In the latest installment in "everything old is new again," Ruger has announced that 2013 will see a return of the Redhawk and Super Redhawk chambering in .480 Ruger. What is .480 and why do you care? Keep reading.
The History of the .480 Ruger
Back in 1988, hand loader John Linebaugh took the .45-70 Government rifle bullet case, cut it down to 1.5 inches, and loaded with .475-inch-diameter bullets weighing from 320-440 grains. Intended for hunting big game or as a backup weapon while in grizzly country, the load was called the .475 Linebaugh. Ballistically similar to the vaunted .454 Casull round, which for years was the most powerful handgun cartridge in standard production, the .475 could be loaded to higher pressures. The .475 was such a high-pressure round in fact that it topped 50,000 psi in the chamber and gives a huge mega-magnum back blast that makes a .44 Magnum look like a .38.
In 2003, Ruger introduced their .480 round, which is like the .475 but only better. It still delivers amazing performance but is lower pressure and thus more pleasing to shoot. The .480 Ruger uses a 1.285-inch case, slightly shorter than the Linebaugh round and as such can be used in any revolver chambered for .475. Many over time have called the .480 the ".475 Special" because of this. With standard loads such as the Hornady 325-grain XTP, it delivers a crushing 1315 ft. /lbs of energy, and hand loaders go much higher than this.
As such, the .480 Ruger outperforms the .44 Magnum without having the harsh and sometimes uncontrollable recoil of the super-magnums such as the S&W .500. It isn't the biggest out there, but it could be the biggest that the average shooter can control.
It came out with a bang in 2003 and then...fizzled to the point where in 2010 Ruger stopped making Redhawks for it.
At this year's Shotshow Ruger made the commitment to their now decade old offering by announcing that it would again offer a pair of revolvers for the .480 Ruger round. These were brought back by popular demand after legions of shooters kept calling, emailing, and otherwise writing the company to bring the guns back. Hornady, Cor-Bon, and others are still making the loads and as far as costs go for magnum rounds, they are affordable ($32 for 20 rounds of Hornady at Midway in stock). With that in mind, Ruger flipped the switch and is now moving forward again with these big wheelguns.
The new .480s
According to Ruger's website, they now offer the .480 chambering in the Super Redhawk and the Alaskan. Both guns double action revolvers made in satin stainless steel with Hogue Tamer Monogrips that include pebbling on the surface and finger grips. Both guns are equipped with adjustable sights.
The Alaskan is possibly the stoutest self-defense six-shooter in the world, with a 2.5-inch barrel and a 44-ounce overall weight. In a package that is shorter than your typical S&W 4" 38, you have six shots of heavy-duty firepower. Bad news is the Alaskan is MSRPd at $1079.
The Super Redhawk, at 13-inches long overall, is a hoss of a hand cannon. Tipping the scales at 53-ounces, this .480 six-shot revolver is meant to hunt with. The top strap of the extended frame machined to accept Ruger scope rings (included free of charge). The 7.50-inch barrel has a 1:18 Right Hand twist. Like the Alaskan, the MSRP is $1079.
Now if they would just make it in a Bisley and a Blackhawk....