There’s a first time for everything, and as a reloader, there can be many “first times” when you enjoy taking on new cartridges. For a while now I’ve wanted to load 500 S&W Magnum, and today I got that chance. My friend Dale Miller picked up a Smith and Wesson 500 S&W Magnum revolver a while back, and it’s fun (but EXPENSIVE) to shoot. Dale has been amassing the required components, and I got a hold of the required equipment, and today our schedules finally aligned.
We decided to pull out the Lee Classic Cast Iron Turret since it’s easy to setup, and I didn’t have a shellplate for the progressive press I would want to use (we’ll save progressive 500 S&W magnum loading for later ). We started to setup dies, and in no time had the sizer/depriming die adjusted. Then came time to figure out what to use for expansion and charging. I decided to use the expander from the Lee die set (with funnel cap in place) in “expansion only” mode, and to install the Hornady Lock-N-Load AP powder measure after the expander in the sequence of holes in the turret. Finally, we dialed in the seating/crimping die from the Lee 3-die pistol set to finish things off.
Hmmm, I thought to myself: what do we use for primers? After looking in multiple loading manuals, and on http://handloads.com, we settled on Remington # 9 1/2 Large Rifle primers (non-magnum). Since we didn’t have factory ammo on hand, we deformed a couple bullets getting the seating and crimping settings dialed in at the same time (same station). If I had a factory round on hand I would have had a much easier time- here’s how I normally do it:
- Put factory (or completed/reloaded cartridge) in shellholder/shellplate
- Back out seating plug
- Raise ram to top of stroke
- Screw down die until it seats on cartridge (crimp ring on crimp if everything is proper)
- Screw die down just a bit further
- Screw seating plug down firmly in contact with bullet face/profile
- Tweak die depth and seating plug depth as needed
…but in this case we just had to try and get the crimp and seating depth dialed in by trial and error. This is why having separate seating and crimping dies is so nice (especially with lead bullets).
We decided to start with 50 to see how these initial loads performed. We’ll do more later and perhaps change the load to suit Dale’s preferences.
Here’s what we ended up with for load data (always cross reference with published load data, Ultimate Reloader can not be liable for erroneous data, use at your own risk)
- 325 grain hard cast Penn bullets
- 36.0 grains Alliant 2400
- Remington # 9 1/2 Large Rifle primers
- New Starline 500 S&W Magnum brass
Anyone else out there loading 500 S&W Magnum?