Reloading The .50 Action Express

Posted on: Thursday January 7, 2021
MD Smith

MD Smith

This is the Desert Storm Cartridge. It came to market as a commercial cartridge in 1991. The case while large enough for the .50 cal bullet, has a rim that is the same size as the .44 Magnum. So a case holder for the .44 works fine for reloading this round. However, some who have tried it, report that the shell holder for the .45 Colt or .454 Casull work better. You can try both and see which you prefer. In 1993 several other pistols came out for this caliber, and recently a Freedom Arms Single Action Revolver for the .50 AE.

Loads for .50 Action Express:
(Note: These are near maximum loads, you should use 10% less to start.)
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
Bullets are .500″ in diameter. Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer type and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start under these charges and work up.

325 grain UCHP Speer (Uni-Cor, Hollow Point)
2400 22.2 gr. 1222 fps
2400 23.4 gr. 1302 MAXIMUM load
AA 1680 34.0 gr. 1155
AA 1680 37.8 gr. 1305 MAXIMUM load
AA No. 9 22.6 gr. 1157
AA No. 9 23.8 gr. 1247 MAXIMUM load
AA 1680 37.8 gr. 1305 MAXIMUM load
H110 29.4 gr. 1298
H110 32.6 gr. 1437 MAXIMUM load
W-296 29.5 gr. 1279
W-296 32.7 gr. 1437 MAXIMUM load
IMR 4227 29.5 gr. 1224
IMR 4227 31.1 gr. 1289 MAXIMUM load

(Use Magnum Primer with all loads above.)

A bullet with a copper gas check or copper plating is best for INDOOR ranges to keep lead vapors out of the air.
Bullseye, Unique and 2400 are products of Alliant (formerly Hercules) Powders.
Clays, Universal, H110, HP38, HS6 and H4895 are products of Hodgdon Powders.
IMR 3031 and IMR 4227 are products of IMR (formerly DuPont) Powder Company.
No. 2, No. 5, No. 7, No. 9, #1680, #2230, and #2460 are products of Accurate Arms Company
WMR, WSF, WST, WSL, 296, 760, 748, 231 and 540 are products of Winchester, Components Div.

References: Accurate Arms Co. 1996 Reloading booklet – – Alliant Powder Co. Reloaders’ Guide (1995) – – Hodgdon’s Basic Reloaders Manual (1996) – – 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 articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted.