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[Review] Smith & Wesson .500 Magnum Vs All The Things

Revolvers might be seen as a little old fashioned by some, but something to be said in their favor is the sheer size of cartridge they are able to handle.

The Smith and Wesson 500 firing the .500 S&W Magnum is untapped power, the likes of which there really is almost no equal… At least in the handgun world.

S&W 500 All View

If you’re looking to go big game hunting, want the most powerful handgun you possibly can have, or just really like putting big holes in things — Hillperson Johnny has a great video for you!

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Table of Contents


The Stats And Facts

While “new” might be relative, the Smith and Wesson 500 has been with us since 2003 and still holds records for power.

Requiring a whole new frame, S&W developed the X-Frame as the platform for this beast of a firearm.

You might be thinking that such a tank stopper of a cartridge would be grossly uncomfortable to shooting, but thankfully the designers knew what they were doing.

Recoil is shockingly less than what you would expect. With rubber grips, a muzzle brake, and the pure mass of the revolver’s frame

One of the muzzle brake options for the S&W Model 500

The most common barrel length is around 8″, but you can find the S&W 500 with barrels as short as 2.5″ and as long as 12″ if you look far and wide enough. A wide range of sights and muzzle devices means you can find a revolver that is right for you.


  • Weight: 56oz – 80oz
  • Cartridge: 500 S&W Magnum
  • Action: DA/SA
  • Muzzle Velocity (approximate): 2,075fps
  • Frame: Stainless Steel Smith & Wesson X-Frame

Why Do I Need It?

Other than being able to scare people standing next to you at the range, flexing on your friends, and having a handgun so freaking huge it needs a sling — the S&W 500 really does have some practical applications.

First, you can destroy almost anything that needs to be atomized, such as pumpkins.

Or not-very-good hot sauce

Second, it makes a really good hunting handgun.

Meat, it's whats for dinner.
Aim for the heart and lungs!

If you want stopping power then 500 S&W Magnum punches the ticket.

Getting the most out of it requires handloading, but even if you want to rely on factory ammo you have a huge range of great loadings ready to help take that next elk, bear, or moose you’ve been wanting to land.

From 250 to 700 grains, Barnes to Hornady, lead nose to polymer tip, the available options are surprising… And expensive. For good hunting ammo, $2.50 or more per round isn’t unheard of.

at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What you get for that cost and size is range and reliable kills out to 200 or more yards, depending on your barrel length and game. For a pistol cartridge, that kind of range is almost unheard of.

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

It’s a Smith & Wesson revolver. It’ll run through nuclear winter. Our number one takeaway for reliability is don’t let chicken flavored dog food dry inside the chamber before cleaning. 

Ergonomics: 2/5

This gun is the Dolly Parton of firearms: top heavy. 

Accuracy: 5/5

It’s by far the most accurate 500 with a 10.5″ barrel on the market. 

Customization: 1/5

You can change your grips, and that’s it. Sure it’s got a whopper of a rail, but is adding a red dot really customizing? This gun is just fine the way it comes. 

Value: 7/5

You can’t put a price on stupid fun. 

Overall: 4/5

If you need to vaporize canned foods at $2+ per shot, this is your gun. Buy extra ammo cause you’ll suddenly be Mr. Popular at the range. 

Parting Shots

The Smith & Wesson Model 500 in .500 S&W Magnum takes you into the big leagues with the most powerful production handgun in the world. Enough to bag a moose and with plenty of accuracy and reliability left over. Plus you can change the grips and add a red dot if that’s your thing.

Or if you have a garage full of random stuff and you hate yard sales…

Alternatively, if you’re not ready to take that second mortgage to fund this gun and a few range trips to shoot it — you might want to check your local listings for a used Model 500.

Have you taken any game with your Model 500? What is your goto handload for it? Let us know in the comments! For more awesome heavy metal hunting revolvers, take a look at our hands-on review of the Ruger Super Redhawk!

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8 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Jeremy Herbst

    I just bought mine today. Is the gun expensive? Hell yes. Is the ammo expensive? Depends what you compare it to. Is life short and fun worth it? Duh. This gun is so versatile I don’t know why more people won’t buy it. Recoil with 440 grain bear loads is very manageable with the 8.38 barrel. And the fire rings are awesome to see. Guns are my hobby so maybe I am bias with prices. But I think it is worth every penny. Fun to shoot at the range and a nice sense of security for backup hunting big game.

    January 8, 2020 4:16 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    DVD Schleg

    Some people just need to get a sense of humor. I enjoyed the video for what it was: Pure Entertainment. Hillperson Johnny has a unique sense of humor. Love his take on things. WOOO!

    November 20, 2019 3:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    B. Sanders

    Licking a bullet? What kind of message are you sending with that video? What kind of image are you creating about gun owners? The left already thinks gun owners are crazy right-wing gun nuts. We don't need to feed that stereotype with this sort of stuff.

    I know, "Oh, it's just a fun video, lighten up." Every day our rights face a battle that can be won or lost, and our image, the way we present ourselves as gun owners, is a key player in that battle. Guns are fun, sure. I'm all about living it up at the range with friends and shooting at a bunch of random stuff. But guns are also serious business and need to be treated as such, especially outside the privacy and relative comraderie of the range environment.

    This video is just one example among many, but as representatives of our past-time and of our tentative future as gun owners, we really need to spend some time working on the way our political opponents see us. This sort of thing, as well as the "Kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out"-type bumper stickers really don't sell the "reasonable, rational and responsible law-abiding gun owner" image that we all seem to claim. We own firearms for the protection and preservation of life, liberty and justice for all. Right?

    Plus, what does this teach future generations? I suggest, David, that you remove that video. Last thing we need are kids presenting at the ER with accidental bullet ingestions.

    November 19, 2019 6:06 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Thanks for the feedback! I cannot account for the crazy antics that our beloved Hillperson Johnny gets into, such as using his .500 S&W as a dipstick for some delicious post-range-snaking. The video will remain as is so that our future generations can view it and appreciate the lengths we'll go to bring them quality reviews and entertainment.

      November 19, 2019 7:40 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Travis l Pike

      Lighten up Francis. If your kids already have access to your ammo without your supervision there is a much bigger problem at play.

      November 20, 2019 5:16 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mr. J

    "PINK BUBBLES!" lol

    November 19, 2019 4:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Kel-Tec RDB or KSG. Love that short stuff!

    November 19, 2019 4:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      We've reviewed the Kel-Tec RDB! Nice little bullpup, very fun.

      November 19, 2019 4:57 pm