Tuesday, May 8, 2018

An amazing American innovator has left us

Richard J. "Dick" Casull was a Utah-born gunsmith and wildcat cartridge developer whose experiments with .45 Colt ammunition in the 1950s led to the creation of the .454 Casull cartridge. Casull’s passion were six-shooters, and he was determined to create a high velocity round for the .45 Colt.

Though he developed many wildcat cartridges for pistols and rifles, Casull is most famous for creating the .454 Casull cartridge in 1957 with Jack Fullmer.  It was first announced in November 1959 by Guns & Ammo magazine. The basic design was a lengthened and structurally improved .45 Colt case. The wildcat cartridge finally went mainstream in 1997, when Ruger began chambering its Super Redhawk in this caliber. Taurus followed with the Raging Bull model in 1998 and the Taurus Raging Judge Magnum in 2010. Taurus also made a now-discontinued Rossi-branded R92 lever action carbine clone of the Winchester 1892 chambered for the .454 Casull.

Casull began building a number of 5-shot prototypes on Ruger Super Blackhawk frames. The Freedom Arms Model 83 single-action revolver chambered in .454 Casull was introduced in 1983.  This model is still manufactured today as the Model 83.
A number of variants upon the Model 83 have been produced, all with five-shot cylinders. The first was a .45 Colt in February 1986, followed closely by a .44 Magnum version.  In 1991, Freedom Arms introduced the Model 252 in .22 long rifle and in 1992 the model 353 in .357 Magnum. In 1993 the Model 555 was introduced in .50 Action Express.41 Magnum and .475 Linebaugh chamberings were introduced in 1997 and 1999 respectively.  Freedom Arms introduced their own .500 Wyoming Express in the Model 83 .500 WE in 2005.
The Model 97 design, with a Model 83 frame of reduced size, was introduced in 1997, originally with a six-shot .357 Magnum cylinder (.38 Special cylinder available). A five-shot .45 Colt chambering was introduced the following year, as was a five-shot .41 Magnum in 2000. Six-shot .22's are produced with .22 LR sporting and match-grade cylinders available, as well as .22 Magnum, from 2003.  A five-shot .44 Special chambering came in 2004.
The Model 2008, introduced in 2010, is a single-shot pistol with interchangeable barrels, most in rifle chamberings.

I can speak to the amazing models 83 and 97, both of which are the best made, and probably strongest single actions around.  Excellent work, Dick, you will be missed.


  1. I had not heard of his passing. RIP.

  2. Mr. Casull designed and made really fine pistols and cartridges! I got my Model 83 in 1984 with a 5" barrel. Perfect for packing in Alaska's backcountry. It is a joy to shoot.

    1. They are incredible revolvers. I'm not sure when I got my 83, but I've had it for decades now, and it was and is a joy to shoot. Very accurate if you do your part.

  3. Dick Casull February 15, 1931 - May 6, 2018

  4. These are not handguns..... they are hand-held personal artillery.