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  #1  
Old 07-07-2012, 10:40 AM
rdcl rdcl is offline
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Default Elmer Keith/S&W .500......

Just a thought. What do you all think Mr. Keith would have thought of the S&W .500 mag.?

Would he have embraced it?

I just wonder this as I'm sitting here. I'm reading some very old articles from G&A ....'76/'77.
Everyone knows ol' Elmer was a big advocate of large-bore magnums both in rifle and revolvers. We would never have the model 29 were it not for Elmer Keith persisting S&W to produce a revolver chambered for the .44 magnum round he developed.
I just finished reading an article from a 1977 issue of G&A where Elmer reviews a Century Mfg. .45-70 single action 5-shot revolver. I had no idea that a company actually produced such a gun back then. Granted, it was not made by a major gun-maker and not many were produced, but Elmer seemed quite enthused about the gun based on my reading of the article.

My opinion is this: I do not think the S&W .500 would have replaced his classic preference for his dual 4" model 29's.

I DO think he would have loved "playing" with the .500 though!

What do you think?

Russ
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:47 AM
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Considering Mr. Keith's stature, I believe the muzzle of a 500 barrel would have drug the ground from his holster. That's assuming he could keep his pants up while wearing it. I imagine he'd have had a ball shooting one, but I doubt he'd carry it regularly.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:13 PM
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Ol' Elmer woulda probably souped it up some making it REAL MAGNUM.
I still miss his writing............
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:18 PM
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Elmer Keith the godfarther of handgun hunting and bigbore magnums was always looking for something bigger, the next best magnum. I believe he would of loved the 500S&W but would still be looking ahead for something bigger. I think he would be into the BFR's and maybe withy the rifle calibers.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:44 PM
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I grew up (born mid 40s) reading Keith both in his numerous magazine articles and a few of his books. Without a doubt he like more BANG for the buck. Elmer sort of gave you the feeling a .350 Mag was just about the right caliber for hunting woodchucks and liked the larger 40 calibers for anything bigger.

I read that .45-70 article when it came out and thought Yep that’s pure Keith. Without a doubt he would have liked the new bigger boomers like the .500 and others in its class, but unless out hunting African game or the big Alaska bears I would think his trusty .44 mag would be on his belt.

For you younger folks out there, when Elmer died they (mostly gun writers of the era) did a .44 mag salute for a final send off to the Great One at his funeral.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:13 PM
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Oh Im sure he'd have found many uses for the 500 as well as the 460. I doubt that he'd have adopted either as his main weapon though. As large and heavy as the X frames are they are akin to having a carbine strapped to your hip and deviates from that fine balance of speed and potency the 29 offered. Not to say you wouldn't find one stowed in a pack though.
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Old 07-08-2012, 08:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by venomballistics View Post
Oh Im sure he'd have found many uses for the 500 as well as the 460. I doubt that he'd have adopted either as his main weapon though. As large and heavy as the X frames are they are akin to having a carbine strapped to your hip and deviates from that fine balance of speed and potency the 29 offered. Not to say you wouldn't find one stowed in a pack though.
Agreed. Elmer abhorred the idea of making a handgun into a field piece without wheels. He said that he never understood placing a scope on a handgun and I think he probably would be mildly amused at the massive X frame guns and the acoutrements that have become de rigueur with them.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:32 AM
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There's a picture of Elmer Keith touching off that 45-70 gun in Bill Jordan's "No second place winner". The picture shows it in the height of recoil, which is the barrel pointing straight up towards the sky.

I think he'd be just fine with the big magnums.
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Old 07-09-2012, 09:16 AM
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Elmer never met a "magnum" he didn't like, I'm sure he'd find a use for it, but I seriously doubt it would ever supplant his beloved 44's. He never saw the need to go bigger in caliber than 44 in handguns, claiming the 44 Mag would do any job you could reasonably ask of a handgun. But I still giggle at the thought of him setting down his cigar and leaning against a handy tree to pop a cylinderful of 500's at a distant Ground Squirrel!
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:23 AM
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I agree with the OP. I feel certain he would have experimented with the .500, but can't say beyond that. Seems unlikely anyone would haul one of those around on a daily basis - even Elmer Keith.
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Old 09-08-2018, 09:15 PM
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Cool.........a 50 caliber Keith bullet!
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Old 09-08-2018, 10:02 PM
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He didn't think much of a Ruger only 45 load.
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Old 09-09-2018, 04:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtgianni View Post
He didn't think much of a Ruger only 45 load.

Can you elaborate? I missed that article or column.

He thought quite highly of the basic .45 Colt load, and before the .44 Magnum appeared, said that if he had to rely on factory ammo, he'd probably choose the .45 Colt.

I can see why he'd be wary that a heavily loaded .45 might get into the wrong gun and cause damage.

BTW, he admitted to me that he didn't always use his famous hot loads.
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Old 09-09-2018, 07:51 AM
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That question was something I thought about back in 2003 when S&W first introduced the X frame. What would have Elmer thought about the X frame. If he were still alive in 03 he would have been 104 years old.

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Old 09-09-2018, 08:49 AM
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If I remember correctly he designed the .44 magnum to fire his 250 grain cast semi wadcutter bullet at about 1250 fps. When Remington actually created the .44 magnum cartridge it was 240 grains JHP at 1450 fps and these were also little harder on the early Smith M29s longevity if a huge amount of ammo was run through them. Elmer seem to always load his slightly less powerful round and indicated it was about the perfect load for everything he shot with it from rattlesnakes to Elk.
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:15 PM
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He would have loved the 500Mag.. But I think he would still have his preference for the M29 with his "Keith" pills loaded to his specs. It will take down anything in North America from Yeti's (hahaha) to Grizzley's.. Law of diminishing returns and all applies; I love the .460 and .500mag and have shot my share but they are a bit overkill for a sidearm game hunter looking for something to carry for protection or hunt with un-slung while in the woods.
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:28 PM
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I have had 3 500 Magnums, and Presently own a 460V. I shot a lot of Steel with the 500s, and just punch paper with the 460 these days. I guess that you would call me a Recoil Junkie. I just like Feeling the Power that these Rounds Generate. I sincerely think that Old Elmer would be Thrilled too
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Old 09-09-2018, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by nipperdog View Post
I have had 3 500 Magnums, and Presently own a 460V. I shot a lot of Steel with the 500s, and just punch paper with the 460 these days. I guess that you would call me a Recoil Junkie. I just like Feeling the Power that these Rounds Generate. I sincerely think that Old Elmer would be Thrilled too
You and I are alike in regards to shooting aspects/recoil. I love my 3" M29 and M629's. 300grain Plus, Keith or "Keith Style" pills pushed to close to the max are my favorite for popping steel and woods carry.
I shoot with nicely stitched, svelte, good quality leather gloves 100% of the time. I'm assuming you do too? Because the last time I shot a .460 with some near nuclear loads the webbing in my hand hurt for two damned days!
Nice pic btw!
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:20 PM
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The first time I ever picked up a 500 S&W I thought "Elmer Keith would have loved this!"

I suspect he would have been most fond of the John Ross 5" guns with no comp and capable of shooting 700+ grainers.
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Old 09-12-2018, 04:46 PM
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I honestly doubt it.

Seriously, for all the reputation he has for wanting to push the envelope when it came to hotter loads, by all accounts Elmer Keith seemed satisfied with the .44 Magnum and never said anything to suggest that he desired something hotter.

If anything, I think that he would be more likely to question the practicality of the .500 S&W Magnum, seeing as he seemed adamant that the .44 Magnum was already plenty strong enough to take any game in North America.

Keep in mind, Keith's desire for more powerful handgun cartridges came from the fact that he was a hunter and was dissatisfied with the power of the comparatively weak .38 Special and .45 Long Colt loads of the time.
Contrary to popular belief, Keith didn't create .357 Magnum nor .44 Magnum out of lust for a hard-kicking cartridge, but out of a legitimate need/purpose. Yes, he enjoyed recreational shooting and was enthusiastic about powerful handgun cartridges, but he wasn't the masochistic recoil maniac who intentionally loaded cartridge past the margin of safety just for kicks and giggles that some seem to think he was.

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Old 09-12-2018, 05:35 PM
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He would have loved them, but he wouldn’t have packed them. He found his ideal. Few can say same about .... anything.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:04 PM
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Don't forget Elmer was a ".44 guy" which is why he didn't push for a .45 Magnum.
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Old 09-12-2018, 08:58 PM
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Don't forget Elmer was a ".44 guy" which is why he didn't push for a .45 Magnum.
Actually, his first experiments in hotrodding a big bore cartridge was the .45 Long Colt, but unfortunately he made the mistake of attempting to load a .45 Long Colt cartridge with a .45-70 bullet, and the combination of that plus the thin cylinder walls of the Colt Single Action Army he used in his testing resulted in a catastrophic failure, so he gave up on the .45LC in favor of the .44 Special, since the SAAs in .44 Special had thicker cylinder walls.

Many argue that if Keith had only been wiser and hadn't attempted to load a .45-70 bullet (which has a diameter of .458 as opposed to the .452-454 diameter bullet of a .45LC) then such a catastrophic failure wouldn't have occurred and Keith may have very well gone onto make a ".45 Magnum" but that's besides the point.

Keith was actually a bigger fan of .45LC than he was of .44 Special, but switched due to the aforementioned event.

In hind sight, things turned out for the best regardless, as Keith was satisfied with .44 Magnum, and the ".45 Magnum" as it were came into being regardless in the form of the .454 Casull and later the .460 S&W Magnum.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:18 PM
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I agree, he was a big fan of the 45 Colt and did try to magnumize it. The metalurgy of the guns of that era rendered 45 cylinders comparatively weak as opposed to the 44 Special which was really a .429 but in a same diameter cylinder, meaning thicker chamber walls. A 44 Special was stronger than a 45 Colt, other things being equal, and thus more amenable to being souped up.
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:32 PM
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I'd say true to Keith form, he'd have claimed he was the one who designed it, but just wasn't given credit!
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Old 09-12-2018, 10:37 PM
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Elmer Keith seldom fired his " full magnum " 44 magnum load , that 22 grs of 2400 powder with his bullet . His " everyday " carry load , the one he fired the most was 8.5 grs of Unique using his bulllet . He loved his 44 magnum revolver , 4" barrel . I really don't think he would of owned a 500 magnum . Just my opinion .
The beauty of the 45 Colt is that it doesn't need to be " hotrodded " for great performance . A 255 gr cast SWC or RNFP running 900 fps will do about all is needed for penetration and overall performance. Regards, Paul

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Old 09-12-2018, 11:14 PM
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I think he would have looked for a lever rifle to shoot a 460 or 500 in, after all, he developed the best magnum hand gun, the .44.
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Old 09-13-2018, 02:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Harry Callahan View Post
Actually, his first experiments in hotrodding a big bore cartridge was the .45 Long Colt, but unfortunately he made the mistake of attempting to load a .45 Long Colt cartridge with a .45-70 bullet, and the combination of that plus the thin cylinder walls of the Colt Single Action Army he used in his testing resulted in a catastrophic failure, so he gave up on the .45LC in favor of the .44 Special, since the SAAs in .44 Special had thicker cylinder walls.

Many argue that if Keith had only been wiser and hadn't attempted to load a .45-70 bullet (which has a diameter of .458 as opposed to the .452-454 diameter bullet of a .45LC) then such a catastrophic failure wouldn't have occurred and Keith may have very well gone onto make a ".45 Magnum" but that's besides the point.

Keith was actually a bigger fan of .45LC than he was of .44 Special, but switched due to the aforementioned event.

In hind sight, things turned out for the best regardless, as Keith was satisfied with .44 Magnum, and the ".45 Magnum" as it were came into being regardless in the form of the .454 Casull and later the .460 S&W Magnum.
Good points, and after some thought I remembered that Skeeter was the real .44 fan.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:33 PM
Gregor44Keith Gregor44Keith is offline
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I honestly doubt it.

Seriously, for all the reputation he has for wanting to push the envelope when it came to hotter loads, by all accounts Elmer Keith seemed satisfied with the .44 Magnum and never said anything to suggest that he desired something hotter.

If anything, I think that he would be more likely to question the practicality of the .500 S&W Magnum, seeing as he seemed adamant that the .44 Magnum was already plenty strong enough to take any game in North America.

Keep in mind, Keith's desire for more powerful handgun cartridges came from the fact that he was a hunter and was dissatisfied with the power of the comparatively weak .38 Special and .45 Long Colt loads of the time.
Contrary to popular belief, Keith didn't create .357 Magnum nor .44 Magnum out of lust for a hard-kicking cartridge, but out of a legitimate need/purpose. Yes, he enjoyed recreational shooting and was enthusiastic about powerful handgun cartridges, but he wasn't the masochistic recoil maniac who intentionally loaded cartridge past the margin of safety just for kicks and giggles that some seem to think he was.
You are right on and so much of grandpas life was about living off the land and hunting for dinner. If you are afraid of a little recoil you should not be hunting and anyone that wounds an animal should take more time with the shot or use a bigger load. It really pissed him off when animals were left to die and suffer because someon was afraid of a little recoil. I was about 7 when he gave me a 10 guage to shoot with and it was too much for me so he gave me .22 Marlin semi out rifle for hunting ground squirrles in North Powder in Oregon each year to help the famrers. I was born legally blind and that pissed him off, so he said get the kid a bigger scope. Elmer and Bill Jordan would teach me to point shoot and didn't care about my lack of eyesight. Then a long lecture about taking my time. Squeeze the trigger and breathe in and out then wait and squeeze the trigger and shoo that damn magpie.

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Old 05-21-2020, 04:49 PM
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It would totally depend on whether or not he could brag about having had a hand in developing it.

If he could say he developed the idea, or worked on it somehow, he'd be all for it.
If, on the other hand, it appeared to be someone else's baby, I doubt he'd even talk about it.

He was, on occasion, a bit too much "braggadocio".

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  #31  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:10 PM
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Story I read was the 44 caliber was winning in competition and his 45 broke down. So the 44 Mag with thick cylinder walls was developed.
I think the 460 would make him very happy, especially with today's 200gr - 340gr bullets.

The 500 in a DA/SA might make him smile, but a pair of 4"-5" 460s....
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  #32  
Old 05-21-2020, 08:27 PM
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He would have lengthened the case about 0.2 inches, added more powder and a 700 grain bullet, and called it the .501 Keith.
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  #33  
Old 05-22-2020, 09:52 AM
Paul105 Paul105 is offline
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I think Elmer might have gravitated to one of the more packable versions of the 50 calibers like the top gun in the picture.



Paul
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  #34  
Old 05-22-2020, 12:49 PM
memtb memtb is offline
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I’m guessing that Mr. Keith would have “mixed feelings”! He would love the 500 for it’s “brute strength”,but, may also have a fondness for the 460...for it’s higher velocities and long range potential! memtb
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