Handguns

Field & Stream Online Editors

Smith & Wesson | Model 500

There is probably no big-game animal in North America that can't be taken with the Smith & Wesson Model 500. Both the standard and the Hunter editions of the new five-shot double-action revolver are chambered for the new S&W; .500 Magnum cartridge-a superior match of gun and load. With a full weight of 5 pounds and an overall length of 15 inches (18 inches for the slightly heavier Hunter version), this gun is a big hunk of powder-burning love. But thanks to the use of K-frame grips, a highly effective muzzle brake, and a muzzle-heavy balance, it is remarkably controllable and handles well. Even with the heaviest bullets, the 500 gives less recoil than the .454 Casull or .475 Linebaugh, yet produces significantly more power. $987¿¿¿$1,350; 800-331-0852; www.smith-wesson.com

**Why it wins: **Knockdown power for any big game