"Light" 500 SW loads

Discussion in 'The Ammo & Reloading Forum' started by garydude, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. garydude

    garydude Member

    A friend recently purchased one of these behemoths (8 1/2''), and he leaped a tad before he looked, and found himself with a firearm that he enjoys, but gets very tiring to shoot after 5 or so rounds. He also didn't know the rounds would cost about $2-4 each, and so would like me to help him reload something more economical and tolerable.

    Has anyone developed a load that is more "user friendly" for this caliber? I have three different sources of info on this caliber, and the lightest loads are rounds with titegroup, and start around 11 grains under a 350 grain XTP, per hodgon's website. Lyman has a 350 grain XTP over 18 grains of unique as their reduced recoil load.

    My concerns are that such a small quantity of powder in this enormous case under such a large projectile wouldn't be desirable, nor particularly accurate. Has anyone tried this caliber with either of these powders, or something else that creates a reasonably accurate, tolerable load?
  2. muddober

    muddober Active Member

    Sep 19, 2008
    Carson City Nevada
    garydude: You have discovered the same thing I did about the 500, it hurts. At the time I got mine there was only one source of ammo and no brass was yet available. As I recall it was a 470 grain bullet that went 1675 out of my gun and oh my God did that hurt. I went to the 350 grain Hornady and I don't recall how much 2400, but it shoots that bullet at about 1500 FPS over my chronograph with great accuracy. I would not use any powder other than 2400, because it will tolerate less than max loads far better than 296/H110 and it fills the case much better than Unique. If I had to guess I would say about 25 grains of 2400 behind the 350 grain bullet would be a starting place, which sounds about right in comparing your 18 grains of Unique. You for sure are not going to hurt anything using 25 grains of 2400.

    Last edited: Jan 9, 2011

  3. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    trade it in on a nice .357, the .500 lobs so much lead its hard not to end up with a thumper of a load evan at a reduced velocity
  4. garydude

    garydude Member

    Thanks Ron, Josh for the input. I very much doubt he will sell it, as he seems to equate bigger as more stopping power. All too true, if the gun doesn't turn you into a twitching flinch monkey. He is sadly headed down that path with this pistol, and I was hoping to help prevent it. First round he squeezed off went 5 feet in front of a 10 yard target. Subsequent rounds were in the general zip code of his target, but it wasn't pretty. Odd thing is, he's pretty good with his 45 ACP.
  5. redwing carson

    redwing carson Former Guest

    Dec 11, 2010
    western wyoming
    I would look at casting my own bullets. You might also look at buying some hard cast slugs. This will cut the cost a great deal. If you cast your own bullets you can get down to under .50 per round. I am not sure about the need for stopping power that is equal to a 12 ga. slug in a big heavy bulky hand gun. In big bear country its the firearm that you always have at hand. I have noticed these big guns become a burden in camp and on the trail. These big heavy guns are more often left in camp after a few days. A 4" .44 Mag or heavy loaded .45 Colt is more likely to be worn on the belt 24-7.

  6. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    I just had an idea... set your powder measure to throw a starting charge of whatever powder youd normally load into the big .500 for the bullet youre using, then dump the measure and fill it with IMR trailboss, (the point is to keep the volume the same) then drop your charges and load like normal, you should end up with a slow load with half the recoil of the normal stuff. Trailboss is cool like that... Just dont compress it, it hates compression... I have done alot of loading with trailboss in many cartridges from .380ACP to .30-06, and am quite sure of its characteristics, I am sure this method will yield you what you are looking for safely.
  7. 312shooter

    312shooter Well-Known Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    Las Vegas NV
    Yes indeed the 500 has made mice of many of men, its a topper of ballistics, also has a huge turnover due to the very issues you mention. A close family friend just picked one up for $600, I think this is now the trend with the 500's as their popularity slides. This gun reminds me of the Desert Eagle 50 AE fad that started out in 1988. Ah well If I came across the right deal I'd probably buy it too. Good luck developing a friendly load, probably won't ever be a basket full of kittens but hope you come up with something for plinking.
  8. garydude

    garydude Member

    Thanks all for the replies. I do want to try the listed loads first, and if that doesn't get him to were he wants to be then I will certainly try either of your suggestions. I went ahead and bought some titegroup, thinking that I can at least use that in my 45acp rounds. Supposedly it does not have case volume issues. The other option was unique, and I've tried hard to get away from that powder because it meters so poorly in my lyman measure.

    My friend is a college student and money is tight for him, so after I told him of the costs of the dies ($30) and bullets ($45 for 100) he said it would be around march before he can come up with the funds. I don't want to wait, so I might just get them for him so that I can work up the load. Truth be told, it was a lot of fun shooting that mammoth gun.
  9. TheGunClinger

    TheGunClinger Well-Known Member Supporting Member

    Tell your friend that when he gives up on the gun I buy it from him. Then I can go to the range with my trusty Desert Eagle .50A&E (with full power rounds) and the SW 500 and have some fun. I am one of those who love re-coil.:D I notice that the people on either side of me dont love it quite so much though.:confused::)
  10. dragman

    dragman New Member

    Jan 11, 2011
    Magtech makes light recoil rounds that two of my boys 11-13 shot out of my 8.5" gun with out a problem they feel like around 30% of a full load.
  11. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    One in each hand! I did it with a .480 raging bull and a Redhawk .44 mag, both loaded with full power loads, I dont think I hit the target but twice out of 11 rounds but damn it was a loud and manly experience...;)
  12. garydude

    garydude Member

    Well here's the news; I went ahead and got the dies and components for the 500, and told my friend I considered it "rental fees" for the use of the gun for a few weeks. Truth be told, the dies were cheap and I'm not planning on running over 50-75 rounds through it, so all told less than $90 for 100 rounds of ammo.

    I looked at the bullets and *wow* these are friggin lugnuts! I ordered speer flat points in 350 grain, and they dwarf my usual 230 grain 45 ACP slugs. I have decided to go with the titegroup loading, starting at 11 grains, and will go up to 12 and 13. (max is 18.5) The 11 grain load should give about 1000 fps per hodgdon's info. Hopefully I should be able to get them loaded up and tried out this weekend.

    My biggest concern would be that the lighter loads could potentially cause a squib, but then again, it's more than twice the amount of titegroup that I've used in 45 acp rounds. I'll probably start with the 12 grain round, then back down to the 11. Sound reasonable?
  13. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    go for it...
  14. garydude

    garydude Member

    I loaded up 16 each of 11 and 13 grains titegroup (this was all the cases that we had) and I tried them out. Felt recoil was about double what is experienced with my 1911 and 230 grain hardball. Recoil was very manageable and I was wishing that I had a few dozen more rounds to shoot when I burned through these. I know that it is an inherently accurate gun, and I think this load is an accurate one, but I would need more time and practice with this hand-cannon to shoot some truly good groups.

    Reloading these cases presented a few minor obstacles. The shell cases do not fit into my universal shell holder, so I needed to make one out of wood. Also my powder funnel would not fit over the head of the case, so I had to pour the powder directly into the case mouth from the measure pan. Other than these two glitches, it was a straight forward job of reloading these rounds.

    Two pics-first is size comparison of 45, 357 and the 500. Second is the best group that I could get with it at 25 yards seated. Please excuse the .22 round near the center-targets were scarce yesterday morning. As a side note, the gun is not mine, so I did not try to sight it in. All rounds went high right.

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  15. JLA

    JLA Well-Known Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    Heart Of Texas
    very nice. Titegroup is one of my favs in just about all my handguns
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