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Reloading The 500 S&W Magnum



(HP = Hollow Point, RN = Round Nose, FMC = Full Metal Case, FMJ = Full Metal Jacket, JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point and if GC indicated, means Gas Check at bottom of lead bullet)

Loads for 500 S&W Magnum:

It was published that the 500 S&W would produce about 2600 ft/lbs of energy at full maximum load with a heavy lead bullet. I have never shot a load like that in my S&W 500, and hope I never do. My lighter loads recoil about the same or less as a .44 magnum and are good to shoot for target practice. The 700 Grain GC bullet kicks like a mule. The most punishing load I have ever shot is the 700 grain GC bullet moving at 1,126 fps which equals 1970.5 ft/lbs.

If you look below, you will see several loads with the 440 gr. lead GC bullet (from LeadHeads Bullets (Tommy) of St. John, KS) that come out at just above 1100 FPS, that calculates to around 1200 foot/pounds of energy (and recoil). That's less than half the maximum loads with big bullets. Not bad for plinking with this Magnum caliber. You'd have to push this same bullet to 1,635 FPS to get 2600 ft/lbs of energy. A .44 mag load of 250 grain jacketed moving at 1,430 FPS will generate 1135 ft/lbs, almost the same as the .500 load above. Further, a 325 gr. .501 moving at 1,200 fps only generates 1040 ft/lbs, making it less recoil than the .44 mag AND this is from a heavier gun with top port (the S&W 500 with 8 3/8" bbl).

(Note: Shown on this page are START and MAXIMUM loads. Do NOT reduce below START or exceed MAX except at your own risk.)
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
Bullet size is .500" (jacketed) in diameter. Cast bullets with Gas Checks for 500 S&W (like Lead RN-GC) are usually .500" diameter. There are some Lead .501" cast bullets available, and that is what I have used for some loads below. If not indicated (.501) then it's probably .500" lead. Use LARGE RIFLE primers in cases. Make sure primer does not protrude from case head since early cases before July 2003 were for Large Pistol primers (not as deep by .006" ). New cases for large rifle should have "LR" or "R" on the case head. If not, they may have been made for the large pistol primers. It DOES make a difference which you use.

Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer brand and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start 10% under these charges and work up.
SOME ARE MAXIMUM LOADS! - NOTE, powder companies sometimes reduced some of these hot and maximum loads after these figures were posted. You might check current loads from powder company before loading maximum loads. The loads that produce velocities below 950 fps, are very nice, mild shooting, lower recoil rounds.
BTW, I got 1815 FPS from the commercial CorBon 275 Grain Barnes Bullet that comes 12 to a pack for about $36 per pack ($3 per round).

9-14-2011


(Note H110 & W296 are the same as of 2008 as is HP-38 & W231)
(IMR 4227 is same as H-4227 if made in Australia) Ramshot makes "Enforcer" ---------------------------------------- 275 Grain Barnes XPB (Starting Loads)(Hodgdon Powder) Titegroup 11.0 gr. 1,170 FPS Longshot 20.0 gr. 1,594 Lil'Gun 36.0 gr. 1,493 Lil'Gun 40.0 gr. 1,802 Lil'Gun 40.5 gr. 1,965 H110/W296 42.0 gr. 1,880 H4227 40.0 gr. 1,891 Unique 17.5 gr. 1,464 start AA #9 32.4 gr. 1,644 start AA #9 35.1 gr. 1,860 ---------------------------------------- 275 Grain Barnes XPB (Most below are MAXIMUM Loads)(Hodgdon Powder) Titegroup 20.0 gr. 1,707 FPS Longshot 24.5 gr. 1,824 Lil'Gun 44.0 gr. 2,137 H110/W296 42.0 gr. 1,818 H110/W296 45.0 gr. 2,082 MAX H4227 44.0 gr. 2,047 Unique 19.5 gr. 1,608 maximum AA #9 36.0 gr. 1,818 AA #9 39.0 gr. 2,050 maximum Enforcer 40.1 gr. 1,665 (mid range load) ----------------------------------------- 300 Grain LSWC + G.C. H4227 41.8 gr. 1,615 Lil'Gun 40.0 gr. 1,775 2400 29.0 gr. 1,250 (mild & PLAIN base bullet) 2400 31.0 gr. 1,330 (mild & plain base bullet) ----------------------------------------- 325 Grain BARNES XPB Enforcer 38.3gr. 1,654 Start Enforcer 42.5 gr. 1,838 MAX Lil'Gun 41.3 gr. 1,688 MAX AA #9 33.4 gr. 1,692 start AA #9 36.9 gr. 1,841 max H110/W296 40.6 gr. 1,822 start H110/W296 42.0 gr. 1,889 max Unique 18.1 gr. 1,398 start Unique 20.1 gr. 1,503 max ----------------------------------------- 325 grain LFP (lead flat point) (Cowboy load) Trail Boss 12.0 gr. 948 FPS Trail Boss 15.0 gr. 1,044 ----------------------------------------- 325 grain Speer JHP (START loads)(~ = approx. FPS) AA 4100 38.7 gr. 1,710 FPS AA 1680 44.0 gr. ~1,350 AA 5744 35.0 gr. ~1,200 AA #9 33.4 gr. 1,682 start Lil'gun 36.0 gr. 1,782 start Lil'Gun 40.0 gr. 1,862 H110/W296 40.6 gr. 1,822 start IMR-4227 38.6 gr. 1,612 start ----------------------------------------- 325 grain Speer JHP (MAXIMUM loads)(~ = approx. FPS) AA 4100 43.0 gr. 1,862 FPS AA 1680 51.0 gr. ~1,650 (compressed 105% to 108%) AA 5744 40.0 gr. ~1,450 (compressed 107%) AA #9 37.0 gr. 1,858 Max Lil'gun 44.5 gr. 2,002 Max H110/W296 41.9 gr. 1,886 Max IMR-4227 42.8 gr. 1,802 Maxi ----------------------------------------- 330 grain Lead Round Nose, plain base (plinker bullet) Trail Boss 9.0 gr. 843 Hi=868, Lo=817, ES=51 (very mild shooting) Trail Boss 10.0 gr. 900 Hi=906, Lo=892, ES=13 (very consistent) Trail Boss 11.0 gr. 952 Hi=963, Lo=944, ES=19 Trail Boss 12.0 gr. 1,006 Hi=1,014 Lo=995, ES=19 (Max Load) Enforcer 31.0 gr. 1,431 Hi=1509 Lo=1359 ES=150 (hot for a plain base bullet) ----------------------------------------- 335 grain Plated RNFP Lil'Gun 40.0 gr. 1,767 fps Avg. Hi=1814, Lo=1729, Spread 85, Hot Load ----------------------------------------- 335 grain JHP H110/W296 37.5 gr. ~1,500 Titegroup 16.3 gr. 1,143 ----------------------------------------- 350 SIE JHP Ramshot Enforcer Start 36.0 gr. 1,557; MAX 40.0 gr. 1,730 ----------------------------------------- 350 grain Sierra JSP & JHP (loads) PowerPistol 23.0 gr. 1,446 FPS PowerPistol 27.0 gr. 1,564 FPS MAX 2400 38.0 gr. 1,565 FPS 2400 42.0 gr. 1,642 MAX AA 4100 36.7 gr. 1,661 start AA 4100 40.8 gr. 1,783 MAX AA 5744 34.0 gr. 1,377 FPS (actual in 8 5/8" bbl.)107 fps spread AA 5744 35.0 gr. 1,382 FPS (Hornady bullet)(in 8 5/8" bbl.) 27 fps spread H110/W296 39.0 gr. 1,712 start H110/W296 43.0 gr. 1,877 max Lil'Gun 35.0 gr. 1,697 Lil'Gun 42.0 gr. 1,912 max H4227 38.0 gr. 1,675 H4227 42.5 gr. 1,863 max Titegroup 11.0 gr. 1,032 Titegroup 18.5 gr. 1,461 max ----------------------------------------- 350 grain Berry's MFG Plated Enforcer 34.0 gr. 1,394 Hi=1484 Lo=1226 ES=258 ----------------------------------------- 350 grain Hornady XTP bullet (personal loads)on mild side (Hornady Brass) AA 5744 31.0 gr. 1,290 FPS avg. AA 5744 33.0 gr. 1,306 FPS avg. AA 5744 35.0 gr. 1,404 FPS avg. AA 5744 42.3 gr. 1,527 MAX AA #9 30.8 gr. 1,544 AA #9 34.1 gr. 1,619 max 2400 36.1 gr. 1,652 Titegroup 11.0 gr. 1,032 FPS as a START Mild (Hodgdon Tech Support suggest) Titegroup 18.5 gr. 1,461 fps Hodgdon MAX load Lil' Gun 42.0 gr. 1,912 fps Hodgdon MAX load H4227 42.5 gr. 1,853 fps Hodgdon MAX load H110/W296 43.0 gr. 1,877 fps Hodgdon MAX load ----------------------------------------- 370 grain lead cast Cowboy loads Trail Boss 8.0 gr. 746 FPS minimum Trail Boss 12.0 gr. 926 FPS MAXIMUM ----------------------------------------- 370 Lead with (GC) (mild & hot loads) WW 231 10.0 gr. 889 FPS Unique 10.0 gr. 851 FPS Unique 10.1 gr. 886 FPS in 8 5/8" bbl, spread 81 fps. Unique 12.5 gr. 1,060 Medium Unique 17.0 gr. 1,334 Maximum Titegroup 16.0 gr. (start from Hodgdon) 1,326 FPS Titegroup 18.5 gr. (MAX) from Hodgdon) 1,431 FPS Lil'Gun 30.0 gr. 1,541 start Lil'Gun 33.0 gr. 1,652 Maximum H110/W296 32.0 gr. 1,452 start H110/W296 35.3 gr. 1,614 Maximum AA #9 30.0 gr. 1,515 start AA #9 32.5 gr. 1,625 Maximum AA 5744 42.5 gr. 1,566 HOT ----------------------------------------- 375 Grain BAR XPB Enforcer 32.4 gr. 1,491 start Enforcer 36.0 gr. 1,657 MAX H110/W296 40.6 gr. 1,607 ----------------------------------------- 375 grain Lead Cast SWC (no gas check) Enforcer 31.5 gr. 1,538 start Enforcer 33.8 gr. 1,589 MAX H110/W296 32.0 gr. 1,455 H110/W296 35.3 gr. 1,593 max Lil'Gun 30.2 gr. 1,561 Lil'Gun 33.1 gr. 1,625 max AA #9 29.6 gr. 1,492 start AA #9 32.8 gr. 1,659 Maximum ----------------------------------------- 385 Grain JHP Lil'Gun 38.0 gr. 1,487 Lil'Gun 39.0 gr. 1,528 H110/W296 39.0 gr. 1,648 start H110/W296 42.5 gr. 1,794 MAX Titegroup 15.0 gr. 1,208 start Titegroup 18.5 gr. 1,396 fps Hodgdon MAX load ----------------------------------------- 400 grain Sierra JSP AA 4100 33.5 gr. 1,465 FPS start AA 4100 37.2 gr. 1,633 FPS Maximum IMR4227 36.0 gr. 1,391 fps Spread=133.4 fps (personal load-not very good-MDS) Hi=1489 & Lo=1355 & hot load. IMR-4227 39.5 gr. 1,648 fps Maximum Titegroup 15.0 gr. 1,208 start Titegroup 17.5 gr. 1,335 fps Hodgdon MAX load Lil'Gun 31.5 gr. 1,535 fps Start Lil'Gun 37.0 gr. 1,725 fps Hodgdon MAX load Unique 16.2 gr. 1,361 fps start Unique 17.9 gr. 1,272 fps Maximum AA #9 31.0 gr. 1,545 fps start AA #9 34.3 gr. 1,688 fps Maximum H110/W296 34.0 gr. 1,514 start H110/W296 40.0 gr. 1,721 MAX ----------------------------------------- 440 grain lead cast Cowboy loads Trail Boss 7.0 gr. 643 FPS minimum (This is VERY light, be careful) Trail Boss 10.0 gr. 799 FPS MAXIMUM ----------------------------------------- 440-445 Lead (GC)(~ = approx. FPS) AA 1680 35.0 gr. ~1,250 FPS (from powder company) AA 1680 40.0 gr. ~1,450 FPS (compressed 106%) AA 5744 30.0 gr. ~ 950 (from powder company) AA 5744 30.0 gr. 1,217 Personal in 8 5/8" bbl.(.501) AA 5744 28.0 gr. 1,105 Personal in 8 5/8" bbl.(.501) AA 5744 34.0 gr. ~1,175 Max (compressed 107%) AA #9 25.5 gr. 1,255 mild start load AA #9 28.2 gr. 1,381 hot AA #9 30.6 gr. 1,488 max ----------------------------------------- 440 Grain CPB Lead-GC (.501) (Hodgdon Powder) Titegroup 14.5 gr. 1,191 FPS (from powder company) Titegroup 14.5 gr. 1,195 Personal in 8 5/8" bbl.(Starline Brass)(.501) Titegroup 13.0 gr. 1,114 Personal in 8 5/8" bbl. (.501) Titegroup 15.2 gr. 1,231 Personal Hi=1242 Lo=1215 Spread=26.6 *good hot load Titegroup 15.7 gr. 1,213 personal Hi=1235 Lo=1198 Spread=37.2 Titegroup 16.5 gr. 1,278 FPS MAX Trail Boss 7.0 gr. 643 14,600 PSI (very mild) Trail Boss 10.0 gr. 799 21,200 PSI (Maximum load) Longshot 18.5 gr. 1,300 Longshot 20.7 gr. 1,393 MAX Lil'Gun 30.0 gr. 1,485 Lil'Gun 34.0.gr. 1,554 fps Avg. Hi=1561, Lo=1527, Spread=33.3 Hot load. Lil'Gun 35.0 gr. 1,653 max H110/W296 34.0 gr. 1,509 H110/W296 38.0 gr. 1,654 max IMR 4227 34.0 gr. 1,345 Personal Hi=1383 Lo=1219 Spread=164 hot load H4227 34.0 gr. 1,496 H4227 37.0 gr. 1,609 max (below NOT from Hodgdon, actual in 8 5/8" bbl.) (these bullets are from Leadhead. Tommy sells great bullets at a very reasonable price) (http://www.proshootpro.com/ is his website. Also 465 gr & 500 gr bullets) W231/HP-38 10.0 gr. 936 FPS (mild) Unique 10.0 gr. 957 FPS (mild) Unique 10.1 gr. 1,256 FPS (medium)(Leadhead bullet, .501)spread 17 fps. HS6 15.0 gr. 1,122 FPS (mild) Ramshot Enforcer 29.0 gr. 1,326 Hi=1335 Lo=1317 ES=19 (Excellent) Ramshot Enforcer 29.7 gr. 1,386 (from company-start) Enforcer 30.0 gr. 1,352 Hi=1407 Lo=1300 ES=107 Ramshot Enforcer 33.0 gr. 1,540 (from Ramshot)MAX Ramshot Enforcer 32.0 gr. 1,411 Hi=1,434 Lo=1,370 ES=64.5 (personal load) ---------------------------------------- 500 GR. HDY SP .500 (Hodgdon Powder) H4227 30.0 gr, 1,360 42,300 PSI H4227 32.2 gr. 1,436 49,300 PSI MAX H110/W296 24.0 gr. 1,020 Mild H110/W296 31.0 gr. 1,400 34,400 PSI H110/W296 32.5 gr. 1,302 (Hornady load)(Max) H110/W296 33.0 gr. 1,482 51,900 PSI (Absolute Max-Max)(not recommended) LIL'GUN 27.0 gr. 1,356 41,700 PSI LIL'GUN 30.0 gr. 1,463 50,100 PSI max Longshot 16.0 gr. 1,115 39,200 PSI Longshot 18.5 gr. 1,222 50,400 PSI max Titegroup 13.0 gr. 1,020 40,200 PSI Titegroup 15.0 gr. 1,111 50,000 PSI MAX Enforcer 31.5 gr. 1,275 start Enforcer 35.0 gr. 1,475 MAX ---------------------------------------- 500 GR. Lead FP+GC .501 (good hot Load) Lil'Gun 28.5 gr. 1,359 fps Avg. Hi=1389, Lo=1296, Spread=92.3 ---------------------------------------- 545 GR. Lead FP+GC .501 ( hot Load) Lil'Gun 30.0 gr. 1,322 max ---------------------------------------- 600 GR. Lead Flat-nose .501 (MAXIMUM Loads) (Hang on)(other shooter contributed) Lil'Gun 30.3 gr. 1,389 fps (I personally think 29.0 grains is enough) ---------------------------------------- 700 GR. Lead Flat-nose GC .501 (MAXIMUM Loads)(Monster recoil) (Ranger Rick Bullet http://www.lsstuff.com/ranger-rick/ ) Lil'Gun 27.2 gr. 1,294 fps Lil'Gun 27.5 gr. ~1,200 fps (max, start lower) Lil'Gun 27.0 gr. 1,126 fps personal, Hi=1152 Lo=1093 Spread=58.6 damn this mule kicks, had to use gloves, both on my right hand to stand the recoil. Good spread & accuracy. You won't shoot many of these (This is 1970 foot pounds of energy) (Note, do not compress the powder with seating bullet - increased pressures) H110/W296 24.5 gr. 1,200 ~ fps (24.0 to 25.0 gr. are used) H110/W296 25.0 gr. 1,036 fps Hi=1042 Lo=1022, spread=20.1 Great load from Bill Bramlett of Ballistic Supply H110/W296 25.4 gr. 1,067 fps Max - bullet seated out sightly to avoid powder compression IMR 4759 22.2 gr. 982 fps.

Read more about Ranger Rick's 700 grain bullets and see one that killed a moose.

Loads for the .500S&W Magnum direct from Hodgdon (their web site)

Update 2010: I got some Ramshot Enforcer made for magnum loads and it performs very nicely. I even tried some in my .32 H&R magnum loads and it was not bad, but the Competition (around the speed of Unique) was much better. See my test in the 440 grain Lead+GC section.

Trail Boss in some 330 grain plain base lead bullets was very mild and my wife could shoot it easily in the big, heavy 500 S&W with 8 inch barrel.


Discussion: Accurate (XMP)5744 is one of my favorite powders that I use in my .45 Colt and other calibers. It seems to be less "case position sensitive" than others I have used. And only a few more grains (to MAX) is a compressed load, so it uses a lot of the case space. Start load with a 325 gr. JHP is around 1200 fps and with a 440 lead the start load is around 950 fps. Far less recoil than factory or maximum loads.

I have also recently (June 2004) used Titegroup and I like it a lot. It is a very light powder for its bulk, so it fills the case about 3/4 when seating a big 440 gr. lead GC bullet. Velocity spreads were very good (only about 20 fps difference)and recoil with lighter loads was not bad.

Many shooters, like me, are looking for a less punishing load to just target practice with and Hodgdon Tech Support recommends Titegroup 11.0 gr. for 1032 FPS as a START with a 350 GR. HDY XTP. Pushing this bullet only a bit over 1,000 fps is far milder than most loads on their web site. Even though this amount of powder is quite a bit less than other loads of different powders, Hodgdon says it's the least case position sensitive of the types they recommend.

UNIQUE - Using around 10 grains for bullets from 370 grain thru 440 grain (lead, gas check), were mild loads and the spread was quite good for loads tested above. Quite a difference in velocity with bullet weight (see tables above).

Currently new cases are available from Hornady and Starline. Others may follow soon (5-25-04) Original cases from Hornady used large pistol, but shortly all cases went to large rifle primers. You can NOT mix the cases since primer depth is different. All new starline cases have an "R" on the case head indicating large rifle primers. Some new cases have a "L" and an "R" on the head. (2010)

*
AA(XMP)5744, AA 1680, AA 4100 are products of Accurate Arms Company
Tightgroup, Longshot, Lil'Gun, H110, H4227 are products of Hodgdon Powders.
IMR Trail Boss (formerly DuPont) Powder Company, Winchester, Components Div.
Alliant (formerly Hercules) Powders: Unique

References: Accurate Arms Co. (loads faxed to me on 5-26-04) - - Alliant Powder Co. Reloaders' Guide (1995) - - Hodgdon's Basic Reloaders Manual (1996)- - Hodgdon Tech Support-May '04 - - Speer Reloading Manual, #12 - - Winchester Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition - - Lyman Piston & Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. - - VihtaVuori Oy Company, reloading booklet (1995) - - Numerous magazine, Ramshot Powders on-line reloading guide 2007 articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted. Ramshot powders reference is online .pdf loading manual 2007 and some updates in 2010.

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This page created May-25-04 by M.D. Smith and last modified on September 14, 2011 ©