Reloading 500S&W Magnum

JackO

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I just started reloading 500S&W MAG caliber, and obviously have a lot of questions. Thank to Eddie Coil, Bob J, Marcus5aurelius and other NESers I have a good start. All my questions were answered by PMs, but this time I think, it might be beneficial to many other people, so I decided to post it here.

I had some Berrys 335gr copper plated bullets to start with. These bullets are not designed for use in revolvers, they don't have a cannelure to do roll crimping, and because of this can not be loaded hot, as recoil will move them out of cases possibly locking the cylinder. But for a light plinking load they are OK, so I started with EC recepie - 13gr of Titegroup and light taper crimp. I loaded some with 12.5gr, 13.0gr, and 13.5gr. All these worked fine from my 8-3/8" S&W revolver, recoil was less than 44 mag from 6" Mod.629 S&W revolver. Hopefully I will have some chrono data this weekend and post it here. Meanwhile, I measured displacement of the bullet in fifth cartridge in the cylinder after firing four cartridges. The displacement was 0.007 - 0.008" with cartridge starting OAL 2.070".

ETA: Here are the results:

Powder: Titegroup
Bullet: Rainier TMJ (plated) 335gr
Crimp: Light taper crimp
Case: Starline, once fired
Primer: Winchester LRP
AOL: 2.070"
Test group: 5 shots

Load Velocity SD
12.5 1033 18.7
13.0 1020 58.7 (4 shots only)
13.5 1043 28.5

The accuracy is very good, 1.5" groups for all loads at 50 feet from a sand bag.

Below are the pictures of the original Berrys bullet, the bullet pulled from the crimped cartridge, and the cartridge with the bullet. I'm posting these pictures to ask your opinion on the taper crimp I did on these cartridges. Is the crimp too deep?





Markus5aurelius was so kind to give me some of his 350gr lead cast bullets with gas checks. These are very fine bullets (Mark, thank you so much!), and they have good cannelure, so I was loading them much hotter (nothing compare to EC [smile]). Mark suggested loading them up to 41gr of H-110, but I decided to stay on a conservative side for the first experiment, and loaded them with 32, 33, 34, 35, 36gr of H-110. Again, hope to chrono them this weekend and post the results.

For the reference, Hodgdon suggests 39gr min and 43gr max for 350gr HDY XTP bullets. They don't have any info on 350gr lead, bud good rule of thumb is to go 10% lower on lead versus copper jacketed bullets. So I started a little lower and worked the load up. Based on the results, I probably will load them hotter next time.

ETA: Here are the results:

Powder: H-110
Bullet: Cast HP (Cramer?) gas checked 367gr
Crimp: Strong roll crimp
Case: Starline, once fired
Primer: Winchester LRP
AOL: 1.970"
Test group: 5 shots

Load Velocity SD
32 1401 18.6
33 1434 37.8
34 1528 (2 shots only, problems with chrono)
35 1533 40.2
36 1547 40.0

The accuracy is very good, 1.5" - 2" groups at 50 feet from a sand bag.

Below are the pictures of the original Mark's bullet, , and the loaded cartridge. And again the question. How is the sitting depth and the crimp in your opinion? Do I need to adjust anything?



 
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EddieCoyle

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The crimps look fine.

Just for the record, I cast some of those same HP bullets and they weighed in at 367grs.

I loaded some with 44.5gr of H110 (which is the minimum recommended load by Hodgdon for a 370gr cast bullet). I'll chrono them and post back here.

It'll be interesting to see how you make out with those light charges of H110. It's one of those powders that doesn't do well when you download it.
 
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JackO

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It'll be interesting to see how you make out with those light charges of H110. It's one of those powders that doesn't do well when you download it.
Any idea on what might happen on the light charges with H-110, any risk of detonation? Should I pull the bullets and reload with more H-110?
 
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Marcus5aurelius

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Any idea on what might happen on the light charges with H-110, any risk of detonation?

I'm not sure about any risks from under loading it, but we have shot hundreds at that charge so far and have had no problems so far with it. I think everyone should do their own personal load development like you're doing though just to be safe. The reason why we use H110 over other acceptable powders is merely a fail safe for double charges. H110 requires much more powder volume, therefore it is physically impossible to double charge without realizing. It just helps to prevent any possible mistakes from occurring.

BTW, that first picture of the HP looks pretty nasty at that magnification. Will definitely shoot straight though [laugh]
 

JackO

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OK, I can live with inconsistent velocity and possible squibs for this test, just would be more careful to see there is no barrel blockage.

Some time ago I read, with the very low loads, some powders, if distributed unevenly in case, can start burning, and blow some unburned powder towards the bullet, creating partial blockage inside the case. This can cause excessive pressures, and explode the case. Is this scenario possible with H-110 and low charge?
 

DukeInFlorida

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The trick to avoid squibs is to load the cases with powder, and place them in neat rows in a loading block BEFORE placing any bullets in place.

Then, look them all over for height of powder. The human eye can discern about .002" of difference, which should be enough to determine if any look odd. You'd certainly catch any that didn't have any powder at all.

Only after you are sure that there's enough powder in each, load the bullets, seat and crimp.

BTW, I concur that the crimping looks fine.

I'm hoping to try EC's .500 S&W Mag tomorrow, and have it on my wish list. So, what I am watching here (thanks for posting this) is helpful to me!
 

EddieCoyle

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I went to the range today to try out my first cast bullets. I used the same mold as M5A (the HP bullets in the bottom pictures in post 1).

Here are the specs:

Bullet weight: 367grs lubed and gas-checked.
Bullet lube: White Label BAC lube (which is soft enough to use without a heater on my lube/sizing press).
Cases: Many-times-fired Starline
Powder: H-110
Charge weight: 44.5 grains
Primer: CCI Large Rifle
C.O.A.L.: 1.970"
Crimp: Strong roll crimp

Here's how they performed (this was a 10-shot group):

High - 1780
Low - 1736
Avg. - 1757
SDev - 17

The accuracy was very good, I was shooting 2" groups at 20 yards. I cleaned the revolver when I got home. There was no sign of leading, and it wasn't as dirty as I expected it to be.
 

gerrycaruso

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That bullet looks like the Rainier 335 grain for the .50AE. I load it to 1500 fps with H4227. Even though it doesn't have a cannelure, I've never had a problem with bullets pulling during recoil. I've only shot it out of an 8 3/8" .500.Accuracy with this load is superb.
 

Bob J

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Lots of good stuff here.... This is an awesome thread....

One more vote for your crimp.... Looks good.... As was mentioned earlier be careful with the crimp on plated rounds as you do not want to crimp enough to break the jacket... This can potentially leave part of the jacket in the barrel which can be a major problem for the next round fired....[shocked]

Mark mentioned that we have shot hundreds of rounds with the 41.0 grain H110 load of the spire point and I would have to say we have shot several thousand of the spire point with no problem with ignition and a couple of hundred of the HP since that is our newest mould.... H110 can be touchy with light loads but don't think this is light enough to be in that range.... We certainly have never had a problem....

The original load I got from Ranger Rick since the 386 grain was pretty close to his 400 grain cast with the same lube and shot from the same gun.... His data recommended a load workup starting at 40.0 so again 41.0 should not be a problem.... He did mention that you need to use a large rifle magnum primer and have a strong roll crimp to ensure good consistent ignition (as well as prevent setback)....

I've attached a couple of files for you..... The Ranger Rick data is the load sheet he sent me and the other two are my load development sheets for both the HP and SP Miha bullets....

Enjoy! [wink]

View attachment Range Rick Loads.pdf

View attachment SW500 H110 386SP.pdf

View attachment SW500 502HP H110.pdf
 
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DukeInFlorida

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Bob, and others......

I am taking a poll. Looking to get one of these guns. I shot E/C's yesterday, the 8" barrel one. He tells me that the 4" barrel has less recoil (which is what I would be looking for).
Is there a reason I should consider absorbing more recoil, for the sake of the longer barrel?

So, what is the preference for barrel length for these monsters?
 

Marcus5aurelius

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Bob, and others......

I am taking a poll. Looking to get one of these guns. I shot E/C's yesterday, the 8" barrel one. He tells me that the 4" barrel has less recoil (which is what I would be looking for).
Is there a reason I should consider absorbing more recoil, for the sake of the longer barrel?

So, what is the preference for barrel length for these monsters?

I've only shot our 8" one, but I thought I heard someone say that the 4" had more recoil because of the lighter weight of the gun. Although thinking about it, having the kick up at 8 inches out as opposed to 4 inches out may cause a more uncontrollable kick because of the further distance from your grip. What do you guys think?
 

EddieCoyle

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I've only shot our 8" one, but I thought I heard someone say that the 4" had more recoil because of the lighter weight of the gun. Although thinking about it, having the kick up at 8 inches out as opposed to 4 inches out may cause a more uncontrollable kick because of the further distance from your grip. What do you guys think?

I have both the 4" and 8" 500, and the 4" has less recoil. It's because the bullet is in the barrel for less time. The recoil 'energy under the curve' is greater because the recoil last twice as long with the 8" gun. If you try the same load side-by-side in each gun, the 8" whacks you more. The 4" is way noisier though.
 

Marcus5aurelius

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I've been loading 335gr. JHP with 48 gr of H110.


Hey Remsport,
Jacketed bullets take a different, higher quantity of powder to achieve the same muzzle velocity because it has much higher friction rate than cast. Casted bullets of the same type will require less powder. Also, different types of powder are better for cast or jacketed. Very fast burning powders are great with jacketed, but cause a lead bullet to lead the barrel. Lead bullets are ideal with slower burning powders such as H110, H335, or N110

I went to the range today to try out my first cast bullets. I used the same mold as M5A (the HP bullets in the bottom pictures in post 1).

Here are the specs:

Bullet weight: 367grs lubed and gas-checked.
Bullet lube: White Label BAC lube (which is soft enough to use without a heater on my lube/sizing press).
Cases: Many-times-fired Starline
Powder: H-110
Charge weight: 44.5 grains
Primer: CCI Large Rifle
C.O.A.L.: 1.970"
Crimp: Strong roll crimp

Here's how they performed (this was a 10-shot group):

High - 1780
Low - 1736
Avg. - 1757
SDev - 17

The accuracy was very good, I was shooting 2" groups at 20 yards. I cleaned the revolver when I got home. There was no sign of leading, and it wasn't as dirty as I expected it to be.

Hey EC,
After a certain amount of powder, the velocity actually drops off slightly. The pdf that Bob J posted (sw500 502HP H110) third page, show the same bullet with 41.3gr of powder were running an average velocity of 1775 with a high 1827. Adding more powder after that may actually result in less velocity, more pressure within the cartidge, and more powder used up in reloading.
 
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Marcus5aurelius

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I have both the 4" and 8" 500, and the 4" has less recoil. It's because the bullet is in the barrel for less time. The recoil 'energy under the curve' is greater because the recoil last twice as long with the 8" gun. If you try the same load side-by-side in each gun, the 8" whacks you more. The 4" is way noisier though.

That makes alot of sense, I didn't take the bullet time in the barrel into consideration. Thanks for clearing that up for me
 

JackO

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I just added test results to the original post. Unfortunately, I have shot small test groups (4-5 bullets per string), as I had very limited quantity of bullets, and wanted to cover wide range of loads. If anybody is willing to sell me some more of these cast bullets (again, the tested bullets were DONATED by Marcus), I'm volunteering to do more tests and post better statistical data. Meanwhile, the data I got, in my opinion, is in line with data posted by other people for the same bullets.

From your data posted, it seems to me, loading 367gr HP bullet with more than 41 - 41.5 gr of H-110 does not give any velocity increase, though there is not enough data to judge if it will increase or decrease the accuracy.
 
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JackO

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Bob, thanks a lot for your comments and the files, there is a lot of great info, and I'm sure, it will be very useful in my own loads development.
 

JackO

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Bob, and others......

I am taking a poll. Looking to get one of these guns. I shot E/C's yesterday, the 8" barrel one. He tells me that the 4" barrel has less recoil (which is what I would be looking for).
Is there a reason I should consider absorbing more recoil, for the sake of the longer barrel?

So, what is the preference for barrel length for these monsters?

Duke, be a MAN, buy a 10.5" one! [smile]
http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/...57771_757767_757751_ProductDisplayErrorView_Y

On the serious note, I prefer my 8-3/8" classic S&W500 MAG revolver (I shot both, 8" and 4" one). There is only one problem I have with it, I can't put it across my safe, like I do with all my handguns, it has to go in the vertical rack together with rifles. [grin]
 
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Marcus5aurelius

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I just added test results to the original post. Unfortunately, I have shot small test groups (4-5 bullets per string), as I had very limited quantity of bullets, and wanted to cover wide range of loads. If anybody is willing to sell me some more of these cast bullets (again, the tested bullets were DONATED by Marcus), I'm volunteering to do more tests and post better statistical data. Meanwhile, the data I got, in my opinion, is in line with data posted by other people for the same bullets.

From your data posted, it seems to me, loading 367gr HP bullet with more than 41 - 41.5 gr of H-110 does not give any velocity increase, though there is not enough data to judge if it will increase or decrease the accuracy.

I'de be happy to cast you up some more JackO, just let me know how much of whatever type and I'll cast them one of these days. Like I said via PM, we're getting in a few new molds which should be pretty cool if you'de be willing to wait until they came in
 

JackO

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Marcus, some more bullets will be really great. I'll PM you about the details.
Meanwhile I have one question, how do you sit the spire bullets without damaging the tip?
 

DukeInFlorida

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I can answer that one...The bullet seater gets modified for the long point. Easy to do.
And, when lubing/sizing them, it doesn't get touched

Marcus, some more bullets will be really great. I'll PM you about the details.
Meanwhile I have one question, how do you sit the spire bullets without damaging the tip?
 

Marcus5aurelius

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Marcus, some more bullets will be really great. I'll PM you about the details.
Meanwhile I have one question, how do you sit the spire bullets without damaging the tip?

We have a pointed attachment that we use with it. When lubing/sizing we just fit it onto the tip and it passes through just like any other.
 

Bob J

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I can answer that one...The bullet seater gets modified for the long point. Easy to do.
And, when lubing/sizing them, it doesn't get touched

Actually I didn't have to modify it..... I forget what brand of Seating Die I am using but it worked without damaging the spirepoint right out of the box..... Will check tonight and post the die manufacturer....

Mark is right that the only issue I had to figure out was how to lube/size them without damage.... The nose punch that came with Miha's bullet mould turned out to do the trick.....

BTW, picked up a SW500 440 grain RFN mould from Midway that was on clearance.... Only 2 cavity but the price was certainly right.....

http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?productNumber=266944
 
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DukeInFlorida

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Bob,
E/C commented on Saturday that the gas checks for these are expensive.
Have you made any progress with asking either Pat Marlin or the FreeChex III guy about making one for this size?
In the meantime, where do you get them from?

Also, I understand that you are running these as 50-50 mix. What are you sizing them to?

(This could become the definitive internet discussion on this subject)
 
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