A combination of time-of-flight ion probe measurements and gas dynamical modeling has been used to investigate the propagation of a laser ablation plume in gases of different atomic/molecular weight. The pressure variation of the ion time-of-flight was found to be well described by the gas dynamical model of Predtechensky and Mayorov (Appl. Supercond. 1:2011, 1993). In particular, the model describes how the pressure required to stop the plume in a given distance depends on the atomic/molecular weight of the gas, which is a feature that cannot be explained by standard point-blast-wave descriptions of laser ablation plume expansion in gas.