You don't tolerate shit. The .45 you carry in you pocket is scary, but your words are the real threat, especially when you decide to get Biblical. Try to take it easy, but maintain that edge of yours, which tends to keep people wary in your presence.
Early 2005, I gave in to temptation and bought 4 inch barrelled Smith & Wesson 500 magnum. It's big, loud, shiny and a whole lot of fun. Here are some miscellaneous thoughts after only a couple weeks of ownership. The size is truly impressive. Above, you can see the 500 next to both a S&W 327 - N frame revolver and a full size Beretta Vertec. It's heavy too at 56 ounces unloaded.
Ammunition is crazy expensive, reloading is a must.
The grips do an excellent job of absorbing some of the recoil.
Muzzle jump and muzzle blast are pronounced.
500 S&W brass should never be tumbled with .45ACP brass. If you do, every 500 case will be plugged with .45 case... Have fun getting those cheap .45 cases out of the very expensive .500 cases...
Jacketed flat point bullets are difficult to 'pull' once they've been seated too far. Sometimes, the jacket separates from the 'lead slug' inside, effectively plugging a fully charged case.
Reputation counts; My initial purchase lot of ammunition included some Grizzly 450 grain JFP's. In retrospect, that was a bad choice. The 1st 2 range sessions I fired 1 cylinder of 5 rounds each without incident. On the 3rd range session I discovered that this ammo sucked...
This isn't supposed to happen
Where I'm from, we call this a "clue"
A piece of the jacket from one of the Grizzly cartridges
My 1st range session with the 500 was 15 rounds long. I had to stop because I was grinning and laughing so hard, my groups were suffering... The 2nd range session with the 500 was more eventful. After 18 rounds, I couldn't rotate the cylinder. This turned out to be a piece of metal jacket stuck to the forcing cone.
Range session number 3 with the 500 was also telling for different reasons... First, the gun performed flawlessly. The first rounds down range were handloads - Hornady 500 grain JSP's backed by 31.6 grains of H110. This shot very nicely - good accuracy, muzzle blast, and the recoil pulse was stout, but controllable. I next went to the 350 grain Hornady which had a slightly different report; a little more sharp, not as "bassy". They worked well too. I moved to the Grizzly 450 grain JFP's. The first cylinder full fired fine, but wouldn't eject. I gently tapped the ejector and got them to move out a little and figured I had a stuck case. I pulled out 4 by hand, and ID'd the stuck case. I tapped it out with a plastic toothbrush - 3/4 the length of the case was split. A quick inspection showed no visible damage, so I resumed shooting. ANOTHER reluctant cylinder extraction, but no visible split cases. The third cylinder DID have another split case AND a noticeably underpowered round. One of the split cases had a dimpled primer, and was pretty flattened. See the pictures below...
I fired off a few Cor-Bon 350 grains, and had some guest shooters. I finally saw the muzzle flash watching the guest shooters, and it is impressive. I also noticed that the gun is 'torquing' to the right (clockwise) during my follow through. Controllably, but more so than other magnums.
After many more rounds, and now some handloads, I can wholeheartedly say that it's tough to not like the 500 S&W. I have worked up loads for 350 grain and 500 grain Hornady jacketed loads, they were kind enough to send me load data by email. I've used Hornady's XTP previously in other calibers with good success. Hornady's willingness to help only reinforces my like for the company and their products.
As of July, 2005, the 350 grain load I'm using is 42.8 grains of H110 Hodgdon, the listed max is 43.3 grains. This load produces prodigious muzzle blast. The 500 grain bullet load is 32.1 grains of H110, just below the maximum... They never disappoint... To date, no other factory, or my own hand loaded ammunition has split a case or shaved a jacket...
01/06: I've got the 350 grain and 500 grain loads worked up to the maximum safe levels as stated by the Hornady reloading maual. While nobody will say they're "pleasant" to shoot, as with anything you get used to it. Accuracy is as good as the shooter. Of note, I have at least 4 loads through some of the brass, and it shows no signs of overpressure or trouble. So it would seem that the split brass & shed jacket was an anomoly...
500 load data continues to be developed. The 2 main powders I'm using are H110 & Lil' Gun from Hodgdon. With 350 grain bullets the maximum load listed by Hodgdon for H110 is 43.0 grains (43.3 from the Hornady manual) & 42.0 grains of Lil'Gun (38.6 in the Hornady manual). I have run the 43.3 of H110 & 42.0 of Lil Gun with excellent results, no overt signs of overpressure, no stuck cases, no split cases, no excessive primer damage, etc. For the 500 grain slugs, Hodgdon says 33.0 grains of H110, Hornady says 32.5. I worked up .1 grain at a time to 33.0 and again had no problems. With Lil'Gun the Hornady manual says 28.7 max, Hodgdon says 30.0. I have worked up to 29.0 as of 06/08 with again no signs of trouble.
Nice, shiny, processed 500 brass in some silly basket my wife bought...