S&W 500ES, too much gun?
Many firearms can and do serve multiple purposes, such as the carry pistol you can shoot in your local matches. To me that is a good way to get more bang for your buck, pun intended, in buying a single handgun. Then there are firearms that serve a single purpose, such as the Smith and Wesson 500ES. This revolver, as far as I can tell, was designed for one thing, and that would be to put a great deal of stopping power in a small package that can easily be carried or stowed. For someone who ventures into territories that include dangerous animals and storage space is a premium, the 500ES would serve in that role well. Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks due to that design. The biggest, well, is this revolver is difficult to shoot. The first shot is easy to initiate but once recoil sets in you have quite a bit of recovering to do. With the larger S&W 500 Magnums, especially with ported barrels, it is not so bad. When you lose this much barrel you loose a lot of weight at the end of the handgun. Another drawback is losing sight radius. The longer the sight radius the easier it is to place a well aimed shot, and having the front sight so close to the rear sight you have more margin for error in the sight alignment. With less barrel length you will have velocity loss, though I don’t think that is quite as big of a deal for this revolver as compared to many.
S&W added an adjustable rear sight and a front fiber optic sight which, even with the short sight radius, I was able to get a nice sight picture. In such a handgun as this though I prefer a fixed rear sight. Adjustable sights are more fragile and prone to breakage. Since no one this side of normal would use this revolver for any sort of precision target shooting, a fixed rear sight would be plenty sufficient and more durable.
The cylinder latch was well serrated to aid in releasing the five shot cylinder. This revolver is double action allowing you to cock the hammer for a much better trigger pull for a well aimed shot, and also able to just run the trigger when you were in a bit of a hurry. Though I am not sure how much of a hurry you could get in with follow up shots either way. You can see, we got it ple
The wrap around semi soft rubber grips, slightly stippled and finger grips added a lot of cushion and controlability.
You can see the 500gr Hornady left, and right is the 300gr LEVERevloution.
Normally we do several range trips getting accuracy charts from a rest at twenty-five yards but after Clinton and I went through about sixty rounds, most of which Clinton shot earlier, we felt we had taken enough abuse. As expected with a revolver, there were no malfunctions and the adjustable sights held their zero. Accuracy was done off hand with well aimed shots and it was not hard to keep five rounds in a six inch circle at thirty feet. Truthfully, there was not enough barrel to rest the handgun in such a manner I felt I could maintain control so Clinton and I agreed, especially considering the role the 500ES serves, it would be fine to gauge accuracy off hand.
The 500ES is a very specialized handgun, but specialized in such a way that for many it could be practical to own. It is a steep curve learning to shoot this handgun but with enough effort it can be run well enough to be used for what it was designed for. If you want to pack some serious firepower and keep the cargo as light as you can this revolver is for you. I would highly recommend becoming proficient with it before venturing into an area you would need it for, and have an understanding of the financial cost in ammunition of learning the gun.
Caliber 500 S&W Magnum
Sights: rear adjustable, front fiber optic
Material: stainless steel
Weight (unloaded): 3.4 pounds
Barrel length: 2 3/4″
Overall length: 9″
A huge thank you to Clinton for providing the revolver and test ammunition.
A point brought up by reader joker18
Additionally, and I am playing devil’s advocate here, if I was a hungry attorney looking for a big settlement in a civil suit over a shooting, where a person shot another person with a large handgun such as this, I do not think I would have to try very hard to prove malice to a jury. Obviously I don’t agree with that line of thought, but I could see that possibility in the future.