The big-bore wheel gun icon who gave the world the .500 and .475 Linebaugh has hung up his revolvers for the final time. 

A Wyoming staple, John Linebaugh was born in 1955 and moved to the state in 1976, hanging out with the likes of Lee Jurras of Super Vel Cartridges and Dick Casull. Soon after, the gunsmith took to creating custom revolvers in some of the largest calibers in the world. In 1985 he cut down a .348 Winchester case to craft the .500 Linebaugh caliber — the first successful .50 caliber revolver/cartridge – then followed that with the .475 Linebaugh cartridge two years later. He would go on to revamp both cartridges into Max variants.

"Big Bore Handguns" author John Taffin, in his first review of the .500 Linebaugh in 1985, found a 260-grain bullet to clock in at 1,700 fps, punching thorough quarter-inch sheet steel and penetrating 10 inches into a solid wood block with ease, although he noted the recoil was "fierce," even when shooting the 10-inch revolver from the bench and off sandbags. 

However, speaking to "Gun Digest" in 2013, Linebaugh said his EDC piece was a .500 Linebaugh with a 4.25-inch barrel, saying, "That little gun doesn’t kick at all."

In the same interview, Linebaugh said the best thing about his legacy was "All the great people I’ve met, all the truly good friends I’ve made over the years. I’m thankful for the freedoms we do have in this country, and I try to take the time to enjoy them, to appreciate the sunrises and pay attention to the sunsets."

John's old website, Custom Wheelguns, now points to that for Dustin Linebaugh, but his more recent site, John Linebaugh Custom Sixguns, is still online as of Wednesday. 

When it comes to services, a public visitation will be held at Ballard Funeral Home in Cody on Saturday, March 25, 2023 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a graveside service at the Bennett Buttes Cemetery in Clark on Sunday at 10:30 a.m. followed by a reception at the Clark Pioneer Recreation Center.

Banner image: John Linebaugh Custom Sixguns

revolver barrel loading graphic