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460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

 
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  #1  
Old 02-16-2005, 11:49 PM
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Location: Madison, WI
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460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

Well, I'm finally getting to that age were I can finally buy a pistol (oh yeah, and drink!). I've been looking at various pistols, and the 460 has really caught my eye. My criteria for my first pistol is that I should be able to hunt with it. The 460 XVR is a fairly expensive pistol, looking at over a grand. But aside from the raw numbers that this cartridge puts out, the pistol can also chamber 45 LC and 45 Casul. So its got the 357 practicality appeal. My question is, how are the new Smith and Wesson's. 1,000 dollars is certainly not chump change, but if the pistol is quality, I have no qualms dropping that kind of coin (lord knows I've put down more on rifles before). Any thoughts and expierences are welcome.

Oh, and just to tie this thread in to LRH, the 460, if sighted in a 200 yards, can be held on center of the target and hit near center with no hold over out to 250yrds. Thats quite a poke with a pistol.
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Old 02-17-2005, 08:58 AM
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Re: 460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

7Ultra,

I have hunted with big bore handguns for 12 years now and have taken dozens of big game animals with them. Let me give you my opinion of the new S&W monster rounds.

Well, first let me respond to some of your direct statements and questions.

Personally, I feel these are about as far from the perfect "First" big bore handgun as you could get. These rounds are expensive to shoot with factory ammo, can be very tricky to handload for because of the large case capacity, especially with the lighter bullets which are the only ones that really offer extreme velocity for a handgun.

The handguns are extremely large, heavy, not user friendly in the field for a new handgun hunter and they are expensive. I agree quality is worth the extra price but in this case I am not sure if this is truely worth it.

As far as shooting 45 colts and 454s in this revolver, acuracy will be very poor with the jump needed before the bullet reaches the forcing cone of the barrel.

Even more important, if you shoot alot of say 45 colt ammo for practice, the gases will score the chamber ahead of the 45 colt case mouth. If you shoot enough of these shorter loads when you go to the full length S&W the longer case will expand hard against this rough area and extraction will be very hard, sometimes needing the cases to be pounded out.

Same will happen with the 454 only with fewer rounds becauase the pressures are so much higher then the colt.
Also, the 460 S&W will not accept lower pressure loads, this is a major problem with these huge case capacity big bore revolvers. With the powder they use, they just do not respond well to low pressure loads without using very heavy bullets.

It all sounds good and it is a very good sales pitch but I have polished out enough 454 chambers to know that using the shorter ammo is not a good idea.

Now as far as ballistic performance, the only bullets I have seen reported that will perform at high velocities, +2000 fps, are the very light 200 gr bullets. The SST muzzle loader bullet has teh best B.C> of the bunch but a 200 gr .452" bullet will be a very poor penetrator. Something they do not mention in the articles praising these new super rounds.

Even loaded with this bullet to 2200 fps and zeroed at 200 yards. YOur mid range trajectory will be +4.1" which is not terrible but at 100 yards you better be aware of it or some very bad things can happen quick in the field.

As far as 250 yards with this zero, you will be -7" low. Now if you take a center hold on a whitetail at 250 yards with a 200 yard zero, if you hold behind the shoulder you MAY just clip the brisket. If you hold on shoulder you will be taking a leg out at the elbow or lower and this will resullt in a lost animal that will eventually die a very slow death.

In my opinion, which is based from on game performance on many big game animals with big bore handguns from 41 cal up to 50 cal, in teh 45 caliber rounds, you really should be puching 300 gr hard cast lead bullets, especially in a round the size of the 454 and now the 460 S&W. On game performance is simply amazing, the problem is that these are not 250 yard bullets no matter how fast you can drive them in a handgun.

FOr example, take a 300 gr CPB loaded to 1800 fps in the 460 S&W and zero it at 200 yards. Your midrange trajectory will be +8.0". This is far to much in my opinion for a revolver mid range. At 250 yards the bullet will hit -13" which again is certainly not good for taking center hold shots. In fact on a whitetail, you better hold about 4 to 5 " over the line of the back to get a center hit. Possible, yes, practical, not really.

If you want to hunt with a big bore handgun, it would be my advise to hunt at ranges under 150 yards and zero at 100 yards if you want. Personally, I handgun hunt to get the thrill of getting close to the game, kind of like bow hunting but with a gun which I greatly prefer.

DO not get caught up in the B.S. that the light weight very fast bullets are great game killers, they are not. USe a heavy, wide meplat hard cast bullet and your results will be dramatically more impressive on game.

In my opinion, the perfect bullet weight for the 460 S&W would be the Cast Performance Bullets 395 gr WFNGC. With this bullet you would have performance enough to tackle even cape buffalo. For lighter game, a 300 gr WFNGC would be my choice.

I would choose these two bullet weights simply because they make this huge 45 cal magnum much more user friendly to load for and generally more accurate as well.

My opinion of what a perfect first big bore handgun would be, go get a 6 1/2" Ruger Blackhawk in 45 Colt and have the trigger tuned up by a good smith. Total will run around $400 for a stainless revolver. You can start with lower power loads such as the traditional Colt loads, 255 gr lead bullet at 950 fps and then work up to some extremely impressive loads such as the 360 gr WFN loaded to 1250 fps. The Ruger revolver will certainly handle this level of power, in fact I have witnessed some Ruger 45 Colt shooters matching 454 performance exactly in their factory Blackhawk revolvers, not I certainly do not recommend this but it clearly shows the strength of the Blackhawk. They are also generally very accurate.

If you want a scoped handgun, I would highly recommend the Ruger Super Redhawk in 480 Ruger. This round has impressed the hell out of me. I practice with 325 gr HP bullets loaded to around 1200 fps and for serious work I load the 325 gr pills up to 1500 fps in the 7 1/2" barrel. For heavier game, the 425 gr WFNGC can be driven to 1200 fps and simply will not stay in any north American big game, not even moose or bison. Ammo is relatively cheap but better yet this round is a joy to load for. IT can be loaded with very low pressure loads as well as full tilt loads that will even outperform the 454 as far as on game performance goes on heavy game.

This handgun combines with a straight 2x or 1.5-4x Burris handgun scope would be very hard to beat.

If you want to reach out with a handgun, drop me a line and I will build you an XP-100 that will give you 400 yard reach and carry more energy at that range then the 460 has at 100 yards. Plus it will offer 300 yards center hold shooting.

Big bore handguns are not long range tools, you simply can not drive the heavy bullets fast enough to reach that level, nor should you try, the bullets perform much better below 1800 fps on game.

Just my opinion,

Kirby Allen (50)
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Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

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  #3  
Old 02-17-2005, 12:40 PM
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Re: 460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

I'd have to agree with Fiftydriver, the X frame is not a good "first hunting handgun". It's a major handful -- literally -- and really expensive to practice with.

As a point of comparison, I am a life-long rifle hunter, and carry a handgun every day (and I'm supposed to be good with it). But it took me about 750 rounds of gradually increasing .44 Specials, factory .44 mag, and then Garrett .44 mag +P, before I felt confident in pulling the trigger on live game. At the price of .460 S&W Mag ammo, that would be -- what, say well over $1000? I'm a big proponent of the .44's for training. Then, if you still need more range than the .44 Mag +P's, then move to the .460. Or even better, get Fiftydriver to build you a "real" hand cannon.

Hey, Fiftydriver, could you build one in .260 Rem Improved or 6.5x55 Improved?

Now I'm starting over with .500 Specials and light .500 mag loads with my new X Frame. I'll probably be ready after 100 rounds this time around...but I'll probably stick with my S&W 629 for hunting anyway.
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Old 02-17-2005, 01:03 PM
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Re: 460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

Kirby,
First, let me thank you for your informative and in-depth post. I really appreciate it. I agree with you on alot of the points. The bullet jump from the shorter cases would be a big concern. As for longrange hunting with the big bore, I really wasn't considering it. Given my area or possible areas, I would primarily shoot out to 50yards, maybe 75.
While we are talking shop, how available are components for the 480. Would the costs of dies, brass, bullets, labor etc be comparable to say, a 6.5-284? Plus, how is the accuracy of this cartridge/gun combo(based of the Super Red hawk). Thanks so far for the input.
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Old 02-17-2005, 02:07 PM
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Re: 460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

7ultra, I am a year behind you, but I do have a Smith and Wesson X-Frame chambered in the 500 S&W. Like Kirby said, it is a handful, and I do not know that it would be a good pistol to start off with. I have had people tell me, that shot my gun, that it did not kick as much as the ruger 454 and 480s, but it weighs a ton. It is definitely one of those pistols that you have to hold in two hands. I have actually had experience loading the 500 round down. A couple other guys, along with myself, have loaded the round down to the powder charges of the 50AE. This makes shooting the cannon much more pleasant. So far, there has only been a few cases (maybe 10 out of 400 or so) that have stuck to the cylinder. I am sure that I am going to be hounded on here for saying that I downloaded it that much, but I do not know many people who can stand to take as much recoil as in a hunting round for more than 5 shots. If you are looking for a gun that does not kick as much as say the ruger, and you are comfortable with the larger frame revolver and are willing to reload or suck up the price of shooting only the 460 (hornady was saying around $20 for a box of 12), then the X-Frame is awesome. I just like the feel of the Smith and Wesson over the Ruger, but that is my own personal preference. I agree with Kirby 100% on all of the ballistics for that kind of range.
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  #6  
Old 02-17-2005, 04:19 PM
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Re: 460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

Guns and Labs,

Give me the word my friend and you will have one in either cartridge, I have a very nice tight spec 260 Rem reamer. Not full match, no neck turning as this is for big game handguns and rifles but very accurate and min spec.

The 6.5x55 AI is certainly easy enough to do, just do not have that reamer. If you want it we can certainly get it. I do have a match reamer for the 6.5mm WSM along with a neck reamer to open the match neck up so there is no need to turn necks. This little fat boy will do 3100 fps with a 120 gr Ballistic Tip out of a 15" barrel. Groups average in the .4" range at 100 yards.

Used it this last fall to fill my Mule Deer Doe permit with one shot at 332 yards. Took out both shoulder and dropped her in her tracks. I held about 3" under the line of her back which shows the flat trajectory of this round.

Good Shooting!!

Kirby Allen(50)
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Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

allenmagnum@gmail.com
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  #7  
Old 02-17-2005, 04:31 PM
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Re: 460 S+W Magnum, good first Pistol?

7Ultra,

I hope you do not think I am telling you NOT to get the big S&W, Just want to let you know that for big game hunting, espacially out to the 100 yard mark, the extra stomp and roar are not needed. You would see absolutely no difference on game out to 100 yards weither you hit it with a top loaded 480 Ruger or a top loaded 460 S&W.

And while the 480 with the 425 gr bullets are a handful to shoot, the 325 and even the new 275 gr Bonded Core SPeer Gold Dot HP bullets loaded to around 1200 fps are childs play in the big SRH. The versitility of the 45 COlt and 480 Ruger as simply amazing, with one load you can pop cottontails for the dinner pot and with another you have perfect whitetail medicine and with another your ready for heavy game and loaded full tilt, it would serve well against heavy dangerous game as well once you get proficient with the big hangun.

Dies run no more then any other handgun such as the 44 Mag or 454. Brass is offered by Hornady and Starline. The Starline brass is significantly cheaper and very quality strong brass, only brass I use. I got 50 pieces when I got my 480 and that was around 4 years ago and that brass is still goign strong even with more 1200 fps loads with the 425 gr bullets then I can remember.

Powder is also cheap, H-LilGun is the best I have found for all bullet weights. Works much better for lighter loads then H-110 and W-296. You can also make some awsome target loads using Blue Dot.

Most 480 SRH revolvers I have shot have been very accurate. I use the open sights on mine as I use it out of my treestand in the thick river bottoms where 50 yards is a pretty long shot.

For testing I did mount a 2x Burris and at 50 yards it was cutting 1.5" groups for 6 shots. With open sights I can hold right at 1" groups at 25 yards pretty easily with a hunting style rest such as the cage around my treestand.

There are several bullet makers making .475" bullet. The 480 Ruger and .475 Line. use the same bullet diameter. Speer offers the 275, 325 and 400. Hornady has the 325 and 400 gr XTP-MAG. Cast Performance Bullets offers several very top quality hard cast big game bullets for the 480 Ruger. These will generally hold tighter groups then the jacketed bullets I have tested and you simply will not have a game animal stop one of these bullets.

Good Shooting!!

Kirby Allen(50)
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Kirby Allen(50)

Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

Farther, Faster and Flatter then ever before.

Web Page: www.apsrifles.com

allenmagnum@gmail.com
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