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Thread: .480 Ruger Max Loads

  1. #1
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    Question .480 Ruger Max Loads

    Hi, I could used a little advice on the .480 Ruger. I have carried the Ruger Super Redhawk on 2 previous trips to Alaska and have been trying to work up some heavy loads for it. Have been reloading for 40 years but no wildcatting---always just followed the manuals. Trouble is there aren't that many heavy loads published for the .480.

    I started out with John Taffins suggested load of a 425 gr. Cast Performance Bullet LFNGC over 19 grains of H110. for 1100 fps and started working up from there. when I got to 21 grains of H110 I started getting a compressed powder bulge in the case. After reading some other reloading articles I took some other writers advice (I forget which), and started crimping in the first lube ring behind the crimp ring and wiping the excess lube off the loaded cartridge. This gave me plenty of additional case space and the bulge went away. I am now up to 23 grains of H110, with the 425 grain CPB and CCI 300 large pistol primers with an average of 1216 fps. The case ejection is just a little stickey, and the primers show no sign of excess pressure (flattening, cratering, punctures, or black rings around the primer). The Hodgdon online loading data only goes up to 405 Grain CPB with a maximum load of 22.3 grains of H110, and I am up to 23 grains H110 behind the 425 gr. CPB. The cartridges shoot well (2in group, offhand at 10 yards, but I am getting way into uncharted territory (I have started wearing my crash helmit/visor over my safety glasses and gloves when I raise the powder charge). Does anyone know something about working up heavy loads that possibly I am missing???

    Another thing that bothers me is that I have increased the powder charge by 4 grains (about 20%) and only increased the fps by 116fps. Could this be caused by increasing the space in the case by crimping in the first lube ring?

    While I can shoot a 2 inch offhand group at 10 yards with this round there is a lot of difference between a bullseye and the nose of a Grizz (bobbing up and down)at about 30 miles per hour, so in reality I would probably go for center mass and would like to shoot the biggest bullet I could at the highest fps possible if I ever get in that situation. By the way I do carry a 500 Mossberg shotgun loaded with Dixie Terminator slugs at 730 grains @1200fps,
    but lets face it we all put the long gun down sometimes when we shouldn't and thats when Murphy usually gets us! By the way those Dixie Terminator slugs of 730 grains@1200 are pretty impressive. I have a folding stock on my shotgun and after tapeing some foam pipe insulation where my cheek meets the stock and doubleing that on the butt of the stock it doesn't bloody up my mouth or bruise my shoulder too much,

    Thanks in advance, Lee

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Most of my loads are posted here:

    http://forums.accuratereloading.com/...10309#86810309

    While I know some folks try to push the 480 into 475 linebaugh levels by long seating bullets, I've never tried to venture down that path. Personally I see the 480 is at it's best with 400 gr @ 1200 fps, and I've found either 21 gr of H-110 or Lil gun over a cci 350 will do that, and scoped 5 will go into 1" at 50 yds from my gun.

    I've used two loads as my carry loads, the aforementioned 400 gr @ 1200 fps, and a custom 460 gr bullet I cast from a custom mold that leaves @ 1050 fps when motivated by 19 gr of H-110.

  3. #3

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    There's a fair bit of data for the 480 at the Hodgdon Site. Lots of other calibers, too.

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    Default Loading the 480

    Lee,

    I think the 400 grains at 1200 is a maximum load and that would require a 7 1/2" barrel. Paul has a lot of experience with the 480 and is certainly the expert on it but if you have a case full of H-110 with the 425 LFNGC and it is actually at 1100 fps, I think you are there.

    The LFN design will give the most powder room with it's long nose and short base. When you compress ball powder you risk a chance of erratic ignition, I would stop at the 19 grains and 1100 fps. There is really nothing much to be gained by trying for that extra 50 pr 100 fps , the bear won't know the difference. Fill the case and seat a heavy bullet with a heavy crimp. The 480 is the very best caliber for sub-sonic maximum energy and I like a little quieter load.

    Paul has the best loads for this little giant.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    I too have been loading the 480 since it first came out. I have tried just about every possible combination. Like Paul, I have settled on a load with Lilgun and CCI primers. I am using the Cast Performance 375 grain LBT bullet at around 1250 fps. John Taffin took an American Bison at 60 yards with a 410 grain LBT style bullet at 1100 fps. That is well within the 480's ballistic range. The bullet went completely through both sholders of the bison and exited. I don't know what else you need. I do not worry about "big brown furry things" at night anymore. I know the 480 will take care of them. I would rather have an accurate shootable load that I am confident in than one that will shoot through walls but can't hit the wall from 25 feet.

    I have had the sticking problem with the factory Speer 325 load. From what I have read, the metal they use is more elastic than in other pistols. As you fire hot loads the cylinder actually expands slightly and then contracts to hold the cases in the chamber. My crony said that the Speer load was going 1450 fps or so. When I loaded the same bullet to 1400 with Lilgun the problem disappeared. I know they proofed the gun to somewhere in the 125,000 psi range and fired 300 rounds in each chamber with no descernable problems. Jim

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    Paul,

    Thanks for your information (and courtesy---I got ripped pretty good on another fourm, the word idiot was never used but it was obviously implied).

    I reviewed your other posts and I also found a notable difference between the recoil of Lil Gun and H110.

    I started working up my loads using the Hodgdon online reloading data. They showed a maximum load on a .480 Ruger of 370 gr CPB LFP behind 26 grains of Lil Gun for a velocity of 1539fps! I never got close. By the time I got to 23.5 grains Lil Gun my middle finger knuckle had turned black and my trigger finger was getting pretty bloody from the little chuncks the trigger was knocking out of it. New Hogue grips and full length shooting gloves pretty much took care of that. When I got to 24 grains of Lil Gun I had to beat each case out of the cylinder with a dowel rod and a rubber mallet. Sent the gun to Ruger, they worked on it and sent it back but the cases still stuck just as tight with 24 gr. as they had before.

    I figured that if I couldn't get the high velocity I would go for the biggest bullet and see how much velocity I could wring out of it. I also switched to H110 and was pleasantly suprised at how mild the recoil was. This was with the data funished in an article by John Taffin. In his article he mentioned that he was only looking for 1100 fps and he got it with 19 grains of H110 behind a 435 grain CPB so he did not go higher. I have not been able to find any information in any manual for a maximum load for the 435 gr. CPB or for that matter any loading information on the 435 CPB at all.

    I started out at 18 grains and worked up at .5 grain increments. At 21 grains I started paying very close attention to my cases for signs of pressure with a large magnifying glass. I would also load only one round an shoot it and check the case before I would load 6 and shoot the whole cylinder to check for stickiness. At 22 grains I started increasing by .2 of a grain of powder and looking for signs of excess pressure. I was also running each shot over a Chrony. By this time I had started crimping in the first lube ring. Nothing happened! They actually seemed to have less felt recoil than the factory loads of 325 grain XTP's and full cylinders of 6 cases ejected just as effortlessly as the 325 gr. Hornady loads. I did notice that the fps was increasing much less per each added grain of powder than I would have expected. At 23 grains of H110 I loaded a single round and fired it and everything was fine so I loaded 6 at 23gr. These all shot fine, but when I went to eject them they were slightly sticky but easily ejected with just the press of my thumb on the ejection rod. My average fps was 1216fps on this last string and the felt recoil was not even uncomfotable. But---Hodgdon lists the max load for a 405 gr. CPB at 22.3 grains of H110 and I am already .7grains of powder hotter and my bullet is 20 grains heavier. There was still no indication on the primers or cases that would lead me to believe that I was getting into dangerous territory. On the chance that there might be something happening that I did not know about I decided to ask for expert help on several forums before I made some mistake that could take my hand off or worse.

    In my life I have been charged by 2 bears, one a black and one a sow grizzly with two cubs. Both times I was setting up in my sleeping bag, both bears stopped at my feet reared up and read me the riot act before dropping back down on all fours and going about their business. I will admit to being frozed in fear both times. I was also unarmed both times, but had I been armed I could not have gotten off more than one shot. If I could load a six pound sledge hammer head behind a concussion grenade and still carry it in a shoulder holster---I would! I am 67 years old and all my friends are either dead or watching TV, so when I go to Alaska its solo and I am on my own.

    When I bought my .480 S&W had not built the .50 Super Mag yet and the difference in price between my Ruger and a Freedom Arms .475 Linebaugh was about the same as an airline ticket to Alaska. decided that I would rather make another trip to Alaska and just try to wring out as much from Ruger as I could---besides I like it a lot!

    All joking aside, if you would consider selling me a box of your 460 grain bullets I would give you my word that I would not load above 19 gr. of H110 and would even send you a signed and notarized liability release.

    Thanks again for your info and time,

    Lee Phillips
    phillips7177@hotmail.com
    7177 West Gun Club Rd.
    Fayetteville, AR 72704

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    Smile No! The bears didn't do it,.......

    my Ruger beat me up!

    Lee,

    Very good post there and intertaining, I like that. There's a few things I'd say though.

    1. You can load your Ruger and Pauls bullets any way you like.
    2. You're using the right technique, add a little and check it.
    3. When the chronograph shows less fps/grain, that is a max load.
    4. John Taffin's load duplicates advertised ballistics, corrected for barrel length.
    5. You cannot get enough H110 in the case to destroy the gun, but maybe damage it.
    6. You don't need 400 grains at 1400 to kill even a big bear.
    7. You really need a 475 Linebaugh. My 4 3/4" bbl gives a 425 grain 1400 fps.
    8. You don't need a bear gun, just stay out of sleeping bags.
    9. Or, if you don't like the bears wake up call, get an alarm clock.
    10. I admire you grit. You take on the world and what it has to offer, claws, teeth and roses. Facing your gremlins in the darkness; ugly, strong, and serious.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Again, I agree whole heartidly with Murphy. I too had problems with the grips on the Ruger and went with the Hogue's and gloves, what a difference. After the first thousand or so rounds I had Wildwest Guns do their Wolverine treatment to my Ruger. What a difference. It now has a 4 5/8 inch barrel, a trigger that would make S&W proud and, best of all, it has been cut for moon clips. Since you can't get speedloaders for the 480 the moon clips really fill the bill. Not that you need to speedload, but it is nice to be able to change loads as conditions change (i.e. grouse loads). It also carries much better. They took off a lot of weight. It now weighs 39 oz. I didn't have it ported, don't think it helps that much and it is way to loud. Hope you find the load you are looking for, sounds like you are on the right road. Good hunting. Jim

  9. #9

    Default Reasonably Velocity

    Hi Lee ... Like Murphy I really admire your Skookums.........[arn,t many down south people I would say that to } I use the 480 Ruger and like you I found the light faster bullets recoil worse than the 400-410 gr. I hand load.......I would love to get some heavier but the 400 gr work ,so I haven,t been in such a big rush..............The reason I choose the 480 over the 454 is its lower pressure........When developing handloads I also encountered sticky extraction. NOT something you want in a Brown Bear Battle Pistol........The 400 gr. speer plated bullet I moly coat and that helps keep the presure down some also........... I,m getting 1175 fps from my 7.5 " brls , I,ve had 3 of them............Also the Buffalo Bore 410 gr fn ammo gets 1200 fps from my revolver...........I can hold the revolver and go bang bangbangbangbangbang double action with out my grip shakeing loose and my wife has shot it and is not intimadated by it........I would rather have a 400 gr bullet @ 1100 fps than a 325 or 350 @ 13-1500 fps... And even the biggest pistol is kind of small and un inspireing on a bear , when compared to a bear rifle........I think my load is 20 gr' H110 with a 155 fed lpm primer........ I would like to try LilGun if it is not very affected by deep cold........If you come to Hoonah look me up ,,, just ask for Gumboot...........My wife works at the store, sometimes I,m out of town on work.............. If time and wx permit we,ll hop in the skiff and I,ll show you some bears and mayby catch a fish .... Have you shot any deer with your 480 yet..... Gumboot out.....

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    Default .480 Ruger Max Loads Thanks everyone

    I would like to thank everyone for their advice and kind words. I think I will cut back some on my powder charge, but I think I will maybe stick with the long seating with the crimp in the first lube ring becase it seems to drastically cut back on the felt recoil. At least I will work with it some more and see how it shakes out.

    Thanks again,

    Lee

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