In Top Shot season three’s opening salvo, we learned that Survivor survivor and series host Colby’s hands have been surgically attached to his hips. And there’s someone on planet earth thinner than Colby. Who was eliminated. I mention all this because it’s funny. In other news, the competition began with TTAG commentator’s Joe Matafome’s pride and joy: the Smith & Wesson 500. With Germanic pride (i.e. over-capitalization) Smith’s website calls the five-shot revolver “A Hunting Handgun For Any Game Animal Walking.” Running? That too. Did you know that S&W designed the 500 cartridge before the new-for-2003 X-frame wheelgun that holds it? The can was invented before the can opener too. As for the 500’s shootability . . .
The 500’s recoil is not as bad to as you might imagine—provided your imagination is as limited as Top Shot’s producers. Or you’re not the aforementioned eliminatrix, who was almost as surprised as I was that the big Smith didn’t break her arm in three places. FYI, the 500’s barrel is almost as long as Amanda Hardin’s limbs (8⅜”). That’s the ex-competitor in question, who will long be remembered for her pseudo-Apocolyptic biographical note: “One of my favorite smells is gun oil.” I wonder how defeat smells.
Wikipedia reveals that “the Model 500 can fire a bullet weighing 350 gr ( 22.7 g; 0.8 oz) at 1975 feet per second (602 m/s) generating a muzzle energy of over 3,030 foot-pounds force (4.1 kJ).” Then again, “Articles, statements, and opinions vary widely on this firearm.” Including this one. I heart the 500 without hesitation, deviation or repetition. As Sam says (above) “That’s what you want from a gun.” Unless you’re looking for concealed carry. Here’s my fave 500 anecdote, via CBS Bnet:
Over the next few days we covered a lot of ground on foot looking for jumbo. When the moment of truth arrived, I found myself about forty yards away from a herd of ten elephants. When you get this close to jumbo there isn’t any cartridge that seems “too big.” We checked the wind periodically since these animals have incredible senses of smell. I laid the hefty revolver in the cradle of shooting sticks and held for a heart/lung shot.
When the big slug struck home, I immediately sent another. It was all over in a matter seconds. Once again, the big bullet performed as expected, and the results would feed the locals for many days ahead. After recovering one of the bullets we found it retained over 90-percent of its original weight. If the Smith & Wesson 500 can handle elephant and cape buffalo, it seems elk and deer should be a piece of cake.
Elk and deer cake. Yum! Next up: the Larue OBR. I’m not sure which Larue PredatAR (geddit?) the marksman-turned-pole dancers used, but the relatively short-barreled long gun (without a flash suppressor) is a kick ass sniper rifle. This I know because Colby told me so. Larue’s website does mention that: “The PredatAR 5.56 is designed for those who are searching for a lightweight, ultra-reliable and accurate 5.56 mm NATO rifle for home-defense, competition-shooting or hunting.” Then again, maybe I’m just sniping. With my Tactical iMac.
Quite why the contestants needed spotters to hit targets at 50 and 100 yards (or feet or something) I have no idea. The Larue is a 1000 yard gun, as owner JerkeeJoe at snipershide.com attests:
It took us 4 rounds to find the steel with no dope, an unfamiliar scope, and a new gun, but the 5th round was a hit, and of the 40 more rounds fired at the 1000 yard steel, around 30 were hits. The rest were all close misses. I was pretty amazed at the little gas guns ability to reach out to 1k so accurately. I initially signed up for an 18″, but am very happy that I settled for a 16″.
The gun handles very well, is very light, and handles recoil like a dream. I was never off target after a shot due to recoil and the lack of recoil made very quick followup shots possible. There were a couple times when I shot very quick strings of 3 and got 2 hits out of three (at 1000!) basically rapid firing. The other 4 guys I shot with today all took a turn also, and all made hits at 1000. Needless to say, I’m very pleased with the gun so far.
And then: the Winchester 1873 lever gun. Top Shot, a History Channel production, told us that “Repeating rifles were a significant advance over single-shot rifles for use in combat due to their greater rate of fire.” I guess their Google done broke. The Winchester never made the original Model 1873 in Colt .45, the standard military cartridge of the day. While the U.S. Army fielded the Springfield Model 1873, both guns were a dead end. Lever guns can’t be used in the prone position. The American Civil War had established trench warfare as the future of fighting.
Still the Winchester 1873 was “the gun that won the west.” Remembering that the whole Wild West thing is 90 percent myth, 10 percent bullshit. With a little room for 700,000+ 1873s, which were cheap, reasonably robust and fired handgun ammo. Actually, I lie. The 1873 was used for at least one successful military campaign. The Indians that helped General Armstrong Custer achieve infamy at Little Big Horn (with Dustin Hoffman) used the Winchester 1873 against the army’s single shot breech loading Springfield 1873s.
In case you were wondering, the Top Shot elimination round pitted Amanda please against Customer Service Professional Mark “Crazy Eyes” Schneider, not shooting pop-up targets with the 1873 Winchester from a stage set. Coach. Stage coach. Oh, before that, the Red Team chose their deuce of duds using an old Colt revolver of some sort. Single action, of course. Still, it’s better than throwing rocks. Did I mention that one of the competitions to come involves throwing a rock at a tin can? Thankfully, it looked like a tactical rock. Can’t wait. Well, can. Soda speak.