The .500 Nitro Express is a rifle cartridge designed for hunting large and dangerous game animals in Africa and India. This cartridge was primarily designed for use in double rifles though various single shots were produced on the Farquarson action and at least one major company (Heym) produced it in bolt-action configuration. It was commonly available in two lengths: a 3.00 in (76 mm) and a 3.25 in (83 mm) version.
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The nomenclature .500 Nitro Express refers to one of three specific loading of the .500 Express case. The other loadings are now called (for the sake of clarity) the .500 Black Powder Express (BPE) and .500 Nitro for Black Powder (Nitro for BPE). The names given to these loadings are of more modern origin to help one differentiate between them. The original cartridge was simply known as the .500 Express. The cartridge is one of the original Express cartridges which originated in the black powder era and made the transition into the smokeless powder era.
The .500 Black Powder Express, as the name indicates was designed for use with black powder. It is unknown as to who or which company originally designed the cartridge except that it was designed sometime in the 1860s in the United Kingdom. Several manufacturers of firearms produced rifles and loaded ammunition for the cartridge type, however significant differences and variations existed between manufacturers. For the most part, due to the relatively low working pressures of these rifles and ammunition there was little to no danger associated with the use of these cartridges in a particular rifle.
500 nitro express ammo
The .500 Nitro for Black Powder cartridge used the same general case type as the .500 Black Powder Express but was loaded with cordite instead of black powder and appeared on the scene sometime in the 1890s. The cartridge was intended for firearms designed to fire the .500 Black Powder Express and pressures were kept low enough so as to operate safely in these older black-powder firearms yet provided a substantial increase in performance over the black-powder–loaded cartridge.
Cordite, which was invented in 1889, gave cartridges a greater performance envelope than black powder at the expense of pressure. Rifles that were designed for use with cordite cartridges required stronger actions which were able to withstand the significantly higher pressures to take advantage of the increase in performance offered by cordite. As the working pressure of the .500 Nitro Express cartridge was significantly higher than the black-powder cartridge, variations between manufacturers of the same ammunition would result in damage to the firearms and injury to the shooter. For this reason there is an acknowledged standard between manufacturers for the .500 Nitro Express cartridge but not for the earlier black-powder cartridge.
500/416 nitro express
Since cordite contained guncotton (nitrocellulose) and nitroglycerine, cartridges loaded with this formulation were often prefixed by “nitro” as a means of differentiation. The suffix “Express” denotes the comparatively higher velocity of the cartridge drawing from the analogy of the express trains from that period of time.
After World War II as many of colonies of the United Kingdom gained independence the popularity of the Nitro Express cartridges began to wane. Renewed interest in dangerous game hunting in Africa has in turn renewed the interest in the Nitro Express cartridges including the .500 Nitro Express.
2150 fps Muzzle Velocity
1881 fps 100 Yard Velocity
1635 fps 200 Yard Velocity
5850 ft/lbs Muzzle Energy
4477 ft/lbs 100 Yard Energy
3384 ft/lbs 200 Yard Energy
20 Rounds per box. To buy a full case, order 10 boxes.
Price is per box.
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