For sure it is a very powerful cartridge, I have seen many Elephant despatched cleanly and quickly with this calibre, a calibre that due to its power almost allows a margin of error, a slightly off brain shot is a fatal shot sort of thing.
In recent years there has been some confusion created with the 500J cartridge. This came about when Kynamco started producing a 500J Cartridge which they claimed was to the original Kynoch and Jeffery drawings. It had a slightly different form to the case. They then proceeded to register this case with CIP in Europe making it 'THE' .500 Jeffery load. I have always felt this was wrong, and that the .500 Jeffery was simply based on the German 500 (12.7 x 70mm) Schuler round which I have no doubt was used. Nobody has ever seen an original Kynoch 500 Jeffery round that matches the drawings specs.
One time I sent a .500 Jeffery to proof and they told me the chamber was wrong for the round. I said it wasn't and took the 2 original Jeffery 500's we have and the original .500 Schuler we have to the proof house to prove my point. If the same chamber was right when the people who introduced the round, why is it now wrong? Now there are 2 proof codes one for the Jeffery and one for the Schuler, a very stupid, confusing and dangerous scenario in my opinion.
Anyway, I digress, here I am pleased to show the only .500 Jeffery Droplock double rifle Westley Richards has ever made. I am not sure if any other UK companies have made a double in this calibre. The rifle uses an enlarged version of the excellent Westley Richards extractor system devised to use with the rimless .425 and .318. This rifle has been to Africa and I have seen it take down buffalo effortlessly. I will however admit the 'shooter' was almost taken down as well. It certainly has a bark to it!
Thomas Flosnik on May 26, 2016 at 7:25 pm
Dear Mr. Clode,
I enjoyed your story, and the beautiful photos, about the 500 Jeffery WR double rifle. I have a Reimer Johannsen made bolt rifle in 500 Jeffery, that shoots well with factory Kynamco (Kynoch) and Norma PH ammunition, although the Norma appears to extract more smoothly (fired cases appear to expand less, harder brass?). Was wondering what ammunition your prefer in 500 Jeffery. I have taken elephant and cape buffalo with the 375 H&H, but might want to use the 500 Jeffery some day.
Was very impressed by the WR display at the SCI Convention. Many thanks.
Simon Clode on May 26, 2016 at 8:42 pm
Thank you Thomas, the ammo has always been a little bit of an issue with the .500 Jeffery in recent years. It got in mess when Kynamco registered a new Jeffery 500 case which they insisted was the original Kynoch design. It was a flawed decision driven by a 'high stock' of, in my opinion wrong brass! The 500 was based on the Schuler round. I have 3 original Jeffery .500 rifles and one original Schuler here. When one of my rifles failed proof due to chamber not meeting Kynoch measures, I took all 4 rifles to proof house and they all failed to chamber the 'new gauge' also! To me it led to a period where some ammo fitted some rifles but not others, I think it is mostly sorted out now though. The Norma may be slightly loaded down, I am not sure vs Kynamco, Kynamco batch would vary also.
Use what feeds and extracts best for your rifle, there will be plenty of power from either cartridge, I am sure! Make sure you remove firing pin and chamber every round before you leave for Africa, just to check fit.
Thomas Flosnik on May 27, 2016 at 1:08 am
Thank you very much for your response. I also had to do a little research myself to sort out the 500 Jeffery/Schuler variations. Based on measuring fired cases from my R. Johannsen, it looks as though my rifle's chamber was cut closer to 500 Schuler dimensions, than to the Kynoch/Kynamco version.
Fortunately, the case shoulder/neck junction, and hence head space is about the same for both versions, so modern Kynoch/Norma ammo fits fine, and fired cases show no signs of excessive head space. Fired cases do have a steeper shoulder angle, etc. after fire forming to the rifle's chamber, but the shoulder/neck junction location remains the same.
John Taylor suggested 500 J and 505 Gibbs rifles should have 22 inch barrels to make them handier in close cover. My rifle just so happens to have that same barrel length (rifle weighs 10 lbs), and it is rather handy.
Simon Clode on May 27, 2016 at 1:19 am
22 inch is nice length, compact and fast, perfect!
Keith on July 5, 2016 at 4:25 pm
Many thanks for knowledgeable informative and absolutely beautiful blog.
I'm gradually working my way back through your posts and learning a great deal as I go.
Your mention of the extractors for this gun prompted me to check through my collection of patents. I had previously failed to realize the connection to Westley Richards, as for some reason the application for British Patent 5098 for 1906 named Leslie Bown Taylor, but made no mention of his (your) company.
I actually have a modern copy of one of the extractors shown, made by Mr Robert Snapp, of Clare, Michigan, for a small action Martini.
The nearest I have come to owning a Westley Richards gun so far, was trying to buy two very neglected .577/.450 rifles which had been captured during the wars with the Afrikaans republics, then stored in less than ideal conditions until I heard of them in 1996.
They had the action removable as an assembled unit on the trigger guard, though they would have needed some tender loving care to achieve dis assembly when I saw them. I had assumed that they might have been on the Francotte pattern (like the small BSA actions) though now I am doubting that guess.