Information on Heavy Revolvers

Borrowed from

John Taffin

The following is a bibliography for sources on heavy revolver shooting and hunting. I chose this topic because it is a favourite hobby of mine and I am lucky enough to own a Bowen 5-shot conversion on a Ruger Blackhawk .45 colt. This gun is nothing short of a work of art - it shoots straight and is built to exacting tolerances. This revolver will safely handle chamber pressures in excess of 60,000 cup and will launch a 300gr bullet at 1600 fps. I took my first deer with this revolver, and was quite impressed with the results.

I didn't encounter any issues in my search for material on this topic. Once a person accesses one site that has anything to do with revolvers or revolver ammo, the links can connect him or her to countless other sites on this topic. Using a search engine or directory will quickly yield many results as well. I really did not find it necessary to use any special techniques to improve my search results as I found more than I was really looking for.

The availability of online information on heavy revolvers and ammunition is generally very good. I had many sources from which to choose, so I tried to cover an array of different revolvers, ammunition and calibres. Hopefully this page can be of use to anyone looking to learn more about heavy revolvers and their effectiveness in the field. With only ten listings, I'm sure I've left a good amount of material untouched, but this page should certainly make a good starting point. Three of the magazine articles I have cited to are more than a few months old but copies of these magazines are readily available from the publisher (for just a few dollars more than the original price).

1. Arnold, David W. "Hamilton Bowen's 50AE Custom Revolvers." Handguns November 2001: 54-55.

Content summary: This article is a report on two custom .50 AE offerings from Bowen Classic Arms Corp. The author examines and test-fires an Alpine conversion on a Ruger Redhawk and a titanium conversion on a Ruger Blackhawk. The author tests the accuracy and shootability of these two heavy-hitters.

Special Features: This article offers a brief description of Hamilton Bowen's custom revolver company and describes some of the innovations he has been responsible for over the last fifteen years. The audience is also treated to some very good photography, including a picture of the Award that Bowen won form the American Pistolsmith Guild for his work on these two revolvers.

Weaknesses: This article just didn't go deep enough into the mechanics of the weapons, especially the titanium revolver. Also, the author fails to describe the ammo used in these tests, the ammo's manufacturer, and its ballistics. Finally, the author doesn't test either of these revolvers in the field.

Recommended Uses: This article is a good resource for anyone looking for some information on some of the products offered by Bowen Classic Arms Corp. It gives good insight into the extreme level of quality put out by that firm, and some of the options offered by Bowen that no other custom builder currently catalogues.
2. Wilson, Jim. ".454 Casull." Handloader October 1997: 20-23.

Content summary: This is an in-depth article that looks at just about every aspect of the ultra-powerful .454 Casull revolver and its ammunition. It gives a brief history of Dick Casull's development of this cartridge and his creation of the Freedom Arms revolver company. A whole host of information on this gun and cartridge is included. The author test fires the revolver with factory different ammunition and gives field reports.

Special Features: The author lists the formula needed to calculate the Taylor Knockout Factor and compares the relative effectiveness of several calibres using this method. The article also includes a wealth of loading information on this cartridge including several different bullets and powders. Velocity and energy data is included for these loads, and comparisons with factory ammo are included. Special loading concerns are addressed.

Weaknesses: The author should have included a list at the end of this article with information on how to contact each company whose products were used or even mentioned in this article. This was the only weakness.

Recommended uses: This article will be of great use to anyone who has an interest in heavy handgun hunting or revolvers in general. This article would be valuable to those interested in the ballistics side of things as well. Of course, it is a must-read to anyone who owns a Freedom Arms .454 revolver, or anyone in the market for one.
3. Ayoob, Massad. "480-Ruger's Biggest Big-Bore. " Gun World November 2001: 38-43.

Content Summary: This article takes a look at the new .480 Ruger calibre that resulted from a joint effort between Ruger and Hornady. The author examines and fires Ruger's .480 version of their classic Super Redhawk revolver and also wrings out Hornady's new 325gr XTP factory loading in that calibre.

Special Features: This article offers a brief history of the creation of the new .480 Ruger calibre. It offers a full description of the new loading, along with velocity, energy and pressure data. The author also offers a chart comparing the .480's characteristics in comparison with those of other extreme revolver cartridges.

Weaknesses: The author failed to include a list at the end of the article of those companies whose products were used or mentioned in this article. Also, the author failed to test this new gun and calibre combination in the field. The results of such a test would be of real interest to prospective buyers.

Recommended Uses: Very good general overview of the new offerings from two of Americas oldest firearms/ammunition companies. This article will be very helpful for anyone keeping up on modern developments in this area of the shooting sports.
4. Pearce, Brian. "Ammo For the World's Most Powerful Revolvers. " Big Bore Handguns 1999: 15-20.

Content Summary: This article examines new factory loadings for the ultra-powerful .475 and .500 Linebaugh revolver calibres from Buffalo Bore ammunition. The author describes these loadings and their applications in detail and test fires them as well. The author also takes a look at the two custom John Linebaugh revolvers used to test this ammo.

Special Features: This article includes hard-to-find loading data on John Linebaugh's two bone-jarring calibres, including several different bullet/powder combinations. Velocity, energy, and pressure data is included for the new factory offerings in these calibres as well. The other thoroughly describes the two custom revolvers used in testing, including insight on their craftsmanship, accuracy, and shootability. The author also offers valuable advice on how best hold and shoot these heavy-weights in order to minimize felt recoil. Features good photography, too.

Recommended Uses: Extremely valuable article for those fortunate enough to be able to own a John Linebaugh custom revolver in .475 or .500 calibre. For the rest of us - who will never get any closer to one than we did when we read this article - this article is simply very fun and informative reading.
5. Pearce, Brian. "Sixgun Supreme - All You Can Handle. " Guns & Ammo June 1999: 42+.

Content Summary: This is an article on the new Freedom Arms model 757 .475 Linebaugh revolver. The author describes the new revolver in depth and gives it a thorough wringing-out with several different loads. The article also includes a short history of the .475 calibre and how the one of Dick Casull's revolver designs came to chamber a cartridge designed by John Linebaugh.

Special Features: This article offers a great deal of technical information on this new revolver. The author supplies information on new factory ammo and gives loading data with several different bullet/powder combinations and pressure data from Hodgdon. There is also a very interesting series of 4 photographs dramatically illustrating the devastating effect a heavy .475 slug has on a cinder block.

Weaknesses: The author fails to give a list of companies whose products were used or mentioned in his article. This is the only negative side of this source.

Recommended Uses: A good article for those who are looking for a .475 but cannot afford one from John Linebaugh or Hamilton Bowen. Offers good general information on heavy revolvers and is therefore of interest to anyone who likes to shoot heavy handguns.
6. Kelly, Paco. "The Hunter 44." 2 October 2001.

Content Summary: This article takes a look at Ruger's .44 magnum Super Blackhawk Hunter. The author gives insight on many aspects of this revolver and heavy hunting ammunition in the .44 magnum calibre. The author also looks at several aftermarket products and modifications for this revolver.

Special Features: The author includes loading data for a few different bullet types and powder combinations. There were many links given at the top of the page (and repeated again at the bottom) for related sites. The site was well organized and "clean" looking.

Weaknesses: there were a few grammatical errors in this article. Also, the article scrolled down a pretty long way - several pages that would "turn" like a book would have been better. A few relevant pictures would have been a plus as well.

Recommended Uses: This is a good page for people looking for more information on the very popular .44 magnum cartridge. Also a good source of insight for specific loads for certain kinds of game.
7. Cast Performance Bullet Company Home page. 20 October 2001.

Content Summary: This is the home page for Cast Performance Bullet Company. They are the premier manufacturer of hard cast lead bullets for heavy hunting revolvers. This site contains a host of useful information on heavy revolver hunting, not just products lists and order forms. The links on this site lead to other sites dealing with more information on lead bullets and heavy hunting revolvers.

Special Features: This site contains loading data for all of the major hunting handgun calibres in a variety of bullet weights and with many different powders. There is also a section of reviews from outside sources on the bullets offered by cast performance. This site offers in depth articles on past handgun hunts around the world using these bullets, with pictures of the animals harvested. This site seemed very professionally done and well organized.

Weaknesses: I could see no weaknesses in this source - it accomplishes its goal quite nicely and offers plenty of links to many other sources.

Recommended uses: I would recommend this site to all handgun hunters. Here is were one can purchase the best all-around bullets for heavy revolvers and also learn a great deal about the topic of hunting with a revolver. One can easily access a wealth of additional information on this topic from this site as well.
8. Taffin, John. John Taffin's Home page. 2 October 2001.

Content Summary: This site contains many articles on revolvers, ammunition, and handgun hunting by John Taffin. It also contains different departments offering articles from outside sources, reports from field and firing line tests, a photo gallery, and a comment area. This site also has many links to related sources.

Special Features: This source is very well organized, professionally done, and easy to use. This source is much less technical than many, offering the personal experiences instead of chart after chart of data. The photo gallery offers many interesting pictures of custom revolvers as well.

Weaknesses: This source has music that plays each time you return to the main page, and it is rather annoying. It also causes the page to load more slowly.

Recommended uses: This site is really more of a leisurely reading source instead of a place to find hard data, like finding out the maximum powder charge for a certain bullet weight and calibre. More of a fireside tale-telling session, this is a great source for first hand experiences in the field from long time handgun hunters.
9. The Single Action .45 Home page. 2 October 2001.

Content Summary: This site consists mainly of articles contributed by outside editors on the subject of heavy .45 calibre hunting revolvers. There is also a discussion board for people to ask questions, answer questions, and make general comments. There is also a large section of links ready to bring you to a variety of other handgunning sites.

Special Features: This site offers an incredible amount of material, from a wide array of sources, on just about every aspect of handgun hunting with a .45 revolver. Besides the multitude of posted articles available in the "articles" section of the site, there is a link to a page where past articles are stored.

Weaknesses: The site just doesn't look that great. Many of the pages could stand some improvement in design and layout. Also, this is one of those sites that plays music (bad music) as soon as it appears. The music doesn't stop when you leave the home page - it just keeps on playing until you leave. This slows everything down and is very annoying.

Recommended Uses: This site should be of interest to anybody owning a .45 revolver. Checking this site often should yield new information as new articles are posted often. Also, other handgunners will answer any questions left on the message board as well as they can. This is a good way to gain insight on pretty much any issue one might have on the topic of hunting revolvers.
10. O'Meara, Robert H. Doc's Den Home page. 2 October 2001.

Content Summary: This site is a source for general information on single-action revolvers in general. This site has an old west type flavour, and deals therefore deals with not only hunting revolvers but cowboy type single-actions as well. O'Meara authors all of the articles on this site himself, and he seems very knowledgeable and experienced.

Special Features: This site offers a brief biography of the author, which is a nice thing from a user point of view (it is good to know what kind of experiences the man who is writing these articles has had in his area of expertise). The site offers a multitude of links, and it is laid out well. Some of the articles give good technical information on older styled guns and ammunition as well.

Weaknesses: This source only offers articles by Doc O'Meara himself. It would be nice to have a discussion section or a section for articles from contributing writers.

Recommended Uses: For anybody who enjoys shooting single action revolvers for fun will certainly enjoy this site. Not only are the articles fun but they are sure to offer a bit of nostalgia to those who have been shooting for many years and can still remember "the good olí days."

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