The .505 Gibbs—Big, But Not So Bad!

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 CZ Safari Classics Magnum Express is one of the few rifles you can find factory-produced in .505 Gibbs.

The CZ Safari Classics Magnum Express is one of the few rifles you can find factory-produced in .505 Gibbs.

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.

505 Gibbs

505 Gibbs

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.

The .30-’06 Springfield (left) is dwarfed by the .505 Gibbs (right).

The .30-’06 Springfield (left) is dwarfed by the .505 Gibbs (right).

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!

 

 

Scott Mayer

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“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

 

Scott Mayer
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