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Thread: Reduced loads for S&W 500 mag

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub
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    Oct 2013
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    Reduced loads for S&W 500 mag

    I know this has been discussed on earlier threads, but I'm still interested in knowing people's experience.

    And before people question why I would want to do that, I've had my fill of stout loads with my 454, and the gun (S&W 500 with 6.5" bbl) was a gift. One should never protest a free gun! And, I've always wanted a 475/480 or a 500. But my plan was to load them to more manageable levels.

    I am currently shooting 350 gr plated bullets over 12 gr Trail Boss at under 1000 fps (feels like a 38 out of my 637 snubbie) . I'll probably stay there for my plinking round.

    The other is a 440 gr cast over 19 gr HS-6 at ~1200 fps (Feels like a stout 45 Colt or watered down 454). This is the one I'm interested in. I like the velocity, and suspect it would be more than enough for anything I plan on shooting here in PA or hiking in Utah.

    I'll prob stick with those two bullets. My current powders are Trail Boss, Bullseye, Tightgroup, BE-86, Unique, HS-6, 2400, 4227, and H110. For what I want, I'm thinking HS-6 or Unique would be best.

    Just curious what others have experienced.

    thanks

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    I've had a 4" since shortly after they came out... Have settled on 350 grain bullets as all I'll ever need.

    Berry's plated
    Sierra JHP
    Speer JFSP
    Hornady HTP
    NOE LBT style mold

    Have been shooting 18.0 grains of Unique with the Berry's for target work getting 1050 fps from the 4" barrel. 20 grains of Unique with one of the jacketed bullets gets 1250 fps. Settled on 18 grain minimum as it put me in the velocity range I wanted and if one double charges the case it fills the case so you would see it trying to seat the bullet.

    FYI:
    With the Berry's bullet and Unique:
    15.0/926
    16.0/928
    17.0/966
    18.0/1030
    19.0/1070

    Surprisingly a load of 43 grains of H110 with the jacketed bullets only clocks 1265 from the 4" but does get 1800 fps from a 20" TC Encore.

    I have cast but have not loaded any of the cast bullets yet.

    Had one of the 6" guns with the three small ports on each side of the front sight...found it very unpleasant to shoot and sold it. I would like to one day get one of the original 8 3/8" guns with the comp like the 4" has or the 7.5" PC...

    Before I bought my 4" I shot a friend's 8 3/8" with full loads of H110 and a 440 grain CP bullet...it was a) much more fun to shoot than my FA .454 and b) put the bullet through a BBQ size propane tank, into the second tank and dented the backside of the tank...

    Bob

    ps..if you send a dummy round to Lee they will make a Factory Crimp Die for you... It is the rifle type with the collet not the carbide like the full length pistol rounds are...
    Last edited by RJM52; 03-12-2018 at 09:19 AM.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master Gunslinger1911's Avatar
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    Nothing like plinking with a 0.500" / 325g at ~1000 fps ! That hunk of lead still puts a smack on the target. I think I was using 10-12 g Trail Boss.
    Cogno, Ergo, Boom

    If you're gonna be stupid, don't pull up short. Saddle up and ride it all the way in.

  4. #4
    Boolit Bub
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    Oct 2013
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    Thanks for the replies.

    Gunslinger, I agree, those “plinking” loads are so much fun to shoot, and yet, anything on the receiving end will likely not live to protest very long!

    RJM52, thanks for the load data. That’s exactly what i was hoping to get.
    I found unique to be a little dirty in my 45 Colt (lots of soot) although it is the powder I use for most of my loads. Does it clean up at all in the 500 or is it just something you just have to live with?

    Also, couldn’t get the links to work but I’d love to see them.

  5. #5
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdt81 View Post
    SNIP...

    I found unique to be a little dirty in my 45 Colt (lots of soot) although it is the powder I use for most of my loads. Does it clean up at all in the 500 or is it just something you just have to live with?
    I worked up a load using 385gr plain base RF boolit with 17gr of unique...that's where the primers started to flatten out.
    once I got near that pressure of flattened primers, Unique started burning much cleaner.

    PS, I started at 12 gr and worked my way up...and yes, at the low end, Unique was quite dirty/sooty,

  6. #6
    Boolit Master

    Moonie's Avatar
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    15gr of Unique under that 440gr boolit will give you a 44 mag level load, 1,100fps give or take. 35gr of AA1680 will give you about 1,250fps.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    If your Unique loads are "dirty"...use a hotter primer and a firmer crimp. That is why I suggest the Lee Factory Crimp Dies...

    Don't know what ahppen to my pics but I will try and repost...

    Bob

  8. #8
    Boolit Master
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    Sierra 350 JHP/20.0 Unique...

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  9. #9
    Boolit Bub
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    Nice pics.
    I've really only used Unique in 45 Colt with very little crimp.
    I'll have to load up some with a good crimp in the 500 and give it a try. I'm using a Redding profile crimp which seems to give a nice crimp. I used a Lee Factory Crimp die with .223 and it did do a really nice job.

    I have been very impressed with HS-6. First time I've ever used it but I know John Linebaugh likes it and I'd alway wanted to try it. It just hasn't been available in my area until this past year.

  10. #10
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    JonB_in_Glencoe's Avatar
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    I no longer load 44 mag, but I did REALLY like HS-6 for mid level loads in 44 mag, back when I loaded for it. I've never tried it in the 500.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Does anyone make a solid comp for my four inch 500?.
    I'm really liking it, made a chest holster this morning and then five mile hike to test run it. Just to dang loud.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check