One AR at most: the 500 Auto Max

Since Colt’s Manufacturing released the first batch of 300 Colt ArmaLite AR-15 rifles in December 1959, there have been literally dozens, if not hundreds, of unique takes on the rig. Over the past six decades, the venerable AR platform has been produced in a variety of calibers and under a plethora of unique nicknames. While some were based on original designs by Eugene Stoner or Jim Sullivan; and included the AR-10, AR-16, and AR-18, among others, the term “AR” was used for a variety of firearms based on the original modern sports concept.

Among these is the AR500, an AR that stands out from the rest of the pack as it is chambered for the .500 Auto Max caliber cartridge. Introduced by Big Horn Armory to match the company’s leveraged Model 89 in 500 Smith & Wesson Magnum, the AR500 is meant to be big and mean, while still retaining the capabilities and features that made the Stoner / platform. Sullivan AR so popular with shooters today. It features an unmatched amount of power in a versatile rapid-fire rifle.

AR hunting

In recent years, the AR-15s have often been misrepresented as “high power rifles” by the uninformed media, or perhaps even dishonestly by gun control advocates. 5.56 mm cartridge. This intermediate cartridge is actually significantly less powerful than many shotguns, and while it is, yes, more than capable of incapacitating human-sized targets, the cartridge has been banned in many states for hunting purposes. , especially for “big game”. The reason is that it does not have the power to kill game the size of a deer or larger.

This is where the AR500 could certainly fill the void. It is actually built from the AR-10 platform, which was initially rejected by the US military in favor of the M-14. However, in recent years the AR-10 has made a comeback of sorts, in part due to its versatility and ability to use the heavier 7.62mm caliber cartridge; while AR-10s were also produced in 0.5mm Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Remington and 0.338 Federal.

Big Horn Armory simply “oversized” the rig by chambering it for the rimless version of the Smith & Wesson .500 caliber pistol, the .500 Auto Max. This has been described as a versatile cartridge, which includes payloads ranging from just 350 grams to 600 grams, while it can be used with a variety of bullets, including hard bullets, jacket hollow points, and monolithic solids, among others. This makes the round suitable for taking down big game or even taking out tough targets like engine blocks.

The punching power does require some trade-offs, however. Although it still weighs less than 10 pounds (empty), the gun doesn’t come cheap. At nearly $ 2,000, it now sits at the high end of the AR spectrum. The biggest downside is that its standard magazine only holds five cartridges, while a nine-cartridge magazine is available. That’s considerably less than the 30 rounds of an AR-15, but since this one hits a bit harder, most shooters might not want to fire a full 30 magazine anyway.

The AR500 might not find its place in every AR owner’s “arsenal”, but for those who want to use the popular platform for more than just shooting targets, this could be the go-to weapon. take to listen to the call of nature.

Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to over four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites. He writes regularly on military small arms and is the author of several books on military hairstyles, including A gallery of military hairstyles, which is available on

Image: Creative Commons

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