31.0 GR. H110 1343
  32.0 GR. H110 1393
  33.0 GR. H110 1429
  34.0 GR. H110 1484
  30.0 GR. WW296 1342
  31.0 GR. WW296 1379
  32.0 GR. WW296 1394
  33.0 GR. WW296 1402
  34.0 GR. WW296 1424
  34.0 GR. WW680 


  35.0 GR. WW680  1338
  36.0 GR. WW680  1363
  27.0 GR. H4227  1247
  29.0 GR. H4227  1295
  31.0 GR. H4227  1397
  18.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1155
  20.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1201
  22.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1344
  10.0 GR. WW231 882


GOLDEN BEAR 425 JSP 33.0 GR. H110 1374
  34.0 GR. H110 1387
  35.0 GR. H110 1424




28.0 GR. H110 1180
  29.0 GR. H110 1249
  30.0 GR. H110 1274
  31.0 GR. H110 1258
  32.0 GR. H110 1293
  33.0 GR. H110 1282