big horn armory, Wyoming, Model 89, Smith & Wesson, rifle, lever action, Model 90, 500 S&W, 500 Smith & Wesson, 460 S&W, 460 Smith & Wesson, Model 90A, 454 Casull, 500 Linebaugh, 475 Linebaugh, Model 89A, Model 90B, Model 89B, 500 Auto Mag.

Big Horn Armory FAQ

Hornady's FTX bullets can be used. They can feed OK, but need a slight pause in the feeding motion when closing the bolt with the lever. Failure to use this cycling procedure will cause a jam. This is required because the effective length of this cartridge is much shorter than the overall length, due to the steep ogive of the bullet.

We are offering a 22" barrel on the rifle, an 18" barrel on the carbine version, and a 16" Trapper version. Please refer to the specification sheet for further information.

In general, we recommend Buffalo Bore products. Recommending specific ammunition would require us to know the intended use for the firearm. The cartridges that our guns are chambered for allow for great vesatility in usage. Fortunately, there is a large availability of factory loads that should suit every shooter's requirements. We like to think that our guns are useful for priarie dogs to elephants, and everything in between.

Ballistics are dependent upon the specific cartridge/bullet combination. Our testing with various factory loads show an approximate increase of 200-500 fps over the factory ratings for revolvers. Your experience may vary. Please see our download page for a PDF of Factory Load ballistics.


Our guns generally shoot to about 1 1/2 minutes of angle. That translates to a 1 1/2" group at 100 yards. This will depend upon the ammunition and the shooter. With the size of the .50 caliber bullet, this is near to a one hole grouping.

Some of our testing has shown much smaller groups. Customers have reported groups as small as 1/4" at 100 yards. Amazing!

Our basic action designed by us specifically around the 500 S&W Magnum cartridge and is based, in part, upon John Browning's 1886 and 1892 actions. They have been adapted for modern materials and amnufacturing methods to improve workability and functionality. The overall design of the gun is consistent in the style of lever guns of the past, but improves upon usability for recoil reduction.

Our Hunter Black finish is a salt bath nitride treatment on 17-4PH stainless steel. It infuses nitrogen and carbon into the surface of the stainless steel resulting in a hard, durable, corrosion resistant surface. The surface hardness is tested at Rc82. It is harder than and will dull a file, while leaving no discernable mark on the finish.

The barrel bore is also treated to the salt bath nitride finish. It makes the barrel longer lasting and adds lubricity. Our barrels are slow to foul and easy to clean.

Using the hottest factory loads, recoil is approximately similar to a 12 gauge shotgun using 3" magnum shells. More moderate factory loads are like shooting a 12 gauge shotgun with target loads.

The receiver, lower tang, bolt, lever and most of the internal parts are made from 17-4 stainless steel. The stock sets are made of No. 2 Fancy walnut. Case colored guns use 4140 tool steel for the receiver and other case colored parts..

We offer custom gun work and that is defined as anything that requires us to modify the gun permanently. Lead times and availability will depend on what is requested and our capabilities. Custom work will require a minimum of 50% deposit.

About Big Horn Armory

Big Horn Armory is the designer and manufacturer of the Model 89. It is the first lever action gun specifically designed for the .500 S&W Magnum. The Model 89 and all of its components are proudly made in the USA.

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