Video: .500 JRH — The Workhorse Half-Incher


Terminally effective, the .500 JRH has what it takes to tackle nearly any game on Earth.

Hunting something that can hunt you is no time to get coy over calibers. Accordingly, you need to gun up to something that hits hard and gets the job done, no matter the circumstances. Generally, we think of this as the realm of classic sledgehammers: .375 H&H, .416 Rigby and .500 Nitro Express. Solid choices one and all, but there’s a newer class of gun that has muscled in on these legends’ territory in their ability to smash anything in their way.

Evolving to monstrous proportions in recent decades, modern big bore revolvers more than have the chops to tackle the globe’s most deadly critters. Not for the faint of heart, nor the weak of wrist, these brutes pack a serious punch and at their very upper end expectorate serious copper-jacketed fury. And in the land of giants, nothing quite compares to .500-caliber wheelguns.

More Gun Digest Videos:

  • The Elegant Power Of The Ruger Blackhawk Bisley .45 Colt
  • Development Of The Lever-Action Rifle
  • The Ingenious Pedersen Device
  • Properly Using A Defensive AR-15 From Cover

Little known outside of serious big-bore circles, the .500 JRH might be the best of the half-inchers. The brainchild of custom revolver builder Jack R. Huntington, it was specifically designed to squeeze the .50-caliber into a standard-frame revolver. Essentially, it’s a cut down .500 Smith & Wesson – by about .225 inch. But don’t let its size fool you, it’s an out-and-out tooth chipper.

Buffalo Bore Ammunition, one of the few factories that load the cartridge, lists the muzzle velocity of its hottest 440-grain load at 1,500 fps. That’s a load of hard-cast lead moving fast, more than enough to burrow its way through the thick hide and tough bone of a Cape buffalo or the like. Though, if you have the yen for tamer North American game, there are light more manageable rounds available.

Exciting as they might seem, falling for a .500 JRH or another half-incher comes at a price. Recoil short of an angry mule, they are a handful and require time and effort to master. Furthermore, the revolvers are a far-cry from the mass-produced variety we’re used to today. Generally custom or semi-custom affairs, the .500-caliber guns tend to tax the pocket book, well before you ever add a scope or any other good.

Consequently, going half-inch takes time and dedication. What else would you expect from cartridges born to take on the most dangerous game on earth?


Next Step: Get your FREE Printable Target Pack

Enhance your shooting precision with our 62 MOA Targets, perfect for rifles and handguns. Crafted in collaboration with Storm Tactical for accuracy and versatility.

Subscribe to the Gun Digest email newsletter and get your downloadable target pack sent straight to your inbox. Stay updated with the latest firearms info in the industry.


  1. Picked a BFR up in 500 JRH. I have 100 cases plus another 20 factory I got to test out. 350 grain JHP x100 and 440 WFNGC x 100 projectiles to test and load.

    I wanted something handier than even my Marlin Trapper in 45-70. I have a 458 Lott as well but much heavier gun, of course.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.