Big Horn Armory Model 89 .500 S&W rifle

Big Horn Armory’s Model 89 is one nice looking lever gun. It is chambered in the .500 S&W cartridge holds 5+1 rounds of ammunition.

Caliber .500 S&W
Barrel 22″
Rate of Twist 1:24″
Stock American Black Walnut
Barreled Action 17-4 Stainless Steel
Metal Finish Hunter Satin Stainless
Sights Aperture Rear, Blade Front
Magazine Capacity 5
Length of Pull 14″
Overall Length 41″
Weight 7 lbs. 14 oz.
MSRP (Price) $1,889.00

[ Many thanks to Mike for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Tyson Chandler

    This is something I have been waiting to see. I personally have never liked big bore handguns like the 500. I have never shot a 500, but I have wondered how much shooting a person could do with it before their wrist broke. It makes a lot of sense to me to take an uber-cartridge like the 500 S&W and make a lever gun application for it. This gives you the power of the 500 S&W, in a package that you could shoot much more comfortably (relatively speaking) and become more proficient with. S&W would have been wise to introduce this lever gun themselves.

  • Komrad

    How about the same gun in .460 S&W so that you can shoot .454 and .45 LC through the same gun? Then I would be interested, until then, *YAWN*

  • RJG

    Does anyone have any ballistics data on this? I’m curious how it behaves in a carbine barrel. I can’t imagine its any better then a .45-70. Thoughts?

  • Tyson, the heavier, long-barreled .500 S&W revolvers like the Smith & Wesson Performance Center gun are not uncomfortable to shoot at all.

  • Beamish

    Make mine .460 S&W please, and extend the magazine to the end of the barrel.

  • Elvis Presley

    The deal would be sealed for me if they included an extension for the tube. I’d prefer my rifle to be able to hold more than my revolver…

  • Alan

    Like tyson said, I’ve been wanting something like this. I’m actually surprised there aren’t more .454 casull lever guns either.

  • JeffinNZ

    That’s a good, practical 100 yard game rifle for cast bullets. Like the peep sight. Nice work.

  • Cymond

    I know the longer barrel S&W500 revolvers produce around 3,000 ft-lbs of energy, and that’s throwing a heavy .50cal bullet. It has energy, size, and weight; the cartridge is definitely no slouch in any area.

    But yes, I’ve always wondered what one can do out of a carbine length barrel. I find it interesting that H&R Handi Rifles can be re-barreled to 500S&W for $96 plus s&h. I know a man who suggested the idea of a lever action for the 500 about a year ago. I’m a little disappointed in Marlin/Winchester/whoever for not developing this already.

  • A nice gun! Should be a good hog getter. My guess is that more calibers would be available soon.

  • What beamish said. Of course while I dreaming how about a Ruger Gp100 in .45 Colt.

  • Carl

    The .500 S&W magnum actually seems better suited to a rifle than a handgun, for anything other than emergency wilderness use, where a small size is important.
    The muzzle energy looks to be not that far from a shotgun slug.
    I don’t really see the purpose of hunting with a handgun. It is just making things more difficult, as far as I can tell.

  • They make two rifles, the carbine has a 5 rd capacity, the long gun holds 7.

    It’s a 100 yd gun, but within that 100 yds it rules.

  • Don

    Wow! I’d buy one in .460S&W if it could be used with 45 colt and 454 Casull today. Not sure if they could work out the loading gate for the shorter rounds and still have it work with the .460 S&W. That’s the advantage to the big revolvers; no moving loading parts but your fingers. I have a pump .22 that will shoot shorts, Long and LR so I they might be able to build a mechanism that will work.

    I like how some of you have interjected about handgun hunting. If you haven’t hunted with a handgun; like some of you have stated, how do you know anything about a hunting with magnum handgun? You don’t. Have you hunted with a magnum rifle or even a 30-06? Did you even notice the recoil or muzzle blast when you where consternating on lining up the cross hairs and squeezing the trigger? How about you try magnum handgun hunting then you can have an educated opinion and not just a guess. Or better yet don’t and just stick with what you know and think is comfortable and leave the handgun hunting to men.

    Handgun hunting is so much fun that even women enjoy the challenge.

  • Tyson Chandler

    Veeshir, the carbine has the 7 rnd capacity. It it looks killer to boot, that would be my choice the next time I have about 2k to spend. (unfortunately, that will probably be a long time from now) I noticed on their website, they address the topic of a .460 S&W gun. It seems that they have some concerns with feeding if people choose to use other cartridges of different length. They also mention that the .500 shows a 200 to 400 fps increase in velocity. SPQR, I will take your word on the ease of shooting the .500 revolver. I saw R. Lee Ermy shoot one on a History Channel program once. They were showcasing the claim that it is the world’s most powerful revolver. The slow motion photography showed the recoil forces ripple down the bones of his forearms. Maybe he was hyping it up for the camera, but he didn’t look like he was having fun shooting the .500 revolver.

  • Kurt

    The first time I saw a 500 S&W at a gun shop in Billings, my first thought was that it would make an excellent round for a lever action rifle. I hope the price drops soon.

  • The influence of the John M. Browning-designed Winchester M1886 or Model 71 is clearly seen. The original was offered in the .50/110 Express, and some gunsmiths converted the latter for the .50 Alaskan.

    BHA claims that the Model 89’s design also borrows from the Winchester M1892, another JMB design. I’m guessing that the designation Model 89 is based on splitting the difference between 86 and 92.

    While the rifle has a short magazine, the Model 89 Carbine has a longer magazine, holding seven rounds.

  • Major Van Harl USAF Ret.


    Teddy Roosevelt took a Winchester model 1895 lever action rifle, chambered in the .405 Winchester cartridge to Africa to hunt dangerous animals. At the time the .405 was the most powerful American manufactured rifle cartridge. Roosevelt called his rifle “Big Medicine.” There is now a newly designed lever action rifle being made by Big Horn Armory of Cody Wyoming (www.bighornarmory.con) that I believe could be a modern day Teddy Roosevelt’s new big medicine. Smith and Wesson developed a handgun cartridge in 50 caliber, designated the 500 S&W Magnum. The case size is so large that even after introducing a new larger pistol frame (X-Frame) to handle the 500 S&W Magnum, the cylinder could only be chambered for 5 rounds. Of course as soon as the new pistol cartridge was released to the public the idea of using it as a rifle cartridge was quickly born. Frank Ehrenford, the owner of Big Horn Armor and his master machinist Dan Brown have been working to bring the 500 S&W Magnum to the lever action rifle shooting community. In his own words he wasted too much time trying to make someone else’s lever action rifle work chambered in 500 S&W Magnum. Pressure is the driving factor with the 500 S&W Magnum round and an entirely new designed lever action rifle needed to be developed. The venerable models 1886 and 1892 were used as a basis to start from. By combining features from both rifles and enhancing the strength, Frank has come up with what he calls his Model 89 which is in between “86” and “92”. I knew Frank back in the early 1970s, when we worked at a gun shop and indoor range. Frank always talked about “kicking harder-booming louder” when he discussed his ideas of big manly firearms. I would suggest his new Model 89 is right up there in the higher recoil and increased decimal area. I would also suggest that Teddy Roosevelt would loved to have of had a Big Horn Armory Model 89 to take to Africa with him. I could envision that great, turn of the century hunter with his Model 89 in his hand and a Smith and Wesson 500 S&W Magnum pistol on his belt, stalking the most dangerous wildlife the African continent could offer up for his hunting adventures. Of course the idea of having a cartridge that you could carry into the backwoods that allowed you to chamber it in either your rifle or handgun has been a desired feature since the early days of western expansion. The problem with pistol cartridges of the late 1800s being shot out of a rifle, was the lack of power that left the shooter wanting for more. The 500 S&W Magnum does not leave you lacking or wanting in either the handgun and most assuredly in a rifle. However, other than some single shot rifles and I assume some custom bolt action rifles, there is very little out there that you can match your 500 S&W Magnum revolver up with, to take on nature’s largest and most dangerous. Large caliber, lever action rifles were becoming very popular for hunting in the thick alder-brush of Alaska when I was stationed up there with the Air Force in the early 1990s. A fast handling lever gun could be just the trick in the thick and dangerous quarters of the Alaska bush. Now envision a lever gun in 500 S&W Magnum with a nice 450 grain gas check Keith bullet (Frank’s design and production) moving down range at 1850 plus FPS to stop that bear who is unhappy with your presence. If you need great power and a fast handling shooting platform that is also very good looking, the Big Horn Armory Model 89 lever action rifle will fill that void in your personal shooting adventure and provide you with new big medicine. There is a sense of anticipation about the debut of this rifle and the expected demand by North American hunters of large and dangerous game. New big medicine will put big holes in big animals and the winner is the owner of a new Big Horn Armory Model 89. For manly Oklahoma hunters and Methodist preachers who hunt the high Veld (plains) this is a must have shooting iron. Last week a pet dog was taken from its own back yard here in Colorado by two mountain lions. You don’t want to face off with that type of dangerous animal with a 22 rifle. Bad things deserve nothing but the best in response, two legged or four legged. Did I use the word manly enough?

    Major Van Harl USAF Ret

  • Major Van Harl USAF Ret.

    Two Big Horn Armory model 89s, spent the night at my house last night (1 June 2010). Their owner / designer Frank Ehrenford (an old friend) stopped by on his way to show his 500 S&W mag. lever action rifles, to some folks down at Raton, New Mexico at the NRA-Whittington Center. Having one of those model 89s in my hands convinced me, Frank got it right.
    This rifle is not a knock-off of anyone else’s 100 year old firearm. It is a new designed rifle from the ground up and built to take the 500 S&W mag. round.
    There is nothing in the US that you cannot stop with this rifle and when you snap it up to your shoulder you will want one. The feel of this rifle and the way it lines up is something you want on your side, when facing down a brown bear in Alaska. My Canadian relatives could use one of these also. (
    It is one manly firearm that will put large holes, in things that need to be stopped from hurting you.
    Major Van Harl USAF Ret.

  • Jim Meyer

    Our cowboy shooting group had heard that big horn is not paying their vendors and that this gun has moved from shop to shop, it’s been delayed several times, looks nice but I would be cautious about giving these guys a dime until I actually was able to shoot a production gun.

  • dave e

    The last post is right on. I paid for a rifle in full and just sat back and waited until the advertised delivery date. HUH< that was a joke, about eight months into the wait they offered money back and I took it while the offer was good. I would like to have had the rifle, but I don't think it will see the light of day, except for the current models aready out. Too bad it looks like a rifle with great potential.

  • I have the S&W 500 and love it it is a real fun gun to shoot I have killed a 400 lb. Russian boar with it at 40 yds. I practice with it every week shooting 50 rounds at a time NO PROBLEM and I am not a big guy. Cant wait to get that in a rifle that should be a real blast

  • ELVIS stated he would want more rounds in the rifle than his hand gun well you only need one with either gun that bore I shot was at 40 yfs. and it removed his whole lower jawand the hog came off the ground I could not believe it neither could my friend

  • We are finally shipping rifles. Sorry about all the delays. It took more time then we thought, but wanted to get it correct. We are slowly filling backorders and hope to be caught up by the end of the year.

  • I got mine delivered last week, and it was worth the wait, high quality solid build. With most of my guns being custom made, I was very impressed. The company kept me informed and was always wiling to patientdeliver. Good products from a start up company can take a little longer than either party would like.

    • Jack Torrence

      I was elated to get my rifle, but shooting it was even a bigger joy. Also, everyone that sees it wants to get one made. I am calling the factory tomorrow for my good friend to see what timeframe for another custom order is. It is a great rifle with a very high quality build. I would wait the time again for this result.