Someone inquired about the new(er) 500 Wyoming Express the other day comparing to the 475 Linebaugh. One might think a comparison of the three big 500 caliber revolver cartridges would be more in order and I thought I'd try to a quick shootout here with these three along with the 480 Ruger and the 475 LB.
I just very recently got the opportunity to load for a Freedom Arms 50 WE or WyEx as someone called it and then dug out my own John Linebaugh Custom 500 along with a Custom shop 500 S&W.
First things first and as that goes the 500 LB was first. It is also bored more in the standard bore size which is .510" Taking .511" hard cast bullets. The 500 S&W and the 500 WyEx both are bored .500" and generaally take bullets of .501" diameter.
In my opinion a fifty bore handgun should shoot bullets of about 400 grains and up.....up to as much as 700 grains!!
My 500 LB has done excellent work with the 400 to 475 grains, the S&W can handle larger bullets and many used the big 700 grainers. Most however find the 500 grain bullet weight to be enough gun. The WyEx seems to be at home with 350 to 450 grain bullets, possibly because it is the smallest of the three in physical size though it shares peak pressure rating closer to the S&W with a top of 50,000 psi. Similar to the 480/475 cartridges. The S&W I believe is actually spec'd at 52,000 psi. I've set up pressure equipment with the limit of 48,000 psi for the 480 R, 475 LB and the 500 S&W for an ammo maker. That seems to be the industry limit for all the big high pressure commercial cartridges including the 454 Casull. The big 475 LB is loaded to this pressure level right along with the rest of them. (Note: the Linebaugh cartridges are not considered commercial and lack SAAMI endorsement)
All loads here are pressure tested and are maximum. With the exception of the 500 LB, the limit for all was 48,000 psi. And, except for some 500 S&W loads which were in excess of 50,000 psi. The 500 LB is limited to a very mild pressure spec of 36,000 psi.
Comparing the 500's and the 47's we find these differences.
480 Ruger ............. Max case length 1.285" Overall loaded length max. 1.650" Ballistic niche, 400 grs/1200fps 48,000 psi limit
475 Linebaugh .........Max case length 1.400" Overall loaded length max. 1.800" Ballistic niche, 400 grs/1400fps 48,000 psi limit
500 Wyoming Exp.... Max case length 1.360" Overall loaded length max. 1.765" Ballistic niche, 400 grs/1500 fps 48,000 psi limit
500 Linebaugh,.........Max case length 1.400" Overall loaded length max 1.800" Ballistic niche, 450 grs/1400 fps 36,000 psi limit
500 Smith& Wesson ..Max case length 1.625" Overall loaded length max 2.040" Ballistic niche, 500 grs/1400 fps 50,000 psi limit
Using the .501" 400 grain Cast Performance bullet (LFNGC) and Lil'Gun powder we got these results.
Keeping bullet weight equal even though bore size was .511" the 410 grain WFNGC from a custom mold gave the results for the 500 LB, using Lil'Gun powder.
Note: the 500 LB uses large pistol magnum primers and CCI-350 primers were used.
The 500 S&W and the WyEX both use large Rifle primers and Federal 210 primers were used in both.
The 480 Ruger and the 475 LB cases both use large pistol primers and CCI-350 primers were used. Bullets were sized to .476".
Both the 475 LB and the 500 S&W can be found with primer pockets that differ from these cases we used in this testing. Both large and small rifle primer pockets as well as large pistol primer pockets may be found.
All loads were worked up in new Starline Brass.
480 Ruger. 7.5" barrel.
350 gr. Bear Tooth WLNGC, 26.0 grs Lil'Gun, CCI-350, Velocity 1488 fps
400 gr. Hornady XTP, 20.0 grs Lil'Gun, CCI-350, Velocity 1190 fps
475 Linebaugh. 7.5" barrel
370 grain Cast Performance WFNGC, 28.0 grsLil'Gun, CCI-350, Velocity 1486 fps
405 grain Cast Performance LFNGC, 25.0 grs Lil'Gun, CCI-350, Velocity 1365 fps
500 Wy Ex 7.5" barrel
400 grain Cast Performance WFNGC, 31.0 grs Lil'Gun, Fed. 210, Velocity 1465 fps
440 grain Cast Performance WFNGC, 28.0 grs Lil'Gun, Fed. 210, Velocity 1360 fps
500 Linebaugh 7.5" barrel Bullets sized to .511"
410 grain Custom WFNGC, 32.0 grs Lil'Gun, CCI-350, Velocity 1410 fps
450 grain Custom WFNGC, 29.0 grs Lil'Gun, CCI-350, Velocity 1301 fps
500 S&W 8.375" barrel
440 grain Cast Performance WFNGC, 35.0 grs Lil'Gun, Fed. 210, Velocity 1525 fps
(Same load 5" barrel, Ross performance center revolver, Velocity 1490 fps)
500 grain Hornady XTP, 33.0 grs Lil'Gun, Fed 210, Velocity 1398 fps
The 480 Ruger was shot from a Ruger Super Redhawk with 7.5" barrel. Not too bad for recoil. It was also tested from the 475 Linebaugh cylinder and results were very similar both in velocity and accuracy.
The most accurate gun was the older FA model in the 475 LB. With irons, 4" at 100.
The most fun and least painful to shoot was the Linebaugh Custom 500 LB. Saaaweeet!! And big enough.
I dislike the S&W frame shape for guns of this level recoil. It smarts!! I needed to use the comp but accuracy suffered with it installed.
The 500 WyEx was a new gun and we fired the first rounds through it. We also scoped it and shot it at 200 yards. I sucked sea water at that but the owner could keep the 400 grains in a six inch group from sand bagged wrists.
Your mileage may vary.
Check your local loading date and compare for possible errors before using this data.