Northern Precision
.500 caliber Bullets

Big Medicine!

Groups just over one inch at 50 yards were the norm with AA1680 powder.

Bill Noody of Northern Precision has been thinking big these days, caliber-wise. He’s had requests for 0.500″-sized bullets and Bill delivered. Using .50 BMG cases for the bullet jackets, he draws them out and works his magic, then adds a lead alloy. The large Ma Deuce cases work perfectly and with the skillful use of his series of Corbin dies, he completes the bullets. If bonded bullets are wanted, an extra step is added.

These bullets can be made to any weight from 350 to 600 grains with a large meplat nose profile. When loaded with bullets crimped in the cannelure, they cycle flawlessly through my Big Horn Armory Model 89.

Bill Noody is a one-man show and his work is flawless!

A Little History

The .500 S&W Magnum made its debut at the 2003 SHOT show. Cor-bon designed the cartridge in a partnership with S&W. The motive was twofold. First, the companies wanted a handgun and cartridge capable of taking the largest North American big-game species. The second? Simply having bragging rights for the most powerful production handgun and load produced.

If you’re gonna’ do it, do it big — and that’s what they did!

The fixin’s for some good handloads. Look at the Big Horn
Armory wood upgrade — worth every cent!

Big Horn Armory 89

About five years later, Big Horn Armory owner Greg Buchel had the desire to build a lever gun sturdy enough to shoot the powerful .500 S&W cartridge in a John Browning-style lever gun. Makes sense, right? He knew the sleek model 92 was too small and he didn’t welcome the bulkiness of the 1886 Winchester. So, he combined the attributes of both and came out with a lever gun halfway between the ’92 and ’86, which happens to be 89 — hence the Big Horn Armory Model 89 came to fruition.

Buchel uses 17-4PH stainless steel, a steel three times stronger than that originally used by Winchester. The mid-sized action allows adjusting pivot pins for the carrier, release points of cartridge guides and other critical internal parts to form the correct geometry to consistently cycle the 500 S&W cartridges. Two large locking lugs keep the bolt locked solidly in the high pressure round. For a few extra bucks, Buchel offers beautifully stocked rifles. It’s well worth the money!

Northern Precision’s .500 bullets (left to right) — 350-grain, 450-grain and
600-grain bullets next to a drawn out .50 BMG case used for the bullet jacket.

The Load

Noody’s 500 bullets pack a punch from the large meplat he uses. Measured at 0.430″, this very blunt lead exposed nose transfers mega doses of energy. The tapered jacket allows perfect mushroom expansion without allowing the bullet to turn inside out. Tougher game like Cape Buffalo would benefit from Noody’s bonded bullets.

Looking at Big Horn Armory’s loading data, AA 1680 looked to be a good contender from what I had on hand. Using Hornady brass, Winchester Large Rifle primers and 42 grains of AA1680, I chronographed the 450-grain bullets right at 1,800 FPS. Accuracy at 50 yards using a Trijicon 6MOA red dot sight was just over an inch. With a 450-grain wide jacketed exposed nose bullet going 1,800 FPS, there’s not a lot of big game animals the bullet wouldn’t dispatch quickly.

Loads were assembled using Hornady dies with Tank’s Lee Classic Turret press.

Final Word

Using custom-made bullets isn’t for everyone. But if you enjoy handloading and take pride in shooting your own ammunition, Northern Precision has the bullet for the job. The 500 S&W magnum will handle the world’s largest game. Using a traditional lever gun during your hunting endeavors is a traditionally fun way of doing so. You’ll take pride in carrying your Big Horn Armory lever gun and you’ll rejoice in taking game with it!
Teddy Roosevelt enjoyed hunting with lever guns and you will too! He called his Winchester 1895 chambered for the .405 Winchester “Big Medicine” while hunting lions and other beasts in Africa.

Bill Noody’s 0.500″ bullets will allow you to “speak quietly while carrying a big stick” when loaded with .500 S&W cartridges in a Big Horn Armory Model 89 lever gun. They are a match that complement each other rather nicely.

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Bill Noody of Northern Precision has been thinking big these days, caliber-wise. He’s had requests for 0.500"-sized bullets and Bill delivered.
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