S&W 500

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Jul 19, 2020
Messages
145
Location
Pennsylvania
A good buddy of mine has been under the weather. He owns a S&W 500 with 4" barrel, and it is a blast to shoot. He asked me to reload his empty cases and gave me a lot of Hornady 350 gr XTP bullets. He also gave me a pound of H110 and IMR4227. His dies are Lee but it is a 3 die set. I may order a Lee crimp die. I like crimping in a separate stage and not while seating a bullet.

I have LR primers, and the latest Hornady & Lyman Cast Manuals.

I think I will do all of my loading on my MEC Marksman Press. If it works out well I have a T7 or a 750 to move to. He did purchase a Dillon flaring/powder drop tube. Other than lubing the cases for resizing and crimping do you all have any particular tips or thoughts that I need to be aware of?

I may also buy some different powders and some cast bullets from Roger's Better Bullets in King of Prussia.

What are your pets range loads?
 
Aside from rifle primers, and lubing cases for sizing (even in carbide dies) I haven't found anything unique in loading for the 500.

I haven't used 4227 for the cartridge. With H110 and the 350 XTP I have had best results with 42 grains.

My most-used load is a Lee 440 cast with wheelweights and backed with 10 grains of Unique.
 
What brand are the casings? If you load Hornady cases on the warm side the primer pockets tend to get loose even on the first firing. Starline is much better brass. Go easy on the belling, they can start cracking after loading a couple times, that reminds me that I need to start looking for a case annealer.
 
DOUBLE CHECK THIS DATA

IF THIS IS DANGEROUS PLEASE REMOVE

Off the top of my head without my load notebook, I believe my 500 load was 35 grains H110 with the hornady 350 grain xtp federal large rifle magnum.

It was a pleasure
 
DOUBLE CHECK THIS DATA

IF THIS IS DANGEROUS PLEASE REMOVE

Off the top of my head without my load notebook, I believe my 500 load was 35 grains H110 with the hornady 350 grain xtp federal large rifle magnum.

It was a pleasure
Not sure if it is, or is not, dangerous - it is way below Hodgdon's minimum of 39 grains....and, H110 is not one to be downloaded on a whim.

500_350_Hodgdon.png
 
I don't know if it's "dangerous", but I suspect it wouldn't work very well. H110 tends to burn erratically even at "starting" levels, and I don't recall ever coming across a situation where performance didn't improve as maximum pressures were approached.
 
4227 is a good powder in the 500, Lyman 49 lists 41.5 max at 47,000psi under a Hornady 350, so the usual back off 10% and work up. 4227 is not touchy about being downloaded like 296/H110.
 
I haven’t got the 500 in the stable yet, but load for the 460 so it’s almost the same.
Other than lubing the cases for resizing and crimping do you all have any particular tips or thoughts that I need to be aware of?
While carbide dies don’t require lubed cases, it doesn’t hurt. With the revolver cartridges and roll crimp I‘ll measure and trim all to the same length for a more consistent crimp. I don’t know about the Lee dies but if they have a seat/crimp die I would bet you can adjust it so that it just seats, or just crimps. If you prepare a dummy round at the correct COL you can use it to easily reset the die.
Just use the published data and you’ll be fine. I use a pretty heavy roll crimp, and you should test it to make sure your bullets stay where you want them.
I use the Hornady XTP Mags, be sure to get the Mag version it has a thicker jacket to stand up to the pressures.
 
I too, load not for the 500S&W, but for the 460S&W, and I agree with the post from lordpaxman. I will add that I recommend the use of the Lee Collet Crimp die for big bores. This style of crimp die really shines in these large cartridges.
I haven’t got the 500 in the stable yet, but load for the 460 so it’s almost the same.

While carbide dies don’t require lubed cases, it doesn’t hurt. With the revolver cartridges and roll crimp I‘ll measure and trim all to the same length for a more consistent crimp. I don’t know about the Lee dies but if they have a seat/crimp die I would bet you can adjust it so that it just seats, or just crimps. If you prepare a dummy round at the correct COL you can use it to easily reset the die.
Just use the published data and you’ll be fine. I use a pretty heavy roll crimp, and you should test it to make sure your bullets stay where you want them.
I use the Hornady XTP Mags, be sure to get the Mag version it has a thicker jacket to stand up to the pressures.
 
With regard to lubing... I am one of those fellows who gets upset at the idea of lubing cases with carbide dies. "Why did you buy carbide in the first place, then?!?".

The .500 is the single exception, for me. I went for years stubbornly cranking the handle and rocking the bench, and eventually pulled a rim completely off the case. So now the can of Imperial wax comes out whenever it is time to size .500s. There simply is too much surface area, even compared with other Magnum pistol cases.
 
With regard to lubing... I am one of those fellows who gets upset at the idea of lubing cases with carbide dies. "Why did you buy carbide in the first place, then?!?".

The .500 is the single exception, for me. I went for years stubbornly cranking the handle and rocking the bench, and eventually pulled a rim completely off the case. So now the can of Imperial wax comes out whenever it is time to size .500s. There simply is too much surface area, even compared with other Magnum pistol cases.

Had a similar experience in 44 Mag. with a batch of empty brass that was from Buffalo Bore.
Maybe thicker walls, IDK. But it was the only straight walled pistol cases I've ever bothered to lube.
I'd expect the 500 s&w to be a very tough case.
 
500 brass needs greased, period.

Best I’ve done with xtps is with 4227. Not as fast as h110, but it’s a .5” 350gr boolit, no shortage of power at all.

Better not have a snafu, friendships end fairly quickly with a snafu.
 
With regard to lubing... I am one of those fellows who gets upset at the idea of lubing cases with carbide dies. "Why did you buy carbide in the first place, then?!?".

The .500 is the single exception, for me. I went for years stubbornly cranking the handle and rocking the bench, and eventually pulled a rim completely off the case. So now the can of Imperial wax comes out whenever it is time to size .500s. There simply is too much surface area, even compared with other Magnum pistol cases.
I used to consider sizing a bunch of cases in carbide dies good exercise for my throwing arm, never considered lubing with them, but these days the lesser effort is really nice.

I use a touch of lube every dozen or so cases.
 
With regard to lubing... I am one of those fellows who gets upset at the idea of lubing cases with carbide dies. "Why did you buy carbide in the first place, then?!?".

The .500 is the single exception, for me. I went for years stubbornly cranking the handle and rocking the bench, and eventually pulled a rim completely off the case. So now the can of Imperial wax comes out whenever it is time to size .500s. There simply is too much surface area, even compared with other Magnum pistol cases.
While lubing cases when using a carbide sizing die is not necessary, I have found with larger diameter cases, the sizing process goes more smoothly.

9x19 is about the smallest case I lubricate for use in carbide sizing dies. I load up to 460 S&W Mag.

I clean the cases after sizing anyway so I’m not really wasting much time.

I do not load for 500 Mag but I’m surprised how much powder I use for full power 460 S&W Mag ammunition. I use mostly W296/H110.

But I found a good low power load using Unique and a 255 gr SWC in a 460 case. Great for plinking with the 460.

Maybe you can find a similar plinking load for the 500 Mag.

My revolver is an 8-3/8” 460 XVR
 
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What brand are the casings? If you load Hornady cases on the warm side the primer pockets tend to get loose even on the first firing. Starline is much better brass. Go easy on the belling, they can start cracking after loading a couple times, that reminds me that I need to start looking for a case annealer.
Looks like I have 106 Double Star, 30 CGC, 17 Hornady, and 1 Corbon once fired cases. I have two bags of Double Star Virgin Cases.

I deprimed all of the cases, cleaned them, and resized them yesterday. I also had time to primed several 308 cases that I prepped. My new Mighty Armory Magnum Decapper Die is getting a workout.
 

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Looks like I have 106 Double Star, 30 CGC, 17 Hornady, and 1 Corbon once fired cases. I have two bags of Double Star Virgin Cases.

I deprimed all of the cases, cleaned them, and resized them yesterday. I also had time to primed several 308 cases that I prepped. My new Mighty Armory Magnum Decapper Die is getting a workout.
The "double star" are Starline - they make excellent brass.
 
A good buddy of mine has been under the weather. He owns a S&W 500 with 4" barrel, and it is a blast to shoot. He asked me to reload his empty cases and gave me a lot of Hornady 350 gr XTP bullets. He also gave me a pound of H110 and IMR4227. His dies are Lee but it is a 3 die set. I may order a Lee crimp die. I like crimping in a separate stage and not while seating a bullet.

I have LR primers, and the latest Hornady & Lyman Cast Manuals.

I think I will do all of my loading on my MEC Marksman Press. If it works out well I have a T7 or a 750 to move to. He did purchase a Dillon flaring/powder drop tube. Other than lubing the cases for resizing and crimping do you all have any particular tips or thoughts that I need to be aware of?

I may also buy some different powders and some cast bullets from Roger's Better Bullets in King of Prussia.

What are your pets range loads?
I have been hand loading .500 S&W for several years. SAAMI standards do require crimping you may want to check their web https://saami.org/wp-content/upload...rfire-Pistol-Revolver-Approved-12-13-2022.pdf

Also, another good sight for loading data. https://shootersreference.com/reloadingdata/500-smith-wesson-magnum/
 
The Lee collet crimps are great. I had to lathe down the end of one to clear the ledge on the lnl shell plate. A reduced effort method is to back a sizer waaay off, put the deprime waaay down, and size just the top 3/4 inch of the case, where the press has lots of leverage. Then use a second sizer set normally with the deprime removed to finish. Makes the 500 go smoothly. So I do a size/prime-size-charge/flare-redding seat-Lee collet crimp
 
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