S&W .500 Magnum recoil - pleasant surprise


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duns
August 14, 2011, 10:44 AM
Fired my S&W .500 Magnum, 4" barrel, yesterday for the first time. I fired 4 different types of ammo:

1. Magtech 325 gr SJSP-FLAT light loading (1378 fps, 1370 ft lbf)
2. Magtech 325 gr SJSP-FLAT standard loading (1801 fps, 2340 ft lbf)
3. Hornady 500 gr FP XTP (1425 fps, 2254 ft lbf)
4. Ballistic Supply 600 gr Hardcast (1250 fps, 2081 ft lbf)

I started with #1, the featherweight Magtechs. Hardly any muzzle flip. Like a peashooter.

The other three rounds all have roughly the same nominal energy. For me, the perceived recoil, muzzle flip, and muzzle blast seemed in proportion to the bullet weight. #4 was probably at the limit that I can manage in that I did find it slightly difficult to keep my support hand clamped on especially when my hands started to get sweaty (temperature was in the 90s at an open air range in Texas).

None of the rounds were painful or even uncomfortable to shoot. I fired 105 rounds, all I had taken with me, but I felt I could have shot it all day.

I came to the conclusion that the reports of unmanageable recoil I had read on the net were greatly exaggerated. With the lighter-weight bullets, I think this is an easy gun to shoot. IMO, .357 magnum fired out of my 13 oz scandium framed snubby is a greater challenge, involving real pain, whereas the big Smith is pain free and actually comfortable.

Even with 600 gr bullets, I think the S&W .500 is downright pleasant to shoot. I could feel the power but it was so comfortable and controllable. I am thrilled with it. It has instantly become my favorite handgun.

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Mike1234567
August 14, 2011, 11:07 AM
"Like a pea shooter"?:confused: Lawdy, lawdy... you must have some BAD pea shooters in your neck of the woods!!:eek:

captain awesome
August 14, 2011, 01:47 PM
I am with ya duns, first time I shot my 500 I was in love. Recoil was no where near as bad as everyone said it would be. Glad you like it. If I could make a suggestion for you, the cost of shooting the 500 (or other calibers for that matter) is greatly reduced when you cast your own bullets. There are some group buys going on at castboolits.com for moulds the 500, and these all have the longer noses to fill out the cylinder completely, opening up the case for more capacity. it helps even more with recoil as you are shooting the same or higher velocity at lower pressure for the same bullet weights. there is some really good info for loading and bullet designs and such on John Ross's website;

http://john-ross.net/sw500.php

http://john-ross.net/pdfs/maghist.pdf

Mike1234567
August 14, 2011, 01:52 PM
Darn... maybe I shooda bought a S&W .500 Mag or .454 Casull instead of a Rem .44 Mag?? I've shot .44 Mags and figured it was all I could accurately handle but, if the .500 S&W (or .454 Casull) is that easy to shoot.....

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 14, 2011, 02:01 PM
Perhaps you could buy another one so you can just shoot them both single-handedly.:rolleyes:

captain awesome
August 14, 2011, 02:13 PM
Darn... maybe I shooda bought a S&W .500 Mag or .454 Casull instead of a Rem .44 Mag??

Instead? Think in addition to....I love my 44mags also.

56hawk
August 14, 2011, 02:34 PM
I have a 4" 44 Magnum Mountain Gun and a 2 3/4" 500. The 44 actually stings my hand more when I shoot it. The extra weight and wrap around rubber grips make the 500 fairly pleasant to shoot.

"Like a pea shooter"? Lawdy, lawdy... you must have some BAD pea shooters in your neck of the woods!!

Must be with those light Magtec loads. I've never shot anything that weak out of my 500.

jibbs
August 15, 2011, 03:05 AM
I think my 629PC 44mag with a 2 5/8 in. barrel recoils significantly more so than my S&W 500 with any loading. Granted it's with a 8+ in. barrel, but I can shoot it as long as I can feed it. Even 700grs with max loadings are light in comparison. In my situation I blame it on the grip of the 44. My 44 has a short wooden grip that my pinky doesn't get to grip, so I'm sure I will be singing a different song with a little longer rubber grips.

+1 for the 500 being my favorite handgun. My S&W 460V is a close second. I love big bore handguns.

Mike1234567
August 15, 2011, 10:26 AM
Darn it!! Now you have me wanting a .500 S&W Mag and/or .454 Casull. I've been spending money like a drunken sailor on shore leave in one of those "interesting" cities and am about to go broke. ARRGH!!

BCRider
August 16, 2011, 01:11 AM
"Like a pea shooter"? Lawdy, lawdy... you must have some BAD pea shooters in your neck of the woods!!

I have to agree with Mike on this one. A 325gn bullet at just under 1400fps may not rock your world but it's hardly a peashooter.


If you shoot a .38Spl do you stop and then look down the barrel to see if the bullet made it out the end? :D

JEB
August 17, 2011, 12:37 AM
i too was pleasently surprised the first time i fired a .500 mag. nowhere NEAR as bad as everyone makes it out to be!

captain awesome
August 17, 2011, 02:19 PM
Mike, do it, you know you want to. listen to the wild and spontaneous side, it won't steer you wrong. Seriously I have never shot a 454 casull (ironic because i love big bores so much and have so many of them) but you will love the 500 if you went that direction. All 3 of mine have been amazingly accurate, and so satisfying to shoot. And if you handload, then its incredibly versatile too.

Mike1234567
August 17, 2011, 03:43 PM
I guess it's time to research ballistics info and commercially available ammo (I don't reload) to help me decide if I really want to buy something beefier than a .44 Mag. I don't NEED one but...

ETA: A quick search found several threads debating .454 Casull and .500 S&W Mag. Those will keep me busy for a few minutes.

duns
August 18, 2011, 01:13 AM
I guess it's time to research ballistics info and commercially available ammo (I don't reload)The best value commercial ammo I've so far found for the .500 is from Ballistic Supply http://www.ballisticsupply.net/Default.aspx?tabid=252105. I bought 600 grain hard cast at $93 per 50 but they also have light target loads at $70 per 50. Even so, it's more than I want to pay for plinking so I have bought reloading equipment and recently made up my first batch of cartridges.

Friendly, Don't Fire!
August 18, 2011, 01:19 AM
I owned a new 454 Casull, pretty much right after they came out, mine was early 80's. The barrel was 8" or 10" and I had T'SOB mount with three rings and a silver Leupold 4X scope. Epoxy was used between the mount and the top of the gun. This epoxy can apparently be heated with a heat gun and easily removed should the next person not want the scope.

That gun was extremely accurate with loads I developed, especially for accuracy! I believe I was using Nosler Partition bullets, but don't quote me on that.

My short-barrel 500 has about twice the recoil as the longer 454 I had. I am going by nearly 30 years' memory, though.

Prosser
August 18, 2011, 06:57 AM
1. Magtech 325 gr SJSP-FLAT light loading (1378 fps, 1370 ft lbf)
Recoil Energy of 20 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 17 fps.
2. Magtech 325 gr SJSP-FLAT standard loading (1801 fps, 2340 ft lbf)
Recoil Energy of 34 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 22 fps.
3. Hornady 500 gr FP XTP (1425 fps, 2254 ft lbf)
Recoil Energy of 45 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 25 fps.
4. Ballistic Supply 600 gr Hardcast (1250 fps, 2081 ft lbf)
Recoil Energy of 48 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 26 fps.
4.5 pounds of gun weight can tame recoil pretty heavily.

To compare here is the authors' 360PD recoil figures:
360PD recoil figures:
180 gr. L.F.N. -G.C. (1,400fps/M.E. 783 ft. lbs.)
Recoil Energy of 41 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 60 fps.

158 gr. J.H.C. (1,475fps/M.E. 763 ft. lbs.)
Recoil Energy of 37 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 57 fps.

125 gr. J.H.C. (1,700fps/M.E. 802 ft. lbs.)

Recoil Energy of 35 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 55 fps.

148ís @ 1131 fps
Recoil Energy of 13 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 29 fps.

12 oz last shot Fioochi load:

Recoil Energy of 16 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 38 fps.


130@950
Recoil Energy of 7 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 21 fps.

158's @ 1040 fps:
Recoil Energy of 15 foot pounds, and Recoil Velocity of 36 fps.

Notice the speed at which the light weight translates into horrible snapping recoil.

Gunweight is a good thing.

oldfool
August 18, 2011, 07:34 AM
indeed, gun weight always was the shooters best friend
(and supersonic always was LOUD)

have always believed LOUD was more the cause of shooter flinch than felt recoil was
but those airweights will just plain hurt you

you can train yourself to ignore loud pretty easily, but hurting hands don't just go away that easily

Loosedhorse
August 18, 2011, 11:32 AM
Even with 600 gr bullets, I think the S&W .500 is downright pleasant to shoot. I could feel the power but it was so comfortable and controllableI noticed the Corbon 275s (Barnes all-copper) were a breeze. There are an amazing number of other available bullet weights for loaded ammo: 300, 325, 330, 350, 370, 375, 385, 400, 420, 440, 450, 500. I haven't seen anything above 500 commercially loaded, yet.

Starting with the 440s, it becomes difficult to keep the front sight out of my forehead :eek::D. But it is never painful...so far! :)

duns
August 18, 2011, 11:44 AM
There are an amazing number of other available bullet weights for loaded ammo: 300, 325, 330, 350, 370, 375, 385, 400, 420, 440, 450, 500. I haven't seen anything above 500 commercially loaded, yet.
Ballistic Supply does 600 and 700 grains. Nice people to deal with too (family firm). http://www.ballisticsupply.net/

Loosedhorse
August 18, 2011, 11:47 AM
Appreciated, duns! :)

Mike1234567
August 18, 2011, 11:52 AM
Ballistic Supply does 600 and 700 grains. Nice people to deal with too (family firm). http://www.ballisticsupply.net/

Yeah, I was looking at those too after you pointed them out. Thank you!! Not that their prices aren't great but, still, at $2+ per round I may need to start reloading.

duns
August 18, 2011, 12:53 PM
Yeah, I was looking at those too after you pointed them out. Thank you!! Not that their prices aren't great but, still, at $2+ per round I may need to start reloading.
My plan is to use Ballistic Supply cartridges (600gr) when carrying the gun for protection in the wilderness. (Ballistic Supply do not recommend 700 grain for a 4" barrel like mine.) I always practice with what I carry but for the majority of my fun shooting, I will reload. Buying the 500 has gotten me into reloading for the first time. Never having reloaded before, I found it difficult to figure out exactly what equipment I needed. I was helped greatly by one of the members here. If anyone would like a copy of my final shopping list of reloading equipment, I would be glad to provide it -- just PM me.

Mick_W
August 19, 2011, 03:44 AM
Going by my experience with .357mag out of a 2.25" barrel and .44mag out of a 6" barrel I have found the magtech loads all very tame enough so I can one hand either gun effectively with them. Hornady on the other hand have some fairly hot loads and I can imagine how much fun they are out of a 500. Saw a 4" 500 used at a lgs recently. really wanted to get it, but the price is a bit to high for me.

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