I have a special affection for lever action rifles and simply had to have a .500 for my lever guns! While a 50 Alaskan is a fine cartridge for the lever guns, the choice of bullets is but a small hand full in .510 caliber that will function properly in a lever gun. Quite the opposite is true of .500 caliber in which there are literally dozens of bullets to chose from in many weights and configurations.
It was a very simple operation to take a normal 50 Alaskan case and squeeze it down to .500 caliber and start shooting. We converted existing Winchester and Browning M71s and the cartridge is a perfect fit for the Marlin Guide Guns. My rifles all have 18 inch barrels and are extremely handy and fast in action.
I consider the 500 gr Hornady an excellent bullet for this rifle and cartridge combination. I have used it in the field on several animals of note, and tested it extensively at many different velocities up to 2100 fps. The 50 B&M Alaskan is capable of running the 500 gr Hornady at 1850 fps, I would consider it an extremely good combination for thin skinned dangerous game. These bullets, along with many other .500 caliber bullets, such as the 400 Sierra and the 325 Swift are excellent alternatives for the 50 B&M Alaskan.
Also available now is the North Fork 450 gr Premium Bonded, along with new BBW#13 Solids and Non-Conventional bullets from Cutting Edge Bullets. This gives the 50 B&M Alaskan more versatility than any lever action cartridge I know of. The various bullets from Cutting Edge and North Fork boost the capabilities of the 50 B&M Alaskan to entirely new levels of performance.
Being a rimmed cartridge it is a natural for the Contenders and Encores, in which JD has taken a good deal of interest in, and many of these have been built and are in the hunting fields. It would also be excellent for many of the single shot rifles like the Winchester 1885 and the Ruger #1.
Layne Simpson's 50 B&M Alaskan
particularly proud of the fact that one of my "Gun Writer Heroes", and
there are not many good ones left, but Layne Simpson is at the top of my
very short list, decided to have a 50 B&M Alaskan built for
himself! If you have followed Layne over the years we all know Layne
likes lever guns! I am very proud that Layne liked the 50 B&M
Alaskan good enough to have SSK Industries put one together for him. I
was not able to convince Layne he really did not need that long barrel,
22 inches, but in Layne's words, it's a rifle not a pistol! Layne was
good enough to provide some load data on that long barrel for us, and
which I will include in the General Load Data listed below. Some good
comparisons can be made, and something even more interesting to me is
how some of the powders actually play out in 18 inches of barrel, and a
few powders, such as RL 10X is still able to produce some extra velocity
with the longer barrel! Something of note should you choose to have a
longer barrel done. Thanks Layne for sharing the data and sending the
photo, excellent rifle, I look forward to some field reports!
Layne Simpson's 50 B&M Alaskan
by Layne Simpson in August 2011 Shooting Times
by Layne Simpson in September/October 2011 RifleShooter
Article by Layne Simpson October 2012 Guns & Ammo
Just a month has passed since our PH friend Johan Boshoff, better known as Org, took his new 50 B&M Alaskan home to South Africa. He is already putting it to good use.
Using the iron sights on the rifle, Org shot this eland at 85 meters, it went 10 meters before going down for the count. Org was using a 365 gr BBW#13 NonCon HP at 2165 fps. Bullet went through both shoulders and found on the far side.
Congratulations Org, we look forward to further reports on the success of you and your 50 B&M Alaskan.
From North Fork
The North Fork Premium Bonded 450 gr Bullet has arrived! This will be
THE GO TO Premium Conventional bullet for the 50 B&M Alaskan.
In addition to the 450 gr version of this bullet, we also now have the exact same bullet, only it is 400 grs.
A 400 gr North Fork Premium adds to the versatility of this cartridge and rifle, I have been getting over 2100 fps with the 400 gr bullet in 18 inches of barrel.
New From Cutting Edge Bullets
I have some new .500 caliber bullets to introduce you to, designed specifically for the 50 B&M Alaskan. From Cutting Edge Bullets we have the new 405 BBW#13 Brass Solid and it's matching 365 BBW#13 NonCon HP. Recently I changed the width of the cavity on what was the 375 BBW#13 NonCon to lower LVSP or, "Low Velocity Shear Point". The bullet now weights 365 grains and shears blades down to 1600 fps. While this is much improved, it is still not where I would like to be, so we are putting a bit more research into getting the LVSP down to 1400 fps or so.
.500 405 CEB BBW#13 Solid
.500 365 CEB BBW#13 HP
Basic Load Data for the 50 B&M Alaskan
More about NonCons---Non-Conventional Bullets. Add "Conventional"
to the Endangered Species List!
Load Data and Cartridge Drawings on AmmoGuide
Articles by JD Jones & Layne Simpson on the 50 B&M Alaskan