Taming the big .480 Ruger.

    It is rather ironic that the big .480 was first advertised as a "low recoil" loading!

Touch off a factory load, and you'll see what I mean.

    Fortunately, the big Super RedHawk, with its sophisticated metallurgy and massive strength, is an excellent revolver to reload for.

    Unfortunately, it is difficult to pin down any "light" or even moderate loading data for this caliber - most published data is for those wrist-breaking "full throttle" loads.

    I am going to share my experience with light loads for this caliber.  But, note well: absolutely no guarantee for YOUR safety is offered or implied.  It is quite possible to blow up any revolver, and your body along with it. Don't even consider "rolling your own" unless you fully understand the many variables involved.  Overlook just one detail, and you can get hurt.

    As I prefer to shoot cast bullets in revolvers,  my first hurdle was learning how to seat them without shaving lead!  The Lyman carbide dies that I bought are set up for jacketed bullets.  They really squeeze down a fired case, and the provided expander plug measures only 0.473".  C&H Tool & Die solved this by making me a 0.478" expander plug.

    I initally selected the gas checked Montana Bullet Works 375 grain "wide long nose" bullet because of its huge meplat.  Lyman kindly altered the seating screw to fit it.

    QuickLoad software helped considerably with load development.  This offers only "predictions" (not tested data), and has to be taken with a grain of salt, but it sure beats flying blind!  

    Here's one that I like:

    6.5 grains of Bullseye (Little Dandy rotor #12) behind the 375 grain Montana bullet, with a heavy roll crimp and a COL of 1.650".

    You can shoot it all day long without fatigue, in the heavy 9 1/2" revolver.

   The chunky little 2 1/2" Alaskan, though, is a different item!  It weighs almost a pound less - and you certainly notice that when firing.  I found the 375 grain bullets painful.

   To tame the 44 ounce Alaskan, I had to resort to casting my own, as there are NO lightweight commercial bullets available.  Accurate Molds made a custom 185 grain gas check mold for me (see their catalog number 48-180B).


8.0 grains of Green Dot (Little Dandy rotor #18) goes under the 185 grain Accurate bullet, with a heavy roll crimp for a COL of 1.515".

This loading is accurate, clean burning, and has the soft recoil of a target pistol.

Unfortunately, the recipe assumes that you are comfortable casting bullets (molten lead is around 750 degrees, and gives off toxic fumes), and have all the necessary equipment.  It's another substantial expense, but worth the trouble IF you find that you enjoy it as a hobby. Casting opens the door to almost limitless bullet designs. Like other aspects of reloading, it does require that you proceed thoughtfully, and with a sense of caution.

Now, do be alert, and don't double charge a case!  It's easy to do with loading densities like these, at less than 50% of case volume.

    Never load cartridges when you're tired or distracted. Just like using power tools in your shop, you have to adopt the attitude that everything is trying to hurt you, and then be extra careful.  A power saw will let you make lots of neat stuff and give you loads of satisfaction if you respect it - but you'll be a few fingers short if you don't.  Reloading is no different.