The .500 S&W Special
The Big Boys
For the past several decades I’ve done a lot of work with the heaviest sixgun cartridges beginning with the .44 Magnum and progressing through the Heavy .45 Colt, .454 Casull, .445 SuperMag, .475 and .500 Linebaughs, .475 and .500 Linebaugh Longs, .480 Ruger, .460 and .500 S&W Magnums, and the .500 Wyoming Express. During this time I have received numerous requests for full house loads for all of these cartridges. I still get many requests for loading data for all of them, however a strange thing has happened. Rarely does anyone ask anymore for full house loads; instead, in their words, they are looking for loads that are powerful but yet pleasurable to shoot.
All of these cartridges in their full house loadings are good choices for really big game, but what about the other 99.9 percent of hunting endeavors? If we need the power it is there, but for most sixgunners big- game hunting consists of deer, and deer are not all that hard to bring down. A heavyweight bullet at 900 fps in any of the above cartridges will give total penetration on a deer-sized animal. Even larger animals such as bison cannot stand up to a 400-grain bullet at 1,100 fps; with a broadside shot my bullet went in one side and out the other and I had a beautiful trophy bull.
Awesome is a totally overworked word, however the factory .500 S&W with a 400-grain bullet at 1,675 fps is definitely an awesome load. That is nearly 400 fps more from a sixgun barrel than a standard .45-70 from a rifle barrel. Apparently a lot of folks have found the .500 S&W Magnum more than they want to handle and it has now been downsized to the .500 Special.
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