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Hunting & Fishing Ground >> Just got .500 S & W Revolver


12/19/08 2:09 PM
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Tap21
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Okay, so I like to flyfish on a river where a bear killed somebody last year, another river where there has been a non-fatal attack, and I want to go fish another river where there has been a non-fatal attack.

Knowing this, a family member just gave me a Smith and Wesson .500 last night as a gift.

Without addressing whether the black bear attacks warrant owning such a ridiculous revolver, I now have to get comfortable at shooting this thing.

Has anyone ever shot any of the following loads out of a .500:

HSM 300gr JHP,
Corbon Hunter 350gr FMJ, or
Cabelas bulk .500 ammo in 300gr JHP?

Also, is the Cabela's bulk stuff just HSM?

I want to start out on some really low recoil loads since this is such a huge round and I've never shot anything larger than a .45acp.

The HSM is about $1.25 per round and about 1306 ft-lbs and the Corbon is about $2.30 per round and about 941 ft-lbs. Is it worth the extra dough to have 365 less ft-lbs of energy and the accompanying reduction in recoil?

Thanks for any help anyone can provide.
1/2/09 10:45 AM
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Willybone
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Edited: 01/04/09 6:24 PM
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The 500 is about as ludicrous a handgun as I can imagine actually shooting.

What size barrel did you get?
My neighbor has one with a 8" barrel and it is comically large. It feels like a anime gun.
Unfortunately, I did not get to shoot it.

  
1/8/09 5:02 PM
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Tap21
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Damn, I thought I responded to this.

Yes, it is ludicrously large. But amazingly, it is easy to shoot if you get light enough loads. The first time I shot it, I fired some 1,200 or 1,400 ft-lb (the box says 1400 but everyone on the web says they are 1200) loads pushing a 235 gr bullet. Those were no problem. It really is not as bad as I thought with such light ammo. The crazy thing is that you can even buy loads in the 900 ft-lb range.

I'm sure the 3,000 ft-lb 325 gr bullets made by double tap are ridiculous!

I got the 4" inch barrel so that I could carry it easily while fishing.
1/10/09 7:57 PM
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undericeking
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I want that pistol!!! I used to have a BFR .45-70 revolver with an 8" barrel and it kicked pretty good. I can't imagine the 500 kicks that much more, probably less.
1/12/09 12:52 PM
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Tap21
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The recoil of the 500 all really depends on the load.

You can buy ultra light ammo like the 940 ft.-lb. muzzle energy (ME) load at ballisticsupply.net. The recoil there is supposed to be like a .38. Or you can go all the way up to the 3,000+ ft.-lb. stuff from Double Tap ammo that is the most powerful thing you can shoot out of any commercial pistol. I'm sure that recoil is pretty absurd.
1/15/09 3:29 PM
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hotshot123
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 a buddy of mine left one in my hands to keep his wife from knowing he bought it but all i ever shot throught were handloads. also it was an auto desert eagle........that thing was a monster and you had better be hangin on when you squeezed the trigger...it was fun to break it out in a line of shooter and watch them hit the ground when that cannon went off
1/16/09 11:00 AM
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Willybone
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Edited: 01/16/09 12:43 PM
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also it was an auto desert eagle..

The DE, while an awesome and ridiculous gun in its own right, has about half the power of this monster:


which is what Tap21 is now toting through the woods.
S&W 500 = 2000 ft/lbs of power
50 AE = 1230 ft/lbs
(numbers from Wikipedia, so with a grain of salt)

I love the DE, too. In .357, it's a very smooth shooter. 
1/20/09 3:38 PM
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The Turkey Sandwich
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 I've had the opportunity to shoot the really cartoonish looking version with the 8'' barrel.  The recoil on that gun is completely insane.  Have fun hitting that bear if it's any more than about 15-20 yards out.
1/20/09 7:59 PM
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gregbrady
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Keep a rifle on you while you fish. A big grizzly bear will laugh at any pistol
1/21/09 1:13 AM
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The Turkey Sandwich
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gregbrady - Keep a rifle on you while you fish. A big grizzly bear will laugh at any pistol

 There were trees that laughed at the .500 while we were shooting it.  Those trees aren't laughing anymore.  While the round didn't pierce most trees, it easily blew out the backs of birch trees.  Also, firing that thing without some kind of ear protection is a terrible, terrible idea.
1/22/09 7:14 PM
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Tap21
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gregbrady - Keep a rifle on you while you fish. A big grizzly bear will laugh at any pistol


Yeah, obviously it is easier to kill a bear with a rifle than a pistol. But, that rifle will not do you any good when it is sitting on the bank after about 4 hours of it being on your back.

Also, where I fish, there are only black bears. Black bear hand gun hunters often use guns way weaker than the 500. Here is what one Maine black bear guiding service recommends to its customers:

"if you use a minimum .40 caliber, a minimum 200-grain solid deformable bullet and a minimum of 1,000 fps velocity from your chosen gun, you'll have a handgun load that will take any bear that shows itself." (1)

The 500 goes way beyond those guidelines. The 500 is 25% larger than a .40 caliber. It can shoot bullets up to 600 gr. in the 4" barrel and up to 700 gr. in longer lengths. (2) It can shoot ammo at up to 1975 fps and 3000 ft-lbs. For comparison, muzzle energy of .44 magnums (which is a super common black bear hunting handgun) is only about 1500 ft-lbs. (3) Based on that, I'd say the 500 is about twice as much gun as black bear hunters commonly say you need to kill a black bear.

Also, the properties of the S&W 500 in the better loads of that caliber is startlingly similar to one of the most commonly accepted black or grizzly bear self-defense weapons--the 12 gauge loaded with slugs. For instance, take one of Remington’s finest shotgun slug shells, the Premier Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded Sabot Slug. That slug shell fires at 1900 fps and 3086 ft-lbs. This is a special saboted slug specifically made for shotguns with rifled barrels. It is much faster and shoots harder than most shotgun slug loads (especially ones made for normal shotguns with unrifled barrels). (4) (5) Yet those figures are almost exactly the same as the Double Tap 500 load that does 1975 fps and 3032 ft-lbs. What’s even more astonishing is that the slug in that Remington shell is the exact same slug that you get in the 385 gr. CLHP 500 load from Ballistic Supply.net. It’s not a similar slug…It’s the exact same one. (6). So, the 500 in better loads is very similar to better shotgun slugs and probably better than the average shotgun slug.

Obviously there are rifles that vastly outperform the 500. But a lot of common rifle rounds are only slightly faster than the 500 and a lot less powerful.

Here’s a normal Cor-Bon 30-30 round that shoots at 2300 fps and only 1762 ft-lbs: http://www.midwayusa.com/eproductpage.exe/showproduct?saleitemid=560751

A lot of normal .30-06 rounds top out at, a very similar to the 500, 2800 or 2900 ft-lbs: http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=3&categoryId=7529&categoryString=653***690***

A quick browse through a bunch of common .308 rounds shows they also usually top out in the same range as the .30-06 rounds: http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=3&categoryId=7556&categoryString=653***690***

So, the 500 is also very similar to a lot of very common rifle rounds in terms of muzzle energy. This is not even addressing the fact that the 500 round is way bigger than the rounds of weapons in the .300 caliber range. Granted, the 500 can’t compete with ultra large rifle rounds in terms of power, but you also can’t carry a large rifle for as long as you can carry a 500.

Oviously, none of the above addresses the accuracy of handguns compared to rifles. But, I think this is counterbalanced by the fact that the accuracy of a rifle on the ground on the other side of the river is 0%.


Just my thoughts.

(1) http://www.foggymountain.com/handgun-bear-hunting.shtml
(2) http://www.ballisticsupply.net/Default.aspx?tabid=252105
(3) Wikipedia
(4) http://www.remington.com/products/ammunition/shotshell/slugs/core-Lokt_ultra_bonded_sabot.asp
(5) http://www.chuckhawks.com/shotgun_slugs.htm
(6) http://www.ballisticsupply.net/Default.aspx?tabid=252105
1/22/09 7:34 PM
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Tap21
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The Turkey Sandwich - 
 I've had the opportunity to shoot the really cartoonish looking version with the 8'' barrel.  The recoil on that gun is completely insane.  Have fun hitting that bear if it's any more than about 15-20 yards out.


Very good point. It is also true that the recoil on a lot of rifles with muzzle energies much better than 3000 ft-lbs is also pretty rough. Same for shotguns shooting slugs around that range.

Maybe more importantly, if you shoot a bear where I live at a range much greater than 20 yards (60 feet), you are going to get questions about whether it was self-defense or poaching. Bears can cover ground very fast, but I wouldn't want to have that conversation with some "environmentally conscious" prosecutor after I shot a bear that was half a football field away.
1/30/09 11:50 PM
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gregbrady
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Tap21

No doubt the the 500 has some serious energy but the recoil is ridiculous. You better hope you hit it with the 1st rd. I would personally like more than one shot at an aggressive grizzly. A rifle is far more accurate as well. For a black bear anything from a .38 on up is fine. My buddy likes a .357
2/5/09 2:31 PM
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Tap21
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They make loads with a wide spectrum of power and recoil for the 500. Some of them only have about as much recoil as a regular .45. I've personally shot some that had less recoil than a .44 magnum. So you can pretty much scale down the recoil and power as much as you need.

As far as rounds smaller than a .41 magnum for black bear, check out this article from a black bear guiding service in Maine that does a lot of handgun hunting for black bears:
http://www.foggymountain.com/handgun-bear-hunting.shtml.

They tell a story about a veteran black bear hunter unloading a full cylinder of .357 on one which didn't stop and then starting kicking ass on his dogs. I have personally heard a similar story in the last year about an emptied .357 and a black bear in my area. Of course, guys have killed black bears with much smaller rounds, but who wants to take that chance.

Also, rifles are of course the better weapon for killing almost anything, but a rifle is a lot harder to carry and lot more likely to be on the shore when you encounter a bear in the middle of the river.

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