I was dinking around watching some Youtube videos and landed on this one by Hickok45. I enjoy his videos, he has fun and likes to blow stuff to smithereens.
He's showcasing the 500 Smith in this video and shoots some 400gr Magtech ammo. At about 4 minutes in he shoots an old text book that looks to be about 4--6 inches thick. Check out the penetration, or rather the lack thereof, with this load. The bullet blows to pieces a couple inches into it. According to Magtech it's 1600fps, 400gr semi-jacketed soft point flat.
Suggested Use: Target & Match, Range, Plinking, Hunting
I can't help but think of how many guys in Alaska may be packing this stuff around in their 500's thinking they've got the ultimate bear gun. With that soft, weak bullet design being pushed that fast, I'd think it'd be a recipe for disaster if a guy shot a bear. Or even a moose in the shoulder.
I can see it now. New guy to Alaska goes to Walmart or Fred Meyer, buys a 500 Smith cuz he needs an Alaska Bear gun. Picks up a box of the "heavy 400gr" ammo sitting there, shoots a few at the range, loads up the gun and heads to the woods thinking nothing can stand up against the 50 cal. I suppose it's better than nothing but there are better ammo choices.
So, if your reading this and using this ammo in your 500 smith for bear protection, you might want get yourself some heavy hardcast instead. I know I would if it were me.