O.K. I admit it. I have definitely met my match! Over the years I have been doing this column as well as writing features for both GUNS and AMERICAN HANDGUNNER, I have shot the biggest of the big bores. My first Taffin Tests was on the .44 Magnum, and I have covered everything from the .32 Magnum to the .454 Casull and then some. John Linebaugh's .475 Linebaugh and .500 Linebaugh were both originally tested in cold weather and that was quite an experience. All of the SuperMag cartridges, .357, .375, and .445 have been covered and now the Linebaugh chamberings have been combined with the SuperMag idea.

The .475 Linebaugh Long was my first experience with the Linebaugh idea of what a Maximum cartridge should be and this is a cartridge that certainly has my respect. On both ends. Then came the .500 Linebaugh Long and I will go out on a limb and say we simply cannot get any bigger. We have reached the apex. There is simply no way to get any nore power in a portable revolver.

Yes, I know that was the thought in 1935 with the coming of the .357 Magnum, a cartridge which seems exceptionally mild now but was touted as the "World's Most Powerful with more shocking power than any .44 or .45". Then came the .44 Magnum in 1956 and surely we were at the top. We simply could not go any further. The human body could not handle any more power in a revolver. Then came the .454 Casull and the .445 SuperMag and the .475 Linebaugh and the .500 Linebaugh and now we certainly could not go any further.

Normally I need a minimum of 200 to 300 rounds of brass to Taffin Test any cartridge. When I shot the .475 Linebaugh Long or Maximum I was thankful that I had less than forty rounds and would not ever be shooting more than this at any one session. Then came the .500 Linebaugh Long and I would have been satisfied with a dozen rounds! With the `normal' Linebaugh chamberings, the .475 and the .500, the .475 is the velocity champ and the .500 is quite sluggish. The .475 will do 1400 feet per second with a 400 grain bullet and the .500 operates better in the 1200 feet per second range. Switching to the Maximums, or Linebaugh Longs, we find the .475 Linebaugh Long capable of 1500-1550 feet per second with a 400 grain bullet and the .500 Linebaugh Long will easily do 1550 feet per second with a 450 grain bullet.

The recoil with the .500 Linebaugh Long in full house loadings is serious to say the least. A shooting glove is essential and I use a Chimere with the lightly padded palm and then tape the knuckle of the middle finger on my shooting hand with several layers of adhesive tape. I also tape my trigger to avoid being cut by the bottom of the trigger. Even so, it takes a tremendous amount of concentration and expended strength to fire thirty to forty rounds of this biggest of all revolver cartridges that will still fit in a portable package. Not only is this the case but I also found myself taking such a beating that it was not unusual to become physically ill from shooting the big .500. My normal procedure was to shoot the test rounds early in the morning and in every case I found myself needing to lie down and recoup by afternoon. I cannot emphasize enough that this is a serious cartridge and not a revolver to be purchased for braggin' rights.

The .500 Linebaugh Long has only one reason for being and that is big game. Real big game. Not deer or black bear or even elk or moose, but Brown Bear, Polar Bear, Cape Buffalo, Elephant, you get the picture. This is a cartridge designed to allow the hunter to pack a reasonably sized revolver on his hip and yet have the capability of delivering tremendous power in a fraction of a second.

The .500 Linebaugh Long in its full-house loading carries a TKO (Taylor Knock Out) rating of 47. The TKO theory was invented by an elephant hunter of several decades back, John "Pondoro" Taylor. Rather than using muzzle energy, Taylor gave cartridges a Knock Out number by multiplying bullet weight times caliber times muzzle velocity all divided by 7000 to assign the TKO rating. A 240 grain .44 Magnum at 1400 feet per second, still a fine big bore by anyone's standard, has a TKO rating of 21. Thus the TKO of the full-house .500 Linebaugh Long is 224% that of the .44 Magnum.

Custom made brass is needed to load the .500 Linebaugh Long which is made from the .348 Winchester case trimmed to 1.610" and expanded to take the .500 caliber bullets. Special dies for forming .500 Linebaugh or .500 Linebaugh Long brass are available from RCBS ( 605 Oro Dam Blvd, Dept AH, Oroville California 95965. Phone 800-533-5000). Formed .500 Linebaugh and .500 Linebaugh Long brass is also available from Ben Forkin (P.O. Box 444, Dept AH, White Sulphur Springs, Montana 59645).

John Linebaugh provided me with two boxes of .348 Winchester made into .500 Linebaugh Long/Maximum and I used my standard .500 Linebaugh RCBS dies to load the longer cartridges. Other than having to lube the cases, loading the .500 Maximum is the same as loading any other straight-walled revolver cartridge with a few cautions necessary. Crimp is extremely important or bullets will jump the crimp under the tremendous recoil generated by a .500 Linebaugh Long revolver. All charges are weighed on the RCBS Electronic Bullet Scale as this is a very large capacity case and one is not likely to load .500 Maximums by the hundreds of rounds anyway.

As with its smaller brother the .475 Linebaugh Long, all .500 Linebaugh Long revolvers are made on the Ruger .357 Maximum and fitted with new five -shot cylinders, six- or six and one-half inch barrels, and Ruger Bisley grip frames whether they are from Linebaugh Custom Guns or Bowen Classic Arms.

Powders for the .500 Linebaugh Long are the standard revolver

choices of H110, WW296, H4227, WW680, Blue Dot, Unique, and WW231. For full-house loadings I have found H4227 to be the best. All my loads have been ignited with Federal #210 Rifle Primers. My cast bullet loading with the .500 Linebaugh Long has been accomplished with LBT's #512.400 (407 grains), #512.440 (420 grains), NEI's #440.512 (425 grains), and LBT's #512.450 (435 grains).

Favorite cast bullet loads are as follows: For the LBT #512.400 my full-house load is 42.0 grains of H4227 for 1500 feet per second, a medium load of 22.0 grains of Blue Dot for 1200 feet per second, and a `plinking' load of 12.0 grains of WW231 for 950 feet per second. The latter may be a plinking load but will certainly suffice for any deer hereabouts.

Going up the line in bullet weight, the #512.440 bullets does 1500 feet per second with 40.0 grains of H4227, 1150 feet per second with 21.0 grains of Blue Dot, and 950 feet per second with 13.0 grains of Unique. For a Keith style bullet, NEI's #440.512KT will do a maximum 1550 with 40.0 grains of H4227, 1200 feet per second with 21.0 grains of Blue Dot, and a very pleasant 950 feet per second with 13.0 grains of Unique.

I reiterate, recoil of the .500 Linebaugh Long is like nothing else ever experienced. The .475 Linebaugh revolver generates three times the recoil of a .44 Magnum and the .500 Linebaugh Long/Maximum puts the .475 Linebaugh Long/Maximum in the `mild' class. Or so it seems. Recoil is not bad at all with `mild' loadings of 1200 to 1300 feet per second. After that we are walking in a completely different neighborhood.

When I did Taffin Tests on the .500 Linebaugh I ended it with these words: "In the .500, Linebaugh has reached the outer limits of power combined with practicality and portability. I'm almost ready to say that the ultimate `most powerful revolver' has finally been attained, but I know if I do I will find someone out there that is working on some future contender. For right now at least, the .500 is King." Well, the future is now and we have crowned a new King. Long may he reign!






BULLET            LOAD      MV

LBT 512.400 38.0 GR. H4227 1350

(407 GRAINS) 40.0 GR. H4227 1465

42.0 GR. H4227 1512

42.0 GR. WW680 1296

44.0 GR. WW680 1380

20.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1171

21.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1186

22.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1196

13.0 GR. UNIQUE 945

14.0 GR. UNIQUE 1058

15.0 GR. UNIQUE 1088

12.0 GR. WW231 957


LBT 512.440 36.0 GR. H4227 1334

(420 GRAINS) 38.0 GR. H4227 1431

40.0 GR. H4227 1508

36.0 GR. H110 1312

37.0 GR. H110 1393

38.0 GR. H110 1448

36.0 GR. WW296 1367

37.0 GR. WW296 1351

38.0 GR. WW296 1378

36.0 GR. WW680 1127

38.0 GR. WW680 1122

40.0 GR. WW680 1236

42.0 GR. WW680 1255

20.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1141

21.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1160

22.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1172

18.0 GR. HS-7 987

19.0 GR. HS-7 1031

20.0 GR. HS-7 1050

20.0 GR. AA#7 1087

21.0 GR. AA#7 1104

22.0 GR. AA#7 1120

13.0 GR. UNIQUE 944

14.0 GR. UNIQUE 1042

15.0 GR. UNIQUE 1044

12.0 GR. WW231 888

LBT 512.450DAK 36.0 GR. H4227 1335

(435 GRAINS) 38.0 GR. H4227 1406

40.0 GR. H4227 1467

36.0 GR. WW680 1138

40.0 GR. WW680 1363

NEI 440.512KT 36.0 GR. H4227 1413

(425 GRAINS) 38.0 GR. H4227 1462

40.0 GR. H4227 1553

36.0 GR. WW680 1166

38.0 GR. WW680 1250

40.0 GR. WW680 1300

42.0 GR. WW680 1416

36.0 GR. H110 1419

37.0 GR. H110 1410

38.0 GR. H110 1428

36.0 GR. WW296 1335

37.0 GR. WW296 1351

38.0 GR. WW296 1406

20.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1164

21.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1190

22.0 GR. BLUE DOT 1238

18.0 GR. HS-7 1028

19.0 GR. HS-7 1062

20.0 GR. HS-7 1089

20.0 GR. AA#7 1002

21.0 GR. AA#7 1070

22.0 GR. AA#7 1171

13.0 GR. UNIQUE 963

14.0 GR. UNIQUE 1032

15.0 GR. UNIQUE 1056

12.0 GR. WW231 931



BULLET                  LOAD         MV

BALLARD BUILT 400 JSP 36.0 GR. H4227 1321

38.0 GR. H4227 1383

40.0 GR. H4227 1407

DWR 435 JSP 34.0 GR. H4227 1302

36.0 GR. H4227 1363

38.0 GR. H4227 1391

GOLDEN BEAR 450 JSP 34.0 GR. H4227 1260

36.0 GR. H4227 1325

38.0 GR. H4227 1383