A young fellow who is an engineer at S&W showed up one day with one of their 500 caliber revolvers and some ammo loaded with Black Powder. It was fun. Not much more recoil than 45 Colt loaded with Black Powder.
For best accuracy and ease of cleaning, you have to replace more than just the propellant.
A soft lead bullet works best with black powder. This bullet should have grooves that hold a natural, fairly moist lubricant. Do NOT use a petroleum-based lubricant, such as Alox-based lubes.
Almost all petroleum products, when used with black powder, create a hard, tarry fouling. The only petroleum product I have found that is an exception is canning paraffin, a principal ingredient in the black powder lubricant named after me: Gatofeo No. 1 Lubricant.
Search the internet for the recipe and instructions. No one makes it commercially.
The lubricant must keep the fouling soft, shot after shot. After combusion, black powder leaves 56 percent of itself behind as a solid -- fouling.
I don't believe that a Magnum primer would be required in the .500 S&W. A Magnum Rifle primer is not required for .45-70 black powder loads, which has a greater capacity than the .500.
The rifling of some modern revolvers is too shallow for some black powder loads. Such shallow rifling quickly fills with fouling. Look down the barrel of an old black powder rifle or revolver and you'll likely see deep, wide grooves and tall narrow lands, especially in rifles.
Of course, after firing, you'll need to deprime each case and scrub it thoroughly in a water-based cleaner. Black powder fouling is soluble in water, but not the petroleum-based solvents used for modern smokeless powder.
You'd also have to clean the revolver thoroughly with a water-based solvent. The old, traiditional solvent is water, with a little soap added to cut the grease of the lubricant used. It works well.
Others swear by "moose milk," which is typically a mix of water-soluble cutting oil, water and some kind of detergent such as Murphy's Oil Soap or Dawn dishwashing liquid. Rubbing alcohol is also sometimes added.
I shoot a variety of cap and ball revolvers, using real black powder. I've got cleaning them down to an art, cleaning a modern revolver with its numerous nooks, crannies and difficult-to-reach areas can be tedious.
If you really want to experience a modern revolver with black powder, get a Ruger Old Army.
It would be much easier to clean than the big S&W, and its accuracy is legendary. Out to 50 yards, using iron sights, the Ruger Old Army could probably give the S&W .500 a run for its money, if not best it.
March 24, 2012, 02:58 AM
I've got a single shot TC Encore in .500S&W. I checked and it only holds an underwhelming 60'ish gns of volume using my BP measure to check it. Mind you with a 350 gn bullet in the front instead of a lighter round ball it may offer some fun.
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