S&W 500 ... "birthday mod"


December 6, 2012, 07:54 AM
A good friend of mine had a birthday recently and we wanted to find a special gift for him. He's been into big revolvers lately and this is what we came up with, a 4" S&W 500 with vintage wood grips from a K-frame. I also wanted to polish it to mirror finish but we ran out of time for that.

Recoil issues aside, it made me wonder why this revolver hasn't been available with them from the factory.



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December 6, 2012, 10:28 AM
Have you tried shooting it with those grips? My 629 Mountain Gun is really bad with wood grips. I might just have to try it once with my 500, but I can't imagine it being very pleasant.

December 6, 2012, 10:57 AM
That seems like it would be pretty miserable to shoot. The Hogue grips aren't real pleasent with heavy loads as it is.

December 6, 2012, 11:10 AM
I haven't shot it. It's a heavy revolver so recoil shouldn't be impossible. The recipient is a big guy with plenty of experience in shooting large caliber handguns, I'll have to ask him how bad it really is. Or ask if I can try it myself.

Personally, the only revolver I've found to be literally too much is a scandium-frame 329 with narrow rubber grips and full power ammo. The weight (or lack of it) has a dramatic effect on felt recoil.

December 6, 2012, 12:07 PM
Probably pretty similar to hanging onto a 2X4 and beating it onto a hunk of railroad iron... not many pleasant memories! :what:

December 6, 2012, 12:56 PM
[QUOTE=hq;8551597]Recoil issues aside, it made me wonder why this revolver hasn't been available with them from the factory.

I think you'll soon find that recoil is the ONLY reason they did not come with wood grips :what:

December 6, 2012, 02:55 PM
Just got a range report from the proud owner. He loves it and won't even think about going back to rubber grips. "Quite manageable", according to him. :D

December 6, 2012, 03:00 PM
Good on you...I handled one recently to make this holster for....what a cannon!
I would love to shoot one.
I tried talking this guy into a "chesty rig" but he insisted on this one....


December 6, 2012, 03:07 PM
Just got a range report from the proud owner. He loves it and won't even think about going back to rubber grips. "Quite manageable", according to him. :D

Well, I might just have to try some on mine. Did he say what ammo he was using?

December 6, 2012, 03:17 PM
400gr Magtech JSP factory loads. I'm not sure how hot that is on the 500S&W scale.

December 6, 2012, 04:04 PM
Hot enough.

December 6, 2012, 04:13 PM
Rayban, what is that ammo in the holster? Maybe it is just the picture, but it does not look like .500 S&W to me. more like .50 Beowulf or AE with that undersized rim.

December 6, 2012, 05:01 PM
I expect those checked panels will act like a wood rasp and your friend will be missing some palm skin.

When I see these pistols in the gun shop, they are used and only had a box of rounds fired though them. The owner brings them back after deciding that they are "too much fun".

I do not understand the desire to shoot cartridges best suited for 10 pound rifles in handguns.

December 6, 2012, 05:14 PM

Surprisingly enough, some people actually like recoil or at least have unbelievable tolerance for it. Most people don't, hence it's common to find LNIB 500:s in gun shops and many of them are bundled with half a box of ammo. :D

December 6, 2012, 08:04 PM
Great birthday gift but would hate to shoot it with wood grips.

December 6, 2012, 10:03 PM
Here's the skinny. I have a 2 3/4" "Snubnose" S&W 500, and have occasion to shoot it with some scaled down, wood grips that I got from a fellow in Thailand. They are really good grips, but needed a bit of contouring to be a little more recoil friendly. Still, 5 shot is about all you want to endure, and even after smoothing out, the lack of recoil absorbing rubber and hard shoulder of the grips tends to draw blood at the web of my hand with five shots. The stock Hogue grips have an air pocket at the web area, and absorb and distribute the recoil quite well. I have the little wood grips for packing/concealed (I know, a little crazy, but one shot stops ARE the preferred effect, right?), but the rubber grips get put back on for prolonged shooting sessions. http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m247/matquig/DSC05273.jpg

December 6, 2012, 10:08 PM
What's a fair price on the 4" model 500's? I saw a used one today for $850...but I really don't need one.

Do I?

December 6, 2012, 10:57 PM
I shot a 500 once, that was really enough for me. To be fair though, I think .454 Casull may be even harder on the shooter. It's like trying to recall if the mule or the horse kicked me harder.

I think if a person really plans on mastering the 500 they need to handload. Factory ammo cost is steep.

December 7, 2012, 05:43 AM
firesky101, you be right, that's not 500 ammo, that was all I could get to insert into the cartridge loops for the photo op.

December 7, 2012, 10:27 AM
While on the topic of "modified" S&W M500's I'll share a few pics of mine:

I had this one refinished into a psuedo "pinto" back in 2007.

The refinish consists of ROBARS black ROGUARD finish on the frame and barrel and the screws, compensator, trigger, hammer and cylinder are all coated in NP3.

I originally wanted the whole gun done in black but ROBAR stated that gas escaping the barrel to cylinder gap would strip it off.

Those pics were when it was fresh from ROBAR back on '07, here's a couple of it here of late



As you can see the Roguard IVO the cylinder gap is still intact after 5 years of less what I would call a less than "moderate" firing schedule.

December 7, 2012, 01:27 PM
ATCDoktor... That is the nicest looking 500 I have seen..!! Sweet..!!

December 8, 2012, 08:57 AM
Wow that is a great looking 500. I really like it!

I use 330g lead with Trail Boss in the 500 most of the time and in the heavy frame it's not much more to handle than a 38. I HAVE loaded Lil Gun, 2400, H110, to moderate levels and those are quite enough.

December 8, 2012, 09:28 AM
My $300 single shot Handi-Rifle in 500 S&W Mag dishes out plenty of abuse for me.......I do love that thing however.

December 8, 2012, 11:18 AM
Surprisingly enough, some people actually like recoil or at least have unbelievable tolerance for it. Most people don't, hence it's common to find LNIB 500:s in gun shops and many of them are bundled with half a box of ammo. :D

The tolerating of recoil in many circles is viewed as a trait of masculinity. It does not make it correct, nor does it mean the shooter can accurately shoot the firearm. While wood grips like those shown can be more pleasing to the eye, they generally are not the most pleasing when it comes to pullin' the trigger. Comfort there means more accuracy, one reason most prefer rubber grips when shooting hand cannons. The cushion plus the resistance to slipping means better control and less recoil anticipation. The reason so many slightly used 500s are found is they are not for everybody. Even with proper grips and the compensator they are a handful when the trigger is pulled. They are also very expensive to feed, especially if one does not reload. They are also viewed as a "manly" gun. Reason they end up at your LGS slightly used is many folks aren't as "manly" as they thought they were......

BTW....was the changing of the stocks the only "mod" to this X-Frame or am I missin' somethin'?

December 8, 2012, 11:51 AM
The grips are the only mod. Nothing particularly fancy or major, of course, but IMO a major cosmetic improvement.

As far as recoil tolerance is concerned, I most likely wouldn't buy a gun like this. My .44:s are powerful enough for all hunting I'm planning to use a handgun for and while I don't particularly like recoil (who does?), I don't mind it either when situation calls for enough foot pounds to down game. Or steel rams at 200 yards for that matter. Means to an end.

As a sidenote, I haven't really understood why rubber grips are seen as a primary choice to reduce felt recoil. I have fairly large hands and in hard recoiling revolvers I prefer wood (or ivory, stag etc.) target grips, mostly because I find many rubber grips too narrow and they dig into the palm of my hand painfully. Colt Anaconda rubber grips are probably the worst and even the medium-sized wood grips supplied with my 29 Mountain Gun feel better than Pachmayr replacements. I can't say what the case would be with the 500.

We definitely wouldn't have bought this gun if we weren't quite positive that the birthday boy is capable of handling recoil and a degree of accuracy that only comes with hundreds of thousands of rounds and decades of competing on national level. Wood grips and felt recoil were the only concern we had, but even that doesn't seem to be a problem. ;)

December 8, 2012, 03:57 PM
Let us know how he likes the wood grips after fring it a few times. I think he'll go back to the rubber ones, or use reduced loads, as I do with my gun when the wood grips are on it.

December 8, 2012, 05:42 PM
Read post #7. The rubbers aren't going back on. :)

December 8, 2012, 07:15 PM
Well, I'm not certain how one could delude themselves into thinking recoil for a handgun is somehow a metric of masculinity. Stupid. Then again, it is sometimes the case that it is the purview of the viewer that is the reason for such being attributed. (Not always, though, for sure, many times it is indeed the 'handgunner') Handgun recoil is less than zero on my scale of masculine traits. Getting up before dawn and working at hard labor over an 8-10 hour shift 5-7 days a week for 30 years, now there's a metric!

I shoot a 7.5" BFR in 500 S&W Mag, using wood grips and WAY hotter loads than are being mention here. The recoil is really quite manageable. Learning to grip it was the key.

I have read enough posts from people who have no idea what they are typing about to get a clear impression that it is often the fellow who has never shot a real caliber or a truly heavy loading who think that the shooter somehow think that they are more masculine than others.

On the other hand, there can be no doubt that guys come along who wrap tape and gloves and whatever else may be available and then tell everyone how tough they are and bad the recoil is. Grab a freakin' set of post hole diggers and go at some hard ground or spend the day with a jack hammer, and get back to me.

For God's sake, I spent two decades moving heavy iron. I put my body through absolute hell. Handgun recoil is NOTHING compared to those stresses.

My BFR has shot 700 gr. bullets at 1150 fps., 600 gr. bullets at close to 1500 fps, and 465 gr. bullets at 1700 fps. [Do not do this. I cast and load my own. These loads are overpressure, I would think. I just have a lot of confidence in the 17-4PH cylinder.] So what? Certainly doesn't make me tough. Recently ran across a 75 year old fellow who had spent 31 years in underground coal mines, that's tough. He was complaining about heavy .357 loads. BUT he was and is stone cold tough. Sort of a hero in my world.

Now I'm just old and fat. . . Shooting a big boomer is FUN to me. I shoot in my front yard. No one around, no one to see and really not many to hear. I am a solipsistic shooter.

I have posted MULTIPLE times to dispel the notion that recoil is somehow unbearable from the large handguns. . . Even put up some videos, demonstrating such. . .

Close-grip-bench-presses with 500 (505x2 was my best) pounds now that strains the wrists. Shooting a 500, that's just FUN.

December 8, 2012, 07:18 PM

465 grain, 1700 fps, ~Lyman #2

Cameraman jerked on first shot :)

[Grips are the black rubber but I have shot these rounds with the wood grips that are now on it. However, they can crack under recoil as I had them crack and were waiting for replacement (free) when I taped this. ERH screws and grips screws should be given constant attention with heavy recoil. Loose screws = sheared screw and cracked grips. In close 1k rounds down range, I have sheared two ERH screws and cracked a single set of grips. Lesson learned.]

Accuracy is better than I am with the 465 gr.

50 yrds., open sights, hand braced, almost blind :)


On this one, it took the binoculars for me to make an adjustment, after first three.


December 8, 2012, 07:36 PM
Recoil looks downright tame out of that BFR. Since we are sharing, here is a 700 grain bullet at 968 fps out of my 2 3/4" 500ES:


December 8, 2012, 07:42 PM


December 8, 2012, 09:34 PM
Gibson, I don't know who that was in the video, but he wanted a time out after that third round.....

December 8, 2012, 09:54 PM
That was me shooting, and I hardly wanted a time out. I loaded three. It was rainy and nasty outside. Went in after the phone video clip.

Either you are joking or have no idea what you are typing about. I shoot 150 rounds a week out of it.

No massive muzzle rise, no flinching, no wringing hands, nothing. Butter. I shot them and nodded/motioned to my son to stop 'filming'.

Interesting as out of dozens of comments on other sites, you are the first to make that comment. Wanted out, huh? Of what? Dumb. Without exception the comments are almost identical to the above comment, by 56hawk.


Yeah, these had also completely collapsed my entire arm and shoulder structure earlier in the year but through the use of bionic implants they were quickened in time for the above fall ^ video:



Good grief, much as I would have expected. . .



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