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Thread: Smithe and Wesson 500 4'

  1. #1
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    Default Smithe and Wesson 500 4'

    I have just purchased a Smith and Wesson 500 4' revolver. It is to be used ( or not as the case might be) to have with me when my wife and I go camping with our little Travel Trailer, for some protection.

    The palce where we go camping bears have been seen. As a matter of some defense can anyone advise me as to the best ammunition to use. I have been told all differant types from flat lead, Jacketed, half jacketed and hollow point. I gues I would be looking at somthinf around the 440 grain bullet..

    Any views, advice , information, types of ammunition would be greatly appreciated.

    Regards,
    Mike
    Last edited by michaeljames1943; 01-08-2008 at 00:32. Reason: Word spelt wrong

  2. #2
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    Default large metplat

    The large flat metplat seen on cast bullets seems to be best. Hard cast lead. I assume at my own risk that you do not hand load so some place like sportsman would be a good place to look. I would stay way form hollowpoints. Tje biggest issue with a 500 is hitting what you shoot at. best advise is to practice practice and did I mention practice a lot. Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Default

    Look for Ranger Ricks name on here and send him a PM. He makes just the bullet you need.
    Tennessee

  4. #4
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Great choice!

    I got one two years ago for my NW Alaska float trips. We try to go every Fall fly fishing for dollies. Lots of bears and the .44 special I took on the first trip looked pretty small after being so close to the bears. I got the same gun you bought and have complete confidence in it. Best advice you could get has already been posted. Practice! It is a very accurate gun, but it demands you shooting it regularly and purposefully. I shoot the cheap stuff most the time. But I always carry Buffalo Bore. It is fantastic ammo and far exceeds the factory offerings in stopping power. I get mine from Cabelas online. You will be able to get in in Anch. Compare the numbers versus the factory stuff and you will see why I use it. I have read up on the subject quite a bit and super hard cast flat bullets are known to have more stopping power on very large animals. The ones I use are 440 gr. They kick much harder than the factory ammo and you need to practice some with them for sure or you will be ill prepared. But you can not afford to shoot it all the time. I will run a box or so through the gun and check my point of impact at 15 yards or so. The gun is minute of bear for sure, but I want to see it in a basketball size circle at least. One other thing I can suggest is a Desanti (or other) gun belt. Much thicker leather and it supports the gun much better. It is heavy enough to justify spending $45 on a gun belt. Looks like a regular belt, just thicker leather and of very high quality. Just did not want you to think of law enforcement/military style belts. Get a good belt and holster. Desanti (I think) made the ammo carriers I got also. They hold 6 rounds and slide on the belt. Very slick and I like carrying 12 extra on the canoe trips. 6 would do for sure though. You may want ear plugs and muffs. I prefer them with that gun. Be sure to clean it regularly as the residue builds up on the ported muzzle and is very, very, hard to remove from the porting. If for any reason you want and can not find the extra ammo carrier/holster/belt, shoot me a pm and I will get the info to you. You got a great gun. Spend time with it on a regular basis at the range. Never shoot with the hammer cocked, it wont be when you need it. Pull it from a holster and fire off a few rapid shots. Holster the gun, and do it again. That will be good practice for the real thing. Shoot in low light (at night with headlights in the background) and practice that way some also. You wont see much in the sights as the red paint on the front sight wont stay red long. L O T S of muzzle flash and it gets dark with use. Practice shooting with a flash light (surefire) in your weak hand. If needed at night, you may need it. Below are the numbers on the Buffalo Bore. They make a few recipes in that caliber, so be sure to get the top one. Garrett and Grizzly are also ammo makers for the 500 but I have not shot them. Garrett Ammo (or similar name) can be found on google easily and he has an article or two on his website about ammo needed to stop bears. Very insightful from what I remember. His ammo is probably good stuff as well. I am pretty sure it is a Hammerhead in his line up he suggest for bear protection. Good thing about his site, is he tells you why it is good for bear protection. A good read.

    .500 S&W (HVY) 440-GR. LFN-GC 1625 2579 $44.99
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  5. #5
    Member aa7jc's Avatar
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    Default Garrett

    I am pretty sure that Garrett only makes 44mag & 45-70 rounds.

    I just bought a box of his famous SuperHardcast Hammerhead 44magnum bullets for my S&W629 but I havent shot them yet.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3085/...2d4c58f3f5.jpg
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3048/...884d5be490.jpg

    OBTW,
    I just bought a S&W500 4" a few days ago with a special engraving "Alaska Backpacker Extreme".. Cant wait to get out and shoot it. Here is a photo:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lotts-f...7604042941741/
    Last edited by aa7jc; 03-23-2008 at 14:56. Reason: added info

  6. #6
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    Default .500 S&W - what a hoot!

    I bought my 4" .500 last summer and love the beast.

    I started shooting in high school when I bought a S&W Mdl. 28 .357 mag with my paper route money I saved.

    Then I saved up again and bought a Ruger SuperBlack Hawk in college and the .357 never wasn't shot much after that.

    I've shot a parade of .44 mags for most of the last 40 or so years but with the .500 I can see the .44's time is about up. I did buy a .460 last week but I think the .500 will remain the gun.

    Shooting the .500 with full loads does require some concentration but it appears to be very accurate. I've got to get my new bullet mold going so I can affored to shoot it as much as I would like to however. I'll do a lot of plinking with it with lighter loads and cast bullets until I feel as comfortable with it as I do with my 629 Classic.
    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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    Default

    Do you reload? If not, I would HIGHLY consider it for this gun ...buying off the shelf ammo will break the bank. Even 500 S&W Special Ammo runs $38/box of 20 down at Sportsmans nowadays ...up from $28 a couple of months ago. That's a THIRTY FIVE PERCENT increase in price. China or not, I'd sure like to see how they justify that.

    In any case, you need a lot of practice rounds to get good at shooting that gun and that gun more than others if you want to use it for self protection. You'll likely never get there by buying $50/box magnum or $38/box Special Ammo. The good news is that this is a handgun cartridge ...most ANY reloading setup will work for you. Reloading for the 500 S&W is no different than reloading for other cartridges and is probably easier. I would suggest the following:

    1. Get started reloading simply ...buy a Partner Press or similar (or Rockchucker or similar if planning on reloading for rifle and other longer cases). A cheap tumbler (and walnut shell media), press/reloading kit, set of carbide dies, and a shell holder will get you started. You can fine tune your set of tool later, or upgrade, etcetera. Your savings will pay for your setup quickly.

    2. Build cheap ammo and get started. You can buy Berry Manufacturing 350 gr electroplated swaged-lead bullets on the cheap ...about $100 (including lead surcharge) per 500 bullets and they ship for free (see http://www.berrysmfg.com/categories/40-0.php). You won't find bullets any cheaper than that. Buy a couple hundred rounds of Starline brass, a box of 1000 Federal 210M large rifle primers, and the big jug of Trail Boss and get going.

    For Trail Boss, Hodgdon's starting load is defined as 70% of the maximum load. The maximum load for Trail Boss is "fill the case all the way up without compressing the powder." For the 500 S&W, Starline brass, and either Berry Mfg or Rainier Ballistics plated bullets, that's very close to 12.6 grains of powder. Starting load is then 9.0 grains of powder ...9 grains of Trail Boss will make your 500 shoot like a 38 Special, producing velocities in the 800 fps range ...a true plinker that'll let you practice your brains out. (NOTE: For fear of 'bullet in bore' stuck bullets, I don't shoot minimum cowboy loads ...I'd realistically use no less than 10 gr of Trail Boss but normally load with 11 grains for my lightest practice rounds and 12.6 for .44 Mag powered practice rounds.) Call IMR/Hodgdon and double check everything that I said ...that's where I got the info. You can work your way up in power once you've mastered sustained rapid fire into about a 4" circle at 10 yards using the light ammo ...but you'll need tougher bullets and other powders for medium to hot loads. See Ranger Rick at http://www.lsstuff.com/ranger-rick for bullets, and the forums at http://50caliberforum.proboards99.com for prices ...most are $16.75 for 50 bullets. You can find plenty of loads to get started with at http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp ... Medium loads will use Titegroup or Longshot, high power loads will use H110 (same as W296) or Lil'Gun.

    For trail ammo now (not waiting on your own reloading), check your local ammo store... other than Sportsman's Warehouse that is. In Alaska, you shouldn't have any problem finding 500 S&W hard cast that'll make great bear-stopping ammo for your gun. Buffalo Bore in only one brand (and a good one), but there are a couple of others as well.

    If you're in the Fairbanks area, PM me and we'll go shooting ...I've got the same gun except my barrel is only 4 inches long rather than 4 feet long like yours . I can help you get started reloading too ...easy schmeezy. Even I can do it!

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    <snip>I did buy a .460 last week but I think the .500 will remain the gun.

    Shooting the .500 with full loads does require some concentration but it appears to be very accurate.
    The .460S&W is top dawg for hunting if you ask me since it has a lot of SMACK and keeps the momentum farther out than the 500, and of course shoots flatter as well. But for close up and personal protection, nothing (in a factory round) hits harder than a 500. Remember ..."killing" is not the same as "stopping". You can kill a bear with an arrow, but would you carry an arrow to poke a bear with when getting mauled? Caliber, meplat, and energy are your friends for that... and the 500 is tops for that kind of use, but you do need to learn how to shoot it (see my previous post concerning reloading and practice.) I've been shooting 50-75 rounds a week and figure on getting a couple of thousand shot, and working my way up in power and shooting by starting with the gun in the holster, before really feeling confident. If I'm going to depend on it, then I better be dependable with it!

    As far as accuracy goes, I haven't reached the potential that mine (4" barrel) has yet, but I've shot several groups at 30 feet with all 5 holes cutting each other. I've seen pictures of others (my betters) who've done the same thing at 25 yards ...that's all 5 holes touching at 75 feet. Accuracy is not an issue with these S&W 500's.

    Brian

  9. #9
    Member aa7jc's Avatar
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    Default reloading newbee questions (for S&W500)

    Great info (& sources) on reloading the S&W500!!
    I just ordered a bunch of hardcast 440 gr bullets from RR and am getting ready to select a press etc..

    How many times would I reload the same brass for this gun?

    OBTW, what do you think of the value of the RCBS single stage press?

    Ken
    aa7jc


    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    Do you reload? If not, I would HIGHLY consider it for this gun ..........

  10. #10
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    I have the RCBS single-stage press and have loaded up to 250 rounds in one (long) evening, although I find it easier on my back if I keep it to about 100 rounds in an evening ...assuming starting from dirty cases and ending with finished rounds. It's easy enough to clean (vibrate/tumble) one evening, size/deprime/flare on another evening, then prime/charge/seat bullet/crimp on a third evening. If you're doing a lot, that'll break it up pretty good.

    I'm not sure how many times you can reload the brass but it depends on how hot your loads are. I'm on my 3rd reloading of 200 cases that I got from Starline and can't tell them from new at this point. Since I'm basically loading hot cowboy loads (which happen to be the same as hot .44 Mag loads but easier to shoot due to the heavier gun and bullet weight), the brass ought to last 10+ times I'm guessing. Your mileage will vary as you 'up' the load to higher chamber pressures, although Starline brass is built heavier than the other brands (as evidenced by having a case capacity a bit less than the others ...admittedly this could be caused by a thicker web etc as well.)

    Brian

  11. #11
    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Default Good choice...

    As Brian says, the Starline brass is great.

    I have reloaded some brass a few time and can not tell it apart from new brass after it is tumbled. As Brian mentioned, the load will dictate brass life. But it is not as exacting as rifle ammo. Not as much strethching and pulling going on like in the neck of a rifle round. But it will wear in time. But not enough to worry yourself with.

    I have a Lee hand press that works well. I have loaded at the range with it and it is a pretty slick press. Get some dies, a scale, the Lee loader cups to speed up the process. I like the trickler as well. You can be set up to reload the 500 for about $65. Best part is it all goes in a duffle bag with you. While a little slower, you can make the same quality ammo in this way as if you were on your home bench with full size press. What better way to work up loads than to have the reloading equipment on your shooting bench.

    The 440 grain hard cast is a great bullet for bear protection. You have done your homework I see.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    Do you reload? If not, I would HIGHLY consider it for this gun ...buying off the shelf ammo will break the bank. Even 500 S&W Special Ammo runs $38/box of 20 down at Sportsmans nowadays ...up from $28 a couple of months ago. That's a THIRTY FIVE PERCENT increase in price. China or not, I'd sure like to see how they justify that.

    In any case, you need a lot of practice rounds to get good at shooting that gun and that gun more than others if you want to use it for self protection. You'll likely never get there by buying $50/box magnum or $38/box Special Ammo. The good news is that this is a handgun cartridge ...most ANY reloading setup will work for you. Reloading for the 500 S&W is no different than reloading for other cartridges and is probably easier. I would suggest the following:

    1. Get started reloading simply ...buy a Partner Press or similar (or Rockchucker or similar if planning on reloading for rifle and other longer cases). A cheap tumbler (and walnut shell media), press/reloading kit, set of carbide dies, and a shell holder will get you started. You can fine tune your set of tool later, or upgrade, etcetera. Your savings will pay for your setup quickly.

    2. Build cheap ammo and get started. You can buy Berry Manufacturing 350 gr electroplated swaged-lead bullets on the cheap ...about $100 (including lead surcharge) per 500 bullets and they ship for free (see http://www.berrysmfg.com/categories/40-0.php). You won't find bullets any cheaper than that. Buy a couple hundred rounds of Starline brass, a box of 1000 Federal 210M large rifle primers, and the big jug of Trail Boss and get going.

    For Trail Boss, Hodgdon's starting load is defined as 70&#37; of the maximum load. The maximum load for Trail Boss is "fill the case all the way up without compressing the powder." For the 500 S&W, Starline brass, and either Berry Mfg or Rainier Ballistics plated bullets, that's very close to 12.6 grains of powder. Starting load is then 9.0 grains of powder ...9 grains of Trail Boss will make your 500 shoot like a 38 Special, producing velocities in the 800 fps range ...a true plinker that'll let you practice your brains out. (NOTE: For fear of 'bullet in bore' stuck bullets, I don't shoot minimum cowboy loads ...I'd realistically use no less than 10 gr of Trail Boss but normally load with 11 grains for my lightest practice rounds and 12.6 for .44 Mag powered practice rounds.) Call IMR/Hodgdon and double check everything that I said ...that's where I got the info. You can work your way up in power once you've mastered sustained rapid fire into about a 4" circle at 10 yards using the light ammo ...but you'll need tougher bullets and other powders for medium to hot loads. See Ranger Rick at http://www.lsstuff.com/ranger-rick for bullets, and the forums at http://50caliberforum.proboards99.com for prices ...most are $16.75 for 50 bullets. You can find plenty of loads to get started with at http://data.hodgdon.com/main_menu.asp ... Medium loads will use Titegroup or Longshot, high power loads will use H110 (same as W296) or Lil'Gun.

    For trail ammo now (not waiting on your own reloading), check your local ammo store... other than Sportsman's Warehouse that is. In Alaska, you shouldn't have any problem finding 500 S&W hard cast that'll make great bear-stopping ammo for your gun. Buffalo Bore in only one brand (and a good one), but there are a couple of others as well.

    If you're in the Fairbanks area, PM me and we'll go shooting ...I've got the same gun except my barrel is only 4 inches long rather than 4 feet long like yours . I can help you get started reloading too ...easy schmeezy. Even I can do it!

    Brian
    Sorry that I have not been back to see your response...but have been rather busy..may I thank you most sincerely for all yopuir coments and advice..grately appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Michaeljames 1943

  13. #13
    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default Me Too

    Well, I couldn't stand it and like the rest of you had to make up for short commings and went and bought myself a new 4" 500 in the OD green and can't wait to try it out.

  14. #14

    Default Reloading

    Can any of you smart reloaders tell me if I can use the same dies for loading the .454 and .45 LC or do I need to buy two sets?

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