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Thread: Lets talk about the 500 Wyoming Express

  1. #1
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    Default Lets talk about the 500 Wyoming Express

    We've haven't discussed this one much around here. At least not that I'm aware of.

    The .500 Wyoming Express in a Freedom Arms 83. Seems like the ultimate packing gun to me. I've been intrigued by it and Freedom Arms revolvers ever since I fondled a FA several years ago. What an impressive wheelgun. I know there are some who dis the FA 83 cuz it has no transfer bar safety and FA says in the owners manual to not carry it with one in the chamber, making it a "4 shot". Others will say they are too tight. That a BFR is as accurate and a better value. But, I don't want to start those debates. Each to his own. Personally I'd love to have a Freedom Arms Premier grade. Just because it's a Freedom Arms Premier grade! Maybe I will at some point.

    I've done a bunch of reading on the .500 WE and it seems like it's all a guy could ask for in a packable belt gun. I think what makes the .500we is the gun you can get it in. Kind of like the WSM's in a rifle. It's not so much the cartridge alone but the whole package. Short action, light handy guns. Like my 325 wsm Kimber. 8mm rem mag punch in a 23" barreled 7lb rifle including the scope.

    I think a 500 WE in a 6 inch barreled FA 83 could possibly be the one "do it all" handgun. Packable, but able to kill any big game animal on the planet. It sure tempts a guy to sell a couple 45's to get one 50!

    So what do you think of the 500we? Anyone around here have one that will chime in?

    Here are some links to several good articles and a pick I downloaded off the net of a 4 3/4 FA 500WE next to a smith 357 686.



    357, 500we



    44, 454, 500we




    http://www.freedomarms.com/500we.pdf


    http://www.handgunsmag.com/2010/09/2...xpress_080207/


    http://www.gunblast.com/Freedom_500WE.htm


    http://www.gunblast.com/Freedom_500WE-2.htm
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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Nice pistols for sure but do no more than the 45's you have plus they are paid for and tuned to your liking.
    Now left only to be a turd in the forrest and the circle will be complete.Use me as I have used you

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    What kind of crazy talk is that??? Of course the .50 is much better than any wimpy .45! Just look at the surface area of that flat nose .525 grain bullet and imagine all that energy doing its thing as it hits a dangerous animal! You do need to buy one and start posting pics and reloading data soon and of course we are all waiting for the successful hunt reports with eager anticipation.

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    Two things rely turn me off about 500we, that belt around the case and that no big makers chamber for it. Those things tell me I canít afford to shoot one like Iíd want to and I donít see enough edge over 45 caliber to justify it for me. Iíd much rather just have the FA in the common 454 myself but the novelty would be fun if money were no issue.
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    How much more dead do you want em.....? I think you should wait for the .550 WE to come out then make the jump. In th mean time just don't tell the moose you only have a .45.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    That's a nice gun. If you like it you should own one. FA makes nice stuff. I have an LAR Grizzly in 50AE, it's as much handgun as I want to shoot. More "petite" than a Desert Eagle. Plenty of horsepower. The 500 WE is an interesting cartridge. Brass, dies, bullets. I bet you already have suitable powder and primers. Get one on the way!
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

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    Well, this isn't supposed to be thread about me buying one! I won't be selling my 45's to get one and I don't see myself forking out close to 3 G's for a gun, dies, brass and molds. Although there is one for sale with dies and brass over at handgunforums for a little over 2G's with 4.75 barrel.

    I just think it's a neat concept and wondered what other guys thought. Big, fat, heavy boolits from packable gun. A .500 S&W special if you will. A proprietary cartridge built to fit a nice gun. Actually it makes more sense to me than the .500 S&W proprietary cartridge in a whopper sized gun. I don't know of any others chambering for the 500 or 460 smith in revolvers. Does BFR?

    But, it comes with a hefty price tag that's for sure. A guy can pick up a used 454 FA for about a grand.

    Maybe we'll end up with a .500we shooter to chime in.
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Default belted?

    My guess would be that they used the belted case because the wasn't enough room for a rim in their cylinder when it was bored out to .50 caliber.

    A better round IMO would be a shortened .500 S&W even if it required a smaller rim. Then they could have ensured the buyer a long term supply of cases even if it took a little work to make. If they had a cartridge to work in a .500 S&W it would also expand the marketability of the ammunition greatly - a .500 Special at a reduced power and price should sell well.

    Otherwise a neat but expensive gun. All considered I think I'll stick with my 4" .500 S&W.
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    Here's what FA says in the pdf I linked to above regarding the belted case.

    "The .500WE is a proprietary cartridge of Freedom Arms which uses an old idea in a new way. That is, we use a belted cartridge case in a revolver. So why a belted case instead of a rimmed case? I want to say just cause, but I am sure that wonít satisfy anyone, so here are some of the reasons. First, we wanted to use a design that would fit into our Model 83 which has been proven over the years to be extremely strong, dependable, durable, reliable and portable. Second, if we used a rimmed cartridge, and we did test this, the rim would need to be so small that it could create problems for the case manufacturer which could lead to headspacing problems. Third, a belt is formed when the case is headed so the size and shape of the belt would be more consistent than a machined rim. Fourth, the belt could add some strength to the case head and side wall."
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    BFR's are available in 50AE. Actually transferred 2 of them this week. New in the box for 550.00 on Gunbroker.
    "A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind."

  11. #11

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    A friend has one and I've shot it some. It feels pretty much like heavy 45 colts out of my Bisley Blackhawk. It's a nice gun and interesting round for sure.

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    I have wanted a Freedom Arms revolver ever since coming to Alaska the first time. I could not come up with the cash for one back then, so I ended up with a Ruger Super red hawk in 454 casull. It was decent, reliable, heavy as $#@&, and had a 7 1/2" barrel. It served it's purpose but when I got orders to the lower 48 I sold it, no love lost there.

    After a few years away I was able to get back up here, and decided I was getting my FA big bore. I have a buddy that was huge into John Linebaugh's guns and had one of his custom 500s. I started researching guns and big bore ballistics. Linebaugh did extensive penitration testing, some interesting reading for sure. The 475 Linebaugh caught my eye, and I started searching for a used one. I ended up finding a great deal on a FA field grade, holster, dies and brass.


    The gun had about sixty rounds through it, so looked new. After reading all the ballistic data, and Linebaughs take on the big bore killing bullet I picked up a couple bullet molds and went to work.
    I can tell you this, Full power loads are unreal, 10 rounds of full house will make you feel like the card cheater in the movie Casino. I keep them managable. That 500 has to be horrible.

    The 500 WE....mehh. Once you pass 454 casull ballistics I think you hit a point of dimishing returns pretty quickly. If that caliber and its ballistics are what you are looking for go for it. I would definitely say look for a deal on a used gun. I got my entire package for $1400 delivered, expensive yes, but I can get every penny back if I need it. resale is excellent as long as you don't buy new.

    As far as the Freedom Arms compared to my Ruger, it was Timex vs Rolex. The gun is beautiful, and the action feels like a Swiss watch, very refined. You will love the gun whatever caliber you get.

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    Not to stir up a hornetsí nest, but bigger is normally always better, so that puny 454 Casull just has to take a back seat to the 500WE. Once you reach diminishing returns on the 45 Caliber Ė then you need to move up to 480/475L, then to the 500ís, then the 510ís etc. etc. If you can get past the 500 Alaskan relative to diminishing returns in a ďpackin revolverĒ Ė Iíll put my money on you in any arm wrestling contest.

    I donít own a 500WE but did explore that possibly prior to purchasing a 500JRH. They pretty much share the same ballistics and the 500JRH is commercially made by Magnum Research (BFR) and the cases are very reasonable from Jack Huntington (made for him by Starline)Ė the original designer of the JRH cartridge.

    I purchased mine a few years ago and it was a BRF custom shop revolver back then but is a production revolver now Ė meaning several hundred dollars cheaper.

    Youíre basically limited to 500 grain or less bullet due to case taper. You can get the 440 grain hardcast up to around 1,500fps if you have the desire but the recoil is a little ďsnappyĒ at those velocities but the BFR is very accurate with almost all loads. Keeping 440 to 500 grain bullets at 1,200fps are comfortable loads.

    For a person wanting a 50 caliber packing revolver, the 500WE or 500JRH will fill the bill and then some. With the JRH you can use 500 Smith reloading dies and magnum large pistol primers. If you donít reload you need deep pockets.

    I havenít killed anything worth talking about but I can say if you put a 440 grain slug in the arse of a turbocharged yote running straight away; you can turn him 180* and he wonít take another step.

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    Good comments there JoeJ. As we know, caliber and boolit weight are the only constants, everything else changes. It seems to me that if a guy wants a big bore, packable, handy (hip holster) gun, then why not get it in the largest caliber you can that will shoot the heaviest boolits that will fit in the cylinder? It seems that was the approach with the 500we. Build the max caliber possible for the gun, in this case the FA 83. Not a caliber that can deliver max velocity, 454 already does that when run at max pressure with say 240-260gr boolits. Smiths' approach with the 460 and 500 seemed to be the opposite... develop a new cartridge, push the caliber to the max velocity possible and then make the x-frames that could house them. I'm not dissing either approach. Just thinking about the differences.

    It also seems that most guys approach is to squeeze the most velocity they can out of any caliber. (also S&W's approach with the 460 and 500). We all know that comes with a price and tradeoffs. Recoil, Pressure, bigger guns, muzzle brakes, etc. But, why not load to a practical velocity where you can handle the recoil, maintain accuracy and still punch a big hole through anything that walks and have it in a packable gun on your hip? It seems a guy could load that 500we with 370 to 440's down to 1000-1100 and hit a sweet spot.

    I'm trying this approach with my 454. I don't load to max velocity or pressure. I'm trying to shoot the heaviest bullet I can at a velocity that will do the job at a recoil level I can handle. To do this I think a guy needs to cast and load his own.

    I like Jeff Quinns video of him shooting the 500we with 2 different loads back to back...

    http://www.gunblast.com/images/Freed...WE-2/FA500.mpg

    That 370gr at 950 doesn't flip much. The 440 at 1200 could get a guys attention!
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

  15. #15

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    Beautiful gun but IMO choosing a single action for a gun that could be used for bear defense is ridiculous.

    When do we stop? We keep going bigger in caliber to the point that the guns are ungainly to carry and horrendous in recoil.
    Just how much power do we really need?

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    Quote Originally Posted by akraven View Post
    Beautiful gun but IMO choosing a single action for a gun that could be used for bear defense is ridiculous.

    When do we stop? We keep going bigger in caliber to the point that the guns are ungainly to carry and horrendous in recoil.
    Just how much power do we really need?
    That's just the point. This 500we is intriguing because it is max caliber in a handy gun. The FA 83 is the same size gun whether it's a 357 or a 500we. Unlike the x-frames. I disagree regarding the DA vs SA thing. I think it depends on the shooter. Having said that. I carry a DA Redhawk for a backup gun and I practice with it a lot shooting DA. Most guys I see at the range whip out their DA guns, shoot a couple rounds DA, then when the miss a few times they shoot it SA for a couple cylinders and that's it. A guy who is proficient with his SA would stand a better chance than the guy who's got a slicked up DA but never shoots it. Besides, bear "protection" starts long before a gun is drawn.

    As far as when do we stop? I guess when people stop buying. But for the FA 83. It IS stopped. The 500we is the max that gun will handle and stay the same size as a 357 83. Next step is the x-frame or a stretched out BFR 45-70. Now we're talking different animals all together.

    I still think the concept works. That is if a guy is willing to pony up the cash!
    A gun is like a parachute. If you need one, and donít have one, youíll probably never need one again

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    Yea a powerful gun that is comfortable on the belt sounds great and I can shoot an ole Pacemaker type SA faster and much better than any DA. But after having packed 357s and 45s on my belt for years and years I was forced to a chest rig for the heavy X-frame. Iíll never pack a gun on my belt again now. There isn't a gun light enought to make it worth doing, a 1911 or even a J-frame on the belt is far less comfortable to me than any gun in a chest rig including a huge X-frame. So, I have no use anymore for a belt gun, I just wonít hassle with a gun, no matter how light, in the way dragging down/pinching/binding/bugging me on my belt anymore.
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    The 500WE is a take off on the 500 JRH. The JRH was produced first and FA asked for spec's at the SCI show in Reno the first year the JRH was produced by Jack Huntington. The 8000 pieces of brass that Starline produced for Jack had a rim variance of less than .0005, so much for not holding rim tolerances. BFR makes revolvers chambered in 500 JRH in both the OTC model and from the custom shop. The first run of factory ammo was produced by Buffalo Bore and now Grizzly Ammo stocks 500 JRH ammo. Buffalo Bore is again going to produce ammo again for the 500 JRH

    Here is the first FA-83 ever to be chambered in 500 JRH




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    Gotta agree with you Andy! And...my wife and kids make fun of me if I wear suspenders so I had to go to a chest rig too. Much better...pants don't fall down all the time and I don't spend all my time pulling them up....still may go with the suspenders some day.

    I'm still convinced the animals have not gotten any harder to kill than they were when Elmer Keith shot them with a hopped up .44 Special....could be wrong but probably not...well placed shot is still the key and I think the bigger than 44 Mag takes a special person like Snyd to shoot it accurately. Now....if you just want to play with a new caliber....that's different!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    But, why not load to a practical velocity where you can handle the recoil, maintain accuracy and still punch a big hole through anything that walks and have it in a packable gun on your hip? It seems a guy could load that 500we with 370 to 440's down to 1000-1100 and hit a sweet spot.
    That is where I am with my 475, home brew 325g hard cast at 1100fps. Definitely not looking to blast 400 grainers at 1400fps...ouch!

    Double action, single action I really doubt it will matter. Any handgun reguardless of caliber is a last resort, most likely we are talking one shot and very close if you even had time for that. Proficiency is what will matter of you ever needed to use a hand gun, DA/SA better know how to use it.

    I think I like the black grip, very nice piece.

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