American Handgunner Jan/Feb 2013 Digital Edition - Page 38

HANDGUNHUNTING tips, techniQues and political incorrectness J.d. Jones Both by s&W. standard 4" and the 5" John Ross limited edition version. THE 500 S&W: Too MucH of a Good THInG? I first became aware of the cartridge when Pete Pi (owner of Cor-Bon) called to discuss the cartridge and the possibility of a test barrel for it in an Encore, as the revolver was not yet produced. Pete supplied the reamer and SSK made the first 500 S&W barrels. The second went to Pete and I still have the first. A pressure test barrel went to S&W at the same time. Initially I used bullets intended for the .50 AE, and Barnes bullets furnished by Pete. Frankly, the S&W was very impressive compared to larger .50-caliber cartridges I had experience with. It worked with less case capacity and higher pressures to achieve very impressive ballistics, accuracy, muzzle- blast and recoil. It was obvious this cartridge was going take a monster of a revolver to handle it. Incidentally the first animal taken with the 500 was a cow elk which Ed Brown videoed for me. Short shot, maybe 40 yards, with an instant down and tremendously impressive damage. My fist would go through the hole in the rib cage exit. Since then, the big S&W has taken literally every big game species. My first shot with the revolver was from a 4" model loaded with the 440gr. Cor-Bon max load, while stoopedover in a small test tunnel. At the shot, I wondered what the hell I had done. The awkward position and enclosed tunnel magnified the blast and recoil characteristics —which don’t really need magnifying. e have three S&W revolvers in this caliber, and the Encore, all with a well-proven track record. We have 275-gr. Barnes bullets at over 1,800 fps from the 83/8" — more from an Encore — and 725-gr. cast bullets at 1,200-1,300 fps from the revolver and good bullets at about 50-gr. steps between those limits. So we have big heavy revolvers; the 83/8" (combustion chamber length 38 NEEds MusclEs w he long-barreled revolver is massive in size and weight but consistent with its power and recoil. The 4" version is just as massive, but shorter and a little lighter. John Ross (author of Unintended Consequences) is the most knowledgeable individual on the 500 revolver and loading for it (john-ross.net/handloading.htm). Other reliable sources are the load manuals by recognized sources of published loading manuals. I’ve seen some internet data I would be very leery of. For non-handloaders, a very wide variety of ammo is marketed. For handloaders you probably won’t live long enough to try everything. JR liked the revolver enough to have S&W make a 500-gun run of a special model for him which he sells. It’s really a relatively lightweight 5"-barreled gun without a brake. Frankly, I find Handloading T The full-size s&W is a real handful. Left: An extremely wide variety of bullets exist for the big 50. These are for Lehigh; Barnes, sierra and speer. it better balanced than the 4" factory version and really can’t see any difference in recoil between the two with the loads I’ve tried. The recoil of the max loads are probably in excess of my ability to detect the differences between the two guns. Frankly, I like it better than the factory versions, but it is still a real handful with heavy loads. JR has developed cast bullets up to a bit over 700 grains, and data for them, which gives good accuracy and relatively mild pressures and recoil. is too much? Only you can answer that. Some can’t handle the recoil of a .357, while others are literally impervious to recoil. Interestingly, the 500-gr. Hornady at sub-sonic velocity in an SSK suppressed carbine is quiet, accurate and effective. Maybe that’s where it all really shines. 9.75") weights in at 4.2 pounds; the 4" (CCL 5.5") at 3.6, the 5" (CCL 7.25") at 3.6 and an 11.25" (CCL 10.25") bullbarreled scoped Encore at 4.8 pounds. At those weights, it takes a lot of strength to hold and shoot them accurately. With the right loads the 500 revolver’s accuracy will equal the best revolvers, and scoping them just seems awkward to me. Is the weight and recoil too much of a good thing? It takes a lot of strength to hold and shoot all of them. How much * For more info: www.americanhandgunner. com/product-index and click on the company name. WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JANUARY/FEBRUARY2013

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