Wednesday, February 16, 2005

 

Go Ahead - Make My Day

Lately, I must admit to lusting over this:



That's a Smith & Wesson Model 500, with a 4" barrel, chambered in .500 S&W (a handgun cartridge that, when fired from a longer barrel, approaches the energy of a 12-gauge slug). Why would I need something like this? I have no idea, but I'd be prepared in case grizzy bears ever invaded this state. Frankly, I've got a hard time hanging onto a Ruger Redhawk with a 5.5" barrel when loaded with really warm .44 Mag rounds.

But that's all sissy talk when put into the perspective of whale guns. Yes, you read that right:

The gun was cast iron and weighed 23 lbs. The weight was necessary to absorb some of the recoil experienced when discharging a large projectile. The powder charge was limited to approximately three drams, and the projectile was limited to approximately three lbs., otherwise recoil would be excessive.

Holy balls! 12-gauge slugs are normally 1 ounce, or perhaps 1.25 ounces for a "magnum" load. In-freakin'-sane. I don't know what they considered to be "excessive recoil" back in those days, but I'm assuming that launching a 3 lb projectile must have been akin to a bomb going off. I never ever heard about such a thing before reading a thread on the topic at The High Road this evening.

Surely, Dirty Harry would approve.

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