500 S&W (bear hunting)

Whilton1981

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Apr 14, 2014
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47
Location
Lacrosse,wi
Hello. Looking for a little help with thoughts on a .500 s&w for a sidearm for bear hunting. A friend of mine is selling (3.5” barrel) his and I am considering purchasing for this purpose. I don’t know anything about them other than researching them online. Thoughts on is it a good fit?
 

Varmint Hunter

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Dec 26, 2001
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Long Island, New York
If you're talking about shooting black bears over bait the 500 S&W has a lot more horsepower than needed but I've got to imagine it sure would be fun! I would assume that there would be enough muzzle flash from a 3.5" barrel to singe the hair on a bears back at 20 yards. 😂

I've got a 500 S&W Encore with a 20" barrel. The recoil is NOTICEABLE. :oops:
 

Muddyboots

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Feb 7, 2013
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Michigan
I've had them and never less than 6" barrel and ported. The 3.5' barrel will be extremely difficult to shoot any distance farther than 3 bar stools and probably not ported? The muzzle flash may need welders goggles! 😂 As Varmit Hunter stated recoil is more than noticeable, down right ANGRY! A 44Mag is like 22LR in comparison. If the intent is really close encounter life or death then OK IMO. The 500S&W is one of those handgun calibers that really need to be ported to have a chance at shooting them accurately. Just look at the lead you are throwing out of it, 350 gr likely which is handful in a handgun. BTW - it may hurt to shoot without good shooters gloves. I am big guy at 6'4" and have a big hand which was a plus and Presidential grips to help but even then DANG! No I sold it years ago.
 

Mike Matteson

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Jun 26, 2017
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I have a 500 Smith in a 4" Ported from factory. A friend and I develop loads for it years ago. It's matches with what shown in the reloading books now. It's a hell of a hand cannon for sure. I got it when Bow hunting in Montana. I had a flip holster built for. They now build a holster for it. Which is set to be in middle of your chest or there about. I wouldn't get a 6" or 8" do it being so long its isn't funny. It's a two handed pistol for sure. If I remember correctly Hornady had the first reloading manual out. I gotten a hunting or shooting magazine that wrote about the 500 Smith. They had changed to Larger Rifle Primers instead of Large Pistol primes. I get about 2100fps in velocity with a 350 grain berry bullet. It has about 3100 foot pound of Energy. The biggest thing is the recoil will lift your hands up. Some people were getting hit in the head with it by some stories I read. I have had that problem. The 4" and the overall length of it is more than enough for a sign ramp. It's longer than most pistol to start with in a 4". The muzzle flash isn't that bad. If you hand load, besure that you sight it in before going hunting. The higher velocity changes the point of aim I have founded. Unless someone else is building a 500 Smith, they all have a muzzle brake that come on all of them. I kind of wonder if the person that made some statement above has really use one. What made my determination was I shot both a 44 Mag and the 500 at show. the 500 wasn't that much over a 44 mag in recoil. That was with factory ammo. You can drop a 44 mag case inside a 500 Smith case, just to have ideal on size difference there is. A 44 mag will work also on Black Bears too.
 

SDPlinker

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Dec 23, 2019
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490
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South Dakota
I have always been intrigued why people always debate on the best pistol as a backup to hunt bears? So, you would throw down your hunting rifle, attempt to draw a pistol to shoot a charging bear?
I think I would rather shoot a charging Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Water Buffalo with my rifle? Let alone a bear! What am I missing? If I were a bear close enough that you could not use your hunting rifle, I would take your pistol while you were trying to figure out how to draw it, and (insert your story here).
What an I missing? Do the PHs in Africa carry a pistol for back up? Do some folks go bear hunting alone? I must be missing sumptin?
 

Muddyboots

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Let's see have had both Ruger Redhawks in 44 mag and S&W in 500 S&W and both were close in barrel length of 7 3/4 for the RH and 8+ for the 500. The RH was by far easier to shoot, rise was minimal and these were full bore 240 gr hunting loads. The 500 was with Speer 350 and Sierra 400 gr full bore loads and the rise was not manageable since it was extremely difficult to bring back to sight picture for a good clean second shot in comparison to the time that the 44 was able to do. No doubt the power is there and I would rather have the 500 for really close encounter with anything toothy just because of the enormous energy it can deliver but there is one heck of a difference in how the 2 calibers shoot. I would rather have 2 shots off with the 500 versus 3-4 with the 44 but the OP question was with a 3.5" barrel which I believe is a hindrance to the 500. If it is braked that could help but still rather have at least 6" barrel on it. It is clear the OP has zero experience with big bores and the 3.5 is not the way to start with one IMO.
 

Mike Matteson

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818
I have always been intrigued why people always debate on the best pistol as a backup to hunt bears? So, you would throw down your hunting rifle, attempt to draw a pistol to shoot a charging bear?
I think I would rather shoot a charging Lion, Elephant, Rhino, Water Buffalo with my rifle? Let alone a bear! What am I missing? If I were a bear close enough that you could not use your hunting rifle, I would take your pistol while you were trying to figure out how to draw it, and (insert your story here).
What an I missing? Do the PHs in Africa carry a pistol for back up? Do some folks go bear hunting alone? I must be missing sumptin?
I carried mine for backup while hunting Deer and Elk during Bow season in Montana. Most of the talk was about back up, and during Bow season.
 

Tiny Tim

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Jan 26, 2015
Messages
876
Ported, braked, or not, a short barreled 500 is going to be difficult to manage even for an experienced shooter. Might want to ask your friend why he's selling it. How many rounds has he shot through it? And have you shot it? If so, you can make an educated decision.
 

Mrkdiver

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Jun 16, 2020
Messages
63
Location
Texas
Thanks for all the reply’s. Very much appreciated and you’re verifying my thoughts that it should only be used as emergency. Not a very practical firearm
I’ve been shooting one, BFR, for 12-14 years, not sure, a long time. They kick bad but if you shoot it enough you’ll figure it out. I do wear gel filled shooting gloves to practice but not to hunt. I’ve also learned to load and shoot 1 shot at a time, with 5-6 shots then stop for 20-30 minutes, it’ll help your shooting. Don’t get in a rush, I didn’t start that way but learned it over time. If you reload it, which I don’t know how I could afford to shoot it if I didn’t, don’t start with hunting loads, not reduced loads but starting loads for the bullet weight, that’ll help. After a year or so, it took that long, I was shooting 2-3” 5 shot groups off bench with 2x leupold. You said 3“ barrel? I wouldn’t touch that one.
 

Mike Matteson

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Jun 26, 2017
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818
The muzzle flash is gone in a split second. The recoil move you so you see don't see the flash. It's not a fun thing to shoot, but for something else. If it doesn't have a muzzle brake on it, I wouldn't get it, unless it really cheap. Try it first, it's not a pistol for the light hearted. it's a tool. easy 50 yd pistol.
 
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