Probably Not

I’m sure that there are many people who would jump at the chance to own “the world’s most powerful handgun:

…I’m just not one of them.  Especially at $1.75 every time I squeeze the trigger.

Frankly, for that much money, I’d rather have two Ruger Super Blackhawks, in the more-manageable .44 Rem  Mag:


That falls under “not under-gunned” in the dictionary.

Tangential thought:  as any fule kno, I’m in favor of guns, whatever their caliber, action, or any of that.  And of course, I’m not a fan of the “Who really needs a gun like this?” question, as “Because it’s there” is good enough for me and should be good enough for anyone.

That said:  I just can’t get my head around the extra-large-caliber handguns like the above, or the Freedom Arms in .475 Linebaugh:

…or the Magnum Research BFR in .45-70 Govt, to give but two further examples.

I mean, they’re great as oddities or conversation pieces;  but I just can’t see myself ever carrying one out to hunt with.  Can anyone ‘splain to me why this should replace a rifle out in the field?

Maybe it’s just because I can’t see why anyone would want to go hunting with a handgun when there’s a perfectly good rifle for the job, e.g. a Marlin Guide Gun (which I want, very badly btw):…but I’m willing to learn.  Feel free to enlighten me.


  1. I have a few revolvers in .44 magnum. While I enjoy playing with them, the ones that are light enough to carry are hell to shoot, and the ones that are comfortable to shoot are hell to carry. The idea of kicking up the recoil and weight by a factor of 2 or 3? Nope, thanks, I’ll pass.

  2. Yeah, yeah, but your gun designers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.

  3. I can see handgun hunting as a thing. Hell, I used to archery hunt. If I can get in archery distance of an animal, shooting it with a pistol would be easy. I even have a Blackhawk in .357 that I can manage 6″ groups at 100 yds. Probably a little light for deer or hog, but I think I could manage. I don’t really hunt anymore, but still.

    That said, some of those pistols are more a testicular enhancement than anything else. Guy at work has a .500 something and never stops talking about it. I think he’s probably fired it once, but it’s a weekly topic of conversation.

    As for the Smith at top, I think a better replacement would be the Ruger Super Redhawk with integral scope mounts. That’s a hunting pistol.

    But as you said, it’s not a matter of need. If someone else wants it, who am I to judge.

  4. For a long time I too coveted a Guide Gun in .45-70 for reasons that probably made no sense. Pretty, but it would have required stocking another ammunition size and that finally killed the idea. Instead I now seem to have lever-action carbines in both .44 magnum and .22 WMR, paired with single-action Rugers in the same calibers. I don’t know where this cowboy urge comes from, but the symmetry of it is pleasant.
    It’s also much cheaper than a Guide Gun that is now unobtainable at any reasonable price and the hand cannons are just silly.

  5. I like having the Smith in .500 Magnum because it is fun to bring to shooting events so others can try it.
    My revolvers in .454 Casull or .44 magnum don’t have the cachet that the .500 S&W has. Does it have a useful purpose? I don’t hunt with it, so that is not a reason. I just like having it.

    Would I like a Jeep Grand Cherokee with 707 horsepower? Why yes, please, for similar reasons.

  6. Had a S&W 500 for a couple years, long story, but the price was very, very good, had to be because I figured it was a range toy and I wouldn’t have it too long. 4″ bbl, but actually only 3″ with 1″ of compensator; it does make a nice range toy but impractical. The Magtech 400 grain factory stuff chronoed at 1295; only one person ever fired more than one round before handing it back. One wag looked at the brass and said “that’s not a cartridge case, that’s a shot glass.”

    Cor-Bon made a hot 440 grain hard cast round for it, comes in a “dozen pack” for about $40. Bought a 12-pack. The Oehler 35 chrono said “1415.” My wrist surgeon said “honey, order the boat, but get the bigger one.” I still have 11 left….. (one avoirdupois ounce is 437.5 grains, 1405 is about 120 feet slower than a high brass one ounce 12 gauge slug….)

    Got dies, played with reloads, etc. Interesting, learned a bunch, but, again, I couldn’t find a practical use for it. Sold it for my original cost to a guy who hunted alligators, he wanted it as a “hip-carried 12 gauge.” He sold it after a year and went back to the 12 gauge. If you need a handgun for buffalo and Buicks, the 500 is the ticket, but start practicing how to sign your name with either hand. I’ve got a S&W 329 and it’s almost pleasurable to shoot compared to the 500 (the 329 is a 26 ounce scandium frame 4″ bbl 44 mag). I did Sunday afternoon RSO duty at my club, and walking around just about sunset to lock everything up you might encounter “wildlife,” as in “feral hogs.” A 2 inch 38 Special in a pocket holster just doesn’t cut it….

    RE: Marlin Guide Gun. I forget the model designation, but Marlin makes a version, also in stainless, with an 18.5″ barrel and one more round capacity in the magazine than the Guide Gun, and it comes with a Picatinny rail and oversized loop, I’ve been jonesing for one for years. I’ve got an older blued .45-70 Marlin with the 20 inch Microgroove rifling barrel (an abomination) – works fine with jacketed, but GFL getting accuracy with cast bullets (there’s nothing wrong with .45-70 that can’t be fixed with a set of dies and some heavy doses of 3031 or 4064); 30 years ago some guy wrote a piece in either Rifle or Handloader on it, he experimented with something like 30 different cast bullets, discovered the “secret” was a driving band area on the bullet of 14MM long; longer didn’t work, shorter didn’t work, and even 14MM was marginal. I’ve looked at re-barrelling with something in Ballard rifling, but it’s 65% of a new rifle.

  7. Those Rugers would look awesome in a double “Big Jake” (John Wayne) rig from Kirkpatrick Leather, just sayin.

    In fact, I’d kinda like a “Wild Bunch” rig for my retro 1911 build for the upcoming BLM/Antifa Games. 😀 But they are kinda spendy.

    Oh, well, this blog is about nice women, nice cars, nice guns that most of us can’t afford, why not dream a little?


    1. For another choice in leather, you might look at El Paso Saddlery (, they actually made leather for George Patton when he was stationed locally.

  8. I have a Ruger Blackhawk in .357, one of the older three screw versions. I have always hated the recoil from the old SAA shaped grips. I’m either not gripping it firmly enough or the finish is too smooth, but the barrel is almost vertical After each shot, requiring a re-grip before firing again.

  9. No argument from me. A handgun that requires a sling to take afield is not on my bucket list.

    When I worked retail, we sold a few of the S&W Bear Survival Kits. Yellow case for 460, orange for 500. I would half jokingly tell customers “Even if you miss, your target will be deaf, and on fire”.

    My first 45-70 was an original Springfield Trapdoor rifle. Still have it. Bought my Marlin at the Herzo base military rod & gun club (in the former West Germany) in 1976. Later had a full length mag tube and octagon barrel installed. Among other adventures in casting boolits, I paper patched some 255 gr .454 diameter 45 Colt bullets and made sorta a poor man’s 444. Fun experiment and they shot great, but not really worth the time and effort.

  10. I fired a friend’s Magnum Research BFR in .45-70 Govt, I put 10 rounds through it. It was a lot of fun. My friend used to offer it to anyone who wanted to try it. Very few pulled the trigger more than once.

  11. 44magnum out of a S&W 29-10 6″ barrel is enough for me. 44 specials are nice but 44magnum is enough for me. In order for the 44special or magnum to really be enjoyable, you have to reload for it. I haven’t set up to do that. Even before COVID19, Obama and any other plagues, prices for 44magnum ammunition was quite pricey compared to 45acp and other calibers.

    My wife tried the 500magnum at a ladies day event. She wasn’t a fan.

    If that’s your interest then by all means go for it. I’m glad that its an option though.


    In order to

  12. Had a client in SoCal that had to have the biggest & baddest.
    First gun from me was a Weatherby MkV in .460Wby, followed by a BFR, then a Super Blackhawk in .480 Ruger, and then a S&W 500.
    There was a story printed in the Fairbanks paper about a local trapper who drove north towards Barrow one morning to check his line. He had breakfast on the road and then had to make a “comfort stop” further along. Parked off the road, grabbed his 500, and walked toward a strand of cover. Stopped and looked around when he heard what he thought was a horse, wondering who in the hell is out here riding, and noticed a Brown bearing down upon him. He pulled his 500 (I think it was the 6.5″) and tried to step out of the path of the charge.
    He got knocked down, but put one round up that “barr’s” butt before it could turn around, and it dropped dead. Went back to the cafe and reported it to AK wildlife, and then went back and skinned and dressed it. A local charity got the meat, his office got the skin. The story finished with him noting that he never did get that “comfort stop”. I can’t imagine why.

    1. For me, I think my “comfort stop” would have occurred automatically somewhere between getting knocked down and shooting the bear, but then, I’m a city boy.

  13. My preference would be for a pair of Ruger Blackhawks in .30 Carbine, but I have a friend who has both revolver and rifle in .44-40 from when he anticipated getting into Cowboy Action Shooting and not carrying two calibers is appealing to me.

  14. Hunter S. Thompson wroth an article for Cycle World called “Song of the Sausage Creature” about his “road test” of a Ducati Supersport 900 the opening paragraph explains why he would want one. I think that sentiment applies to these guns.

    “There are some things nobody needs in this world, and a bright-red, hunch-back, warp-speed 900cc cafe racer is one of them — but I want one anyway, and on some days I actually believe I need one. That is why they are dangerous.”

    Complete article is here.

    1. Bought a new 900SS-SP in ’96. Neat bike. Finally got some race compound tires on it for one of our weekend runs through the Northern CA hill country. Bike wiggled everywhere, except at the apex, as I was being conservative there due to debris, and halfway between the corners, as that was the only time the bike was upright. Discovered later that that was an indication that the frame was flexing. My riding buddies had added bracing to their frames when they built their big bore engines. Rode the one owned by the engine guru. Crap, I couldn’t keep the front wheel on the ground above 3500rpm in ANY gear (I was near 100 lbs lighter than those two guys), and I had already made changes to my bike to get more weight on the front end. Oh, well.

  15. Elmer Keith had a .47-70 revolver sometime back in the 1950s, so the idea is not new. I don’t think a practical use has been found in all the years since. They are fun to write about and to read about, and provide honest money for the manufacturers. Some folks find them fun to shoot, so a good thing all around.

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