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500 S&W Load Workup
Old 06-24-2011, 02:24 PM
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Default 500 S&W Load Workup

Drinksgin recently "facilitated" my acquisition of a new barrel for my old H&R Model 58 Trapper. It is 22" long and chambered in 500 S&W.

I have ordered the "parts" I need to be shooting it - dies, brass, bullet molds, etc - and so it is time to start working up loads. As many of you know, I like to start my load experiments with QuickLoad (QL hereafter).

I was surprised to find out that the SAAMI specs on max chamber pressure was 61,931 PSI for this "pistol" cartridge. That's HIGH for a handgun. Heck, it's high for a rifle. Using that figure, and dropping down 15%, QL predicts that I can get the Lee 440 grain bullet

doing about 2050 f/s.

You will notice that the muzzle energy is 4112 ft-lbs at that muzzle velocity. Unnecessarily high recoil in my opinion. I like to keep muzzle energy around that of my .338 WM - ~3400 ft-lbs. That allows me to "shoot all day" without feeling like I lost a bar fight. I can generate that kind of muzzle energy with a muzzle velocity of about 1860 f/s. Using Hodgdon's L'il Gun, I can get that MV while only generating ~39,000 PSI of pressure AND burn ALL of the powder in a 22" barrel. Here's what QL says about that:

And here are the trajectory pages. Note that it still has 1500 ft-lbs of energy at 300 yd. According to the "experts", 1500 ft-lbs is "sufficient" for moose. Works for me.

Optimal timing theory suggests that the timing "sweet-spot" for a 22" barrel should be at about the 8th node at 1.391 msec.

Since the above 1860 f/s load has a predicted exit time of 1.403 msec, the 41 grains of L'il Gun will be my starting load.

Of course this is all just so much 'paper-whipping'. It doesn't mean that reality will work out so neatly, AND once I get the cases, I'll go back and calculate the ACTUAL case capacity and recalculate all the numbers. The above numbers are derived using "factory" specs. I've not found ANY real cartridge/chamber of mine to be identical to "factory specs".

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32

"We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful." ~ C.S. Lewis.

Do not confuse technical skill for wisdom and do not confuse strength for skill. Paul Skvorc

Last edited by gitano; 06-26-2011 at 10:49 AM..
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50 caliber, 500 s&w, range report, reloading, sabot, swaging

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