Gun Digest

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.

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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?

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