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

www.tacticaltshirts.com

www.john1911.com

“Shooting Guns & Having Fun”

 

Scott Mayer

Scott Mayer

Writer at John1911
Mayer began his outdoor industry career in 1993 on the NRA Technical Staff where he became American Rifleman magazine first Shooting Editor. Mayer left NRA and entered the business end of publishing in 2003 as Advertising Account Executive for Safari Club International SAFARI Magazine and Safari Times newspaper. In 2006, Mayer was named Publisher of Shooting Times magazine where he was also tasked with launching and leading Personal Defense TV, the first television show of its kind.

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.
Scott Mayer

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  • Mikial

    As always, my first response is abject envy that Scott actually gets to go places and hunt game where he needs a round this powerful. 😉 Great article though. The biggest hunting rifle I ever owned was a 300 Winchester Magnum with a 12 power scope for hunting elk in the mountains of Utah. Nice gun, but sold it off when I was about to be deployed.

    • Scott Mayer

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Unfortunately, I’ve never hunted anything where I needed a .505, though it is a real “kick” shooting these and some of the big double rifles when I have the opportunity.

  • Skyviking

    I really enjoyed shooting my .257, .300,.378 and .460 Weatherbys. Got the .460 after shooting my buddy’s M70 .458 Win and the .378 came later. Shooting the .460 and the .458 Win. side by side was like shooting a .44 Spl. factory round followed by a full-house .44 Magnum. We shot BIG limestone boulders to see if we could crack them apart. The .458 Win. was like the Hammer of Thor, but the .460 Wby. was like Zeus’ Thunderbolt.

    My last foray into BBDGRs (Big-Bore Dangerous Game Rifles) was a CZ Safari in .416 Rigby. A really nice rifle. Alas, I sold all of my BBDGRs, including my .375 H&H M70 since my hunting trips always seem to fall victim to work and am not going to Africa unless it is with a poodle-shooter to hunt 2-legged miscreants.

    I really envy you, Mark. Keep going where you want, while you can.

    Regards,
    Andy