The .480 Ruger big bore caliber is unique. Muzzle blast and recoil are less than smaller and lighter cartridges, yet it still propels a 325 grain bullet faster than 1,300 feet per second. The bullet, as a result, has more than 1,300 foot pounds of muzzle energy. A great feature of this round are the stats at 100 yards - it's still flying at 1,075 feet per second and maintaining an energy level of 835 foot pounds. The performance of this cartridge is therefore just less than the .454 Casull, yet above the performance of the .44 Magnum. These impressive numbers are achieved in a package with lighter recoil than can be found in a six shot pistol.
Ruger and Hornady introduced the .480 Ruger in 2003. The bullet diameter is actually 0.475", but it was called the .480 Ruger to avoid confusion with the the much higher pressured .475 Linebaugh. Though the .480 Ruger does not reach the high levels of energy and velocity of the .475 Linebaugh, it should be noted that the .480 Ruger is considerably easier to manage in terms of recoil control and muzzle blast. The .480 Ruger is therefore a more accessible caliber for shooters who want more power than a .44 Magnum but don't want to suffer the abuse delivered by other cartridges.
The .480 Ruger is a great caliber for medium to large game hunting in North America. Hornady offers their XTP bullets in 325 and 400 grains that will please any hunter. CCI offers their Gold Dot Hollow point bullets weighing 275 grains for the .480 and Federal offers a 275 grain bullet as well, the Barnes Expander in their Vital-Shok cartridge line.
The .480 Ruger will probably never become as popular as the .44 Magnum, or other big bore revolver calibers like the.454 Casull, but for shooters who want an effective handgun hunting caliber with manageable recoil, the .480 Ruger is worth considering.