500 S&W in lever guns

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mickbr
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500 S&W in lever guns

#1 Post by mickbr » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:02 am

was wondering what the 500 S&W is capable of with 20-22" barrels, whether there is a souce of heavy loads out there. Purely for interests sake I don't own one.

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#2 Post by EG73 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:41 am

The BHA 89 in .500 S&W seems to get glowing reviews. Another rifle on the “id love to own” list...

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#3 Post by Scrumbag » Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:50 am

Apparently this outdoor life article has the answer:

https://www.outdoorlife.com/articles/gu ... 500#page-3

20" Barrel, 325 Swift A Frame gives MV of 2,189 and ME of 3,458 ftlbs.

Sounds punchy to me but not sure what it gives you over a 45-70...?

Scrummy

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#4 Post by mickbr » Mon Apr 15, 2019 7:43 am

thanks scrumbag. Good heavens, a tank brake on a pistol cartridge seems a little over the top. :shock:

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#5 Post by crs » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:38 am

Like most center fire big bore Boomers, there seems to be a small niche market of collectors, hobby shooters, and very few actual hunters that NEED them for hunting. The big bore mystic can be a powerful attraction (mine is bigger than yours syndrome?).
Similar to the 600 and 700 NE, there are few hunters that actually use them on a regular basis. Even elephants and the largest bears are often taken with .458 and smaller calibers. Having hunted big game with HOT heavy-for-caliber loads in .411 and .458 caliber rifles, I have no desire or need for larger calibers. I do not need another detached retina!
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#6 Post by Scrumbag » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:25 am

I was shooting my 404J over the weekend. A "Friend" Let me shoot his 500J...

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#7 Post by Old Savage » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:32 am

Well crs, Jim Carmichael once said he would take a sizeable bet that he could take any game in North America with a 22 Hornet. You could go power mad and kick that up to a 25-20 or even a ... 32-20 and save recoil.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#8 Post by crs » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:45 am

OS,
Food for thought.

I do have .22, .22 Hornet, .22 WRM, .357, , on up through 1886 .45-90.
Both my doubles are well designed + heavy to minimize recoil from .405 and .45-70; both are very pleasant shooters.
My main meat getter gun is a magnaported .308. Recoil is not noticeable and does not cause loss of view of target.

Recoil is primarily an issue with DG loads in lever guns in .405 and .45-90 and use of those is limited.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#9 Post by mickbr » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:30 am

I hear you folks. I went through a phase of 375 and 416's myself but never really got the hang of the guns, or the financial requirements to feed them. many years later I find big leverguns more interesting.

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#10 Post by piller » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:35 am

In all reality, I have never hunted anything which a 30-06 would not take cleanly.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#11 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:51 am

My 500 S&W (BHA 89) levergun is a derivative of the 1886, and the carbine version I have is about the size of a Marlin 1894 and about the same heft as a Marlin Guide Gun, but is much better made, and in a cartridge the gun was DESIGNED around, rather than modified to accept. I like that.

Plus a 0.50" bore isn't exactly "overkill" - we use them in our muzzleloaders all the time, and I've not seen any deer blown to pieces. With the proper bullet selection, you can "eat right up to the hole" as we found this year when I used mine for a medium-sized buck. Yet if I ever went after moose or larger game it would of course do that job well too.

Here's my post with photos of the gun(s) and my whitetail hunt - viewtopic.php?f=1&t=72688&p=831314&hili ... ry#p831314

Compared to 45-70 that is 'hot' loaded, it isn't all that much better, but as others have pointed out, a 30-30 can do everything you need pretty well, so 'need' is not a factor.

Plus - the BHA ones sure are purty..... 8) 8) 8)
BHA 89 Glamour Photo.png
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#12 Post by HawkCreek » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:10 pm

Scrumbag wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:50 am


20" Barrel, 325 Swift A Frame gives MV of 2,189 and ME of 3,458 ftlbs.

Is that a mild, standard or hot load for the .500 S&W? Honestly it doesn't sound that impressive if that is out of a rifle. The old .405 Winchester will push a 300 grain bullet at 2200fps out of a 22 inch barrel with less pressure so the only thing the .500 gives you (with that load) is meplat. I know the .500 can go much heavier though I don't know velocities.

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#13 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:34 pm

A 500 S&W load I saw either on their website or from a link there, uses a 370 grain hard-cast at 2,209 fps from the 18" carbine - for 4008 ft-lb or 58 Taylor Knock Out factor - pretty good power if that's what you're after...! I'm not sure I'd buy a Model 89 if my only goal was 'the most powerful levergun in the world', but that's a good enough load for anything I'd ever shoot. Actually I like the heavier bullets and am willing to sacrifice some velocity since I don't plan to shoot past 200 yards at very most.

From what I can tell that load would be about 200 fps faster than a Ruger 45-70 load and about 250 fps slower than a 458 Win Mag, but I think the appeal is doing that in a short cartridge suited for a compact levergun.

Due to the stock design and weight of the gun, I've never really shot any loads in it that I thought were any more unpleasant than a heavy 44 mag load out of the 1894 Marlin.

I guess some feel the 500 S&W is 'overkill' in a levergun, while others say it is barely more powerful than a 45-70...I guess the only way to know is to get one and shoot it.... :lol:

Here's a page I saved from the Big Horn Armory website at some point. I think it is still there somewhere as a 'Download'.

Image

I don't know of any other firearm that compact and handy that dispenses 8 rounds of such firepower, but then I'm biased against leverguns.....I'm sure a Beowulf or M1A Scout rifle would qualify.....but not be NEAR as cool.

Anyway, I think the appeal of the 500 S&W in a levergun would be greatest if you have a revolver in 500 S&W, but I have no such desire. For me, it is just that I wanted a fairly powerful, compact, levergun designed around a modern high-pressure cartridge, with a very large meplat. It isn't the 'biggest' or 'most powerful' or anything like that - it is just a darned nice gun, in a really practical round. SO many options for loads exist when you have a half-inch bore to work with.
Last edited by AJMD429 on Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#14 Post by piller » Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:38 pm

I don't need one, BUT need is no longer a reason for me to purchase much of anything.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#15 Post by EG73 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:43 am

HawkCreek wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:10 pm
Scrumbag wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:50 am


20" Barrel, 325 Swift A Frame gives MV of 2,189 and ME of 3,458 ftlbs.

Is that a mild, standard or hot load for the .500 S&W? Honestly it doesn't sound that impressive if that is out of a rifle. The old .405 Winchester will push a 300 grain bullet at 2200fps out of a 22 inch barrel with less pressure so the only thing the .500 gives you (with that load) is meplat. I know the .500 can go much heavier though I don't know velocities.
You’re forgetting the BHA-89 is a much smaller gun the the 1895. Apples to oranges.

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#16 Post by missionary5155 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 12:08 pm

Greetings
We have a 1886 (Jap) Winchester that was rebored and chambered to 50 Alaskan by JES 5 years ago. When we are up north it goes to the range with me far more than most other lever rifles we own. 50 Alaskan will produce more Thwap than the 50 SW but it does not have to be always loaded to stop a Mac truck.
A 350 grain slug chugging along at 1500 fps is fun to plink with. Same slug at 1800 fps is easily tolerable and nothing more than a fatter 45-70 load.
Move up to 500-525 grains and at 1300 fps it is similar to the old 50-100 loadings and would be a pleasure to sit behind cross sticks smacking whatever big critter needed popped. Move that 525 gr slug up to 1850 fps and you have all the zip-zap you need.
I am not real sure if the 50 S&W can get to that power level but where ever it tops out it would be a fine rifle to have and enjoy. Our 50 Alaskan 1886 will be one of the last rifles (if ever) we turn loose. From the lowly round ball to an NOE 525 flat nose gas check slug we can hunt anything still walking and roaring... or howling at the moon.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#17 Post by vancelw » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:54 pm

EG73 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:43 am
HawkCreek wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:10 pm
Scrumbag wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:50 am


20" Barrel, 325 Swift A Frame gives MV of 2,189 and ME of 3,458 ftlbs.

Is that a mild, standard or hot load for the .500 S&W? Honestly it doesn't sound that impressive if that is out of a rifle. The old .405 Winchester will push a 300 grain bullet at 2200fps out of a 22 inch barrel with less pressure so the only thing the .500 gives you (with that load) is meplat. I know the .500 can go much heavier though I don't know velocities.
You’re forgetting the BHA-89 is a much smaller gun the the 1895. Apples to oranges.
You're also forgetting that the .500 S&W is a HANDGUN round and the ,405 Winchester is a rifle round.
That said, I would only buy a ,500 S&W rifle if I owned a .500 S&W revolver, which I don't. So I personally don't need a .500 S&W carbine.
It's nice to have options, but the BHA rifles are very expensive and I'm not impressed the the ones I've seen. BHA was at DSC a few years back, and had several rifles and carbines on display. That's the only time I've seen them there, so I'm guessing the reponse was underwhelming.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#18 Post by Scrumbag » Tue Apr 16, 2019 4:17 pm

HawkCreek wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:10 pm
Scrumbag wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:50 am


20" Barrel, 325 Swift A Frame gives MV of 2,189 and ME of 3,458 ftlbs.

Is that a mild, standard or hot load for the .500 S&W? Honestly it doesn't sound that impressive if that is out of a rifle. The old .405 Winchester will push a 300 grain bullet at 2200fps out of a 22 inch barrel with less pressure so the only thing the .500 gives you (with that load) is meplat. I know the .500 can go much heavier though I don't know velocities.
You know from that article what I know my friend. Wish I could be more help but just saw the article a day or 2 before this thread came up so I posted it.

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#19 Post by AJMD429 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:35 pm

EG73 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:43 am
You’re forgetting the BHA-89 is a much smaller gun the the 1895. Apples to oranges.
Yep - here is mine next to the 44 Mag 1894 Marlin....
Image
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#20 Post by Scrumbag » Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:44 pm

Nice 44!

Is that a Burris Fastfire? Just put a new one on my CHiappa Alaskan in .44 mag...

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#21 Post by AJMD429 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:07 pm

Scrumbag wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:44 pm
Nice 44!

Is that a Burris Fastfire? Just put a new one on my CHiappa Alaskan in .44 mag...
It is a 1970s version that was taking apart for burglar-proof storage when I away at college (we had had five burglaries in four years at our house). I immersed the action in a long pan of oil while the stock was kept separately. Unfortunately, mice are the nice walnut stock, and destroyed the tang area, so when I had a gunsmith replace the stock he slimmed down the forend (without even asking me). I kind of like it that way though. A few years ago I found a round factory 45 Colt Barrel at Numrich so the gun is now 45 Colt actually. The Burris Fastfire-2 makes a really good sight for it and the rail I sweated under the magazine tube mounts a quick-detach flashlight. Sometimes I put a small pistol laser right in front of the Burris Fastfire, and it makes for a really practical ranch rifle if there's something in the livestock at night.
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#22 Post by HawkCreek » Wed Apr 17, 2019 9:24 pm

vancelw wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:54 pm
EG73 wrote:
Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:43 am
HawkCreek wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 9:10 pm
Scrumbag wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:50 am


20" Barrel, 325 Swift A Frame gives MV of 2,189 and ME of 3,458 ftlbs.

Is that a mild, standard or hot load for the .500 S&W? Honestly it doesn't sound that impressive if that is out of a rifle. The old .405 Winchester will push a 300 grain bullet at 2200fps out of a 22 inch barrel with less pressure so the only thing the .500 gives you (with that load) is meplat. I know the .500 can go much heavier though I don't know velocities.
You’re forgetting the BHA-89 is a much smaller gun the the 1895. Apples to oranges.
You're also forgetting that the .500 S&W is a HANDGUN round and the ,405 Winchester is a rifle round.
That said, I would only buy a ,500 S&W rifle if I owned a .500 S&W revolver, which I don't. So I personally don't need a .500 S&W carbine.
It's nice to have options, but the BHA rifles are very expensive and I'm not impressed the the ones I've seen. BHA was at DSC a few years back, and had several rifles and carbines on display. That's the only time I've seen them there, so I'm guessing the reponse was underwhelming.
Gentlemen:

Going off of the numbers on BHA's website and comparing them to one of my 1895's (they are all SRC versions, sorry I don't have any "rifles" to compare to).
The BHA .500's are not that much smaller than an 1895. They weigh less than a pound less, OAL with a 22" barrel is LONGER (by half an inch) than an 1895SRC with a 22" barrel.

If a round is fired from a rifle it is then a rifle round, I was asking about data that was reported to be from a 20" rifle barrel not a pistol. So what the round was originally designed to be fired from is of little consequence.

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#23 Post by AJMD429 » Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:27 pm

I agree with the rifle/pistol cartridge distinction as being somewhat immaterial. I can't fire a revolver with more recoil than a stout 44 Magnum with enough accuracy to hit a bear at ten paces even if it were standing still, so to me, the "500 S&W" is one I think of as a "rifle" cartridge, because the only gun I will likely ever fire that cartridge in is a "rifle" (although being about the size of a 20" Marlin 1894, I tend to consider the BHA I have a "carbine").

To me the appeal is that the cartridge is shorter and fatter than others in the same power class. Is that a huge advantage...? Probably not, but if one considers the Taylor Knock-Out concept worthwhile, then "meplat" is a big deal, and just like there is some attraction to a full-length magazine in the Marlin 1894 offering twice the rounds as a similarly-sized 30-30, there is some attraction to the added magazine capacity the shorter 500 S&W cartridge offers.

Also, as an owner of a 50 Beowulf, the fact that the case capacities are nearly identical, and they both use the same diameter bullets, is a bit of a personal factor in the choice.

I just find it funny that whenever the topic of "500 S&W in Leverguns" comes up, the same two 'objections' surface:

1. The recoil is surely terrible, and why would anyone subject himself to such shoulder-mangling recoil just to have an unnecessarily-powerful gun....is it just for a macho thing...?

2. The gun is really kind of under-powered relative to any number of inappropriately-deemed 'obsolete' cartridges, if those cartridges are loaded to the top end and in sturdy firearms, so why would anyone not just buy a 45-90, 45-110, 50-70, 50-90, or a modern 475 Turnbull, one of the 50 Alaskan variants...?

As to the first, the recoil is not particularly different than any other potent large-game-capable rifle. You know you're shooting a real gun, but even shooting off the bench twenty or thirty rounds in short order sighting-in or whatever, it isn't unpleasant.

As to the second, getting a vintage levergun in good enough shape that I'd be comfortable with loads towards the upper end of the 500 S&W scale would approach the same cost as the new-manufactured gun in 500 S&W, and ammunition must be custom-made for those cartridges, versus for the 500 S&W simply using standard reloading processes or buying factory ammo. Loading a standard 45-70 cartridge in a Winchester 1886 or 1895 that hot I'd be comfortable with I suppose, if I wanted to 'settle' for a .458" bullet vs .500", but I'm just not comfortable loading a handier-sized Marlin Guide Gun that hot, and bumping a Marlin up to a larger bore gives me the heebie-jeebies, even though I know they seem to work ok. Still, they are custom/expensive options as well, so I figure why not just buy a firearm designed around the 500 S&W (and 460 S&W)...?

The bottom line is that nobody 'needs' a 500 S&W levergun, but if I had to go survive a decade or so on hunting with leverguns, I'd take my 500 S&W, and a scoped or target-sighted Marlin 32-20, and between those two wouldn't feel any size game would be difficult to harvest without loss (obviously I'd use hard-cast lead in the 500 S&W when taking mid-size game). If I didn't have the 500 S&W, I just might substitute my 444 Marlin, just because the cartridge rear diameter is enough less than the 45-70 that there is a good deal more metal around it when in the same gun. And yes, I know that may or may not be a rational factor to take into account. But hey, my 444 Marlin uses the same bullets as my 44 Magnums, whereas the 45-70 doesn't use the same as my 45 Colt or 454 Casull firearms... :wink:
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#24 Post by vancelw » Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:14 am

Complaining that a pistol round doesn't make much more power than rifle cartridges is like complaining you dont make 200k a year when you work at McDonald's.

Its entirely relevant. It's just not the way you wanted the thread to drift .
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#25 Post by Scrumbag » Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:30 am

AJMD429 wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 7:07 pm
Scrumbag wrote:
Wed Apr 17, 2019 2:44 pm
Nice 44!

Is that a Burris Fastfire? Just put a new one on my CHiappa Alaskan in .44 mag...
It is a 1970s version that was taking apart for burglar-proof storage when I away at college (we had had five burglaries in four years at our house). I immersed the action in a long pan of oil while the stock was kept separately. Unfortunately, mice are the nice walnut stock, and destroyed the tang area, so when I had a gunsmith replace the stock he slimmed down the forend (without even asking me). I kind of like it that way though. A few years ago I found a round factory 45 Colt Barrel at Numrich so the gun is now 45 Colt actually. The Burris Fastfire-2 makes a really good sight for it and the rail I sweated under the magazine tube mounts a quick-detach flashlight. Sometimes I put a small pistol laser right in front of the Burris Fastfire, and it makes for a really practical ranch rifle if there's something in the livestock at night.
Sweet stuff brother! Looks the bees knees! Not shot the Fastfire on the .44 yet. Bore sighted it last night down the hallway so hopefully will get to the range next week and have a play with it

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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#26 Post by AJMD429 » Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:44 am

Scrumbag wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:30 am
Sweet stuff brother! Looks the bees knees! Not shot the Fastfire on the .44 yet. Bore sighted it last night down the hallway so hopefully will get to the range next week and have a play with it.
What the heck, drywall isn't that expensive - just go ahead and shoot it...!
Tell your wife the kids must have made the hole while you were busy washing the dishes for her.... :D
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#27 Post by Scrumbag » Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:03 am

AJMD429 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:44 am
Scrumbag wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 3:30 am
Sweet stuff brother! Looks the bees knees! Not shot the Fastfire on the .44 yet. Bore sighted it last night down the hallway so hopefully will get to the range next week and have a play with it.
What the heck, drywall isn't that expensive - just go ahead and shoot it...!
Tell your wife the kids must have made the hole while you were busy washing the dishes for her.... :D
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Re: 500 S&W in lever guns

#28 Post by HawkCreek » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:01 am

vancelw wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 2:14 am
Complaining that a pistol round doesn't make much more power than rifle cartridges is like complaining you dont make 200k a year when you work at McDonald's.

Its entirely relevant. It's just not the way you wanted the thread to drift .

I have zero experience with the .500 S&W and was asking an honest question about the numbers that were shown for its performance.

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