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Fleece’s Faves – Smith & Wesson 500

July 3, 2011

I admit to you now, I am a lover of revolvers.  Pistols are nice, especially the Model 1911, but nothing beats a good 6-shooter.  And of all the revolvers in the world, nothing beats our Fleece’s Fave this week, the Smith & Wesson Model 500, chambered in S&W .500 Magnum.

First, the Round

It would not be inaccurate to label this bullet a .50 Cal, for that is exactly what it is (although 500 Magnum sounds pretty sweet too!), a half-inch diameter bullet.  This round was developed by Smith & Wesson in 2003 to recapture the title of “most powerful handgun in the world”, its venerable .44 Magnum Model 29 Revolver (think Dirty Harry) being removed from that honor by pistols chambering rounds like the .454 Casull.  In partnership with ammunition manufacturer Cor-Bon, Smith & Wesson recaptured the title in February of that year.

There are many different rounds made in this size, but since we are talking big guns, lets talk about the biggest.  There are two rounds that make this gun a total beast.  The first one, is the Hornady 300gr FTX LEVERevolution, which has jaw-dropping performance in a relatively heavy bullet.  Its muzzle velocity is a whopping 2075 Feet per Second (FPS) and its muzzle energy is a staggering 2858 foot-pounds (ft-lbs), that’s 1.5 tons!

The second round is all about weight, the 500gr CORBON Hunter HC.  A 500gr bullet weighs a little over 1 ounce (32 grams, an oz is 28 grams), which is damn heavy for a projectile with a muzzle velocity of 1500 FPS.  Weight and velocity combined give us a muzzle energy of 2499 ft-lbs.  That is a lot of pain.

Size comparison - Left .44 Magnum and Right .500 Magnum

This round is a total beast, but you need a gun to shoot it from.

The Gun

The revolver Smith & Wesson designed around their new cartridge required an entirely new frame, the X-Large frame (the Model 29 .44 Magnum is a “Large” frame pistol).  This is understandable given the power the new round was capable of producing, not to mention the sheer size of the round.

To compensate for the “kick” produced by firing this round, the new X-Large frame revolvers had two defining characteristics, first, they were heavy as hell.  The 8.38″ barrel length model comes in at a whopping 72 oz, that’s 4 pounds.  Heavy ain’t all bad, to quote Boris the Blade (aka Boris the Bullet-Dodger):

Heavy is good, heavy is reliable. If it doesn’t work you can always hit them with it.

I wouldn’t want to get pistol-whipped by this hand-cannon.

The second characteristic was a compensator on the barrel.  Pretty neat huh, a recoil compensator on a revolver?

Needless to say, kick is still a problem.

Depending on the competence and strength of the shooter, double discharges can be a problem when firing this revolver.  The kick can inadvertently force the shooter to squeeze the trigger during the recoil of the first round.  Additionally, cylinder roll-back has been observed by shooters (S&W apparently knows of this, don’t know if they fixed it).

From all the reviews I have read on this revolver, the writers all admit to a ton of recoil but concede that it is manageable assuming you don’t shoot for any length of time.  Given that rounds are 2-4 bucks a piece, not sure that is a problem.

So what is this gun made for?

In my opinion, this gun was truly made for one reason, marketing.  Just like the “fastest car in the world” can sell more cars for a car-maker, “the most powerful gun in the world” will sell more guns for Smith & Wesson.  But the stated purpose of this gun is big game hunting.

According to the stats, this gun can kill any game in the world – that means you can kill an elephant with this bad boy!  This weapon would most usually be relegated to a back-up self-defense piece in a big-game hunting application – as in, “oh crap, where did that Grizzly come from!”  In a non-hunting application, this thing is virtually worthless.

It is too big, heavy and powerful for any concealed-carry application (maybe Andre the Giant could pull it off), though if someone whipped this thing out on me, I would surely crap myself post-haste.  The round is overkill for home-defense, you don’t want bullets that will “shoot through schools” to quote Vermin from Johnny Dangerously.


It is most assuredly the most powerful handgun in the world, though useful in only very defined applications.  Nonetheless, Fleece’s Faves are all about the biggest and the baddest and no one can question this revolver’s title as “king of the magnums”.

On to the Links!

Always on Watch – So Much For Civility

American and Proud – USA vs Mexico in America… Oh yeah, great…

America’s Watchtower – This day in history: Pickett’s Charge

Answering Muslims – Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani Facing Imminent Execution in Iran for Apostasy and Evangelism

Be Sure You’re RIGHT, then Go Ahead – Right Is RIGHT…

Blog de KingShamus –Book Review- “The Wrong War” by Bing West

Bread upon the Waters – Obama: Fed Gov’t Should Stop “Poking Its Nose Into What States Are Doing”

Bunkerville – Food Deserts in DC? Central Planning to the rescue!

Capitol Commentary – New Kalifornia Budget Will Kill Small Businesses: Internet Tax

COMMON CENTS –Californians have forgotten why we celebrate the 4th of July.

Conservative Hideout – The Story of our Declaration of Independence

Conservative Outpost – CDC Prepares for Outbreak of Bachmann Derangement Syndrome

Conservatives on Fire – Have the NLRB and the NMB Outlived Their Purpose?

Conservative Tickler – Obama blames Republicans and big business for his failures.

Disrupt the Narrative – Congressman Randy Forbes on American exceptionalism.

Frankenstein Goverment – Ron Paul Says the U.S. Should Declare Bankruptcy

Manhattan Infidel – An Open Letter From Al Gore

Mind-Numbed Robot – Is “Anyone” Better than Obama?

motorcity times – If The Data Doesn’t Fit The Hypothesis, Create Data That Does Fit

NoOneofAnyImport’s Blog – Cherry On Top Award

Planet Moron – Out to Lunch, Back in Seven

Political Realities – Ron Paul For President In 2012?

Proof Positive – A Primer on How Socialists View Your Money

Questioning with Boldness – Ted Nugent Washington Times Op Ed | NUGENT: Independence Day revival

Republican Redefined – Iran Testing Missiles That Could Carry Nukes

rjjrdq’s America II – Obama Joins Hands With Muslim Brotherhood

Robbing America – Steve Citizen and the Dog Food Suit – Conclusion

Sentry Journal – Minot Flood: Where we go from here…

Edge of the Sandbox – Anti-Gun Agenda Placement in “Parents” Magazine?

Spellchek – Deciphering Obama – does it even matter?

The Swash – SoCal to Secede from California?

Teresamerica – Santorum’s Anti-Obama – Courage To Fight For Jobs Ad

ThatMrgguy’s Blog – Why Doesn’t Obama Come Right Out and Say, ‘Democrats Want to Raise Taxes’?

The Bard of Murdock – To Act or Not To Act

The Daley Gator – Yep, political correctness kills

The Foxhole – Surprise: Obama Lied About General’s Afghanistan Recommendations

The People’s Cube – FLAT FLOTUS Contest: Choose Background for the First Lady

The Spread Eagle Patriot – Happy Free From Tyranny Weekend

Zilla of the Resistance – The Racism Everyone Pretends Doesn’t Exist

20 Comments leave one →
  1. anticsrocks permalink
    July 3, 2011 1:14 pm

    Thanks for the link!!

    • July 3, 2011 6:20 pm

      My pleasure. =)

  2. July 3, 2011 3:02 pm

    Appreciate the link. In regards to handguns, I just traded my Ruger .44 Mag SA in for a S&W 9MM. It just got to be too much gun for me considering the punishment my hands have taken over thirty years in the trades. I still have my old .22Mag revolver, though. I call it my “cowboy” pistol. 😉

    Mike G.

    • July 3, 2011 6:22 pm

      While I hate to see you lose your .44 Mag, I understand the reasoning. My cowboy pistol is a S&W .38 Police Special (2 1/2″ barrel), great gun, but I someday want to upgrade to a S&W Model 29 .44 Mag snub-nosed. =)

  3. July 3, 2011 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the link, Fleece. I’m still attached to the Colt M1911 .45. Sentimental, I guess…

    • July 3, 2011 10:14 pm

      I love me the 1911, greatest pistol ever made. =)

  4. July 3, 2011 9:19 pm

    Thanks Fleece. A whole lotta grams will be expoding tomorrow night so you picked the perfect posting.

    • July 3, 2011 10:15 pm

      My pleasure. Too bad I live in the People’s Bedroom Community of Virginia so the best I can do for my kids are sparklers and lame fountains, whoopee! =(

  5. JustFacts permalink
    July 3, 2011 9:30 pm

    I’ll hang with my Dan Wesson 15-2 .357 Mag. w/ 6″ barrel. Not much for concealed carry, but I’ve got smaller pistols for that. With the Hornady Critical Defense rounds, there aren’t any 2-legged attackers or many 4 legged-attackers that will be standing after a double tap.

    • July 3, 2011 10:15 pm

      Awesome gun! =) Probably don’t need the double-tap with the .357 Mag, but you don’t get extra points for saving ammo. =)

  6. July 4, 2011 1:09 am

    Thanks for the link Colin. We really appreciate you helping get the word out about Minot and the devastation of this terrible flood. Have a great 4th. Be safe.

    • July 4, 2011 8:09 am

      No thanks necessary it is, as always, my pleasure. =)

  7. LD Jackson permalink
    July 4, 2011 6:17 am

    That’s a major revolver, to be sure. I prefer them myself, usually carrying my Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum to deer hunt with. First day I hunted with it, killed a small buck at 67 steps, open sights. My Dad couldn’t believe it.

    Thanks for the link, Colin. I appreciate it.

    • July 4, 2011 8:10 am

      Wow, that’s an impressive shot!

      And it was my pleasure. =)

      • LD Jackson permalink
        July 4, 2011 8:13 am

        Not so much, really. The gun shoots straight, if I can hold it still. I used to have a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 Magnum that was magna-ported and I shot it at 75 steps, open sights. Anything less wasn’t even a challenge. I’m not trying to brag, because the gun does most of it.

      • July 4, 2011 8:39 am

        Well, you figure a typical step is 30″, that’s a pretty damn good pistol shot in anyone’s book. What barrel length?

      • LD Jackson permalink
        July 4, 2011 8:40 am

        Both of them have 7.5″ barrels.

      • July 4, 2011 9:08 pm

        Nice guns…I am sadly jealous. =(

  8. July 4, 2011 2:14 pm

    thanks for the link my friend. happy independence day!

  9. Dr. Tickles permalink
    August 3, 2011 7:20 pm

    Thanky kindly—Dr. Tickles

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