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480 Ruger Hornady


In 2003, Ruger standardized the 480 as a way of offering a 47-caliber revolver chambering in its existing large-frame revolvers.  The 475 Linebaugh is too long to work in those guns without making the cylinders longer.  Ruger established a working pressure of 48,000 psi, which is surprisingly high.

With such a large bore size, significant capacity, and a high working pressure, the 480 Ruger can launch 400-grain bullets at 1100 fps, generating 1075 foot-pounds of energy.  As a big-game hunting round, many folks with significant experience believe the 480 is superior to any smaller-bore revolver option.

480 Ruger recoil is significant.  Many shooters simply cannot handle the harsh, and what some might deem violent, reaction as the round fires.  Use of lighter bullets and reduced loads can make a huge difference and the resulting loads can still offer serious hunting performance.  For example, consider a 300-grain bullet launched at 950 fps: with a well-placed shot, such a load will cleanly dispatch any big-game animal in North America.

As my friend, Terry Brewer, correctly observed: “There is no replacement for shot placement.”

As with any revolver round, best practice is to apply a roll-crimp after seating the bullet.  A roll-crimp eases loading of rounds into the cylinder and can help limit bullet pull under recoil if only modestly.  I cannot too-strongly recommend getting a second seating-and-crimping die so you can have one adjusted to seat the bullet and the second adjusted to only crimp the case mouth.  Generally, attempting to do both operations in one step is a recipe for damaged and destroyed cases.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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