View Full Version : 480 Ruger Report

02-11-2003, 09:17 AM
Hi guys--

Before the Board got scrambled, resulting in this new format, there was some discussion about the big 480 for small game. I said I'd try it with the 410gr. solids from Buffalo Bore ammo. Well, the results are in, as I just returned from a mini-ramble wherein the big wheelgun fetched supper.

The shot was broadside at about 20 yards, and the target was a nice cottontail bunny. I took him right thru the thorax. Entry hole was about 1 1/4 inches, and the exit hole was fully 2 inches. That was a bit of a surprise to me. I like much smaller holes on small game. The small game loads for my big game rifles produce a diameter-size entry hole and perhaps a nickle size exit hole--smaller even than a .22 hollow point--but get the job done admirably. At 1200 fps. I guess I expected the 410gr. 480 bullet to poke thru with close to bullet diameter holes. Chalk the real results up to the big flat Keith meplate on the front of the bullet, I guess. Nevertheless, there was no blood-shot meat anywhere, so, with good shot placement this is still a usable small game ammo choice, and has the merit of shooting to the same place as the big game load, since it IS the big game load.

Speaking of shot placement, I was also testing a monopod device from Levellok company that I picked up at the SCI Convention. My plan was to use it a walking stick as well as a handgun shooting aid. The company builds them with V-shaped pads tough enough to lay a big revolver cylinder right between the pads and shoot, which I did. Worked well, in fact. I would be hard pressed to make a twenty yard bunny shot with that big revolver waving around in the breeze unsupported. I'm a competent off-hand rifle shooter, but I certainly don't shoot handguns often enough to say the same about pistols. I can't seem to find an internet address for Levellok, but their phone number is 888-461-7468; perhaps they can give you a cyber address if you call.

I suggested to the sales guy at their SCI booth that they consider a companion stick to the monopod so that a man could use twin sticks for walking. Also, that they consider some sort of way to quickly clamp the two together for a more stable bi-pod arrangement. He was excited about that, and maybe the company will try it. One glitch: I bent the bottom member of the thing whilst hunting in the snow--probably getting it wedged among snow covered logs or somesuch. But I was able to bend it back into position for retracting. They may want to use some other alloy if the walking stick aspect of using their product catches on.


02-11-2003, 09:43 AM

Stoney Point manufactures just such a setup as you describe - right down to the Y saddle & fitting for joining two poles. They do seem a bit light for me - I question their ability to hold up under severe use. Who knows, they may surprise.
Years as a professional skier has me looking hard at a walking / shooting stick combo. Any good input out there?

02-11-2003, 10:32 AM

Got a link for Levellok (http://www.levellok.com) ....

02-11-2003, 04:28 PM
Patrick, I have loaded the Cast Performance 375 grain bullet (which is just a liitle lighter but with the same large meplant) with 10 grains of Unique. They shoot really well with a velocity of around 990 fps. With the gun sighted at 1 1/2 inches high with the Speer 325 grain factory load the hard cast load hits dead center at 25 yards. This load is much less expensive than the Buffalo Bore loads which use the same Cast Performance bullets. Jim

PS. Did you get the pictures of Bob's pack?

02-11-2003, 07:34 PM

Well, I received the photos, but haven't been able to view them yet. I'll get some help from staff at the office tomorrow. There's a lot of the buggers, eh? Should be a gas when I finally see 'em.

Yes, I know I can handload the 480 specifically for small game; the test with the full-power hunting loads was to see just what would happen should one take an opportunistic shot for the pot whilst out hunting big game. I 'm estimating that with that huge meplate speed needs to come down to 8oofps, maybe less, regardless of the overall bullet weight. For example, have you plugged a small critter yet at that 990fps velocity? If so, please tell me the results. Of course the wound I got with the Buffalo Bore ammo was not nearly as destructive as would have been the case with an expanding bullet. A simple 308 rifle round will nearly blow a rabbit in two. Nevertheless I'm sure we can find a small game specific load that'll be just right. Are you at the plate next? You're the dedicated handgunner, and surely a little trip to the local grouse coverts would be joyful, eh? I'm still betting a further drop of a couple hundred feet per second from your 990 will be appropriate. We'll see. On those grouse, remember to shoot about one third the way up from the bottom!


02-11-2003, 09:02 PM
Thanks, I'll let you know when I pot a grouse. It will probably not be until next September. Have a good time taking those "little bunnies" Jim

02-11-2003, 10:41 PM
Hello Patrick
I've been using the Stoney Point walking stick for a couple years. It comes with a V attachment that works fine for shooting my 454.
It's also about 1/3 the cost in Cabela's

Nevada Dan
02-12-2003, 11:35 AM

With reference to Jim's comment, have you used the Stoney Point Walking stick in vertical terrain? I'm wondering how well they will hold up coming down a mountain side with a heavy pack.

I looked at thier sticks at last year's RMEF "Elk Camp" and really liked the way the "V" fork unscrews becoming camera monopod with a 1/4-20 stud. (they also have a ball head making it a reagular walking stick). While I don't remember the weight it felt fairly light.

I used a Leki this year and found that it spent most of its time strapped to my pack as excess baggage. So much in fact, that it was back in camp when my son finally got his deer way up in a high hanging basin. Plus, the Leki won't convert into "V" rest or monopod.

Anyone else have any experiences, comments?

02-12-2003, 04:49 PM
So, it sounds like you really enjoy the .480. What do you plan on using it for?

02-12-2003, 06:19 PM
Howdy Guys, I've been real busy but caught this post and thought I'd give you an idea. I have a pair of colapsable trekking poles and have been messing with a way to make them double as a shooting rest. I found a velcro double loop in a canoe catalog while I was home last week. I am going to order one to use with my poles to create a X with the poles as a shooting rest. You could make one cheap by buying some velcro at a fabric shop. It would stay on your poles and is so light that it would be unnoticeable. It may also come in handy around camp as well. Later...

02-12-2003, 06:33 PM

The history of my aquisition of this big revolver in 480 Ruger was also in the "lost" parts of the old Board. Actually, Maggie will try to get it all back into the archives; she's languishing with her family in Costa Rica as we speak, but will get back on that when she returns.

Anyway, to recapitulate, I bought the gun for the following "reasons":

---My hunting buddy Bob Good, the handgun hunting guru, loves the .480 caliber.
---I got a deal on it.
---I had given my old model 29 Smith to my son-in-law.
---And I wanted a heavy handgun to smuggle into places I can't take a rifle; I'll leave you to fill in those "places".

That's the thumbnail sketch. The fact is I haven't really been into handgun hunting since I started building ultralight rifles. And that probably won't change. Nevertheless, I have the big Ruger and , as far as handguns go it's a good 'un. I plugged a couple of boars end-to-end with it using Buffalo Bore 410gr solids, which is excellent big game ammo for it, and very accurate. Jim, in AK, has a 480 too, and we've been discussing small game loads for it. Like me, Jim enjoys a "living off the land ethic" wherein small game for the pot is routine whilst in the backcountry. Do you have some questions about the caliber? Yeah, as far as handguns go I think it's a terrific caliber, and gun.


02-12-2003, 07:30 PM
Yep, the 480 is quite a wonderful gun. I have put 400 grain bullets through it at 1350 fps. Others have put 420 grain bullets at 1000 fps completly through bison (both shoulders) and elephant (46 inches of skull). I suspect that the new Speer load at 1400 to 1450 fps will turn a brown bear inside out. I'm getting 1400 fps with 28 grains of Lilgun and I'm betting 1450 out of Speer's factory load. Now to my way of thinking, this should kill anything I will ever run into. The 370 to 375 grainers from Cast Performance over 10 grains of Unique make a wonderful small grain load too. If you want more info email me. Jim

02-12-2003, 07:32 PM
Yep, the 480 is quite a wonderful gun. I have put 400 grain bullets through it at 1350 fps. Others have put 420 grain bullets at 1000 fps completly through bison (both shoulders) and elephant (46 inches of skull). I suspect that the new Speer load at 1400 to 1450 fps will turn a brown bear inside out. I'm getting 1400 fps with 28 grains of Lilgun and I'm getting 1450 out of Speer's factory load. Now to my way of thinking, this should kill anything I will ever run into. The 370 to 375 grainers from Cast Performance over 10 grains of Unique make a wonderful small grain load too. If you want more info email me. Jim

02-12-2003, 08:28 PM
I am pleased to hear the reports of the new gun and caliber. I have always entertained the thought of getting a custom sixgun like one of teh Linebaughs. But the big problem is that the cost is right up there and the wait time for the work runs more than a year for some.

I can buy a Ruger SRH in .480 tommorrow if I wanted to. Initially when it came out the ballistics didn't seem too impressive. Now that people have had a chance to reload for it, I see it clipping the heels of the Linebaughs.

I may get one this year.

02-12-2003, 10:51 PM
To Nevada Dan - re the Stoney Point walking Stick. Sorry to say, I'm not into the vertical country much anymore so can't say for sure. Can say that it works fine in the Tundra of SW Alaska (mostly flat rolling country. My hunting partner bought one of the V yokes from Stoney Point and is using it on his hiking stick that he got from REI.

02-13-2003, 09:18 AM
Nevada Dan, As Bob says, I have one of the walking sticks from Tracks and it has always worked well. I did purchase one of the "V" from Stoney Point and it mated just fine. The Tracks stick is a little heavier than the Stoney Point but I believe it is more robust. Take a look at them. They also come in handy when on the Tundra. Put a small strip of pink surveyor's flagging on them and stick them in the ground, you can always find your discarded pack that way. Otherwise you spend a lot of time looking for that blankety-blank-blank camo pack that you know you left right there! Good hunting. Jim

02-14-2003, 08:27 PM
New to this forum but I am well versed in Big Bore handguns. I have had one of John Linebaughs converted Ruger Bisleys for years in 475 Linebaugh 6" BBL. I also have a very short light Ruger No. 1 rifle chambered for the same. You guys may not know this but Lazer Cast has a new Wide Flat nose 355 Grain gas checked bullet for the R8uger 480 and Linbaugh 475. it is superb bullet. It is an excellant compromise for speed and penetration. It will work very well on anything on this earth. I have taken many head of game including Elk with the Linebaugh with every thing from using the Speer 425 Grain jacketed to using many of the home cast LBT designs, including a wad cutter 260 grain of my own design. I prefer the hard cast wide meplate bullets in the 325 grain to 375 grain, loaded to medium velocities. I have taken several grouse with the cast bullets just come close to the head and the air those big flat nose bullets push will take a grouse out tree with no damage to the meat. I also like to cary a Kimber Custom Target 1911 45 ACP loaded with 230 grain +P ammo for rambling about. By the way I just ordered the Ultra Light 8 man Tipi today and the large stove, I am really fired up about this setup and look forward to many camping and hunting advnetures. Well anyway if anyone wants load data or my expereince with the big bore handguns and the loads let me know I have literally run over 5000 rounds thorugh my 475 Linebaugh in itself and have done countless hours of penetration tests on a variety of bullets.

Walking stick I have used one of th calapsable poles from Tracks but it lossened up rather quickly so just carved one out of Lodge Pole Pine from Idaho and put a stainless steel tube on the bottom that was serated on the bottom for grip and I think it tougher and more accomedating for a variety of uses including steady rest.

Nevada Dan
02-16-2003, 11:39 PM
Bob, JBD3 and Rocket,
Just wanted to say "Thanks" for the info on trekking poles.
And jbd3, I can't say as I've had the wonderful experience of tracking down wayward packs in the tundra, but I have had the same frustrating "fun" here in Nevada where sage brush seems to gobble them up.


02-17-2003, 05:52 AM

I am just curious. How would you compare the 475 Linebaugh to the .480 Ruger? I was looking at the Hodgdon powder site and it seems that some loads with Lil'Gun are right on the heels of the .475 Linebaugh, if not exceeding some.>

That grouse shooting thing sounds interesting. Almost like "barking" a squirrel. I like that idea.

02-17-2003, 11:25 AM

I concluded the "difference" is the same as that between a 30-06 and a .308. Field performance-wise, nada, zip, zilch. So I snagged the .480 when a good opportunity presented itself.

02-17-2003, 11:59 AM
I've been using the load data from both the Speer site and Handloader. If you want them email me and I'll send them to you. I really can't see where I would need anything hotter than the 325 grain Speer Gold Dot at 1400 fps. Jim

02-17-2003, 02:43 PM
The Difference btween 480 and tyhe 475 Linebaugh? About 300 FPS and whole bunch of pressure. As Patrick has indicated in the field the difference would only be realized if one where to shoot a Cape Buff or larger animal and wanted that extra 16" of penetration.

I also like the idea of single action gun as I no few folks that could fire a 480- or 475 double action and hit accuratly with it. I also like the 6" barrle good for packing but long enough to be accurate out to 75 yards.

I rarely load the 475 up to max anymore no real need to. But if I want, I can, you cannot with the 480 Ruger.

But I can tell you even with my RUger No.1 rilfe i load midrange velocity and if it shoots 1300 FPS form the handgun it shoots 300 FPS faster in the Ruger No1 rifle.