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Thread: SW500 4": mini review

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    Default SW500 4": mini review

    Well, first, allow me to thank my fellow members who frequent the OutdoorsDirectory.com Shooting Forums. You guys rock and gave me valuable information about the gun. My hat is tipping to you for offering a helping hand and sharing your experiences.

    Today marks a new chapter in my life: I fired my first box of 500SW cartridges at an outdoor range. It, obviously, attracted a lot attention and interest. I offered to let some of the more daring souls shoot it and all those who did came away astounded and thrilled.

    Ammo:
    Cor-Bon 350gr JHP
    Ultramax 440gr cast lead

    Recoil:
    Yes, the recoil is high in intensity and even with the compensator, there was quite a bit of muzzle flip. However, the recoil along the horizontal dimension that is directed into the hand is significantly more than a 44 mag and certainly a few times more than 357 mag. The intensity of the horizontal shove can, perhaps, be described to be like the recoil of whacking a 4-5ft long hard 2" thick stick against a brick wall at a sharp angle. I think that if the Hoague grip does not wrap around the backstrap of the gun, the palm will certainly get hurt after a few fast rounds.

    Muzzle flip:
    The muzzle flip I experienced, even with the 440gr ammo, was not as bad as those I saw in YouTube. Not sure how they got those. Perhaps, they were using 500gr or heavier bullets or their wrists are not as strong. I am getting 30-40 degree muzzle rise. It is, certainly, well under control. As such, I am confident it is possible to shoot with the strong hand only, in the event of an emergency. I think even with the weak hand, it is possible but the follow-up shot will most certainly be slower.

    Emergency discharge without ear protection:
    I had double layer ear-protection on and my ears were still picking up the loud report of the discharges. I am not sure how much auditory concussion a shooter will receive if ever one has to discharge this gun without ear protection. It will, probably, be quite disorienting after the first round, just from the acoustic detonation alone; not to mention the physical vibration of the pocket of air around the shooter. In short, it sounds like shooting a 308 winchester rifle but you will feel like you are a lot closer to the explosion.

    Trigger and action:
    The trigger and action of the S&W 500 is slick and an absolute pleasure to use. Barring the fact that there's a possibility of shooting with one hand due to injuries in a bear attack, I think that with the quality of the trigger one can put out quite a rapid stream of 500SW lead; i.e. with 2 hands, it is possible to discharge 3 successive rounds in under 3 seconds and be able to hit a 8" plate in 30".

    Fit and finish:
    The version I bought happens to be the Big Rock edition. It is not as shiny as the standard S&W 4" and the cylinder is not fluted --- it is full solid cylinder (similar to Magnum Research revolvers). I did not see any sharp edges that is accessible by my fingers. When locked, the cylinder has a small amount of play along the rotational dimension but hardly anything along the axis.

    Discharge dynamics:
    When I examined the discharged cases, the depression on the spent primer is even and almost dead center. There's no soot or burnt powder near the mouth of the cases. The head of the cases are perfectly normal and there are no stretch marks on any cases.

    Anything I don't like:
    Not at this time. I have not found anything glaringly repulsive yet.

    Hope this helps for anyone considering this revolver. Overall, I am relatively happy with it and will report more once I get to shoot more.

  2. #2
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    Arthury-

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

    As you continue to shoot your .500 you will find it more and more fun to shoot. Reloading helps a lot too - it is much less painful in the wallet to shoot it. Unless you have a ton of money to spend on ammo you probably can't afford to shoot it enough to really become familiar with it.

    Did you shoot it with the recommended compensator for the jacketed and cast bullets? I put the one with the top ports in mine - I beleive it is the one for jacketed bullets - and have never taken it out even most of my loads are cast with bullets.

    Please keep us up to date with your experiences.
    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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    I was using the default compensator, which is the one for jacketed ammo. It did a great job.

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    Arthury:

    Very nicely reported. I love my 4" 500 but admit it did take some getting used to. After not shooting it all winter, it reminds me that shooting takes control and when my form suffers I back off in caliber to make me concentrate on basics! I hope to never have to shoot it without hearing protection but have a feeling if I do- it will be a situation where I won't care about the report till it is all over.
    BEE

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthury View Post
    I think that with the quality of the trigger one can put out quite a rapid stream of 500SW lead; i.e. with 2 hands, it is possible to discharge 3 successive rounds in under 3 seconds and be able to hit a 8" plate in 30".
    I find my 44 Mag. is much harder on my paw when I shoot DA, and the faster I do it, the worse it is.

    I think that your report is an honest one. After all the above, Iím surprised that you can still say,,,,,

    Quote Originally Posted by arthury View Post
    Anything I don't like:
    Not at this time. I have not found anything glaringly repulsive yet.
    I have some admiration, but mostly, astonishment, for you beeg bore enthusiasts.

    Iím certain that I could NEVER handle something like that, and make it work for me, for Bear Defense.

    Iím not an advocate of Bear Spray, but I would PREFER IT to a handgun that even approaches the power of a 500 S&W.

    As far as a large caliber is concerned, I like that, but when the extreme velocity, (for a handgun) is added, I donít like it no more. OUCH. RINGGGGGGGGGGGgggggggggggGGGGGGGGGGGggggggggggGGGG GGGGGGG.

    I would hafta load it down considerably, and if that were done, there wouldnít be the need for such a hefty gun, so no percentage there.

    Thanks for the report. It may serve a different purpose for me, than for others.
    Smitty of the North
    Walk Slow, and Drink a Lotta Water.
    Has it ever occurred to you, that Nothing ever occurs to God? Adrien Rodgers.
    You can't out-give God.

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    How did it group?

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    Default Zero-ing distance

    In this first testing-the-water visit to the range, I was generally getting 1" or less at 7 yards. Some occasional overlapping holes, all based on a 20-round session.
    I did not get to shoot at longer distances yet and have not zero-ed the sights yet.

    Can't decide what distance should the sights be zero-ed at. Any suggestions? The gun will mainly be for self-protection against large predators in the woods. I am thinking 50ft? I don't want to be accused of poaching.

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    Mine is zeroed at 75 feet. After considering why I could not come up with a specific reason. 20 yards seems to be the distance that most use to determine a false charge from a real one so that may be a better distance if you have time to aim over just point and shoot.

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    Default 2nd Range Session

    Loading Data
    Powder: Ramshot Enforcer
    Bullet: 350gr Hornady Curve Hunting
    Primer: CCI 200 LRP
    Start load: 36gr
    End load: 38gr
    # of rounds shot: 30

    As usual, I used my 44 mag Ruger Redhawk 4" as an appetizer to warm up before I start the 500SW testing.
    BTW, I love that Ruger and I'm sure glad I grabbed it when my dealer told he had one at the time I was picking up the SW500.

    Recoil/Concussion:
    I'm getting used to the concussion and it is beginning to feel more normal in this 2nd session but I have to say that even at the low end (36 gr of powder), the punch already feels like the factory Cor-Bon load. However, as my body adjusts to it, I can imagine it will eventually normalize itself. I even got to do a little rapid shooting, just to have a feel for how the gun behaves in this scenario.

    Rapid 2nd shot wimps out:
    If I space out my shots with a 2-3 seconds halt in between, like I usually do, all loads discharged as expected, strong and punchy. But, if I do a 1 shot and rapidly introduce a 2nd shot (both DA), I noticed that the 2nd shot felt like a wimpy discharge. I experienced this twice during this session even though I was not particularly looking for it. I will try to reproduce this again in my next session. Has this got to do with the displacement of the powder away from the primer caused by the first shot? Any thots, conjectures, theories?

    Increments of a single grains:
    Even though I increased a single grain per row of cartridges, I noticed a significant difference in the rearward punch. Something to note for those trying out this powder.

    Muzzle flash:
    Muzzle flash was quite a bit more than the Cor-Bon HP and UltraMax lead.

    Accuracy:
    Accuracy is decent. I am getting 1"-1.5" groups at 7 yds. I did not do much accuracy testing due to the other more basic areas I wanted to test.

    Post-discharge inspection:
    Post-discharge inspection of the cases did not set off any alarms in my mind. No stretch marks, primers are normal with centered depressed marks. Head of cases were still like new. I did notice some sooting near the mouth and also the head (inside the extraction groove). There are no bulge, cracks or distortion.

    I'm intending to get a chronograph. Any brands you recommend? Feel like a partially-blind person shooting without knowing the speed of the cartridges I built.

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    Quote Originally Posted by redale View Post
    Mine is zeroed at 75 feet. After considering why I could not come up with a specific reason. 20 yards seems to be the distance that most use to determine a false charge from a real one so that may be a better distance if you have time to aim over just point and shoot.
    Thanks for the suggestion. I will keep that in mind.

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    Might as well contact Bill and Leona at http://www.ballisticsupply.net/ and pick up a box of T-Rex Thumpers. If you're going to shoot the biggest, might as well give it a run with the biggest. I bought mine speciffically for bear defense and for the first few years all I ever put through it was 700 grain rounds. Picked up some 350 grain rounds locally, put a few through, not near as much fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2PawsRiver View Post
    Might as well contact Bill and Leona at http://www.ballisticsupply.net/ and pick up a box of T-Rex Thumpers. If you're going to shoot the biggest, might as well give it a run with the biggest. I bought mine speciffically for bear defense and for the first few years all I ever put through it was 700 grain rounds. Picked up some 350 grain rounds locally, put a few through, not near as much fun.
    Thanks, 2PawsRiver.
    I've thought about heavier leads but have doubts that the twist-rate of the barrel can stabilize a 700gr bullet. I believe the John Ross version of the SW500 is designed for this purpose. Was your revolver the John Ross version?
    If not, how did it go with that heavy bullet in terms of accuracy?

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    I tested those 700 grainers using John Ross' load info and in wetpack, most wouldn't penetrate straight. Lighter bullets we tested, handily out-penetrated the 700s. A bullet that long and heavy is a novelty IMHO.

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    Thanks for the review, sure is fun to read what others have to say about the 4"500

    I found that Ramshot Enforcer gave Extremely large variations in velocity with my 4"500 and I had to shelf the powder. I have done a lot of load testing and found the best powders to be.. H110/296 for the full house loads. 2400 for midrange, this powder seems to give a large window of velocity operation.

    Unique,Trailboss, and Titegroup for the target loads. I feel trailboss is just too light and titegroup is pretty scarey since it takes so little.

    That being said a 450gr cast boolit at 950-1000fps will shoot completely through anything walking the lower 48.

    I put a non ported compensator on my mine and it really helped with the concusion....



    it is my feeling that the factory muzzlebreak does very little to alter recoil...the powder weight to bullet weight ratio spread is just too great for the muzzlebreak to have much effect. To move a 400grain bullet from 0 to 1500fps in 3 inches, it is going to generate a lot of rearward thrust. To vent the hot gases and lead spray back into your face at the end of 3" is just foolish in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthury View Post
    Thanks, 2PawsRiver.
    I've thought about heavier leads but have doubts that the twist-rate of the barrel can stabilize a 700gr bullet. I believe the John Ross version of the SW500 is designed for this purpose. Was your revolver the John Ross version?
    If not, how did it go with that heavy bullet in terms of accuracy?
    I only shoot it out to 10 yards............40 foot rope hanging from a tree, one gallon milk jug filled with water hanging three feet off the ground.......your partner gives it a good shove......waits for the return swing and when he shouts bear, you snatch it out of the holster, shoot instinctive.

    Once you get good that that when your partner says bear, based on distance you decide if you have time to snatch it from the holster, put a shot in the ground, then blast the milk jug.

    I don't know if it's good practice, but I know I have practiced when I first got the pistol and I do a refresher course before every trip that I feel I need to take it and I am much better then when I first started.

    I figure I get will most likely get one shot, so I figured I would go as big as I could, so I went with the 700, loaded as hot as they could safely load it. For those that know, if there is a better combo with the 700 for bear defense based on number I would appreciate hearing about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freedom475 View Post
    [...]
    I found that Ramshot Enforcer gave Extremely large variations in velocity with my 4"500 and I had to shelf the powder.
    That's good know. Thanks for sharing your findings. I really need a chrono.

    Quote Originally Posted by freedom475 View Post
    I have done a lot of load testing and found the best powders to be.. H110/296 for the full house loads. 2400 for midrange, this powder seems to give a large window of velocity operation.
    I'll have to try those powder next.

    Quote Originally Posted by freedom475 View Post
    Unique,Trailboss, and Titegroup for the target loads. I feel trailboss is just too light and titegroup is pretty scarey since it takes so little.
    I think I'll skip the fast burners, like Titegroup, for now until I feel more enterprising.

    Quote Originally Posted by freedom475 View Post
    I put a non ported compensator on my mine and it really helped with the concusion....
    Where and how did you get a non-ported compensator? Is it sold anywhere?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2PawsRiver View Post
    I only shoot it out to 10 yards............40 foot rope hanging from a tree, one gallon milk jug filled with water hanging three feet off the ground.......your partner gives it a good shove......waits for the return swing and when he shouts bear, you snatch it out of the holster, shoot instinctive.

    Once you get good that that when your partner says bear, based on distance you decide if you have time to snatch it from the holster, put a shot in the ground, then blast the milk jug.

    I don't know if it's good practice, but I know I have practiced when I first got the pistol and I do a refresher course before every trip that I feel I need to take it and I am much better then when I first started.

    I figure I get will most likely get one shot, so I figured I would go as big as I could, so I went with the 700, loaded as hot as they could safely load it. For those that know, if there is a better combo with the 700 for bear defense based on number I would appreciate hearing about it.
    Food scenario practice. It's almost like a IDPA course, except this one is for bears.
    Thanks for the suggestions.

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    Default Range Session #3

    =============
    RANGE SESSION #3
    =============


    Loading Data

    Powder: IMR SR 4579
    Bullet: Berry's 350gr thick-plated
    Primer: CCI 200 LRP
    Start load: 26gr
    End load: 27gr
    # of rounds shot: 20
    =======================================

    Risks:
    Much of the concerns regarding this powder for the 500SW cartridge is that there aren't a lot of published data. So, whatever loading data is based on hearsay and the records of other brave souls. I am glad that John Ross was kind enough to share his years of findings and, today, I have taken that step to trust what he shared about the SR 4579.

    SR 4579 seems to be a rather old powder that had been used for years in rifles and many enthusiasts who cast their own bullets have used it successfully. It has a reputation for being a rather slow burning powder.

    Load Density:
    This composition of the powder seems to have lower density than other dense ball powder like Ramshot Enforcer. In other words, it takes up a lot of volume to yield a much smaller mass. For 26gr load in the case, it left behind enough space for the bullet to be seated but that was about it. At 27gr, I believe the base of the bullet is probably touching the powder. I am not sure how others have pushed it to 30gr --- it has must been compressed loading, which is not something I would even remotely consider.

    Accuracy: My gun likes this powder quite a bit. At 26gr, I was getting 1/2" group in 7 yards. When I shot the 27gr load, the 3 holes were kissing each other. Needless to day, I was quite pleased. This is the best showing in terms of accuracy among the 3 shooting sessions so far.

    This powder will, certainly, be on my list to try for my 44 mag and 357 mag revolvers, if I can find some decent loading data from others. It's a good powder and I like it.

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    Default 2nd shot wimpy issue

    I tried rapid shooting again today using DA but cannot reproduce the wimpy 2nd shot issue I mentioned above. I will still keep this in mind but, for now, I am thinking it is a non-issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthury View Post
    Food scenario practice. It's almost like a IDPA course, except this one is for bears.
    Thanks for the suggestions.
    I meant good scenario practice.

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