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Thread: How not to shoot your Model 500!

  1. #1
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    How not to shoot your Model 500!

    It all went down 2 weeks ago to the day.
    I headed to the range right out of church to shoot my Model 500. (4" barrel, actually 3" barrel with a 1" interchangeable compensator)
    Fired 2 rounds both hit the target at 25 yards, then let two admirers shoot it two times each. I was surprised that neither of their shots hit the target down range. However both of the adjacent shooters walked up to me and said that we have sprayed them with lead. One of them had a small (tiny splinter size) bullet fragment embedded in his hand from the last fired off shot. He did not make a big deal out of it, and actually asked if I would let his teen age son shoot my revolver. My reply was: I'm sorry but no. There is something definitely wrong, this has never happened before.
    I took a quick look at the revolver and noticed that the compensator was bent outwards and the exit hole deformed.
    Could not wait to get home and investigate.
    I do hand load.
    No, I did not change powder.
    No, I did not change primers.
    No, I did not change bullets.
    But I did just get a new batch of Berry's bullets. Was the plating thinner than the previous 2000 rounds that I shot with the same load data? Found a bullet from the previous batch and sliced it open and compared it with another one from the new batch: no noticeable difference.
    Started thinking, what else was different from the last shooting session just the day before?
    Then it dawned on me! I ordered -months ago- a new compensator from Smith and Wesson, since my original one started to be really hard to remove after shooting. By the time I received the new one I figured out that all I needed to do is to file the groove where the set screw holds it in place. Thus I kept using the original one up until that Sunday morning when I finally installed the new one since the other one was getting "sticky" again.
    So from the bullets I went on to examine the revolver. I knew it at the range that something was really wrong, and looking at the bent out compensator and oval exit hole I was getting very uneasy. I took a bullet and tried to drop it in the compensator, it did not fit. Of course I thought- it's oval now, but wait! The hole was way to small! I grabbed the caliper and measured the diameter several ways. The largest number I got was 0.483"! Now remember: my revolver is a 50cal firearm! How can the now oval hole measure at the largest or widest diameter less then 0.500"?
    The conclusion: the replacement compensator was most likely for the 460 XVR. It came in a plastic wrap with just a part number on the bag. The shipping note was for a replacement compensator for the Model 500. Should I have taken a closer look before installing it? Probably yes. However if you are not looking at both of the two different caliber compensator at the same time side by side it's easy not to notice.
    Then I went on with cleaning of the lead deposits off the end of the barrel and realized my front sight was totally loose due to the fact that the end of the barrel was cracked on both sides on the top part where the compensator sits!
    First, I'm thankful to God that it not blow up in my hand.
    Second, that either of the gentleman that I let to shoot my revolver did not get injured.
    Third, that I said no to the shooter's request next to me to let his son shoot it.
    Who knows what may have happened just with sending one more round down that barrel!
    I called S&W, got it shipped on Monday and my revolver was back by the following Thursday with a replaced frame and the proper compensator. I pass no blame on to S&W, the wrong part can get into the wrong bag easily. They did their part in getting my revolver back in service in no time. However, I will be much more alert in the future when making the simplest replacement on any of my firearms!
    Safe shooting everyone
    DocZeus, RDLouks, Dalan and 2 others like this.

  2. #2
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    Thats a interesting story and sounds like smith and wesson should learn from it also.Mistakes can be made but wise learn from them and dont make them again.

  3. #3
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    +1 on no one getting hurt, it could have turned out bad. I have never shot the 500 but have seen it done. What a cannon.

  4. #4
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    There is some scary stuff. That was a cheap education and a good job you did not let it be shot anymore.

    Velocity and Sargedog: Welcome to the forum.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Dalan, it's good to be here

  6. #6
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    Wow, that's quite a story Velocity........sure glad it all worked out okay, nobody got hurt (easily could have been more serious).

    Thanks for sharing and welcome to the forum.

    Regards,

    Geezer
    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act"..........George Orwell

  7. #7
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    Welcome. S&W does have a reputation of great customer service. Alls well..................

  8. #8
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    Thank you for sharing the info...and of course welcome to the forum...

  9. #9
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    Yes, Smith & Wesson are great folks to deal with, thats for sure.
    The last .500 smith I bought came without the cast bullet compensator,
    someone at the gun shop had removed it, I guess. Anyway, I call customer
    service and they sent me one right away, no charge! Thats service!


 

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