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.
Cor-Bon 350gr JHP
Ultramax 440gr cast lead
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.
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.
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.