Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Hornady or other ballistic tip ammunition be used?

Hornady’s FTX bullets can be used. They typically feed OK, but need a slight pause in the feeding motion when closing the bolt with the lever. 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.

Does the rifle have more shooting distance than the carbine? If so, how much?

Our testing has shown that the rifle offers very little velocity increase over the carbine for most factory cartridges. In fact, some factory cartridges showed decreases in muzzle velocity in the rifle. In general, the rifle offers an increased sight radius, which can be advantageous to some shooters.

How does a dealer order the Model 89?

Upon providing us with a copy of his FFL, we will be happy to offer dealer pricing direct to the dealer.

How is the Model 89 configured?

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.

Is the Model 89 available for export?

We have tha capability to export to Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most of Europe. Please contact us for specific requirements.

Is the Model 89 based on an existing rifle action?

No, the Model 89 is completely designed by Big Horn Armory. It is purpose built specifically for the .500 Smith & Wesson and adapted to the .460 Smith & Wesson.

What ammunition do you recommend for the your guns?

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.

What ammunition should not be used for the 500 & 460?

Please review the manuals in our download section for further information. In general, do not use pointed bullets since these may cause primer ignition of the cartridge in front of it in the magazine tube.

What are the ballistics for the Model 89?

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.

What is the accuracy of our guns?

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!

What is the action based off of?

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.

What is the Hunter Black SS Finish?

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.

What is the recoil like?

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.

What kind of recoil pad is provided?

We use a 1″ Pachmayr Decelerator rubber recoil pad.

What materials are used in the construction of the Model 89?

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.

Where is the Model 89 made?

The Model 89 and Model 90/90A are proudly made in the USA.

Will you make custom Model 89's?

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.

Will you offer composite, synthetic or other artificial stock materials?

We are in process of restoring our supplies of laminate stocks and are now offering them again. Composites and other artificial materials are not likely to be offered.