Big Horn Armory mourns the loss of its friend, John Linebaugh

John Linebaugh, 67, of Clark, Wyoming, passed away on March 19, 2023.

Big Horn Armory (BHA), makers of large-caliber firearms, mourns the recent loss of their dear friend and industry legend, John Linebaugh. Linebaugh passed away on March 19, 2023 at his home. Linebaugh, a fellow from Wyoming, was an American gunsmith who gained international renown for creating custom revolvers in the world’s largest calibers. He invented the .500 Linebaugh caliber, the first successful .50 caliber revolver (and cartridge) in 1986. He is also credited with inventing the .475 Linebaugh cartridge, which he perfected in 1988.

“John was a pioneer in the use of heavy, large-caliber bullets in handguns. He predates Smith & Wesson’s 500 S&W by almost 20 years. They probably wouldn’t have created the X Frame weapons without inspiration from him,” commented Greg Buchel, Big Horn Armory president.

He continued, “their pistols were almost perfect. The first time I fired one of his guns many years ago was at a shooting event he and I attended. He handed me his gun from his holster. The first thing I noticed was how perfect the fit and function was. It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest gun I’d ever seen, but even after years of use and who knows how many rounds it fired, the gun was a mechanical gem.”

The friendship between BHA and Linebaugh began at the annual Wyoming Outdoorsman fundraiser several years ago when Linebaugh approached Buchel at his table. After chatting for a while, the idea of ​​a collaboration was born. The idea was discussed several times in the months that followed, and one night over a couple of bourbons, the two decided to produce a super-premium limited-edition box containing a 500 Linebaugh lever pistol and a 500 Linebaugh revolver. It would include show-grade wood, octagonal barrels, and color-hardened receivers, all packaged in an oak presentation box.

“John’s work and friendship will never be forgotten. We really have lost one of the greats. Our entire Big Horn Armory family sends our deepest condolences to his family and to everyone lucky enough to know him,” Buchel said.

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About the Big Horn Armory:

Big Horn Armory was founded in 2008 with the express intention of designing a Browning-type lever action weapon chambered in 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum. Big Horn Armory’s American-made Model 89 closely follows the work of John Browning with refinements courtesy of modern metalworking and machining capabilities. The first rifles began shipping in September 2012, and since then, BHA has added to its large-bore lineup a Model 90 Carbine in 460 S&W, Model 90A in 454 Casull, Model 90B in .45 Colt, Model 89A in 500 Linebaugh and the Model 89B in .475 Linebaugh. In 2017, Big Horn Armory departed from its lever-action series and developed the AR500 Auto Max, the most powerful short-range semi-auto based on an AR .308 platform.