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Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:59 pm
by Ron60
I'm trying to desighn a bullet on your program and have come up with a couple of questions.
This is for a S&W 500 with 7.5" barrel. I'm trying to come up with a "bore rider" 600 grain bullet. I have a sample bullet I got from Richard (Ranger Rick) Gibson that I'm using as a model.
Use will be #1 for brown bear protection (I live on Kodiak Island AK), #2 for hunting deer up to 100 yards with open sights. I would like to develop one load that I learn well with this arm rather that several for different purposes. In other words a "One size fits all" slanted mostly to stopping a brown bear. Range of bear encounters needing lethal force is generally pretty close - 40 or less yards.
Following is my main question for you. Regarding the meplat percentage; should I stick with 70 - 73% to maintain overall performance and not have a 'barn door' that sheds too much velocity at 100 yards or could I go a little larger for the short range effectiveness - - - or is my logic just screwed up?

And; would you recommend a bit lighter bullet - say 500 - 550 for a bit better range of usage?

PS: Cost for this mould? Couldn't find pricing information on your site -

Re: Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 7:35 am
by mtngun
How is the weather on Kodiak ? Much wind and rain ? Do you like it there ?

There is no black and white answer to your question. Everyone thinks their pet load is the best. :o

Personally, my packing pistol is a 357 snub loaded with a 160 gr. 80% meplat. Admittedly, if I lived on Kodiak, I'd probably up the weight to 180 grains. :lol:

If your gun will shoot it accurately, I'd lean toward an 80% meplat for whitetail. I don't think weight is an issue, 440 - 700 grains, whatever you are comfortable shooting, bearing in mind that a second shot may be required, and that the weather may be chilly, and your frozen fingers may have lost some feeling and strength.

Personally, I have a difficult time shooting a handgun well when my hands are frozen, nor am I comfortable shooting a handgun while wearing gloves. If I lived in brown bear country, I'd favor a lever gun in cold weather for that reason alone. But, a handgun is handy when I don't want to be bothered with carrying a rifle.

Re: Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 9:30 pm
by Ron60
The mild winters are a well kept secret here on Kodiak. Been here 4 winters and it's never got down to zero yet. One or two nights we saw +1 but that's as low as it got. We do get a lot of rain and sleet in the winter months. Because of this 'mild' weather, your apt to find brown bears wondering around at any time. It's very common to go out in the bush riding our atv's and see fresh bear sighn in the snow. I use a back holster for my 500. It rides at waist level and I can draw it quickly. It's out of the way and I can even mount it at the same level on my pack frame. So hiking or riding it's completely out of the way. I also wear this rig with logging. I'm real anxious to try out the 600 grain bullets. Just bought the gun on GunBroker and have shot it some with pretty stout loads under a 350 grain Hornady. Not too bad. No worse than the 460 I sold so I could get my hands on the 500.
My wife and I love Alaska! Our only regret is that we didn't discover it when we were young. At 64 I know we have a few good years left in us but not enough to really take in as much of this great place as we would like. I hear that heaven will be much nicer - but this is pretty darned good!
As a matter of fact I DO pack a big lever gun sometimes. I have a Browning / Winchester 71 in 450 Alaskan and use a 550 grain bullet from Richard Gibson for that. I may want to cast my own for that at some point as well. The big cast bullets put deer down every time. And if you get a little sloppy and hit a shoulder or ham, you can still eat right up to the hole. Noting beats a big flat nose bullet! Same is true for muzzle loaders using patched round balls. The paper ballistics don't do them justice.
Thanks for the quick reply!

Re: Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 10:50 pm
by Ron60
OK - just placed my order.
I hope when you get to it you'll let me know if there's anything amiss with what I came up with for a design. I'm on a pretty limited income so can't really afford to take several C note stabs at this.
I will be quite happy to trust your judgment based on your experience vv mine. =)

I know it's a ways out but I'm going to be anxiously awaiting this. Can't remember the last time I was this enthused about a shooting project.

Re: Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 6:32 am
by mtngun
Got your order, thank you very much.

I don't usually micromanage designs, but since you asked :lol: ....... here are a couple of things that caught my eye.

A 0.050" long front band. Itty bitty front bands are tough to fill out, and I don't understand the point on a 500 S&W (assuming this is a S&W wheelgun). The Smiths have a long leade in front of the case, but the diameters are pretty tight.

A 0.500" diameter by 0.220" long bore rider. I'm skeptical that this will chamber reliably. I wouldn't even use this in a target competition situation, let alone a bear load. Again, assuming this is for the S&W wheelgun, which they tell me has tight throats.

If you want to make changes, there's plenty of time. It's your call, I'm just commenting.

Re: Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:02 am
by Ron60
If someone asks for advice, then it's not micro managing. I'll go rethink the whole design - I'll post on another part of the forum here for advice.
As I mentioned I have been using a bullet I got from Richard Gibson as a model and I can't even detect a seperat 'front' band above the crimp groove. I thought this might have been significant because I suspect the mould he uses comes from you.
The diameter just in front of the crimp groove mikes out .497" and it's .495" at about .200" up the nose / ogive.
Gee - maybe these are the dimensions I sould have put in? It was pretty late last night when I was doing this - obvously too late :oops:
Good thing I have some time - I'll ask around.
I'm VERY glad you chose to "micro manage" this for me. I have been reloading for a long time but have never done much casting outside round balls and Minnie balls for muzzle loaders.
Thank you!

Re: Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 11:53 pm
by Ron60
I read all your articles and as many posts as I could find time for today. I measured my barrell, land to land, groove to groove, and the chambers.
This is on a S&W 500 Performance Center with 7.5" barrel.
I was bummed to find that the chambers are .500 and the grove to groove diameter is .501 - why the heck do they do that??? Land to land is .492". I also discoverd that I could chamber the flat end of a .500" diameter jacketed bullet very deep before it met the chamber - about .280" sticking out of the case. I allowed some for the beveled end of the bullet.
All this helped me make more sense out of the bullet I have been working with as a model. Going and getting a better caliper and mikrometer didn't hurt either.

So how do I submit a "change order"? I did the screen shot of my new design if that helps.


Re: Returning castor, 500 S&W

Posted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 6:43 am
by mtngun
Excellent work !

If I understand you correctly, the throats are 0.500", the groove is 0.501", the bore is 0.492", and the tapered cone in front of the case is 0.280" long.

I've heard different measurements from other 500 S&W owners. It's possible that there is some variation from gun to gun (ya think ?) or it is possible that there is some measurement error. Either way, at least we have some ballpark figures to work with.

What I have consistently heard, is that the throats are tight, 0.500" or 0.499", depending on the source. That seems typical for current production Smiths.

I've also consistently heard that the tapered cone in front of the case is long, though your 0.280" figure is the longest to date.

You didn't report the chamber ID at the case mouth, but I've heard that's pretty tight, not leaving much clearance for rounds loaded with oversize cast bullets. Most people size to 0.500", rather than 0.501", for that reason alone.

As for why Smith does things the way they do, you'll get a headache trying to figure that out. :lol:

It's possible to ream or lap the throats to 0.501", but ...... if it shoots OK, I wouldn't worry about it. As they say, don't fix it if it ain't broke. Most people say the 500 shoots well with a gas check. I've heard mixed reports on plain base bullets.

To submit a change, a screen shot would be ideal. You can either email it to mtngun at gmail, or you can post it on this thread if you know how to do that.