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Gallagher .475 Single Action
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by J.F. Swidryk a.k.a. jamesfromjersey     Last updated: 2012-01-17 10:10:20

I`ve always had a interest in owning a custom 5 shot Bisley conversion and decided to have the work done by a gunsmith named John Gallagher. I first became aware of John after reading about his work in the Feb. 2006 issue of Handguns magazine. Shortly after talking with Mr. Gallagher I sent him my Ruger Bisly in 45 Colt to proceed with the conversion.

I cannot begin to describe the amount of precise work that's needed to convert a stock Blackhawk into a performance monster, so I will be brief in telling a little of whats involved. The receiver is trued and the cylinder window enlarged along with reaming the frame to accept an oversize base pin.The new hammer and trigger pivot pins are over sized and then ground and hardened and carefully fitted because "fit" is the key word when making a handgun of this gigantic caliber. Anything else would not withstand the tremendous pounding the gun must withstand each time the trigger is pulled on a .475 cartridge. A premium Douglas barrel is then cut to 5 1/2" and a 11 degree forcing cone is added because Gallagher feels that "The 11 seems to shoot both jacketed and cast bullets well". I`ll finish my brief description of the work involved by saying that a Bowen Rough County rear sight is installed and can personally vouch for its strength and quickness in lining up the sights on game....

I had worked up some handloads based on the 480 Ruger case and used a Speer 325gr Gold Dot

JFP over 27.0grs of 296 powder that was light by a CCI 350 mag primer. I wanted to stay close to the factory speed of 1350fps and after reading up on 480 handloads I settled on this one as its listed velocity was 1375fps from a six inch barrel. Tioga Boar Ranch has a small 100yd range where I tacked up a C-More target at 50 yards to sight in the Gallagher with my handload. As can be see with the pictured target my first three shots were adjusted until my last two hit with a 3/4" center to center group. After seeing the accuracy of this load there was no need to shoot anymore and I put everything away until the next day`s hunt...

Cold, cold, cold....All I can say of that day was "Man its cold out"... Temps were a low of 7 degrees with one saving grace in that there wasn't any wind. Once in the hunt area it was easy to see that the game felt the same way because there was none to be seen. They were all bedded down trying to stay warm. Things did not stay that way for long as the guides kicked up some hogs and a group of other hunters scored using .308 and 45-70

rifles. Normally when shots have been fired the game will move but it just did not happen because of the cold. We were in the lowlands and after twice sitting behind some blown down trees for a few hours we moved uphill to locate some boar. Upon reaching the highest point of the ranch another guide gave us a hand signal indicating there were two boar further down the trail. Totally impressed were the words I thought when we came on two boar who were rooting the ground about 75 yards away. My guide looked at me saying "James, when your comfortable, take the shot".....

After climbing the hill I shed my pack and cross sticks and removed a small leather sand bag which is the type that can be seen at any range with a rifle barrel rested on it. I have used this bag rested on my knees when in the sitting position on numerous hunts so I can keep the cylinder blast from tearing up my legs. Just another small hurdle to over come when hunting with a handgun. The snow pack was fresh which allowed me to close the distance without the crunch that comes with super cold temperatures and I sat down once I had a clear shooting lane through the trees. I was to later measure the distance of the first shot at 54 yards which for me was a minor miracle using a iron sight handgun and can say with experience that that trigger produced by John Gallagher allowed for perfect shot placement while hunting. Upon closer inspection, after the boar was down, I could see that the first shot was a perfect double lung hit, but he did not go down. A second shot a few yards further away put the bullet under the spine that dropped the back legs and caused some "hellacious" squealing from the beast after which I ran up to him and put a final shot in the heart...Let me add that when Mike, the head guide, who witnessed my hunt and has been in on hundreds if not thousands of boar kills asked me what bullet I used, I replied it was a jacketed flat point to which he advised a jacketed hollow point of the same weight would have had better terminal performance on the first double lung shot. I instantly thought of what the great handgun hunter Mark Hampton had to say in his book chapter on boar hunting and his recommendation of jacketed hollow point handgun ammunition...

Its hard to judge from the photo but this is a true 350lb boar that showed its

European blood line along with an excellent winter coat, classic shovel snout and massive shoulders and when paired with a Gallagher .475 I experienced another day hunting a most magnificent animal using a most magnificent handgun....


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Recent Comments:

Poster: S.B.    Date: 2013-01-20    Top

Great story, James, congrats on your boar. Steve
Poster: reflex264    Date: 2012-07-06   Top

I just read this. Great story. Nothing like pigs with a pistol.
Poster: tracker77    Date: 2012-04-27    Top

Great story James. Congrats on the boar and the Gallagher 475. Both are beautiful.
Poster: cfish2    Date: 2012-03-06   Top

James, great story. It made it even more interesting knowing I've fondled that gun LOL!
Poster: BBwheelgunner    Date: 2012-01-19    Top

great story James, It looks like you had fun playing in the snow...
Poster: Russell    Date: 2012-01-19   Top

Great story, James. Thanks for sharing.
Poster: Hardball    Date: 2012-01-19    Top

That's one fine looking gun. And I'm sure that you enjoyed the hunt as well, congratulations. I enjoyed the article as well.
Poster: Franchise    Date: 2012-01-18   Top

James, I've heard the same thing that your guide & Mr. Mark Hampton have said and written about boar and bullets. Great write up buddy!
Poster: jsjmag    Date: 2012-01-18    Top

James nice going!Nice story of your hunt and handgun, and another nice pig!!!
Poster: SChunter    Date: 2012-01-18   Top

Fine gun and fantastic trophy! Congratulations James!
Poster: KRal    Date: 2012-01-17    Top

Great story and boar, James. Congrats!

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