firing other .50 calibre out of a .500 magnum


slik pak
March 2, 2012, 08:27 PM
Ive got two Smith and Wesson model 500's one in an 8 3/8 inch barrel and a 6 inch barrel. I was wondering about the possibility of firing .50 Action express or a .50 Wyoming express. I know with the model 460 you can fire at least three different bullets out of it. Thoughts?

I know theres .500 specials out there, ive just never seem to come across them.

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March 3, 2012, 01:42 AM
.500 Wyoming Express will not work because the case is belted and will not fit into the cylinder. .50 Action Express will not work as is because it has a rebated rim so the case will just fall into the cylinder as if you stuck say a .45 ACP into a .45 Colt cylinder. The firing pin would not be able to reach it. You could try .50 AE with some kind of moon clips, but you almost certainly would have to have the cylinder machined to allow them to fit. .500 Linebaugh will not work either because it is .510" in diameter vs .500"

.500 JRH should work. It is about the same as .500 WE, but I don't think it is very easy to find.

.500 Special available here:

March 3, 2012, 01:56 PM
Because the .500S&W Magnum has no "parent" case like the .45Colt/.454Casull/.460S&W MAg there is no other options. With that other caliber family the .45Colt was stretched to allow the .454Casull to be made both to hold extra powder as well as avoid being able to chamber the stronger round in a .45Colt action cylinder. Much like .357Mag is longer to avoid the chance of putting it into a .38Spl gun. That in turn or the original .45Colt was then stretched further to produce the .460S&W Magum.

On the other hand the .500S&W Mag just dropped from the skies in it's final form. So there's no other rounds which fit other than the option of .500Special. Which oddly enough came out AFTER the Magnum rounds.

The real key to fully enjoying these big boomers is to reload. With reloading you can produce Special like loads which will do the job you want without actually shortening your arms. In addition you can, with some searching, locate jacketed or gas checked bullets from light 280 to 300 gn weights up to a rather crazy 700gn load.

Heck, when I get some time I'm even going to try playing with a sabot loading of a .500 sabot holding a roughly 300 to 350gn .44 or .45 bullet for giggles and see if I can make it stabilize out of my TC Encore in .500. In my case since it's a single shot I don't need to worry about the poor crimp retention that I'd have on the sabot plastic.

So if you do not reload for your .500's then I'd say that now is the time to start.

March 3, 2012, 04:21 PM
The .500 JRH is based on the cut-down .500 S&W case. The progression is backwards from what we are used to, but it will work.

I can not agree more that you should start reloading though. With cheap cast bullets, you can put together 1000 mid-level rounds for about $250-275 not counting brass life. Considering that about the cheapest .500 S&W factory rounds that I'm aware of run around $1.50/shot, you could pay off a pretty nice reloading setup very quickly if you shoot that hand cannon a lot.

slik pak
March 3, 2012, 05:06 PM
Thanks for the replies. I knew there was no parent case for the .500 but I was curious.

March 5, 2012, 05:35 PM
The .500JRH is a cut down .500 S&W case. The ammunition is available from JRH advanced Gunsmithing, at a VERY good price. Call (530)268-6877

For pricing.

The 950 fps round is easy to shoot, and kills like Thor's Hammer.

March 5, 2012, 09:32 PM
Does anybody know where you can by 500 Special brass?

March 5, 2012, 10:39 PM
I like the sound of 700 grains at 900 FPS ! If there was a factory flatpoint load like that I might buy a 4" .500 and call it good!

March 6, 2012, 12:01 AM
Does anybody know where you can by 500 Special brass?
I received some from Starline recently. At the time I placed my order, it was on back-order, and I had to wait a couple of months before I got it. Check to see whether they still have any.
PS Just realized you said "Special". No, I don't know. Why not just load the full length .500S&W cases to a mild or moderate load?

March 6, 2012, 12:08 AM
I like the sound of 700 grains at 900 FPS ! If there was a factory flatpoint load like that I might buy a 4" .500 and call it good!
Try Ballistic Supply However, they do not recommend more than 600gr from the 4" barrel. I bought some 600gr cartridges from them for my 4".

March 6, 2012, 01:13 AM
Something like this?

Take .50 BMG lead bullets, turn the nose down, and end up with around 700 grains.

That said, stabilizing that big a bullet out of a short barrel, with the wrong twist maybe a problem. Is it John Ross that knows the .500 backwards and forwards? I think that's it. He isn't too keen on that heavy a bullet, and, keep in mind it works in my .510 Linebaugh, but not in the .500JRH, because of the diameter difference.

To be real, isn't 525 grains enough, out of near any handgun?
Bullet on the right, next to the .500 Nitro Express round is a 525 grain LFN for the .500 Linebaugh Max. Goes 1350 fps out of my gun, and, I loaded about 100, and still have 90 around. When I want to shoot it, I just go out, put my hand on an anvil, and hit it with a baseball bat at about 82 ft-lbs of energy. Same difference.

By the way, the Linebaugh boys swear the 525 at 950 fps kills like the Thor's Hammer.

As for .500 Special brass, I think that is Hamilton Bowen, 1.2" S&W case. the .500JRH is a little longer, but still fits in a standard size gun, 1.4" same as the .475 Linebaugh.

March 6, 2012, 01:30 PM
Hunt480, if you're after brass then you obviously reload already. So just skip the shorter "Special" brass and load up the regular length casings to whatever power level you want.

Heck,the whole point between the longer Magnum casings vs the Special casings was solely so that Magnums could not be loaded into any of the guns rated only for Specials. But since ALL the .500 guns out there are already rated for Magnum the idea of making shorter Specials makes absolutely zero sense.

March 6, 2012, 11:34 PM
In this case, the shorter cases have some real advantages. Combustion in the big cases, the .500 S&W and .500 Linebaugh Max require certain primers and powders. Also, filling that case enough so the powder doesn't slide around too much can be another problem.

Even loading for the .500 Linebaugh I ended up with velocity variations that were pretty big, using minimum loads of AA 9.

The advantage of the smaller cases is they can be filled more consistently to a level that creates tighter velocity, and less accuracy variations.

Also, if you tend to believe that a 350 grain LFN at 1350 is enough for anything in the United States, then the longer cases are just a waste of case space. You can even get 430-440 grain bullets going 1350 fps in the .500JRH or .475 Linebaugh cases.

Finally, if you don't like carrying the X frames, the shorter cartridges fit in
real 5-6 sixguns, that weigh in the 3 pound range. MUCH more packable then the X frames.

March 7, 2012, 08:04 PM
I got some milder loads with full length brass. I thought it might be easier to make a milder load with the "Special brass"...powder would fill the case better for milder loads. I was thinking the 500 Special would make a good hunting load around 900 or 1000 fps...

I load the 475 Linebaugh and the 475 Special "the 480"...Its a good shooter that 475 Special

March 8, 2012, 01:37 PM
The case fill is certainly something to consider. Options to ensure that you minimize any effect of this is to look at powders which are less sensitive to fill and positioning issues. Another would be to use powders that are less dense or require a heavier charge to get the velocity you need. An example of this would be Trail Boss for the bulkier and less dense powder. For an option of a non sensitive powder something like Tightgroup might be an option for reduced loads based on it's use in smaller charges in other handgun ammo. Or perhaps Universal Clays or some other powder known for good consistency in low volume fills.

Another option would be the possible use of an over powder felt wad seated just behind the bullet to hold the powder in a smaller and more compact "Special" like volume within the regular Magnum size brass.

Because you're looking at creating reduced power loads it would not be out of the question to work up your own using powders and options not normally associated with a full power .500Mag load. Looking at loads for heavier bullets used in .44Special and .45Colt and comparing them to the same weight of bullets in .44Mag and .454Casull should give you a feel for the proportions to work down from the Magnum loads in .500. From there start on the safely low side and working with a chronometer will allow you to creep up on a nice useable "Special" like load.

At least that's likely how I'd proceed.

March 8, 2012, 06:25 PM
The good news is using 4227, or H110, and a 350 grain or heavier bullet, you'll get fast powder like results, with less pressure.

March 8, 2012, 09:15 PM
Can you reload the 500 Mag with a 50cal sabot black powder projectile?

Sam Cade
March 8, 2012, 10:36 PM
Can you reload the 500 Mag with a 50cal sabot black powder projectile?

I'd wager that things would start getting squirrelly the moment the sabot tries to jump the cylinder gap.

March 9, 2012, 01:57 PM
It would depend on how much bigger the forcing cone is compared to the chamber mouth. If the plastic doesn't spread too much and too soon the forcing cone should be able to funnel the sabot fingers back into place before things get too messy.

I'd want to start with reduced loads and check the forcing cone and barrel for plastic buildup frequently until I got a handle on the whole process. And as one local reloader suggested to me when I was thinking of sabot loads for my .500S&W Encore the twist rate would not really be right for the lighter bullets and sabot. So some playing with velocity vs accuracy would be needed. But I don't see why it won't work in principle.

March 10, 2012, 07:52 AM
I don't know who wouldn't want to reload for this cal the factories are sky high just for 20 rounds & i am not even getting warmed up on 20 shots if anyone is to enjoy the 500 Magnum reloading would just about a must just my 2 cents

March 10, 2012, 02:25 PM
.50 Action Express will not work as is because it has a rebated rim so the case will just fall into the cylinder

Actually, it won't go in far enough. .50 AE has a severe taper, measuring .547" at the base. .500 S&W is .530" base diameter.

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