Weapons: March 2, 2001


In the category of weapons known as "hand cannons" (big-bore pistols designed for macho target shooting, hunting wild boar, or partially-insane movie detectives), the new cartridge on the block is the .475 Linebaugh. The evolution of this cartridge began with a cut-down .45-70 rifle casing. Freedom Arms has now produced a new heavy-frame revolver to fire this cartridge, exceeding the power of the .44-magnum and the .454-Casull, both of which have previously claimed the title of most powerful handgun. The Freedom Arms .475-Linebaugh is a five-shot single-action revolver. Most of the pistol is made of 17-4 Precipitating Hardness stainless steel; the barrel is made of #416 stainless crucible steel hardened to Rockwell 35C. While available in barrel lengths of 4.75, 6, and 7.5 inches, the huge .475 cartridge works best with the longer barrel. With that barrel, overall weapon length is 13.75 inches, huge for a revolver. The barrel is rifled with six grooves and one twist in 18 inches. There is a sliding bar safety which blocks the hammer from striking the firing pin. Retail cost for this weapon is $1,723.75 with a matte field finish. The manufacture and machining are superb, even to the point of a sharp-edged front sight that could damage a leather holster. The five-shot cylinder rotates clockwise, meaning that each empty round rotates directly to the loading gate on the right side. This would facilitate a tactical reload. This is handy since the massive unfluted cylinder does not flip outward to accept a speedloader; you must load and unload one cylinder at a time.--Stephen V Cole


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