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Thread: Merits of the 500 S&W

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    Default Merits of the 500 S&W

    Gil Sengel wrote about this ďmarvelĒ in this December issue of Handloader Magazine.

    He was factual, but it seemed he wasnít at all thrilled with it.

    He suggested that the whole reason for it, was one-upmanship over other beeg bore handguns, for marketing purposes. (To keep the new management of S&W, afloat.)

    And, if I understood, correctly, that it was inaccurate, at least with the top loads, because it was difficult to shoot accurately, due to tremendous recoil.

    In my own case, most of the handgun cartridges beyond 44 Mag recoil far beyond what I feel, I can manage, so thereís no chance Iíll spring for one.

    Nonetheless, Iím curious, as to why folks buy them.

    Are they just impressed with the POWER?

    Do they think they are needed or even, highly desirable for Bear Defense? Or Hunting?

    Maybe, some just like the CHALLENGE? (Reportedly, Amazing things can be accomplished with beeg bore handguns, in spite of the downsides.)

    OR, are they just gullible, and susceptible to Marketing Hype? (I think that we ALL are, to some degree, buying guns that Look Good, but maybe are not really practical, all things considered.

    So, ďWhy a 500 S&WĒ? Are you happy with your purchase? Have you been able to ďMaster ItĒ?

    Do you consider a 500 S&W to be MORE than a NOVELTY?

    Smitty of the North
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    I've gotta be truthful. I don't own one and probably won't...at least in a handgun.

    I've shot several friends' .500s and about 1/2 of them are pretty impressed with them. None of them shoot them particularly well, however. I've shot a lot of handguns, many "big bore" and I'll say it- that thing kicks HARD. It was disconcerting enough that I had some trouble with the 4" version. The long barreled version was much easier to shoot and might make a decent hunting arm for He-Man...

    While I feel the .500 is pretty useless in a handgun due to the ridiculous level of recoil (which CAN be overcome with a lot of effort) I do feel they created a spanky carbine cartridge- particularly in lever action rifles like the Big Horn Armory and hopefully, eventually, others.

    I'm hoping to see it in a big framed single action, like the Freedom Arms (which is marketing a belted .500 Wyoming Express). I believe the BFR comes chambered in one but I haven't seen it yet. It could make some sense in a big single action but I believe the recoil is too much for a double gun to survive. No one I personally know with one has fired more than about 200 rounds. Some folks probably have and I'd be interested in how the gun is holding up.

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    Default My .500 experience

    I purchased a 4" .500 several years ago after nearly 40 years of shooting .44 Mags. My purpose was strictly for bear defense but the challenge was also interesting.

    One of the first things I did was to buy the Lee 440 gr bullet mold and .501 size dier -factory amo and bullets are just too expensive. I also got a nice sholder hoster with the gun - I've carried it a number of times while fishing and it hasn't been a real burden.

    So far I've fired around a 1000 rds of full power ammo thru mine- most being the Lee 440 gr.bullets. I've shot as light as the 325 gr and as heavy as a 565 gr cast bullet. In general the heavier bullets give more recoil but I find the recoil is less sharp and more of a shove than a sharp punch. I shot around 50 rds. Sun afternoon with no problems and also fired my .44 mag. Nice thing about shooting a .500 - the .44 recoil is not an issue anymore.

    While I can't shoot it as well my .44 I can hit quite well with it at bear encounter ranges- say 10 - 50 ft. In time I'm sure I'll do better - but it is a close range defense gun - not a hunting weapon. Some day I'll pick up a linger barreled .500 but i have a 8 3/8" .460 already so I'm in no hurry.

    The weight of the 4" .500 isn't much greater than a Ruger SRH in .454 but the stopping powers should be considerabley better - but I hope I never have to find out!

    All in all I'm both happy and impressed with my .500. I've shot it far more than most have already and will continue to improve my skill with it. I picked up a RCBS 415 gr. non-gas check mold and it will probably be my main bullet in the future as my intial trials with it showed no leading.


    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    I've gotta be truthful. I don't own one and probably won't...at least in a handgun.

    I've shot several friends' .500s and about 1/2 of them are pretty impressed with them. None of them shoot them particularly well, however. I've shot a lot of handguns, many "big bore" and I'll say it- that thing kicks HARD. It was disconcerting enough that I had some trouble with the 4" version. The long barreled version was much easier to shoot and might make a decent hunting arm for He-Man...

    While I feel the .500 is pretty useless in a handgun due to the ridiculous level of recoil (which CAN be overcome with a lot of effort) I do feel they created a spanky carbine cartridge- particularly in lever action rifles like the Big Horn Armory and hopefully, eventually, others.

    I'm hoping to see it in a big framed single action, like the Freedom Arms (which is marketing a belted .500 Wyoming Express). I believe the BFR comes chambered in one but I haven't seen it yet. It could make some sense in a big single action but I believe the recoil is too much for a double gun to survive. No one I personally know with one has fired more than about 200 rounds. Some folks probably have and I'd be interested in how the gun is holding up.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
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    I like mine and it kicks less than my 329PD with hot loads. Yes it takes concentration to shoot well but it is so heavy that it isn't bad at all. I simply bought it because I wanted it- no other reason! I really like it and I think if people would try it out they would find it isn't so bad. Did I need it...absolutely not! I have to admit that it makes me grin when a bang a gong with it!

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    I donít have a 500 but when I spot one at the price I like I will, I do have 3 460s and have shot a lot of 500s. I donít think the 500 is quite as practical as the 460 but it has itís uses in hunting and bear defense. Yea 500 kicks like a mule but so does 460 but itís not at all unmanageable recoil, Iíd rather shoot an X-frame than a Freedom Arms 454 or my wifeís J-frame 357 . . . the big ported X donít heart me like those do.

    Iíve found when I hand a 460 to someone they WILL heart themselves then fear it if I donít give some instruction first. They fear it, they just know itís gonna knock them in the head so they take a death grip on it, that death grip takes all the give out of the grip and they get a throbbing hand. I know, I did the same thing first time I shot it, OUCH! The trick is a firm grip that lets the gun move inside the grip! I explain this and show them the gun isnít gonna crack their head by firing a round holding it with only my thumb, middle and trigger finger. Itís the same as handing a 30-06 class rifle to someone who has never shot, if you donít teach them they will get scopped, slapped in the face by the stock, or get a bruised shoulder . . . then their fear has been conformed.

    As far as the double action X-frame holding up I have several thousand rounds of 395g at over 1400fps through one of my 460Vs and she looks like new inside and out still. I love shooting it, I love getting others to shoot it, itís just fun. I also know of an early run 500 that has been shot at very least 100 rounds a month since Christmas 2003, itís needing a barrel now but everything else still looks extant. The X-frame is way tougher than it seems to get credit for.
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    I would not presume to comment on whether the .500 S&W is right or wrong or a novelty for others.

    The reasons it does not appeal to me are:

    * I don't like any short-barreled uber-magnums for me (and I consider 4Ē to be a short barrel in a .500 S&W).

    * In a normal-lengthed barrel, the .500 revolvers weigh 4 lbs.

    * Iíd probably just prefer to carry a light rifle or shotgun over a 4+lb revolver.

    * Other more-modest, yet potent .45-.50 caliber rounds, which can be shot out of 3-lb revolvers, are good enough for anything smaller than cape buffalo or armored half-tracks.

    * I likely wonít ever need to shoot an elephant or half-track with a revolver.

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    MarineHawk:

    I completely understand your preferences but the 4" 500 in a chest rig is pretty comfortable to carry, and doesn't get in the way while flyfishing. I hope to never have to use it for bear defense, but the one time I did unholster it I felt good having it with me and knowing I could hit my target. It turned out to be a bluff charge from about 50 yards and she stopped about 15 yards away- was just protecting her cubs and we didn't see them in the thick brush along a creek until she came barreling down the trail at us after standing up to get better view/scent. I know that an elephant and a half-track are a lot bigger than a brownie, but when one is angry I don't know that they are any less intimidating!

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    My amenuensis, Hans (who many of you may know) has kilt a bunch of critters with the 500.

    The revolver itself is kind of cool if you are a serious hunter (like Hans is)....I dont know that I think it is any better for bear protection than a 454 or 44 in light of the platform but hey, YMMV. If you want to carry it, thats cool.

    The public has a fascination with the 500, its been a star in the last two TV shows I did.

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    The most powerful hand gun I own is a S&W .44 magnum with a thin 4" barrel. I usually shoot 280 grain LBT's out of it. It is not as fun to shoot as my S&W .22 Kit Gun is. Some day I hope to have a 4" Redhawk with a 5 shot cylinder in .45 Colt. I just don't think I am man enough to become proficient with a .500 S&W hand gun. But, I tip my hat to those who are. I don't carry a hand gun very often for bear protection as I feel better equipped with my 16" barreled 1895 45-70.

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    FIFTY CALIBER is HUGE.

    Where will it all end?

    I guess Ruger can't come up with a .69 handgun. (Sengel says Federal Regs. preclude that.)

    I DO, have a 50 Caliber handgun myself. It's a ML Pistol. And, I have some 250 grain Conicals, as well as RBs.

    I need to know how much BP, is all.

    Has anyone tried Cast bullets in the 500 at 1000 to 1200 fps?

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    FIFTY CALIBER is HUGE.

    Where will it all end?

    Smitty of the North
    Here is where it ended for me: http://www.davide-pedersoli.com/tipo...ah-hunter.html
    Side-by-side .615 cal (20 ga smooth-bore) pistol. I just poured 24 lead balls from old fishing weights. I imagine it will be like firing a bowling ball from a sewer pipe, but I don't care. Fun is fun, and chances are that I will never have to defend myself from a tiger in India.....But I am prepared. By the way, water and molten lead do not mix well. Hey, its fun to be a rookie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CDMonomonock View Post
    By the way, water and molten lead do not mix well. Hey, its fun to be a rookie.
    Had a visit from the tensile fairy did ya? Well it is time to decorate anyway.


    Smitty, Ranger Rick did some huge cast bullets, 700 grain T-Rex, at that speed for the 500 and by all accounts they were great for close up encounters.
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    Not ta side track the thread but the tensile fairy reminds me of one of my little projects gone way awry. I was asked to make a pure silver horse shoe for then Vice President Gorge Bush (the elder one) and I agreed if they supplied the silver which they did. I was a machinist by trade but as hobbies I did a lot of blacksmithing and horse showing so they thought I was the best caudate to make this thing. fools!

    I forged a steel horse show, all fancy lookin with toe calks, heel calks, and quarter tabs. Then I pulled a plaster mold off it and let it dry a week before I melted the six troy ounces of .9999 fine silver. So I melt the silver and pour it in the mold, POW! That was some dang good looking .9999 fine silver tensile I made! Turns out the plaster holds water pockets and you are supposed to bake it first to steam the water off slowly, who knew! Took most of an afternoon rounding up all that silver so I could do it right.
    Andy
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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBEE View Post
    MarineHawk:

    I completely understand your preferences but the 4" 500 in a chest rig is pretty comfortable to carry, and doesn't get in the way while flyfishing. I hope to never have to use it for bear defense, but the one time I did unholster it I felt good having it with me and knowing I could hit my target. It turned out to be a bluff charge from about 50 yards and she stopped about 15 yards away- was just protecting her cubs and we didn't see them in the thick brush along a creek until she came barreling down the trail at us after standing up to get better view/scent. I know that an elephant and a half-track are a lot bigger than a brownie, but when one is angry I don't know that they are any less intimidating!
    If you like it, have it with you, and can shoot well, it's obviously great, especially if it gives you more comfort and confidence. Just for me though, it seems like more than you need for defense even with brown bear. I like big guns, and have a .454 Casull and .375 Wby, but the .500 S&W to me is like the pistol equivalent to a .460 Wby or .470 Nitro. They're cool, but I just don't know if I would ever need that kind of power on this continent or maybe anywhere.

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    i have only shot one 500 and it was the 8in model with buffalo bore ammo and i would shoot that all day over a .44 the recoil is totally different its more of a slow push back vs. most .44's i have shot that recoil very sharp with lot's of muzzle jump, i have never shot a ported .44 so that might help with the muzzle jump, but overall i liked the 500 i just don't see an 8in barrel being very practical for bear defense.

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    Well let me begin with the troubles I had last week a 500 Smith. They can be found here at 500 locked up. That said I don't know how many rounds I have through it but it is a lot. Bought it new 6-7 years ago and have loaded for it since new. It is a four inch and let me tell all that you can not get close to the tooted 1600 fps some say they get from the 4" barrel. The best I have been able to get was about 1300.

    I have several single actions in both colt and ruger. I will never buy a single action 500. I have shot Linebaughs, the Smith is so much better at handling the recoil, at least for me. I also have model 29's and ruger redhawks. The 44 load for these pushes a 300 gr bullet at 1441 from a five inch ruger. It is not bad but not for the beginner. The 500 load I have been shooting for the past several years is 460 gr. at 1230 fps. I have chronographed them both so I am sure of my numbers. The 500 load is near max for the barrel length but easier on the hand and quicker for a follow up shot than the 44.

    I bought with the intent of carrying it instead of the 44.

    A quick story my who at the time was about 17yrs. old and I are at Birchwood with the 500. We both shot several loads from the Smith and I noticed two gentlemen watching. As we were finished and had some ammo left I offered to let them shoot the 500 as these were relatively new at the time. One gentleman stepped and took a shot nearly hitting himself with the gun, his friend declined the offer. Guess I should have given instruction on how to shoot first.

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    Default AK residents only

    It is probably hard for anyone living in VA to imagine living in AK where you share the woods with big brown bears and moose - either which can kill you without a lot effort. Fishing the rivers with brown bears all around make you appreciative of having a large caliber handgun - it is just tough to fish, hike, pan for gold etc. with a long gun. Perhaps a .500 is larger than you need- but I'd rather discover it is too large than to discover that a lesser caliber is too small. The 4" .500 is a handy gun to carry in a shoulder holster - until they make something larger I'll continue to carry one up here.
    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    If you like it, have it with you, and can shoot well, it's obviously great, especially if it gives you more comfort and confidence. Just for me though, it seems like more than you need for defense even with brown bear. I like big guns, and have a .454 Casull and .375 Wby, but the .500 S&W to me is like the pistol equivalent to a .460 Wby or .470 Nitro. They're cool, but I just don't know if I would ever need that kind of power on this continent or maybe anywhere.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    If it leaves any but smoking foot prints it small if Brownie wants you.

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    What, no anti-gunner line about making up for less than adequate body parts? And I hear "NEED" brought into the conversation. What's that about?

    Truth: I've never fired a factory round out of mine...I've never fired a jacketed bullet out of mine...I've never shot an animal with it...and I can't shoot 1/4" groups at 500 yards with it or any other handgun I own. I enjoy shooting the 500. My plinking load is a RCBS 400 gr. load. Shoots just like a soft loaded 44 with greater push. Even with my aging eyes I can see the holes in the paper plates. My carry load is a commercial 440 WFNGC bullet with a mid range load of Titegroup. I've not taken the time to run either load over the screens. Like most of my S&Ws the gun feels well made. Mine even has a bear etched on the side

    It doesn't bother me at all to walk around the woods with any of my over 40 bores; 41, 44, 45LC, and now the 500. The 500 is just one more enjoyable toy to play with and a fine tool that I'm sure will get the job done if ever called on.

    Before the wife bought me the 500 I was waiting for Ruger to put out the SRH in a 5 shot 480 with a 5" barrel. I thought it would be the perfect fishing gun. Ruger never came through. The S&W 500 does the job just fine and I think I enjoy shooting the S&W more than I would have the Ruger.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    It is probably hard for anyone living in VA to imagine living in AK where you share the woods with big brown bears and moose - either which can kill you without a lot effort. Fishing the rivers with brown bears all around make you appreciative of having a large caliber handgun - it is just tough to fish, hike, pan for gold etc. with a long gun. ...
    Yes, I can imagine it: http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...ort-and-Photos)

    I'm not saying it isn't great for others. I just felt like a 360gr HC bullet at 1,500 fps out of a 3-lb gun was enough for me:

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