John Linebaugh, 67, of Clark, Wyoming, passed away on March 19, 2023.
Big Horn Armory (BHA), makers of big-bore firearms, is saddened by the recent loss of its dear friend and industry legend, John Linebaugh. Linebaugh passed away on March 19, 2023, at his home. A fellow Wyomingite, Linebaugh was an American gunsmith who gained international renown for creating custom revolvers in the largest calibers in the world. 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 big bore, heavy bullets in handguns. He predates Smith & Wesson’s 500 S&W by almost 20 years. They probably would not have created the X Frame guns without his inspiration,” commented Greg Buchel, president of Big Horn Armory.
He continued, “his handguns were near perfection. The first time I fired one of his guns many years ago was at a range event he and I both attended. He handed me his gun out of his holster. The first thing I noticed was how perfect the fit and function were. It wasn’t necessarily the prettiest gun I ever saw, but even after years of use and who knows how many rounds it fired, the gun was mechanical jewelry.”
The friendship between BHA and Linebaugh began at the Wyoming Outdoorsman Annual fundraiser several years ago when Linebaugh approached Buchel at his table. After chatting for a while, the idea for a collaboration was born. The idea was discussed several times in the following months, and one night over a couple of bourbons, the two decided to produce a limited edition, super-premium boxed set containing one 500 Linebaugh lever gun and one 500 Linebaugh revolver. Included would be exhibition-grade wood, octagon barrels, and color case hardened receivers all packaged in an oak presentation box.
“John’s work and friendship will never be forgotten. We have truly lost one of the greats. Our entire Big Horn Armory family sends our deepest condolences to his family and to all who were blessed to know him,” said Buchel.
About Big Horn Armory:
Big Horn Armory was founded in 2008 with the expressed intention of designing a Browning-type lever-action gun chambered in 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum. The Big Horn Armory Model 89, made in America, closely follows the work of John Browning with refinements courtesy of modern metallurgy and machining capabilities. The first rifles began shipping in September of 2012 and since then, BHA has added to their big bore lineup with a Model 90 Carbine in 460 S&W, the Model 90A in 454 Casull, the Model 90B in .45 Colt, the Model 89A in 500 Linebaugh and the Model 89B in .475 Linebaugh. In 2017, Big Horn Armory took a departure from its lever-action series and developed the AR500 Auto Max, the most powerful short-range, semi-auto based on an AR .308 platform.