.500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

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.500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Morne » Mon Nov 14, 2016 9:44 pm

So, I've been thinking about getting a .500 S&W revolver. Even put a bid into one on GunBroker (stupid reserve auction...seller thinks his gun is worth more than it is). Maybe I'll get one soon and maybe not, who knows.

But while researching it I figured I'd check into reloading stuff for the .500 S&W. Now I already have bullets for it since I have a .50 Beowulf. Figure a couple of my current powders (Lil' Gun, for instance) will work for it, too. Gotta buy brass and dies. Cursory check of primers...and...wait...WHAAAAAT????!?!?! :?: :!:

See, .50 Beowulf uses Large Pistol Magnum primers (CCI-350 for me). Odd that it uses PISTOL primers because the .50 Beo was designed for use on the AR-15 RIFLE platform. Hey, whatever.

But the .500 S&W uses Large RIFLE primers! That's right folks, a round designed for use in a PISTOL uses RIFLE primers. Just weird.

References:
.500 S&W
.50 Beowulf

I can't make sense out of this. It's perfectly backwards. I could MAYBE understand it if one of them could use either rifle or pistol primers (some .357 Magnum loads are like that). And MAYBE I should try to do some load development with the .50 Beowulf using Large Rifle primers so as to consolidate supplies. :idea:

Thoughts? :?:
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Sevens » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:23 am

Yeah, thoughts, haha: you are making way too much of this.

It's not about the funny "pistol" or "rifle" name of the primers, it's simply about peak pressure. The .460 S&W Magnum which I load & shoot regularly uses those same large rifle primers. It -is- a 60k psi max cartridge afterall. And my .327 Federal Magnum uses small rifle primers exclusively, btw. It's a 45k psi max round.

Little Gun is a VERY bad idea in .500 Mag, btw. It'll eat that barrel alive.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Morne » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:30 am

I guess there's a lightweight lead bullet load with Trail Boss that is a light plinker. Might try Trail Boss with my plated bullets to see if I can replicate.

But back to the point, I should be able to use Large Rifle primers in the .50 Beo, yes?
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:56 am

Sevens wrote:Little Gun is a VERY bad idea in .500 Mag, btw. It'll eat that barrel alive.

Seconded. In fact, I won't use Little Gun at all anymore unless there are alternatives (and there are *always* alternatives), especially in revolvers. Man that stuff burns hot, and causes more flame cutting than anything else I've seen!
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Morne » Tue Nov 15, 2016 9:41 am

JustaShooter wrote:
Sevens wrote:Little Gun is a VERY bad idea in .500 Mag, btw. It'll eat that barrel alive.

Seconded. In fact, I won't use Little Gun at all anymore unless there are alternatives (and there are *always* alternatives), especially in revolvers. Man that stuff burns hot, and causes more flame cutting than anything else I've seen!

I haven't had that problem and am generally not afraid of it. It mostly seems to happen with lightweight bullets while I generally favor heavier weight slugs. For instance, with .44 Mag I use Lil' Gun for 240-gr copper-plated bullets but prefer SR-4756 for 200-gr Hi-Tek coated slugs. Ditto with .357 Magnum where I use Lil' Gun for 158-gr copper-plated rounds but am investigating other powders for 125-gr (HS-6, Accurate #5, IMR PB).

But for my AR platform calibers like .300 AAC BLK and .50 Beo it is ONLY Lil' Gun getting used. You just can't beat it.
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby marca » Tue Nov 15, 2016 11:33 am

JustaShooter wrote:
Sevens wrote:Little Gun is a VERY bad idea in .500 Mag, btw. It'll eat that barrel alive.

Seconded. In fact, I won't use Little Gun at all anymore unless there are alternatives (and there are *always* alternatives), especially in revolvers. Man that stuff burns hot, and causes more flame cutting than anything else I've seen!


I have been using Little Gun with 440g gas-checked Leadhead bullets. I have heard of flame cutting, but have not shot that much and haven't noticed an issue so far. What powders do you like to full-power 500mag loads?
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Sevens » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:35 am

I know zero about the .50 Beowulf cartridge, but if it is spec'd for a LARGE PISTOL primer, you have two choices only-- lg pistol and lg pistol magnum. This is because while small pistol and small rifle have the same physical dimensions, large pistol and large rifle do NOT have the same dimensions. Large rifle primers are taller.

Use a large pistol primer in a large rifle pocket and it sits too deeply and (likely) is also being used out of it's pressure range. Use a large rifle primer in a large pistol pocket and it sits extremely proud. Wouldn't work and n ANY revolver and would be genuinely dangerous in any other firearm that might actually accept it, fit-wise.

At my bench, I don't stock any small pistol magnum primers-- I simply use a small rifle non-magnum if I need it. While brands absolutely differ, ATK has given out enough proof that their small pistol magnum and small rifle non-magnum are the SAME product in two different packages.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Sevens » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:42 am

The problems associated with Lil'Gun in big bore revolvers is not as much one of flame cutting... as it is of irrational throat erosion. Many have watched it simply destroy a barrel in under 150 rounds. It all seemed to be anecdotal -UNTIL- you chase down the fact that Freedom Arms was finding the problem in the .454 Casull revolvers.

FWIW... Freedom Arms makes phenomenal revolvers AND they are one of few gun manufacturers who expect, suggest and support their guns being fed handloads. Freedom Arms sells brass, as a matter of fact. But Freedom Arms would also suggest you do NOT use Hodgdon Lil'Gun to make big bore revolver ammo.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Sevens » Wed Nov 16, 2016 1:59 am

You can make fine .500 Mag handloads using Alliant 2400, Alliant Power Pro 300-MP, Hodgdon H110/W296, IMR-4227 and Accurate#9, and these listed are simply the powders I've had and used. There are surely others that work well in .500 Mag, but Lil'Gun will wreck the revolver.

If you buy a new S&W X-frame and use Lil'Gun... you'll wreck it and S&W will replace your barrel lickity split, under warranty.

If you buy a Taurus Raging-something and use Lil'Gun... you'll wreck it and Taurus will let you send it to them on your dime and they will hand it to a Sao Paulo hooker and she will keep it in her "working girl" bag while she walks, barefoot to Rio where she will climb the hill and place it at the feet of the Christ the Redeemer statue of for the rest of time while you wait for God to heal it.
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Morne » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:23 am

I bought a used S&W 500 on Gunbroker yesterday.

As stated before, I think I'm going to try using Trail Boss for some of the reduced recoil loads. Might actually make the dumb thing fun to shoot. :idea:
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Sevens » Wed Nov 16, 2016 2:22 pm

Well, I have a lot more experience shooting the .460 than the .500 Mag but I found them quite similar, and my take is...

The .460 from the big 8-3/8" X-frame ends up being more enjoyable (to me) than hot loads from any .44 Magnum, due to many reasons. First, perhaps it's because a full "session" of .460 is usually 10-20 rounds at most in a day. Secondly... the revolver itself is just soooo well designed to handle the fury. The outrageous mass, the standard rubber with gel insert grip and the extremely well designed porting all add up. It's really a different experience than most handguns, but I find it more enjoyable than the normal expected beating of a .44 Magnum.

I never did run light loads through the .500 when I had it, and I haven't with the .460 either, though the .460 can run .45 Colt if I want.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby glocksmith » Fri Nov 18, 2016 7:58 am

Morne wrote:I bought a used S&W 500 on Gunbroker yesterday.

As stated before, I think I'm going to try using Trail Boss for some of the reduced recoil loads. Might actually make the dumb thing fun to shoot. :idea:


Don't let all the hype intimidate you. If you've ever shot hot .357 loads in a small-frame snubbie, you'll find the .500 X-Frame a bit more comfy...(at least that's been my own recent experience). I shot a .357 snubbie last weekend and I now have a bruise on my palm. I was using a wood block as a rest and the fleshy part of my palm got "pinched" between the butt of the grip and the wood block...yowie :shock:

My .500 never left any bruises, nor did my .45-70 BFR.
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Morne » Fri Nov 18, 2016 8:24 am

I most certainly have shot full-house .357 Maggie out of a snubby wheelgun.

My dies arrived. Just waiting on the brass.

I'll still load some of that Trail Boss recipe. Plinker loads never hurt. I'll also try some heavier loads for good fun.

Wonder if you can use Promo in this beast... :?: :idea:
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Mr. Glock » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:53 am

Slightly off-topic, I noticed on the Trail Boss package that it is for lead case bullets. Is there some reason you can't use it for thinner copper plated lead bullets?
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Re: .500 S&W vs .50 Beowulf primers

Postby Sevens » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:49 pm

Totally agree on the .357 snub versus X-frame big magnum beast angle. It's been a long time but I want to say the worst handgun punishment I have ever taken was .44 Magnum from a 3-inch Model 29 with wood stocks and heavy handloads. The huge X-frames are not for everyone but make it as manageable as possible.

Oh, also, I believe the worst shoulder hits I ever took were from a .500 Magnum from a T/C Encore rifle. Awful, horrendous. Far more enjoyable from the S&W revolver.

As for the light Trail Boss loads... sure, won't hurt. But I would be curious of how radical the POA/POI shift is from "pew pew pew" to "---B-B-B-BOOOOM---" is. I bet it is significant but I haven't tried it.
I like to swap brass... and I'm looking for .32 H&R Mag, .327 Fed Mag, .380 Auto and 10mm. If you have some and would like to swap for something else, send me a note!
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