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Thread: 500 mag. Performance on big game

  1. #1

    Default 500 mag. Performance on big game

    Looking for personal experiences on big game with the 500 mag. So far, two moose have given in to 420 and 440 hardcast from my p.c. Mainly interested to hear what bullet was used, distance, velocities, and exactly how it performed on game. 400 kodiak, 400 sierra, and 350 hornady are my main focus. Of my experiences with the hard cast, one 440 that mushroomed perfect with 100% weight retention and two other pass throughs on the first moose. The second animal had a pass through and one shattered bullet. With five bullets in two animals, there isn't enough consistency to sell me, so i'm switching to jacketed bullets.

  2. #2

    Default uh... is this thing on???

    did I hit the underwater basketweaving forum?

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    I'm guessing not many folks hunt with you pick of gun.Most are just carring them for back-up. I could help on 44mag,45colt and 454 but know nothing about the 500 S&W.Personaly I've alway had good preformance with JDJ hard cast,never a failure.

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    Default heavy

    There are rifles almost as light as that handgun is heavy... until you hold it up and sight that .500 - and then it becomes weightless... very nice feel to that gun - try it at Wally World next time you're there. But at that price point I have other toys to buy sooner, darn it.

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    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    I think Will is right, not many hunting with a 500. It is a good hunting round I'm sure but I went with the 460V so I can also shoot cheaper ammo for plinking fun. I took my moose with it this year using 395 grain hard cast, with one shot he stumbled about 10 feet and down.
    Andy
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  6. #6

    Default thx AD...

    who's bullet, and did you recover it?

  7. #7

    Default The hardcast bullet

    was designed for full penetration, leaving two hole in and out. What is it you actually need to know? Sounds like you have had more hunting experience than many with the 500 S&W. With that weight and diameter, I'd go with a good jacketed bullet. Most people use the hardcast for defensive use on big predators, so as to reach the vital organs and beyond.

  8. #8
    Sponsor ADfields's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gotAKfever View Post
    who's bullet, and did you recover it?
    Cast Performance 45/395g on 36.5 grans of LilGun, around 1650fps from my 460V.
    60 yard broadside shot double lung pass through. He went down faster than any of my rifle killed moose ever have, surprised me.
    Andy
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  9. #9

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    Closest I can come are some 450 grain pure lead bullets shot by me and several friends with an MV of around 1450 from 50 caliber muzzleloaders. Through and through penetration on deer with minimal signs of mushroom, but no major bones hit. From all those animals, only one bullet recovered. Entered the brisket on a good sized 3-pointer at +/- 50 yards and stopped against the hide on the back of the right ham. It was slightly smeared at the nose, but still weighed 450. It was a semi-pointed bullet (TC Maxi) and some folks complain that it's a slow killer.

    Two deer I know of were shot with the Lyman Great Plains bullet of similar weight but with a large flat nose. They killed quickly and gave some sign of expansion, but were never recovered.

    Small sample size and deer rather than moose, but nonetheless 50 caliber bullets at 1450, no matter the color of the powder and length of barrel. Lots of other examples of 50 caliber bullets at similar velocities to your 500 in muzzleloading literature, so that may be your best source for additional first-hand accounts.

    Based on experiences with lead bullets in a range of calibers in both centerfire rifle and pistols, I'd be real inclined to look at Lyman #2 alloy with gas checks for your bullets. That would give a degree of expansion at the velocities of your 500, probably more reliably than the jacketed bullets you mention while also having a larger meplat than they do. If you're after a little expansion to speed up kills, it would be my pick from your 500.

  10. #10

    Default thanks all for the feedback...

    my main interest is in the jacketed bullets with a wide flat soft nose. 100% energy transfer with great penetration. always looking for the perfect "found the bullet under the skin on the opposite side" story. i've cut bullets in half from most manufacturers and found things I did and didn't like. the Kodiak has a very thick jacket, and they are advertised as having a bonded core/jacket. great qualities, but I wondered if the jacket was too thick to expand reliably at my velocities. the woodleigh looks great inside, but they are **** expensive, and not that easy to find. the sierras and hornadys have relatively thin jackets that seem to separate from the band saw work. think i'll have to find a consistent media to fire them into for comparo. anyone have a couple dozen phone books layin around I can destroy?

  11. #11

    Default

    Thia might interest you, at least in the FWIW sense. I've compared a number of 300 grain jacketed pistol bullets on bundled newspapers and game, mostly deer, at 44 mag handgun velocities (1150MV) and faster (2200MV) out of a .429 wildcat based on the 45-70 case and delivering more whoop than a 444 Marlin.

    Sierras, Hornadys, Noslers and Speers were fine in the hangun, even expanding a little. From the wildcat, Speers did best, retaining more weight and penetrating better. Sierras, Hornadys and Noslers basically came apart when fired into newspaper from the wildcat. I didn't try them on game. Kodiaks and Hawks did not expand at all from the handgun, while doing a great job from the wildcat. My pick of the litter for the wildcat is the Hawk with their heavy jacket. Seemed to perform just as well as the Kodiak, while being a lot cheaper and much easier to get hold of. Hawks remind me of the old original Barnes, which is a compliment.

    Newspaper and phone books are interesting when comparing one brand to another, but not a good predictor of what they're going to do on game. In my experience they always expand more and penetrate less on the paper than the game. Expanding 2X caliber and penetrating 15" of paper doesn't mean that's what will happen on game. In fact that same bullet is likely to expand less and penetrate more.

  12. #12
    Member JoeJ's Avatar
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    As mentioned in Brown Bears post - the Hawks have a good reputation on game with both rifle and revolver. I have some in 510 diameter for the Linebaugh cartridges and maybe in the near future I'll be able to test them out on a critter or two.
    http://www.hawkbullets.com/maintest.htm

  13. #13

    Default thx for the Hawk reminder

    excellent tip, spent some considerable time this a.m. on the web-site and talked awhile on the phone with a tech at Hawk. great information and a very well thought-out bullet. I will be ordering soon to try some out at the range. now, if all the stars align, they'll shoot close to the sierra 400's for low $$$ range time.

  14. #14

    Default 500 s&w

    It never ceases to cause me to think," .500= 1/2 inch diamter bullets need to expand?

    I am sitting here typing while looking at a expanded 338 caliber bullet that went through the entire skull of a 1600 pound buffalo and lodged roughly 24 inches from contact point. It is a Accubond and the bullet is a perfect mushroom and it does not measure 1/2 inch in diamter!

    In the very old days when Muzzle loaders shot round balls, big hole in, somestimes same hole out equaled meat in the pot. The old dependable 45-70 killed a lot of buffalo as well as large exotic African game with big hole in and big hole out sometimes. Animals fall like hit by a truck.

    I have taken a lot of game with the old Keith style hardcast bullet in my timeless 44 Mag. Big hole in and usually the same size hole going out and every animal goes down quickly. I am not understanding the thinking when it comes to a starting diameter larger than most every other bullets ending diameter and wanting it to expand? Is it the Urban hunting experience and we do not want to get pass through shots because of what we might hit on the other side of the target? Personally I like cutting a square profile hole with a bullet I know that is hard enough to retain its shape and cut the same hole right through everything and out the back door. AT 12' a momma brownie with babies really needs a bullet ( been here) that will get the job done. Tough and hard with a flat surface for maximum blunt force trauma is my way of thinking.

    That is just my opinion.

    Neal

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Emerald Island View Post
    In the very old days when Muzzle loaders shot round balls, big hole in, somestimes same hole out equaled meat in the pot. The old dependable 45-70 killed a lot of buffalo as well as large exotic African game with big hole in and big hole out sometimes. Animals fall like hit by a truck.

    Neal
    Though I agree completely on the effectiveness of a hardened bullet with a big meplat based on a whole lot of personal experience on game, I also have to report on my growing experience with muzzleloaders and round balls.

    In fact, round balls are cast from pure lead, and they expand like crazy. Even then, at the 100 yards or less that most deer are shot with them, full penetration is common on broadside shots with 50 caliber and larger balls launched at normal "hunting" velocities. I've recovered exactly one from deer. It's a 54 caliber from a good sized Sitka blacktail buck I shot head on (later lasered 56 yards) right in the white patch of the throat. It stopped under the hide on the back of the neck after completely severing the spine. Recovered diameter is 1.09" and it was flattened almost like a quarter with only a dimple on the back remaining of the original round ball shape.

    Starting at 225 grains and around 1700 fps, it now weighs 209.7 grains. I am still blown away by the weight retention after all that expansion and bone smashing. Exit holes on broadside shots run about an inch, so even without hitting major bone, there's expansion going on. Folks worried about more penetration on large game sometimes cast their balls out of wheelweights to limit expansion, and I don't recall ever hearing about or seeing pictures of a recovered ball. Other folks just go to a larger diameter ball for more "power" on big game. Works for me. My standard hunting caliber is now 58 caliber (I have 3 of them) and 280 grain ball, and I'm tinkering with a 75 caliber right now. That hunkalead pops the scale at 590 grains and really stands you upright when you push it up to 1100 FPS.

    Due to the rapid velocity fall-off with round balls, it just doesn't do a whole lot of good to push them at blazing velocities. Hundreds of FPS increase at the muzzle are reduced to less than 50 FPS increase at 100 yards. Just the nature and physics of a perfectly round ball rather than an elongate bullet.

    You get in all kinds of trouble with range estimation and trajectory when you push a round ball past 150 yards, and for my tastes anyway, past 100 yards. They're a short range affair in terms of trajectory and sighting with open sights, but man. They are stone killers within their effective range, way out of proportion to what you "hear" about those ancient balls. Most of the complaints come from folks who want to stretch range past 100 yards, and especially from the folks selling the equipment to do it. To listen to them, you'd think a round ball is about as effective as a rock. Yeah, and you just gotta sell that Chevy and buy Ford. Same principle.

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    Member JoeJ's Avatar
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    Nothing wrong with your thinking Neal. It's sure nice to start with a big hole and it's even better to end up with a bigger one, if one can do it without sacrificing penetration through bone & muscle. That's the trick right there IMHO. Hard to beat hard cast, but maybe the Hawk can do it, if not, some of us will keep looking for that "magic" bullet.

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    Member S.B.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    There are rifles almost as light as that handgun is heavy...
    B.S. not with that kind of power and capable of taking this kind of game animals. Have you or would you ever shoot a 4lb. .375 H&H? My opinion the S&W 500 is what the .375 H&H is to big game rifles.
    Steve

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    Default I agree

    Quote Originally Posted by S.B. View Post
    B.S. not with that kind of power and capable of taking this kind of game animals.
    Yes, not with that kind of power.

    But with lots of power, yes. In particular I was thinking of the .338 RCM which weighs in lighter than 7# I believe.

    And though I'm no expert on the 500, but I was pretty sure the one I held weighed 6#.

    That's all I meant.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by S.B. View Post
    B.S. not with that kind of power and capable of taking this kind of game animals.
    BS, BS, BS, kick dirt, spit on the ground, blah, blah, blah, ..... Ha ha....



    Quote Originally Posted by FamilyMan View Post
    And though I'm no expert on the 500, but I was pretty sure the one I held weighed 6#.That's all I meant.
    No need to explain, but being the gentlemen you are, I am not surprised. Your original post was quite factual and needs no further explanation in my opinion. I could not agree more with it in fact. A scoped full size 500 would indeed weigh in near 6 lbs. The gun is 72 ounces empty without a scope. My guide gun in 45-70 for example is exactly 7 lbs. Now it is time for another smart *** to chime in and say that the 500 and 45-70 are not big game calibers
    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.

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    Member Vince's Avatar
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    Default you called?

    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    BS, BS, BS, kick dirt, spit on the ground, blah, blah, blah, ..... Ha ha....


    No need to explain, but being the gentlemen you are, I am not surprised. Your original post was quite factual and needs no further explanation in my opinion. I could not agree more with it in fact. A scoped full size 500 would indeed weigh in near 6 lbs. The gun is 72 ounces empty without a scope. My guide gun in 45-70 for example is exactly 7 lbs. Now it is time for another smart***** to chime in and say that the 500 and 45-70 are not big game calibers
    there not..... have you seen the size of the rabbits here? there is a reason bears don't crap in the woods anymore...
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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