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American Handgunner May/June 2011 - Page 44
THE SIXGUNNER Cor-Bon’s factory loads for the .500 Special with Jack Huntington’s custom .500 Special Ruger Bisley Model — maybe a perfect match? John Taffin The .500 S&W Special n 2003, Smith & Wesson went directly to the top of the heap and introduced their .500 S&W Magnum. This cartridge is basically the same length as the .500 Linebaugh Long, however it differs in that it uses .500" bullets. It is a brutal recoiling cartridge, yet it is manageable to a point in the Model 500 Smith & Wesson revolver, weighing in excess of four pounds. I can’t even fathom what it would be like shooting this cartridge in a “normal” 21/2pound sixgun. Four shots fired at 20 yards from the Huntington custom .500 Special! I or the past several decades I’ve done a lot of work with the heaviest sixgun cartridges beginning with the .44 Magnum and progressing through the Heavy .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .445 SuperMag, .475 and .500 Linebaughs, .475 and .500 Linebaugh Longs, .480 Ruger, .460 and .500 S&W Magnums, and the .500 Wyoming Express. During this time I have received numerous requests for full house loads for all of these cartridges. I still get many requests for loading data for all of them, however a strange thing has happened. the BIg guys F The Cor-Bon .500 Special loads proved accurate in the S&W Model 500 S&W Magnum. Rarely does anyone ask anymore for full house loads; instead, in their words, they are looking for loads that are powerful but yet pleasurable to shoot. All of these cartridges in their full house loadings are good choices for really big game, but what about the other 99.9 percent of hunting endeavors? If we need the power it is there, but for most sixgunners biggame hunting consists of deer, and deer are not all that hard to bring down. A heavyweight bullet at 900 fps in any of the above cartridges will give total penetration on a deer-sized animal. Even larger animals such as bison cannot stand up to a 400-grain bullet at 1,100 fps; with a broadside shot my bullet went in one side and out the other and I had a beautiful trophy bull. Awesome is a totally overworked word, however the factory .500 S&W with a 400-grain bullet at 1,675 fps is definitely an awesome load. That is nearly 400 fps more from a sixgun barrel than a standard .45-70 from a rifle barrel. Apparently a lot of folks have found the .500 S&W Magnum more than they want to handle and it has now been downsized to the .500 Special. Top: The Barnes 275 DPX and Sierra 350 JHP are excellent choices for reloading the .500 Special. Left: The .500 Special compared to the 500 Magnum. orbon offers two loadings for the .500 S&W Special, a 275 gr. Barnes DPX rated at 1,350 fps, and a 350-grain Sierra JHP at the same velocity. These may be “Special” loads when compared to the original .500 S&W Magnum, however they are not light loads by any means. The case length of the .500 Special is approximately 1.28" while the .500 Magnum has a corresponding length of approximately 1.6"; this means the .500 Special bullet has to jump an extra .3" in that long cylinder. Sometimes Special loads shoot accurately in a Magnum cylinder; other times they don’t. Every sixgun is a law unto itself when it comes to this. Both Corbon factory loads were test fired in a S&W Model 500 Magnum with an 83/8" barrel. I was most pleasantly surprised at the accuracy. Modest Loads C Continued on page 81 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • MAY/JUNE 2011 44