.500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

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.500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Morne » Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:15 am

So I finally got both my chrono to behave and had some time to shoot the big boomer:

Meteorological Data: 31 F, 71% RH, 30.12" Hg

***CHRONY DATA***

.500 S&W Magnum 335-gr CPFP, WLR, Trail Boss Powder, 2.077-2.090" COAL
S&W 500 with 6.5" barrel five (5) shot strings each
9.0-gr powder - AVERAGE = 712 fps - ES = 57.6
10.0-gr powder - AVERAGE = 755 fps - ES = 38.5
11.1-gr powder - AVERAGE = 804 fps - ES = 48.3
11.6-gr powder - AVERAGE = 832 fps - ES = 50.6
12.0-gr powder - AVERAGE = 845 fps - ES = 52.5

These were all really very controllable in both single and double action. That 10.0-gr loading showed the tightest ES so I suppose that'll be my go-to load from now on. If you can shoot a .44 Magnum you can easily handle these. Think of this more like .500 Special rather than Magnum. With bullets that cost roughly 18 cents each it is a pretty inexpensive way to shoot the .500 S&W, too.

Just for kicks I lit off a cylinder full of the fullbore loads. Only read 4 of the 5 on the chrony, though:

.500 S&W Magnum 500-gr Hornady XTP FP, WLR, Lil' Gun Powder, 2.064-2.090" COAL
S&W 500 with 6.5" barrel

29.0-gr powder - AVERAGE = 1187 fps - ES = 70

The recoil on that is brutal. If you're sitting around wondering how to carry a pistol cartridge loading that will kill an elephant, this is it.
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Sevens » Tue Dec 27, 2016 3:15 pm

I look at the plated results and can't help myself but to share what I would do. Not that you "should", but it's simply what I would do and why.

First, I'd check the box that my .500 Mag X-frame came in and see if it is a later model that comes with both versions of the muzzle brake or comp or whatever it is officially named. In the current guns... S&W includes two and one of them is meant for use with cast lead slugs.

If I had it... I would start searching the bullet makers and looking for cast lead for the .500 and I would get away from the plated bullets. The plated are a liability at both ends of the spectrum. They don't move through the bore near as easily as lead and they absolutely can NOT handle the pressure of a full load either, and will warp under the pressure and potentially damage the forcing cone.

At 13 cents each, absolutely cheaper than magnum-capable .500 jacketed slugs, but at speeds under 800fps, I really see one getting lodged in the bore. And getting one out is no fun for sure.

I'm guessing that cast lead .500" slugs aren't dirt cheap but I wonder how the price compares to plated.

As always, good luck and I really enjoy the chronograph reports.
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Morne » Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:59 am

Badman Bullets has polymer coated slugs for about the same price as the plated. That sound better?
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Sevens » Wed Dec 28, 2016 1:30 pm

Check and see if you have the swappable comp in your gun case. I would absolutely rather try those if it were me.
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Morne » Wed Dec 28, 2016 3:24 pm

I got this used, so no switchable comp.

Besides which, I thought you didn't have to worry at 750 fps? Jeez, my normal .45 ACP plated loads for practice run 700-750 fps! I thought it was down in the 600-ish fps range where you started to worry that things might get hung up. Am I all wet?

Furthermore, that 10.0-gr loading gave the tightest ES. I take that to indicate it is the best balance of things for that bullet/powder/primer/casing combination. If it were really close to getting stuck wouldn't I see more variation?

I remember way back when I loaded some of my first plated .38 Special loads. I had some that passed the chrono at 544 fps and you schooled me on the risk of a stuck bullet then. I harkened unto your wisdom and increased the charge to closer to jacketed data and got higher (and more consistent) velocities. For instance, W-231 with 158-gr SWC (plated) in .38 Special with CCI-500 SPP the 4.0-gr load gave 544 fps average (ES = 76.2), 4.3-gr load gave 668 fps (ES = 58.4) and the 4.6-gr load gave 695 fps (ES = 27.9) - all from a 6" barrel. As such, I settled on the 4.6-gr load because it was the tightest ES. These being practice rounds only I don't need the fastest, I just want consistency.

If I really need to go from 10.0-gr Trail Boss in the .500 S&W to 12.0-gr in order to be safe I will. I just want to respectfully challenge the flag being thrown so as to better understand the issue.
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Sevens » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:40 pm

I hear ya! Here is where I am coming from:

1) best I can tell, your chrono results and especially SD determinations come from what seems to be a handful of shots fired. Is it more than 5-10 shots and I am coming to the wrong conclusion? Caution-- trying some of these may make you HATE your chrono...

A) do many more than 5-10
B) send shots higher or lower over the sensors
C) vary your felt roll crimp
D) allow the gun to recoil differently between shots
E) huge case, small powder charge? Tip back before shooting, now tip forward
...you may find that your conclusions are not what you had thought or hoped or assumed.

2) how are your powder drops, what is your method or are you weighing each charge? Especially with Trail Boss (hahaha, look at those flakes! Are these made by Kellogg's?!)
My point-- if you get a solid 750 every time, that's at least something. Are you, will you? We aren't coming to that conclusion in five test shots, I hope?

3) Ranier makes arguably the most frugal plated slugs on the market. Consistency is PARAMOUNT if you are going to run bullets at a speed where they "might" get stuck. Perfect storm.... light crimp, light powder drop, slightly fatter slug, poor powder position... the REAL dirty dealer here is that damn revolver flash gap. It lets much-needed pressure bleed out. You can send 12 in a row that pop out and "seem" great until the next one has one of the above, grinds to a halt and then the pressure that would have had -NOWHERE- to go but push just bleeds right out the flash gap.

I know this because I have done this. And with plated... it can be like trying to pound a damn bullet through a barrel, it suuuuuuucks, and while I use a damn crapload of plated, I mean a serious volume of the stuff... plated bullets have characteristics of both lead and jacketed, and this goes for the GOOD and also for the BAD.

If you stick a bullet, it isn't the end of the world as long as you know you did it and you don't take that next shot. If you stop and figure it out, you are tasked with removal. Sometimes a plated pops out easily... sometimes it is a nightmare. Lead is almost always going to be easier (assuming it is a proper bullet of typical diameter)

It should go without saying that if you stick a bullet and DON'T realize it, you are talking about potential catastrophic and injury/death failure with a next shot. On a backyard range where the only noise maker is you, quite unlikely. But on a public range with a full cacophony of gunfire? Good luck.

I have no desire whatsoever to be a killjoy or a know-it-all, and YMMV. Myself, I have never made powderpuff loads for either of my X-frames but yes, I have indeed stuck bullets with all-too conservative loads. Plated bullets are the worst of all worlds for this and you are also using a powder that was designed and marketed around lead slugs and many report erratic/poor peformance with non-lead bullets.

Proceed with caution, please keep reporting! :D
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Sevens » Wed Dec 28, 2016 6:54 pm

I see now that I am referring to SD while you are referring to and only offering ES. Without going anywhere near the detail that (frankly, I barely understand haha), we might agree that ES and SD are different methods of attempting to report consistency or expected/hoped future consistency.

You may want to do a little light reading in the allure of SD...
I will make an easy bet right now that your brain and intellect is in a better position than mine to fully grasp the wonder of SD, but in the simplest terms (and IIRC) it basically means the liklihood of any shot to deviate from the average or expected center of the range), bottom line is that I tend to hold more respect for a low SD than I do a low ES but serious accuracy, handloading and chrono junkies will tell you that ES, SD and "GREAT!" loads often travel in common circles but -nothing- is definite.

This is the point in the conversation where I typically go off on a tirade against the Chrony brand chrono, as it limits SD calculations to 10-shot string ONLY with no work-around, and the mathematical formula to do it by hand or even on a spreadsheet simply makes my pea-sized brain -ESPLODE- in violent fashion. But again, I will make a quick assumption that a gentleman with the ability to understand and pilot aircraft has a much better chance at understanding and even embracing the math involved here.
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Morne » Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:39 am

Excellent reply!!!!

A few things:

I do 99.8% of my shooting in my backyard ringing my steel gongs. No cacophony of gunfire save my own. The only squib I've ever had was with Wolf ammo back when I had to use a public gun range and I caught it at the time.

You're right, ES & SD are very different. A five (5) shot string gives ES only, not SD. In order to even approach statistically significant numbers for SD you'd need at least 20+ data points and then MAYBE we could talk. Of course, I'm not going to load 20+ rounds of something unless I already know it has a chance of being in the ballpark. Thus, you may have given me the idea that my current crop of "favorite loads" arrived at with 5-10 shot strings need to be validated with 20+ shot strings and some real statistical analysis. That sounds like a good idea. :idea:

The Chrony brand and its math doesn't matter to me. I'd put my 20+ data points into an Excel spreadsheet and crunch the numbers with mathematical formulae therein anyway. I only have a college minor in math as part of my engineering degree, but that'll do. :mrgreen:

This is NOT a "huge case, small powder charge" load. The MOST that can fit into this case with this bullet and Trail Boss powder is 12.6-grains without compression (something I have no desire to experiment with). Thus, even my 10.0-gr load fills the vast majority of the space. I share your aversion to those "huge case, small powder charge" loads because it makes detecting a double-charge much harder. I shudder every time I throw Bullseye into .38 Special cases for just that reason. My only salvation on that point is that my .38 Special reloads get shot exclusively out of .357 Magnum rated revolvers so even if I did goof up the gun would likely take the abuse.

I don't "light crimp" ever. The Lee die set for .500 S&W Magnum actually doesn't come with an option for a Lee FCD but I bought a custom collet crimp die anyway because I am a HUGE believer in a sturdy crimp. Having seen even .45 ACP factory ammo get longer in a S&W 325 I can only imagine what a serious magnum cartridge might experiece. Thus, I CRIMP every cartridge I load. With the Lee FCD I START with a full turn in and sometimes go even more than that (provided they still drop into the cylinder chambers without issue, naturally).

I weigh EACH CHARGE with a (admittedly crappy) digital scale. I only use my single-stage press for magnum loads so there's plenty of time to be very careful. I am willing to hear recommendations of a good quality digital scale that I might upgrade to.

I am willing to hear about alternate brands of chronograph than my old green Chrony.

Any time you want to come ring my steel gongs you are welcome to do so. I've learned more from our interchanges hereon than anywhere else in my handloading journey. 8)
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Sevens » Thu Dec 29, 2016 2:28 pm

Morne wrote:I do 99.8% of my shooting in my backyard ringing my steel gongs. No cacophony of gunfire save my own. The only squib I've ever had was with Wolf ammo back when I had to use a public gun range and I caught it at the time.

You are living the dream! Jealous.

You're right, ES & SD are very different. A five (5) shot string gives ES only, not SD. In order to even approach statistically significant numbers for SD you'd need at least 20+ data points and then MAYBE we could talk. Of course, I'm not going to load 20+ rounds of something unless I already know it has a chance of being in the ballpark. Thus, you may have given me the idea that my current crop of "favorite loads" arrived at with 5-10 shot strings need to be validated with 20+ shot strings and some real statistical analysis. That sounds like a good idea. :idea:

The Chrony brand and its math doesn't matter to me. I'd put my 20+ data points into an Excel spreadsheet and crunch the numbers with mathematical formulae therein anyway. I only have a college minor in math as part of my engineering degree, but that'll do. :mrgreen:

We agree 100% here on the SD and how taking a load that "looks promising" really deserves a serious data set with 20+ shots (I've always dreamt of more more more...) but we will have to part ways with the Chrony's limitation not mattering. To do what you say you should or ought to do means that you would have to enter each and every single shot in to your Excel sheet. This would work of course, but that's a -LOT- to enter when most other brands of chronograph will do this for you. If we can agree that 20 shots is a decent look-see for SD, could we not agree that 35 or 50 shots would be easy to do and make our SD result far more statistically relevant? Would our conclusions not be stronger for doing it? The little box does math easily, but the guy who programmed the Chrony brand chrono just hampered it with that 10-shot limit.

I can't believe that you would enter 20... 35.. 50 shots in to an Excel sheet by hand. And that is for just -one- load! :shock:

While I am crapping on the Chrony, I also have to insert the idea that this little box could seemingly control the US nuclear arsenal... but you would have to execute WWIII with -three- clicky buttons and a cutting edge LCD display circa 1979... certainly, this little unit has it's good points and a handloader from 1962 would wet himself at how good we have it these days but I'm sorry, the year is nearly 2017 and there are better options on the market. I can honestly say that while my Chrony works, I regret purchasing it over other brands.

This is NOT a "huge case, small powder charge" load. The MOST that can fit into this case with this bullet and Trail Boss powder is 12.6-grains without compression (something I have no desire to experiment with). Thus, even my 10.0-gr load fills the vast majority of the space.

Definitely missed by me, goes to show ya how much I use Trail Boss. Bought one little can and it's probably not half gone yet and that was years back.

I share your aversion to those "huge case, small powder charge" loads because it makes detecting a double-charge much harder. I shudder every time I throw Bullseye into .38 Special cases for just that reason. My only salvation on that point is that my .38 Special reloads get shot exclusively out of .357 Magnum rated revolvers so even if I did goof up the gun would likely take the abuse.

We'll part again just a bit here -- we share the aversion but for much different reasons. I have had numerous troubles with airspace and erratic performance but I don't share the shudders with accidentally doubling or tripling a case. In fact, with .38 especially and some light .357 loads, and most anything in .44 Special or .45 Colt... unless you are using that Trail Boss (stuff just ain't for me...) then you will always have this space to deal with. I simply roll with the method of charging an entire tray of 50 rounds and then closely inspecting that full tray for even levels of powder. Spot-checking one in a tray gives you the charge and looking across all the pieces ensures that they are all the same. Yeah, you can't see a 0.3 grain variance with the naked eye but you can absolutely see a missed charge or a double or triple for certain. This method has served me extremely well since my first powder measure in... heh, 1992. :)

I don't "light crimp" ever. The Lee die set for .500 S&W Magnum actually doesn't come with an option for a Lee FCD but I bought a custom collet crimp die anyway because I am a HUGE believer in a sturdy crimp. Having seen even .45 ACP factory ammo get longer in a S&W 325 I can only imagine what a serious magnum cartridge might experiece. Thus, I CRIMP every cartridge I load. With the Lee FCD I START with a full turn in and sometimes go even more than that (provided they still drop into the cylinder chambers without issue, naturally).

Excellent, and will serve you very well! But just to make sure that my point isn't missed... the variance of crimp (in the case of a revolver round) or simple case mouth tension or bullet pull has shown to be a factor, sometimes a large factor in chrono results. It has to do with how long the bullet resists movement as the pressure builds. This seems to be far more prevalent in slower burning powders and "magnum" rounds... in simple terms, the combustion space obviously grows MUCH larger when the bullet begins to move... so keeping the bullet still allows MORE pressure to build as the powder burns. Of course, this all happens so quickly and it's difficult for even professionals to get a clear handle on exactly what is happening, but my basic point remains -- if the handloader isn't building ammo where the case mouth tension is very similar with each round (in this case, the case mouth tension is greatly controlled by a roll crimp) then the chrono results can vary, sometimes wildly. You could believe that one load is "the best" when in reality, one of the other loads may be far better, but it turns lousy ES/SD because of case mouth tension... which can vary because of a few different reasons, not just the roll crimp.

I weigh EACH CHARGE with a (admittedly crappy) digital scale. I only use my single-stage press for magnum loads so there's plenty of time to be very careful. I am willing to hear recommendations of a good quality digital scale that I might upgrade to.

Sorry, I can't do it -- it's beam scale ONLY for me. It's just always going to be that way. Very simple and gravity works and it isn't dependent on Chinese manufactured load cells or battery current or an overhead fluorescent light or God knows what. A quality beam scale is a tool that will last forever. I applaud your effort and attention to detail to hand weigh each charge but 2016 has seen me run off 13,000 loaded rounds and I simply couldn't even begin to consider doing that.

I am willing to hear about alternate brands of chronograph than my old green Chrony.

I want to say that it's the ProChrono Digital, the latest version... and it will shoot information directly to my iPhone via Bluetooth, and while I haven't researched it further, that's the one that interests me. But the truth is that I'm just not all that motivated to chase another "fun sucker", but trust that when I do... someone will get a fine deal on a totally functional and reliable Chrony Beta Master, as annoying and obnoxious as it is. :twisted:

Any time you want to come ring my steel gongs you are welcome to do so. I've learned more from our interchanges hereon than anywhere else in my handloading journey. 8)

Pick me up in the plane?! Probably a limit of how much ammo we can haul in a plane, hmmm?! :lol:
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Morne » Thu Dec 29, 2016 3:18 pm

FYI - just loaded 50 of the 10.0-gr Trail Boss load with 335-gr Rainier CPFP (WLR primer). Will try to shoot most of them over the chrony in a single session. Then I'll crunch the numbers in Excel and report back.
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Morne » Tue Dec 05, 2017 3:26 pm

Meteorological Data: 46 F, 63% RH, 29.86" Hg

***CHRONY DATA***

.500 S&W Magnum 330-gr Coated RNFP, WLR, Trail Boss Powder, 1.948-1.955" COAL
S&W 500 with 6.5" barrel five (5) shot strings each
1.9cc (8.7-gr) powder - AVERAGE = 773 fps - ES = 16.0
2.2cc (10.1-gr) powder - AVERAGE = 843 fps - ES = 47.3
2.5cc (11.5-gr) powder - AVERAGE = 916 fps - ES = 24.8

Such moderate velocities are probably better suited to these coated bullets rather than plated or jacketed. Any of these recipes would make a fine practice load. The 1.9cc (8.7-gr) had the tightest ES so I suppose that's the one I'll use. Being able to use a dipper to load these cases is also really nice.

.500 S&W Magnum 500-gr Hornady XTP FP, WLR, Lil' Gun Powder, 2.077-2.093" COAL
S&W 500 with 6.5" barrel five (5) shot string

29.9-gr powder - AVERAGE = 1244 fps - ES = 47

After shooting this cylinder load I was done shooting for the day. It's amazing how discouraging that sort of recoil can be. The steel gongs really get to swinging, too. :shock:
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:06 pm

Shazam! If my calculations are correct that 500gr load is right about 1700 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle and 46 ft/lbs of free recoil! For comparison, my .30-06 "only" delivers 20 ft/lbs of recoil but produces 2900 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle.
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby JustaShooter » Tue Dec 05, 2017 8:08 pm

JustaShooter wrote:Shazam! If my calculations are correct that 500gr load is right about 1700 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle and 46 ft/lbs of free recoil! For comparison, my .30-06 "only" delivers 20 ft/lbs of recoil but produces 2900 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle.

Oh, and that 500gr load of Morne's isn't even considered full power. Hornady factory 500gr loads give 1,425 ft/s and a whopping 2,254 ft·lb of energy (out of a slightly longer barrel).
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Morne » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:10 pm

JustaShooter wrote:
JustaShooter wrote:Shazam! If my calculations are correct that 500gr load is right about 1700 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle and 46 ft/lbs of free recoil! For comparison, my .30-06 "only" delivers 20 ft/lbs of recoil but produces 2900 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle.

Oh, and that 500gr load of Morne's isn't even considered full power. Hornady factory 500gr loads give 1,425 ft/s and a whopping 2,254 ft·lb of energy (out of a slightly longer barrel).

Maybe so but that 29.9-grains is the top end of the load data. So I am NOT going to try and shoehorn in any more powder, thanks. 8)
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Re: .500 S&W Magnum Chrony Data

Postby Sevens » Tue Dec 05, 2017 9:49 pm

I think we discussed powder coated cast bullets in another of your threads. Since that time I have had the chance to work up a load and even chrono it in .357 Magnum through my Ruger 77/357 bolt action rifle. Using a 180-grain powder coated slug, I can send them over 1,500 fps consistently (18-inch barrel) and this without a trace of ANYTHING left in my bore.

Very, very happy with these, and I had to comment because your post made it seem as though powder coated slugs may not be good for velocity-- I can say that in my application (obviously different than yours), they seem to LOVE the speed! 8)
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