The Smith and Wesson 500 Special
When smith and wesson 500 unveiled their.500 S&W Magnum in 2003, they skipped right over the middle of the pack and went straight to the top. This cartridge is practically the same length as the 500.
Linebaugh Long, but it differs from that one in that it uses.500″ bullets instead of those longer ones. Although it has a severe recoil, the Model 500 smith and wesson 500 revolver, which weighs more than four pounds, is able to control it to some extent. I simply cannot even begin to imagine what it would be like to fire this cartridge from a “regular” two and a half pound sixgun. More details are…..
The Power Players
I began my work with the heaviest sixgun cartridges with the.44 Magnum and worked my way up through the Heavy.45 Colt,.454 Casull,.445 SuperMag,.475 and.500 Linebaughs,.475 and.500 Linebaugh Longs,.480 Ruger,.460 and smith and wesson 500 Magnums, and the.500 Wyoming Express over the course of the last several decades In the course of this time, I have been given a great number of requests for full house loads for each of these cartridges. An odd thing has occurred recently. Despite the fact that I continue to receive many requests for loading data for all of them, These days, people almost never ask for full house loads; rather, they express a desire for loads that are effective while also being enjoyable to shoot.
But what about the other 99.9 percent of hunting that doesn’t involve really big game? All of these cartridges, when loaded to their maximum capacity, are good options for taking down really big game. If we need it, the power is there, but for the most part, big-game hunting with sixguns consists of hunting deer, which are not particularly difficult to bring down. When used in any of the above cartridges, a heavyweight bullet travelling at 900 feet per second will completely penetrate an animal the size of a deer. With a broadside shot, my bullet went in one side and out the other, and I was left with a beautiful trophy bull. Even big animals like bison can’t stand up to the force of a 400-grain bullet moving at 1,100 feet per second.
Although “awesome” is a word that has been used to death, it still applies to the factory.
The smith and wesson 500 loaded with a 400-grain bullet travelling at 1,675 feet per second is undeniably a fantastic load. The barrel of a sixgun can produce roughly 400 more feet per second than a conventional barrel. 45-70 from a rifle barrel. It would appear that a significant number of people have found the.500 S&W Magnum to be too much for them to manage, which is why it has been shrunk to the.500 Special calibre.
Both a 275-grain Barnes DPX and a 350-grain Sierra JHP are available for use in the Corbon.500 S&W Special cartridge. The Barnes DPX has a velocity rating of 1,350 feet per second, while the Sierra JHP has the same rating. When contrasted to the initial load, these can be considered “special” loads. However, these are not light loads by any stretch of the imagination for the 500 S&W Magnum.
The case length of the.500 Special is approximately 1.28 inches, while the case length of the.500 Magnum is approximately 1.6 inches; this means that the.500 Special bullet must leap an additional.3 inches to pass through the large cylinder of the.500 Magnum. When using a Magnum cylinder, special loads don’t always produce precise shots; other times, though, they do. When it comes to this topic, each and every sixgun is a law unto itself.
Both factory loads from Corbon were put through their paces in a S&W Model 500 Magnum equipped with a barrel measuring 83/8 inches. The precision really took me by surprise, and in a good way.
The lighter 275 DPX bullet reached 1,195 feet per second (1,005 feet per second in a 4 inch Model 500). While the heavier 350 JHP bullet reached 1,285 feet per second (1,160 feet per second in a 4 inch Model 500).Both rounds, I was able to place five shots in 11/4 inches at 25 yards. Again, both of these loads are more than plenty for anything that does not include elephants, rhinos, Cape buffalo, or large bears. For either of them, I would still choose the heaviest feasible hard cast or flat-nosed bullet for optimal penetration. This applies to both of these types of bullets. Because it has been so long since an elephant or Cape buffalo was seen in Idaho. I believe that the.500 special loads are doing a good job of meeting my needs.
After that, it was time to get to work at the reloading table. In order to develop some loads for the.500 Special. I determined that the RCBS.500 Magnum dies needed some adjustment so that they could properly fit the shorter cartridge. Both the expander button and the special case needed to be trimmed in order to achieve the desired length. The special case was too short to reach the crimping shoulder of the seating die. While the expander button extended too far into the special case.
For the powders, I went with some of the same propellants. I generally use to make every day working loads in high capacity sixgun cartridges. These were Hodgdon’s TiteGroup and Winchester’s 231, both of which are manufactured by Winchester. My goal was to make easy-to-use shooting loads that would give me speeds between 1,100 and 1,200 feet per second. Work with bullets ranging from the Barnes 275-grain DPX to the Cast Performance Bullet Co. 400-grain LBT Gas Check.
With the Barnes 275 DPX over 10.5 grains of TiteGroup, the muzzle velocity is 1,170 fps from the 83/8″ S&W Model 500, which practically duplicates the Corbon factory loading, and it has a 25-yard group for four rounds that measures 11/4 inches. Although the muzzle velocity of 1,150 feet per second with the Sierra 350 JHP over 11.5 grains of TiteGroup was around 125 feet per second. Slower than the Corbon factory load, the group size was a very nice 7/8 inches.
Wheelgun With A Compact Body
Now that the factory is stocked, it is only natural to look for a much more compact. Easier to pack sixgun. Starline’s 500 Special and brass available from Starline have arrived. This is because it is much more convenient to carry. The Model 500 is simpler to fire than a sixgun that weighs a pound and a half less. But it is not something that one would ordinarily want to tote all day, day after day.
Life is full of trade-offs, and the Model 500 is one of those trade-offs. The perfect sixgun for the Ruger 500 Special calibre is a single-action model with five chambers. The same overall length as a Ruger Blackhawk. The gunsmith, Jack Huntington, was able to supply me with a vehicle that fit this description.
One of the most aesthetically pleasing and functional packin’ pistols. I have ever come across was Jack’s solution to the problem of where to house the.500 Special. Jack started with a stainless steel Ruger Bisley Model and fitted it with a 5-shot un-fluted cylinder. He then changed the grip frame to make it smaller and rounder at the butt end. Finally, he finished everything off with a 4 x Colt Anaconda barrel that had been re-bored to.500.
This sixgun exemplifies all that a perfect packin’ pistol should be; it should be lightweight, compact, and most definitely powerful. When fired from this short-barreled.500 Special. The CPBC 400 grain LBTGC over 11.0 grains of WW231 clocks out at 950 feet per second and places four shots in 11/8 inches at 20 yards. In comparison, the Sierra 350 JHP over 11.5 grains of TiteGroup places four shots in 13/8 inches at a muzzle velocity of 1,055 feet per second. I am OK with either of these options. Thanks!