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The Ultimate Reloading Manual
Wolfe Publishing Group
  • alliant reloading data
  • reloading brass
  • shotshell reloading
The Ultimate Reloading Manual
hodgdon load data

.500 S&W Magnum (Rifle)(using Hornady bullets)

Author: Brian Pearce / Wolfe Publishing Co.
Date: Mar 29 2016

The .500 S&W Magnum was developed as a joint effort between COR-BON Ammunition and Smith & Wesson in 2002. As a revolver cartridge it requires an unusually large gun of adequate strength, such as the Smith & Wesson Model 500. When chambered in a rifle or carbine, such as the Big Horn Armory Model 89 lever action with 18-inch barrel, it is relatively compact and can be managed by most shooters, yet offers enough punch to anchor heavy game with authority (with correct bullets). As can be seen in the accompanying data, from a rifle length barrel, 350-grain Hornady XTP MAG bullets can reach 2,000 fps and offer formidable power.

Early ammunition and cases from COR-BON, Hornady and Starline featured a large pistol primer pocket; however, due to erratic pressure curves, hang-fires and pierced primers, cases were soon changed to accept large rifle primers, now the industry standard. Starline cases manufactured with the large rifle primer pocket are marked ".500 S&W MAG" followed with an "R", to differentiate them from earlier versions. The accompanying data was shot using Starline "R" cases primed with a Winchester Large Rifle primer.

Early cases featuring a large pistol primer pocket should not be used with large rifle primers. Neither should these cases be used with large pistol primers for assembling loads from the accompanying data, as hang-fires and erratic results are likely.

To keep bullets in place when subjected to heavy recoil and to withstand the battering associated with cartridges in a tubular magazine, a heavy roll crimp should be applied. The Hornady bullets used herein feature a deep crimp groove, and cases should be crimped firmly. This also serves to obtain proper powder ignition, reduce extreme spreads, and results in improved accuracy.

Most primers should be seated .003 to .005 inch below flush, with the anvil firmly against the bottom of the primer pocket. This will help prevent misfires, but also prevents the flatnose bullets in the tubular magazine from contacting primers.

Current industry pressure limit for the .500 Smith & Wesson Magnum is 60,000 psi, with none of the accompanying data exceeding this figure.