Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum Revolver
I recently picked up a Smith & Wesson .500 Revolver for the back country and for the occassional nuissance bear around the cabin.
With the entry of the .500 S&W Magnum and the Model 500 revolver, Smith & Wesson recaptured the title of the most powerful handgun. The .500 S&W Magnum is considered the most powerful commercial sporting handgun cartridge by virtue of the muzzle energy it can generate. Cor-Bon (now a Dakota Ammo brand) who together with Smith & Wesson developed the .500 S&W Magnum cartridge, offers several loads which include a 325 gr (21.1 g) at 1,800 ft/s (550 m/s), a 400 gr (26 g) at 1,625 ft/s (495 m/s) and a 440 gr (29 g) at 1,625 ft/s (495 m/s). Compared to the next most powerful commercial sporting handgun cartridge, the .460 S&W Magnum, which can launch a 325 gr (21.1 g) at 1,650 ft/s (500 m/s) or a 395 gr (25.6 g) at 1,525 ft/s (465 m/s), the .500 S&W Magnum produces about 15% to 40% more muzzle energy than the .460 S&W. The .500 S&W Magnum comes into its own when used with heavier bullets, particularly those with weights of 500 gr (32 g) or greater. When possible these bullets should be seated as far out as possible to take advantage of the complete cylinder length, so as to maximize the powder capacity which the case can provide.
I have the 4' barrel version that I carry in a leather Ross holster and a leather Ringler shell slide for extra cartridges. The .500 S&W Magnum has a very high recoil energy and recoil velocity. The high energy and velocity of the recoil will cause the muzzle to rise when shooting the cartridge. Smith & Wesson incorporated design features to help mitigate both the perceived and actual recoil of their Model 500 Smith & Wesson revolver chambered for the .500 S&W Magnum. The revolver is equipped with a compensator and Hogue Absorbathane grips. This shorter-barreled revolver is handier, weighing 56 oz (1.6 kg) and coming with a larger and more efficient muzzle brake than the more common Model 500 8.375 in (212.7 mm) revolvers.
The .500 S&W Magnum was designed to be primarily a handgun hunting cartridge. It also serves a secondary purpose as a back-up survival handgun cartridge as a defense against the large bears of North America. Due to its power, recoil and size, the 500 S&W Magnum is a poor self-defense or concealed-carry weapon, especially in an urban environment.
The .500 S&W Magnumís success with large dangerous game is in part due the availability of heavier bullets with exceptional sectional densities. Bullets above 500-grain (32 g) have the sectional densities required for hunting heavier African dangerous game. As a hunting cartridge the .500 S&W Magnum has been found to be effective against elephant and African buffalo as long as ranges are kept within reasonable limits. Bullet selection is extremely important when hunting thick-skinned dangerous game. Smith & Wesson bills the Model 500 revolver as "A Hunting Handgun For Any Game Animal Walking".
In North America, it serves the purpose of hunting all North American big game species. The cartridge has had success in harvesting of Alaskan brown bear, American bison, moose, and elk. It is also used to hunt black bear, whitetail deer, wild boar, and feral hogs. The cartridge gained some notoriety as being the cartridge which was used to hunt the supposed Monster Pig.