In the 1980s, John Linebaugh’s life changed. With a new Chevy truck that he bought off the lot, Linebaugh — thanks to a series of articles about his inventions, including a Guns & Ammo cover in 1986 — would finally be able to transition from working odd jobs around the small town of Cody, Wyoming, to turn his passion for ammunition and firearms design into a full-time career.

Despite his lack of professional training, he gave many legacy firearms and ammunition companies a run for their money, when he came out with his first big-bore cartridge, the .500 Linebaugh, chambered for not in a rifle, but a cowboy-style revolver. This cartridge, and its smaller sibling the .475 Linebaugh, would both change and inspire the sport of handgun hunting forever. Linebaugh’s firearms took the .44 magnum, made famous by Dirty Harry, and increased the caliber 25 percent. In his words, he put a “Sharps rifle in your pocket.” And while other big-bore revolvers might weigh over 80 ounces, Linebaugh’s comes in at half that. The cartridges, which bear his name, have been tested on every type of target, from steel to elephants and even serve as an everyday-carry gun for some of his friends.

According to Linebaugh, there are only four gunmakers still alive in the United States: David Clements, John Gallagher, Hamilton Bowen, and

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