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The .500 Jeffery is a big-game rifle cartridge that first appeared around 1920, and was originally introduced by the August Schuler Company, a German firm, under the European designation "12.7×70mm Schuler" or ".500 Schuler". When offered by the famed British outfitter W.J. Jeffery & Co, it was renamed the .500 Jeffery so as to be more palatable to British hunters and sportsmen following World War One.
|Place of origin||England|
|Case type||Rebated Rim, Bottlenecked|
|Bullet diameter||.510 in (13.0 mm)|
|Neck diameter||.538 in (13.7 mm)|
|Shoulder diameter||.607 in (15.4 mm)|
|Base diameter||.619 in (15.7 mm)|
|Rim diameter||.575 in (14.6 mm)|
|Rim thickness||.052 in (1.3 mm)|
|Case length||2.75 in (70 mm)|
|Overall length||3.46 in (88 mm)|
|Case capacity||158 gr H2O (10.2 cm3)|
|Primer type||Large rifle magnum|
|Test barrel length: 24"|
Source(s): Norma Ammunition RealGuns reloading data
The .500 Jeffery was introduced to bring firepower comparable to the .505 Gibbs into a standard sized 1898 Mauser action as used with the 8x57mm and 7x57mm cartridges. The Gibbs and .416 Rigby cartridges required oversized magnum Mauser actions. To shoehorn a large round into the 98 action required a rebated rim. When introduced, the .500 Jeffery was technically rated as the most powerful rifle cartridge although in reality not quite up to .505 Gibbs performance. The .505 Gibbs with greater capacity can be loaded far in excess of the .500 Jeffery today. Not that it matters for hunting either were plenty for the largest game in the world when introduced.
Like the .505 Gibbs, the .500 Jeffery is enjoying somewhat of a renaissance among American shooters and African Big Game hunters in the early 21st century, almost 100 years after their introduction. As of 2009, Norma, Kynoch, Mauser, Corbon, and Westley Richards are offering loaded ammunition in .500 Jeffery. There may be other manufacturers as well. Ammunition can cost anywhere from $150 for a box of 20 or more depending on the manufacturer.
There have been a few rifles chambered in the .500 Jeffery including Jeffery, Heym, CZ-USA, and a few single shots including Ruger No. 1, and the Butch Searcy & Co. Mauser offers its Model 98 magnum in the caliber. Its "Elephant" model is offered in 500 Jeffery exclusively. In 2011, Sako began offering the caliber in its Model 85 "Safari" rifle using a new XL size action, and since 2014 the XL action has been available in the more affordable Model 85 Brown Bear rifle. Blaser also offers rifles chambered in the caliber. Many of the modern rifles have feeding issues due to the rebated rim. The original Jeffery used a single column 2 shot magazine to get around the potential reliability resulting from a rebated rim.
The 500 Jeffery has had a few issues since its introduction. It has a rather short neck length that can make it difficult to seat bullets with a relatively high sectional density. Also it has a small shoulder. This is not usually an issue but as the 500 Jeffery also has a rebated rim it makes it rather difficult to extract in extreme conditions.
When the 500 Jeffery was first introduced it was loaded to a velocity of 2,350 feet per second (720 m/s) topped off with a 535 grain bullet generating 6,560 ft⋅lbf (8,890 J) of muzzle energy, which makes it a pretty good hunting caliber generally where thick skinned dangerous game occurs. Since then reloading capabilities have advanced being able to launch heavier bullets at higher velocities. Now with modern reloads the 500 Jeffery can launch a 600 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity ranging at about 2,450 to 2,500 ft/s (750 to 760 m/s). max. generating 7,995 ft⋅lbf (10,840 J) to 8,100 ft⋅lbf (11,000 J) With newer reloads it made the 500 Jeffery the most powerful production cartridge in the world until the introduction of the .460 Weatherby Magnum. With reloads the 460 Weatherby can reach levels of power of about 8,300 ft⋅lbf (11,300 J) of muzzle energy. Also the .600 Nitro Express exceeds the 500 Jeffery in muzzle energy with 120 grains of cordite. No doubt the 500 Jeffery is still a respected caliber all across the world.
The big fifty African calibers are probably close to the limit of what the advanced shooter can handle. There was the fully adequate 416, 404 and 450 class rounds. Then the fifties, 500NE, 505 Gibbs and 500 Jeff. After that were the big stoppers 577 NE, 600NE and the bore rifles 8,6,4 gauge. The 500 Jeffrey claim to fame was the ability to fit into a standard 98 action with a single stack feed for a 2-round capacity.