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Discussion Starter #1
I was just starting to load my 500 smith with a new set of rcbs dies. They are steel not carbide. I lubed my hornady once fired brass and went to size and I could not size the case. I got the brass about 3/8" into the die and it got stuck. I lubed the inside and out like I always do. I looked in my manual and it says the mouth of the case is .530. My case is .530 as once fired brass. The inside of the die is .524. Any ideas?
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Strange, I didn't even know you could get steel dies for a .500 S&W. Mine are carbide, and the RCBS brand also.

I don't know what to say... ? Steel dies should work, if cases are lubed.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah, I was very suprised to see the all green box at my local shop. I asked if they had carbide 500 dies and they said that none were in stock. I never had this problem before. Seems to me that if the inside of the die is measuring that much less, the die is bad.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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No I think the measurements sound about right. Remember that there is some brass springback, so the die has to account for that. Probably about 0.002" on average. And the die has to account for different thicknesses for the different sources and lots of brass.

What kind of lube? Perhaps the die just is rough? I'll have to check the inside measurements on my carbide sizer and see what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If you have any fired brass laying around, please check that too. Mine is .530 at the mouth. I'm using rcbs lube. I just dont see that case going in that die. Thanks alot for your help.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Finally found the die set, and the sizing ring is a bit smaller that what you report - 0.525" with an inside mic. Also my fired brass measures what yours does (0.530"), plus or minus a thousandth. I'd say the fault lies with the lube, or the finish inside the die.

The die should be chamfered a bit to help the case start in. Note, I am not shooting a .500 S&W but a .500 JRH which is the same thing on a shorter case. But I am using dies marked for the .500 S&W. I just cut down the sizer die a bit so I could crimp with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hey Mike, one more quick question. What primer should I use? I'm seeing large rifle in some manuals, LRmagnum in others. Could I use a large pistol mag like a cc350? Thanks again.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Good question. I don't load for the Smith, remember, so keep that in mind when reading this answer. Frankly, without any tested load data for the .500 JRH, I started with suggestions from Jack Huntington and worked up. Not giving it a second thought, I started with the Winchester Large Pistol primer and it's worked fine (after all I have a handgun, right?). But..... I never thought to measure the primer pocket depth, either. Guess what, the .500JRH primer pockets are cut to large rifle depth! So I guess I should have been using large rifle (or large rifle magnum) primers all along?

Anyway.... go with published data, as strictly as you can follow it. It seems to me that a standard large rifle primer should light off all the powder a .500 S&W case will hold, but the people who published the loads may have their reasons. I will have to follow up with Jack Huntington and see about the effects my primer substitution may have. My loads are mild and I'm not worried about piercing a primer, but .... in retrospect, it could cause inconsistent ignition if the primer isn't seated to full depth. Apparently single-action revolvers have enough hammer strike force that it doesn't matter? Don't know. Keep in mind that you are lighting off more powder in the Smith, at least at top loads, than the .500JRH and higher pressures too (potentially). My gut feeling is that the pistol magnum primers would be OK with lighter loads (say below the 40,000CUP or so level that ordinary magnum handguns operate at). But you do run the risk of them not being full seated and that causing ignition problems.

Long way of saying "I was doing it wrong for some amount of time till you asked." Oh well, learn something new.....

Thanks for asking!
 

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Just got off the phone with Jack Huntington. Good conversation re: primers for both the .500 JRH, and .500 Smith.

Jack has some insight to the .500 S&W brass dev. as he was able to piggyback the JRH brass production on Starline's .500 S&W run. Anyway.... long story short, Jack says that the large rifle pockets are for clearance/safety, not because large rifle primers are really needed for cases of that size. Evidently there were some issues during development and some out-of-battery firing happened when primer pockets weren't cut deep enough in the first runs of .500 S&W brass. Bad thing to have happen! Reminds me of a similar issue a few years ago that prompted Buffalo Bore to go to .45-70 brass with small rifle primer pockets.

Jack stated that in the .500 JRH that large rifle primers are never needed and would raise pressure unnecessarily. He also stated that in the .500 Smith, large rifle primers also raise pressures more than needed, but this is simply not an issue in the X frame Smith guns as they can handle it. He gave his opinion that, as an example, CCI 350s (magnum large pistol) primers would be perfectly adequate for the .500 S&W as the cups are plenty thick enough for the expected pressure levels.

Jack did note that some Federal large pistol magnum primers were being pierced during load development due to softer cups and he did not recommend them for full pressure loads. I have not ever had any piercing with Winchester Large Pistol primers although I simply do not intended to load them to a level where this would be a concern. Jack thought that WLP primers were fine for my .500 JRH reloading.

There is, I suppose, a question of whether a large pistol primer in a large rifle primer pocket may not get seated fully and could there be misfires or poor ignition due to that? I do not know the answer, but can only state that it's never been an issue for me.

When in doubt, contact the publisher of the load data for clarification. I do not own a .500 S&W and cannot authoritatively state that you should deviate from the published data. I can state that for my .500 JRH loadings, that a Winchester Large Pistol primer has worked just great and I will stick with them for future reloads, despite the large rifle primer pockets in the brass.

Hope this helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm toying with the 700 gn hardcast. I know there is no reason for them but I like to play. The only info is from rangerrick and he is using starline brass and large rifle mag primers. I'm using hornady brass and was going to use large rifle. He listed 28 gn of lil gun behind that 700gn bullet. Would there be much difference in dropping to a standard large rifle vs a mag large rifle? You would think lt would be safe. Maybe I'll do it and start of with 2-3 gn less. Thanks again for all the info. You've been very helpful.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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I just cannot see a magnum rifle primer being necessary to ignite that small amount of powder. Maybe it doesn't hurt, but sure seems like you wouldn't need it. Jack quotes "10,000 psi increase in pressure from the large rifle primers" or words to that effect, with little or no increase in velocity. I'm paraphrasing, but the 10,000 number is clear in my mind.

My own loads in the .500 JRH with 400 grain Sierras and a maximum of 28 grains of WC 820 (surplus) lit off just fine with the Winchester Large Pistol primers. 28 grains is just where I stopped, so "max" means the stopping point, not maximum pressures. Just want to be clear.

Up to you....
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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To put it in perspective, look at the data on the Hodgdon web site for the .44 mag. There are loads for Lil'Gun in the range of your 28gr. load, for the lighter bullet weights, and a large pistol magnum primer is evidently powerful enough to light them off. To me that is evidence that a large rifle magnum would be terribly excessive for what you propose.

Again, up to you.
 

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I load for the 500 S&W. Let me know how you like shooting those Tyrannosaur Thumpers that Rick Gibson sells. You sure will know when the gun goes off.
About cases - there used to be two kinds of cases for the 500 - some were for use with large pistol primers and some were set for large rifle primers. Hornady labelled those for rifle primers by adding a L and an R on each side of the headstamp of the case. if you put the longer primer into the shallower pocket, the cylinder will jam. (How do I know this?)
CBC cases are marked with an "R" on the headstamp.
The few Starline cases that I have have no identfying mark on the headstamp.
This is a cellphone pic but you can see the Hornady markings clearly. The CBC R is at about 5 o'clock.
 

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Contrary to what you would think, magnum primers are actually often more needed for consistency with small charges than with a full case. The issue is getting all that empty free space pressurized enough for good, consistent start pressure. But there is another potential problem: In a case the size of a handgun round with bullets as wide as the case, the potential for an oversize primer to unseat the bullet before the powder can get going, thus causing erratic start pressure exists, too. That would be the opposite of what you are seeking.

It seems to me unlikely you would need a magnum rifle primer for the case capacity you have, but the way to tell for sure is to take a moderate charge like that Lil' Gun load that the magnum primer won't exceed pressure with, get your chronograph out and see which primer produces the best consistency with that load? If the large primer produces a real increase in pressure, there will also be a velocity increase with it. The physics dictate that. Keep an eye on accuracy too. Despite all the theoreticals, some guns defy it and shoot best with a wide MV ES. Bottom line, use what works best.

If you later use something that fills the case better, start with your above selected primer and work up to safe levels with it. Knock it back 5%, then run the other primers with it again. The one that is most consistent may well be milder as the case becomes better packed with powder. This is what benchrest shooters have often found to be the case in their rifles. But again, that doesn't always promise best accuracy, so keep your eye on that, too.

For a good general article on primers, check this one, which discusses some of these considerations.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Great info guys. I also heard of the different cases for large pistol and large rifle primers. Thats what started me researching this. I'm going to load some of these today and go try them out. I'll look on the brass and see what it is labelled. Thanks again guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Alright. My brass was stamped lr so I used cci large rifle primers. 25 grains of lil gun and a pretty heavy crimp that was not heavy enough. I shot it once and the other 4 bullets started to creep out. I shot one at a time after that. I'll have to work on the crimp. Five shots grouped very well at 25 yds but I was just testing these out to make sure they'll work. I'll shoot them for accuracy later. They are pretty rough on the hands and arms but I love em! They fill the cylinder clean to the end which is why a strong crimp is that much more important on these bad boys. When I get the crimp figured out I will start to up these to around 28 gns in small increments. There is absolutly no signs of pressure IN MY GUN at 25 gn of lil gun.
 

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When you try to crimp really hard, the brass below the crimp can start to bulge outward, reducing grip on the bullet. The Redding Profile Crimp and the Lee Factory Crimp both address this in different ways.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm going to have to get one or the other. I am starting to see a bulge below the crimp. The cartridge chambers fine though. Alot of recoil in these big boys.
 
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