S&W M-500 Who has shot one?


September 19, 2008, 09:01 PM
I just bought a S&W 500 and haven't fired her yet. She's the 4 inch compensated model. I bought a box of Hornady's 300 gr. sst/fft red tip rounds at 57.00 for 20.

My question is is this going to be a pleasent experience firing this beast or what can I expect? Anyone like these guns and re-load fun rounds that are accurate and easy to shoot.

I was thinking of using this gun for my first Deer hunt gun this year.

I want this as a back up bear gun here in my Montana adventures.



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September 19, 2008, 09:14 PM
I do not own one, but fired a dozen 400 grain rounds through a friend's 4" 500 (read fairly limited experience). I am used to firing full blown .357 magnum rounds and .44spl. I found the recoil to be heavy, but not unruly or scary. It wasn't terribly painful, but felt like you caught a baseball with your bare hand. That was the quickest $50 I had spent since going to the casino. :D

If you have experience shooting (which it seems you have quite a bit of) and keep a good grip you'll be fine. The .500 will be PLENTY for deer.

September 19, 2008, 10:47 PM
Own one, but it's a 10.5 inch model. You can search "500 S&W Magnum" for more posts.

Do yourself a HUGE favor: get some shooting gloves, and start with either the .500 S&W Special (not Magnum) loads, and/or the 275 gr Magnum loads. A breeze!

Go up from there if you want. For the 4-inch it's hard to imagine needing something beyond the 275 gr for deer and maybe a 350 JSP for griz, but 300s, 325s, 360s, 370s, 400s, 440s (my upper limit so far) and 500s await the bold, the strong, the curious and the foolish.

Pay your health insurance, and good luck!

jack the toad
September 20, 2008, 07:55 AM
I currently own a 4" 500.
I think the 329 is worse than the 500.
Those Hogue grips seem to make a difference.
Just hang on to it (grip) and have fun.

September 20, 2008, 01:30 PM
I have a couple of them. Depending on the round, shooting them can be pleasant or painful.

You can do a lot if you load for it. (Not the least of which is "save money". $57 for 20 rounds? Ouch!)

Here's some load info that I've used/posted:

September 20, 2008, 01:35 PM
I shot the ~8" version that belonged to a friend. Recoil was surprisingly manageable, and it was fun to blow chunks off of a steel plate! :D

September 20, 2008, 02:08 PM
I have the 8" .500 and handload from 375gr to 500 gr. The great thing about handloading for this cannon is that you can keep the costs down and practice more often. Shooting this monster with full house loads is not for the shooter
who can not tolerate pain of recoil. When you hold on tight you can feel the shock wave going right through your bones. I would not walk away from buying one if you will be shooting it. Suggest you borrow a friends a shot a couple of
cylinders. Reloading should be a must.... Enjoy

Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 20, 2008, 02:25 PM
I have the 4" as well which I load Barnes XPB 275g bullets. The hottest loads by far that I shot are the Corbon 440g Hard Cast Lead. Those things were the first ones I shot out of it and it scared me nearly to death. I was actually (a little bit) afraid to shoot it!

Then, I shot other ammo and found all the other ammo to be not too bad at all.

Hold on tight with both hands (both hands on the grips and no fingers ahead of, or around, the front of the cylinder as people have severely injured themselves by the gases which escape at the sides where the cylinder meets the forcing cone).

I got to the point where I'm pulling 1.5" groups (off the bench) at 50 yards. That's not bad, considering I'm using open sights. I changed the original S&W rear sight to a Millett rear target sight. PM me if you need to know what height back blade you might need if you should change over to Millett. I ordered one sight and the other two heights in blades and experimented and found the one that keeps the sight low, but is still high enough to have some adjustment at 50 yards.

You will want to carefully remove the three side plate screws, clean with alcohol and apply blue locktite to all three screws and carefully tighten with the proper-size screwdriver blade (don't mix up the screws!). I also used the blue Locktite for the Millett sight screw and found the other day that the cylinder thumb release screw was loose (which I never put locktite on), so I cleaned it up with alcohol and put a drop on that screw and tightened as well.

They tell you in the manual and at technical support not to use threadlocker on the compensator (black allen) screw. I didn't at first and kept it tight, however while shooting, the compensator became loose, which I noticed while cleaning the gun. I called S&W because the black screw was worn from the harsh vibration of the compensator and would not tighten the compensator any more - there was some wiggle in the compensator with the screw as tight as could be, without breaking it. Upon further investigation, I could see wear marks in the screw from the harsh recoil and subsequent vibration of the compensator into the screw. When I got the new screw, I cleaned everything up with alcohol to degrease, and applied some blue (maximum strength) Locktite on that as well, and it hasn't been a problem since.

The Hogue grip from the factory is perfect. I tried a Pachmayr for the heck of it and it was so loose and sloppy, I didn't even shoot with it and sent it right back to MidwayUSA without any hassles.

If you've ever shot large magnums (41, 44) then this gun shouldn't be too much for you. Hold tight with both hands and be careful not to let it come back and hit you in the forehead. I find with the 4" there is a lot of muzzle rise during recoil.

If you reload, you can work up some accurate loads (which are cheaper than factory-loaded ammo by 50% or more).

I find that when the bullet seats into the case -- even with a heavy taper in the case mouth (expanding almost to the point of splitting the top edge of the case) there is a tendency for some cases to wrinkle a bit on one side, or crush just a bit. I have found to prevent this from happening, I set my bullet squarely into the expanded case neck, raise the ram on the press to seat the bullet about halfway, lowering the ram on the press, rotating the case in the shell holder about 180 degrees and then completely finishing seating the bullet. Incidentally, I seat all my primers for everything I load in this manner -- partial seat of the primer, turn case approximately 180 degrees in the shell holder, then finish seating the primer. In no time, I got used to doing it this way and it's now habit and only takes a second or two longer, but ensures that the primers always get seated squarely in the primer pockets.

Because of the extremely heavy recoil, I make sure I crimp HEAVY into the cannelure so there won't be any jump of the other bullets out of their respective cases which are in the cylinder upon firing. I trim my cases after every resizing and use a dedicated RCBS roll crimp seater (RCBS #23838) and do that as my last step on all cartridges after seating all the bullets (in my tray of 50). That way, the crimp process is not connected to the seating process and it ensures I get a perfect HEAVY crimp into each cannelure every time.

Good luck!

Friendly, Don't Fire!
September 20, 2008, 04:46 PM
I'm anxious to hear how you made out on your first firing of your new weapon!:D

Old Grump
September 20, 2008, 05:28 PM
I haven't but I want to, be happy to test it for you.

September 20, 2008, 05:33 PM
Shot one. 3 times and that's it. 440 gr. GC bullet over max load of H110. UNPLEASANT!!!

September 21, 2008, 07:19 PM
I have been shooting the 500 Mag since it hit the market. Well over 5 years now.
I have owned 2 of the 8 3/8 inch models, a 10.5 inch model and a 4 inch model. I also have one in a 6 inch custom BFR. Currently I own 3 500 Mags, a 4 inch S&W a 6 inch BFR and a 10.5 inch OTT Encore.

The recoil can be more than a handful to actually very manageable. I have seen a few people gravitate to the large bullets for the 500 Mag, I am guilty as well, but the truth be known, a 370 to 440 gr. bullet is the best weight for the 500 Mags and what I use 98% of time. You can kill anything on the planet with a 440 gr. bullet form the 500 Mag. There is no real need for any of the large bullets. JMHO

I have taken deer, bear and hogs with my 500 Mag. All have been one shot kills. I estimate I have shot will over 7000 rounds of 500 mag, yes reloading is the way to go with the 500 Mag.
I use hard cast bullets only, in my opinion they are the best.

My S&W 4 inch 500 Mag has a custom end cap installed, I did not like the extra flash or noise of the compensator. The recoil in my opinion is the same, but the gun has more muzzle rise because of the end cap. But I still can get a second shot of very quick.

My suggestion to you is, reload, keep the loads in a manageable range and stick to the 370 to 440 gr. bullet range. Then you will see how fun the 500 mag can be.

From my other 500 Mag posting...

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