When it comes to what I consider the “big-ass” cartridges, one I really like is the .505 Gibbs. It’s beltless, and factory loads send a massive 525-grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2,300 fps for a whopping 6,190 ft.-lbs. of muzzle energy. And for all that power and fury, shooting a .505 Gibbs is not as bad as you might think.
The cartridge was introduced in 1911 and Cartridges of the World notes that it soon gained a reputation as a really hard kicker. It is. But you also have to appreciate that was in an era when shooters thought the .44 Special was a hard-kicking handgun round. I don’t think shooters back then were pussies, they just didn’t know any different. The idea of shooting something like a .460 Weatherby or .500 S&W may have positively frightened some of them.
The last time I shot a .505 Gibbs, the gun was a CZ Safari Classics Magnum Express. The gun weighed around 11 pounds and had a mercury recoil reducer and a generous rubber butt pad. The kick was a really stout punch, not the sharp sting like you get from some of the other really powerful, high intensity cartridges. I would liken it to being punched in the shoulder by an older Muhammad Ali wearing 12-ounce gloves instead of being rocked bare-fisted by Mike Tyson.
Granted, if I was in the market for a dedicated dangerous game rifle, I’d probably opt for a .375 H&H or .458 Win. Mag. if for no other reason than ammunition availability. As I write this, I can find .505 Gibbs loads from only Kynoch, Norma and Nosler at $10 to $16 a round, while .375 H&H and .458 Win. Mag are loaded by most major ammunition manufacturers and are as “inexpensive” as $3 to $4 per round. If you ever get the chance to shoot a .505 Gibbs, or any of the other really big bore rifles, I say do it, especially if someone else provides the ammo!
“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”
In 2008, Mayer returned to the editorial side of publishing, this time in the digital field, as Editorial Director for Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Handguns and Rifleshooter online magazines. After a brief stint in 2011 as the Digital Media Director for an ABC TV affiliate, Mayer returned to the outdoors industry and Safari Club International where he is currently Assistant Publisher and Multi-Media Communications Editor.