Ruger No. 1-S Medium Sporter .475 Linebaugh/.480 Ruger Single Shot Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

UPDATED August 23rd, 2009

UPDATED July 22nd, 2011


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July 22nd, 2011

Since reviewing this fine Ruger single-shot rifle almost two years ago, Kelye Schlepp of Belt Mountain Enterprises has developed a new 475 caliber bullet especially for this and other long-throated 475 caliber rifles, such as the 475 Turnbull. In this single-shot Ruger, overall cartridge length is not a limiting factor, as it is with a 480 lever gun or a 475 or 480 revolver. I have used the Belt Mountain Punch bullets for a few years now, and have found nothing that penetrates better. For use on any large game in the world, including the large bears, buffalo, and even elephant, the Belt Mountain Punch bullet would be my bullet of choice, when the deepest, bone-crushing straight-line penetration is needed.

This newest Punch bullet effectively adds about a quarter-inch of powder capacity to the 475 Linebaugh case, compared to a 370 or 380 grain Punch bullet. Getting more case capacity with a heavier bullet is of great benefit, and allows the Punch bullet to be pushed much faster than a bullet which is made to hold to the standard overall loaded cartridge length of the 475 Linebaugh. The long-throated Ruger, with the design of the bore-riding front portion of the Belt Mountain 400 grain Punch, enabled me to safely push that bullet to over 2000 feet-per-second (fps) from the barrel of this Ruger No. 1 rifle. That is almost 500 fps faster than I can safely push the 370 grain Punch bullet from this same rifle! I also pushed the 400 Punch even faster, but pressures were excessive, so I backed down to my goal of 2000 fps. This was safely accomplished using Hornady cases, a Federal 210 primer, and 40 grains of H110 powder. Please note that this load has not been laboratory-tested, and is not recommended by anyone. It is safe in MY Ruger single-shot rifle, but if you want to try it, back down about five grains and work up from there. With this Punch bullet, there is no need to try and make a 475 Swift out of it. This bullet even at 1750 fps will penetrate deeper than is ever needed, but pushing it to 2000 fps makes it hammer the target harder, and to shoot a bit flatter. At 2000 fps, extraction was easy, case head expansion was normal, and there were no signs of excessive pressure. Remember, I am not a ballistician, just a shooter trying to get more out of this 475 Linebaugh Ruger No. 1 rifle, and this new bullet from Belt Mountain Enterprises allows me to get significantly more power, and to do so without exceeding the limits of this fine rifle.

For more information on this new 475 Punch bullet, go to

Way back in 1967, Ruger introduced their second centerfire rifle. Everybody figured that it would be a bolt action rifle built for hunters, as the bolt action was becoming more and more popular every year. Along with the bolt guns, hunters were still buying large quantities of lever action rifles. Around here, most hunters bought either a lever action Winchester or Marlin, but well-heeled sportsmen were taking to the field with semi-auto Remington Model 742 rifles. Back then, Riley Hardware in Clarksville, Tennessee was the place to buy anything Remington, and they sold thousands of the fast-shooting 742 rifles. At Riley’s, they kept all the guns upstairs. None were on display, but the floor downstairs was covered with ammunition. The loading dock was on the front of the building, and just inside the big sliding door were pallets and pallets filled with cases of Remington ammo. As a wide-eyed kid, I loved to go to Riley’s and gaze at the ammo. The 742 was the rifle to have back then. If a man took afield with his levergun and missed a deer, he would blame the rifle and go buy a 742. Of course, he might still miss the target with the new rifle, but he would manage to send a lot more lead flying. In those days of everyone wanting fast-shooting repeating rifles, Ruger introduced a single shot, called simply the No. 1. Single shot rifles were a thing of the past. Many of the old Winchesters had been converted to heavy-barreled varmint guns, and the rest were wall-hangers, but nobody carried a sporter weight single shot afield anymore. The No. 1 didn’t appeal to the majority of hunters, but there were a few riflemen who understood the simplicity and elegance of the concept of that one well-placed shot, and the No. 1 was a success in the marketplace. Designed to be the best single shot rifles ever built, the No. 1 is certainly one of the most elegant and strongest. I particularly love the graceful lines of the sporters, with their Henry forends and straight-combed buttstocks. Over the course of the past four decades, the No. 1 has been chambered for just about any rifle cartridge imaginable, and for a couple of revolver cartridges as well. Accuracy varies from good-enough to excellent, depending upon the cartridge and the shooter’s ability. There are still those hunters and shooters who do not get the concept of going afield with a single shot, but there are many who appreciate the fine lines, easy handling, and simplicity of a fine single shot rifle. For those, there are now a few good single shot rifles on the market, and the No. 1 is one of the best.

Built for hunting game from the smallest of vermin to the largest pachyderms, the No. 1 is chambered for a wide variety of cartridges. Currently there are twenty-five chamberings catalogued for the No. 1 rifle, from the .204 Ruger to the .458 Lott in rifle chamberings, but the biggest bore ever offered in the No. 1 is the one featured here, the .475 Linebaugh. Designed by John Linebaugh as a powerful revolver cartridge, the .475 Linebaugh has proven to be capable of taking the world’s largest game from high quality custom Rugers, Sevilles, and the excellent Freedom Arms Model 83 revolvers. Chambering the No. 1 for the big handgun cartridge is an interesting concept. In a rifle barrel, the .475 is a very efficient cartridge, using less powder and having a bigger bore than the long big-bore rifle cartridges commonly associated with the No. 1-H Tropical rifle. Also, using the medium sporter design for the .475 Linebaugh, the rifle is a lot lighter in weight than the heavy-barreled 1-H Tropical version. The sample 1-S .475 Linebaugh weighs in at exactly seven pounds on my scale, while the Tropical rifles are listed at nine pounds in Ruger’s catalog. The muzzle diameter of the twenty-two inch barrel measures just .678 inch, and that huge bore leaves a relatively thin tube, making the .475 a great-handling, lively-feeling rifle, coming to the shoulder quickly, much like a good bird gun. The balance point of this rifle is exactly at the front of the receiver, and makes the rifle a delight to carry.

The wood on the sample rifle is American walnut, and has some nice figure to it. The hand checkering is well-executed, and makes the rifle easier to hold when the hands are slippery. The classic straight comb of the buttstock is both elegant and functional, aligning my eye perfectly with the open sights, and works well with a low-mounted scope. The pistol grip is capped with a blued steel grip cap, and the butt wears a synthetic rubber pad. A sling stud is attached to the buttstock, and another is integral with the barrel band. Sling swivels are also provided. Like all Ruger centerfire rifles, the No. 1 comes with scope rings, and they attach to the quarter rib on the No. 1 design. The rear folding leaf sight is also attached to the quarter rib, and the front is integral with the muzzle barrel band.

On the No. 1 design, the hammer is concealed, and a gracefully-shaped under lever drops the falling block for loading and unloading the rifle. The lever locks into the trigger guard when closed. Dropping the lever also cocks the hammer, and a shotgun-style safety is atop the action, working equally well for both right and left-handed shooters. The ejector works well to extract and eject spent cartridge cases, and it can also be adjusted to extract only, if desired. The trigger pull on the test rifle measured a crisp four and one-quarter pounds. Ruger advises leaving the trigger adjusted as delivered, and the manual states to leave the trigger adjustments alone. I am satisfied with the trigger pull on the test gun as is.

While the No. 1 has very good open sights, I shoot better with a scope, and the perfect scope for this No. 1 is the superb Leupold VX-III 1.5 to 5 power variable. This dandy scope offers very good optics, plenty of magnification, and long eye relief. Set on its lowest setting, I can shoot with both eyes open for close range shots, or crank the power up for threading a bullet through brush at longer ranges. The Leupold is also sized right for the No. 1, and just really looks like it fits with the compact, graceful lines of the rifle.

While once a wildcat cartridge, shooters had to make .475 Linebaugh cartridge cases by cutting .45-70 Government cases down to approximately 1.4 inches in length. Now, factory-loaded .475 Linebaugh ammunition is available from Buffalo Bore, Grizzly Cartridge, and Hornady.. The .475 No. 1 can also fire the slightly shorter .480 Ruger cartridge, and factory ammo is available for it as well from the same ammunition companies, as well as Cor-Bon. Starline and Hornady offer new cartridge cases, and dies are readily available for handloading the .475 Linebaugh and .480 Ruger cartridges. For handloading the cartridges for this No. 1, I used Hornady dies. I tried several bullet and load combinations, with my favorites listed in the chart below.

Firing the No. 1 was pleasurable. Recoil was not bothersome, even when shooting from the bench. The .475/.480 is very efficient in a carbine or rifle. Most loads delivered about 200 feet-per-second (fps) more velocity than I have noted from shooting the cartridges in revolvers. Not only does the long barrel more completely burn the powder, but the lack of a barrel/cylinder gap helps as well. All velocity readings were taken at twelve feet from the muzzle. Temperature was in the 85 degree Fahrenheit range, at an elevation of approximately 450 feet above sea level. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second. Bullet weights are listed in grains. XTP is a Hornady jacketed hollowpoint bullet. JSP is a jacketed soft point bullet. LFN is a cast lead flat-nosed bullet. DPX is a Barnes copper X bullet. Punch is the excellent Belt Mountain lead-core brass bullet. I tried both .475 Linebaugh and .480 Ruger factory ammo in the Ruger, and both performed well. All handloads were assembled in .475 Linebaugh cases. All handloads used a CCI 350 primer, with the exception of the loads using Trail Boss powder. In those, a Winchester WLP primer was used. Powder weights are listed in grains.

Factory Loads


Bullet Weight Velocity

.480 Ruger

Buffalo Bore .480 LFN  370 1588
Buffalo Bore .480 LFN 410 1385
Grizzly Cartridge .480 JSP  350 1399
Grizzly Cartridge .480 Punch 340 1210
Grizzly Cartridge .480 LFN 375 1389
Grizzly Cartridge .480 JSP 400 1201
Hornady .480 XTP  325 1572
Cor-Bon .480 DPX  275 1794

.475 Linebaugh

Buffalo Bore .475 LFN  420 1624
Grizzly Cartridge .475 LFN 325 1706
Grizzly Cartridge .475 LFN  425 1463
Hornady .475 XTP  400 1487



Bullet Bullet Weight Powder Charge Weight Velocity
Belt Mountain Punch  370 H-110 27.8 1576
Belt Mountain Punch  370 H-4227  28.3 1435
Barnes XPB 275 AA #9 28.0 1871
Barnes XPB  275 H-110 34.6 2043
Barnes XPB  275 H-110 37.0 2122
Cast Performance LFN 425 H-110 25.2  1488
Cast Performance LFN 425 H-110 27.8 1619
Cast Performance LFN 425 Trail Boss 6.2 685.3
Cast Performance LFN 425 Trail Boss 5.0 586.3

None of the handloads tested showed any signs of excessive pressure, and extraction was easy with all factory ammunition and handloads. Note that most of the handloads were seated long when necessary to increase powder capacity, and should not be used in revolvers. The loads were safe in the test gun only, and all loads should be carefully worked up to in any other firearm. The two loads listed using the Trail Boss powder are very quiet loads, and would work well for close range varmint control where noise would be a factor, such as eliminating wild dogs and such in a suburban area. The big heavy slugs penetrate well, even at the greatly reduced velocities.

Accuracy was very good with all ammo tested, even the reduced loads. The low velocity loads would cluster into less than one and one-half inches at 50 yards. The full-power loads did much better, shooting tight groups at 100 yards. No testing was done out beyond 100 yards on paper. With some loads, the No. 1 proved to be very accurate, and would be suitable to take the largest of game anywhere on the planet.

The No. 1 .475 Linebaugh is a light, handy, and beautiful rifle. Usually these single shot rifles are chambered for traditional rifle cartridges, but the .475 and .480 cartridges have merit, being more efficient, getting the job done with less powder, less noise, and reduced recoil compared to a rifle cartridge of similar power. Also, the .475 is the biggest bore that Ruger has ever drilled in a rifle barrel, and those big slugs make an impressive hole in things that have claws and teeth. The 425 grain Cast Performance bullet is a good, general purpose bullet, offering bone-smashing power on large mammals. For deer and hogs, I really like the 275 grain Barnes XPB. It penetrates deeply and expands very well in flesh. When the ultimate penetration is needed on the largest critters, the Belt Mountain Punch bullet has no equal, and I highly recommend it. These three bullets will cover anything that I might ever need to do with the .475 Linebaugh cartridge in this rifle. If you do not handload, the wide variety of premium factory ammunition available will easily cover any need., and this No. 1 has the power and accuracy needed to put down any animal on Earth.

Check out the full line of Ruger products here.

To find a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To order the No. 1 online, go to

For a look at the complete line of Leupold optics, go to

To order any of the premium ammunition shown here, go to,,, and

To order the bullets shown here, go to,, and

Jeff Quinn

NOTE: All load data posted on this web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data. The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the potential user of this data.  Always use data from respected loading manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated in the source manual.

For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to: To buy this gun online, go to:


The .475/.480 No. 1-S is a very compact and handy package.



Sights consist of adjustable folding leaf rear and brass bead front.



Rear sight and scope mounts are integrated into the barrel rib.



A great rifle deserves a great scope, such as Leupold's VX-III 1.5-5X variable.



Rifle comes with higher rings (right), but author used a set of lower rings (left) to mount the Leupold scope.

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July 22nd, 2011

Original 380-grain Punch bullet to the new longer 400-grain version.



Even at over 200 fps, no signs of excessive pressure are seen.



Cases filled with 40 grains of H110 powder.



Fired bullet (left) could be loaded and used again, after penetrating 16 inches of seasoned wood and several inches of tightly-packed dry paper.



Ruger's .475 Linebaugh / .480 Ruger No. 1-S Medium Sporter rifle.





Safety is on top, right where it should be.



American walnut stock is well-figured and well-executed.



Rifle is factory-equipped with sling swivel studs.





Rifle uses both .475 Linebaugh or .480 Ruger ammunition.





Favorite handloads use (left-right): Belt Mountain Punch, Barnes XPB, and Cast Performance bullets.



Barnes' XPB copper bullet after firing into water shows dramatic and uniform expansion.



Jeff seated bullets long to increase powder capacity.



100-yard groups using factory loads.