I just got back from a very relaxing week at the
Shootists Holiday in New Mexico. The event seems to be
the shortest week of the year, spent with good friends, plenty
of grub, and days of shooting and swapping stories. As my friend
John Hosford so eloquently stated, "You can see the
bullshit flowing down the hill!" I like a man that gets
right to the point. The shooting consisted of everything from
punching paper targets, to shooting steel silhouettes at various
ranges, to busting rocks out to over 500 yards with sixguns, to
plinking at a steel buffalo at 1123 yards with a big Sharps
.45-70. There seemed to be an almost endless variety of rifles
and handguns available, with every man present gladly loaning
his weapons to his fellow shooters to try.
Somewhere along the middle of the week, Chuck
Smith came and found me. Chuck is a Louisiana lawman, a
brother Shootist, and a good friend of mine. He knows what I
like to shoot, and stated bluntly, "Follow me. There is a
gun down here that you have got to see." I followed. He
introduced me to Dustin Linebaugh, the son of the famous
custom gunsmith John Linebaugh. Dustin has also gained a
reputation as an artist of grip making, but I was unaware that
he was building custom conversions on his own. The gun to
which Chuck was referring was a custom six-shot Ruger
Bisley chambered in .38-40. The gun was handed to me for
inspection, and was indeed beautiful, but I was a bit
disappointed in the chambering, until I fired it. It shoots like
no .38-40 that I had ever fired! Dustin built the gun with an
oversized six-shot cylinder that allows the sixgun to be loaded
to much higher levels of power than a standard .38-40.
Long-range accuracy is great with this sixgun, and plinking at
rocks and such proved to be great fun with the custom .38-40.
Dustin has learned his craft from his Dad, and the care and
fitting shows in this fine sixgun, which wears a six and
one-half inch octagonal barrel, stainless Bisley grip frame, Bowen
rear sight, custom front sight, and custom Cocobolo grips.
Shooting and handling this sixgun piqued my
interest in his other guns, so I also examined and photographed
a few of them to include here. This article is not intended as a
full-blown test of any particular weapon, but as a way of
introducing Dustin Linebaugh as a master pistolsmith in his own
right to those who are unfamiliar with his work.
The other guns pictured here are also of very
high quality. The blued .500 Linebaugh five-shot revolver
features a barrel-band front sight, real elephant ivory grips,
Bowen rear sight, and a five and one-half inch barrel.
The .475 Linebaugh is Dustin’s personal
outdoor carry gun. It is beautifully blued with a stainless grip
frame, oversize five-shot cylinder, and fixed sights.
The four and five-eighths inch barreled
stainless Vaquero is also chambered for the .500 Linebaugh
cartridge and wears an oversized five-shot cylinder and ironwood
Each of these fine guns show a high degree of
craftsmanship in the fitting and finishing of the weapons.
It is evident that Dustin has studied under the watchful eye of
a Master. I have handled and fired revolvers built by John
Linebaugh, and these conversions by Dustin are every bit the
equal or better than those built by his famous father. That is
saying a lot. If you need, want, or are just thinking about a
custom conversion revolver of the highest quality, I suggest
that you get in touch with Dustin Linebaugh. You can’t do any
Contact Dustin by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by telephone at: 307-899-5368. If you prefer,
you can write to him at: P.O. Box 263, Cody, WY 82414.
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