S&W 460 Vs S&W 454?


October 12, 2010, 05:59 AM
If both have the same except for the caliber, is the 454 much lighter than the 460? I held the 460 for the first time the other day and it seemed big and heavy. I thought I'd like the 460 due to it being able to fire the 460, 454 and the 45 Colt, but if the 454 is a little smaller/lighter, I would want to go with that.

Thanks in advance.

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October 12, 2010, 06:25 AM
im not sure of the need for the 460 as the 454 is already ridiculously powerful

The Lone Haranguer
October 12, 2010, 06:48 AM
I am unaware of S&W offering the X frame in .454 Casull. There are other revolvers in that cartridge (e.g., Ruger Super Redhawk, Taurus Raging Bull) that may be slightly less massive than the X-frame, but not much.

October 12, 2010, 08:09 AM
Light is probably not prefered in those calibers,something has to absorb all that energy,might as well be the gun.I've read the 460 has larger numbers ballistically,but other than seeing them behind glass cabinets I couldnt tell you much....wish I could though, even if only for 5 rounds or...4 or 3 or 1...or maybe you could get you one and report back here on what you find out.

October 12, 2010, 09:21 AM
I have shot both rounds from a 460 Xframe. the 460 has much more recoil and muzzle flash than the 454. It was not unplesant for me at all. I think this was due to the porting. The weight of the gun was of great help in controling the firearm. In my opinion this gun is not something you will take to the range and fire a box of anything through it. It makes the ultimate backup or hunting firearm due to the great choices of rounds available.
Just my 2

October 12, 2010, 03:57 PM
The FA 83 was the gun that the .454 started in, and, it's a 5 shot, 3 pound gun. Very packable.

I think, in the long run, that's probably the only gun that has metal strong enough to stand up to extensive use with .454, but, I could be wrong.
IIRC they are made with 17-4 stainless, and very strong.

Seems to me S&W had problems with the recoil shield design with the 460.

.454 operates at very high pressure, as does the .460.
If you really want more power, go up the the .475 Linebaugh. It shoots MUCH heavier bullets, at lower pressure. With minimum pressure loads I'm getting around 1530 fps with 325 grain bullets, and about 1550 with 275 grain bullets.

Some folks think 350 grain bullets are about ideal for killing everything on the planet.
The .454 is generally pushed to high pressure with such bullets, to get adequate velocity. I imagine the 460 would not be. The .475 works very well with 325-420 grain bullets, and gives excellent velocity, with .44 magnum pressures.

I guess it really comes down to how rich you are, and what you are going to use the gun for, and, if you reload.

.454 bullets are MUCH cheaper, like 50%, of the cost of the .475's.

What I like about the .460 is you have a 200 grain bullet going at rifle velocity, 2100-2300 fps. Something that has only been done in single shots, pretty much.

I imagine shooting 45 Colt in the X frame must be like shooting a 22lr.

Unless you are shooting bears, my guess is a FA 83 in .454, or any bigger caliber is going to be the most packable, best gun combination for what you want to do.
They are expensive, unless you find one used for the price of a new .460 x frame.

October 12, 2010, 04:42 PM
I guess I am a wimp.

When we are talking calibers like these I am thinking "Rifle"

If I was in that market I would think versatility. Since the 454 can shoot other rounds I would go with that.

October 12, 2010, 05:22 PM
My 460V shoots a little nicer than my Super Redhawk 454...due in part to the lighter weight.....the XFrame is a tank, and it has to be for the 460 cartridge.

If I were to do it again....it will be a freedom arms with 454, 45 and 45 cylinders. Nicer finish than the Redhawk.

October 12, 2010, 05:24 PM
.45 Colt, .454 Casull, and .460 S&W Magnum can all be shot from the 460XVR.

I would go 460XVR, if you really need one.

October 12, 2010, 06:09 PM
I have a Ruger Super Redhawk in .454. I also have a Redhawk in .45 Colt. I don't see any particular advantage to the .460.

If I were to choose the perfect big bore super magnum, it would probably be the .480 Ruger.

October 12, 2010, 10:20 PM
The 460 is superior at distance, for hunting mainly.

October 13, 2010, 01:22 PM
The particular advantage to the 460 is that it's a much better round, and it's completely superior to the 454 at long distances. There's a *substantial* difference over 125yds or so from the numbers I've seen.

October 13, 2010, 02:00 PM
The 460 is superior at distance, for hunting mainly.

it's completely superior to the 454 at long distances. There's a *substantial* difference over 125yds

I disagree.

At 150 yards the energy of the .454 is going to be slightly higher than the .460 due to poor BC of 200gr bullets (2300fps) compared to 300gr XTP bullets I prefer (1625fps). Both are going to drop to ~1000 ft*lb of energy @ 140 yards.

Also the .460 is only going to have ~80% of the momentum (necessary for penetration) of the .454 at 150 yards. (Interestingly Hornady doesn't publish the BC of the 200gr FTX... 300gr XTP = 0.20, 225gr FTX = 0.145, 200gr FTX = ???. I gave it the benefit and used 0.13 for my calculations.)

The only difference is the .460 will drop 6" less, but the 300gr from the .454 will have ~1" less wind drift in a 10mph breeze. MPBR for the .454 is ~155 yds +/-3", for the .460 it's ~185 yards.

If you compare 300gr to 300gr then the .460 will come out ahead, HOWEVER .454 and 300gr bullets at 1625fps is at the limits of being able to manage recoil... for me at least... You could load up your 300gr bullets another 300fps in the .460, but you won't get me to pull the trigger on one.


October 13, 2010, 04:19 PM
I understand what you're saying, and quite honestly after doing some more research on it, it looks like you're right in some regards.

Having said that, the smaller drop that the 460 has over higher yardage is the difference between a hit or miss. That counts in my book quite a lot.

Secondly, the 460XVR doesn't kick as badly as most 454 Casull revolvers due to the gun itself being so heavy (my opinion...felt recoil is subjective in some regards)...which makes it better and more accurate to shoot.

October 13, 2010, 05:02 PM
Also in the interest of fairness, I went looking at other bullet choices...

The Barnes 200gr bullet has an improved BC of 0.16, which using the same 2300fps muzzle velocity, gives an additional 200+ ft*lb of energy at 150 yards.

I have not shot a .460, but I have shot a buddy's .500 S&W Magnum more than once. Both with 325gr and 500gr bullets. You're right, the S&W is more than a pound heavier and the compensator helps greatly in terms of muzzle rise (my .454 is scoped and his .500 is not, so that makes up some of the weight difference). I find that the top .454 loads recoil harder than the .500. He has shot my .454 and agrees with me.

October 13, 2010, 05:46 PM
I still can't believe I've never shot a 454 before. I've shot most everything else except some of the one-off caliber (475 Linebaugh, etc).

October 14, 2010, 03:50 AM
I held the 460 for the first time the other day and it seemed big and heavy.
You said "the 460" as if there's only one.

Which S&W 460 Magnum did you hold?
The M460XVR comes with a 8 3/8" barrel, a 10.5" barrel and a 12" barrel
There's also a M460V which sports a 4" barrel and there was a short barrel model that came with an emergency kit which had a very short barrel like the Ruger Alaskan. (sorry I don't remember what S&W called it and I don't see it on the site any more)

So, which one did you hold? I held the 4" M460V and it didn't seem so bad. I'm guessing that's because it sports a Model L grip frame.

October 14, 2010, 02:00 PM
Only one I've ever shot/held was the XVR (8 3/8"). (I know you weren't talking to me per se, but I figured i'd chime in...haha)

October 15, 2010, 05:41 AM
Problem I see is igniting the powder, getting a full enough case, without excessive recoil, and the bullets too light. Also that the SAAMI, and loads are WAY too high pressure.
In other words, I think the cartridge should run around 40k pressure, same as the .44 mag.
My favorite powder is either H4227 or H110. Minimum loads with a 200 grain bullet give you 2077 fps and 35.2k pressure. SOUNDS ok, but, the case is so big, it takes 41 grains of powder.

I think where the .460 really shines is pushing a 360 grain bullet at 1632 fps, with 31 grains, at 49.5K That pressure makes me think even though it's a lighter powder charge, the pressure really gets up there.
28 grains of H4227 will give you 1516 fps, with a 395 grain bullet, at 48.7k.
What concerns me is sort of a design question. The favorite slow burning powders for long cartridges are given minimum powder charges that are very high, around 45-48k. That, and that the max loads are operating at 55-57k gives me pause. My experience with those revolvers is you get little ballistic improvement, and a LOT more recoil, and blast. This cartridge is LONGER then the S&W .500.

I know a couple cartridge designers, and, both don't think it makes any sense. I suspect the length of the case makes it important for consistent powder ignition to have a magnum primer, and a lot more powder then one would like, to create uniform burn, and no detonation. In other words, a shorter, fatter case allows you to use 4227 and H110 at lower pressures, without fear of detonation. The longer case, and narrower, dictates a more tightly packed powder charge, more like a rifle, and, you need to operate at rifle pressures, not something that any pistol is really designed for, except single shots.

In other words, it's long enough so most of the pistol powders have to be loaded to high pressure, but, not big enough, with a long enough barrel to use rifle powders, and get lower pressures. For perspective, the max pressure of my .375 H&H loads on Hodgdon's reloading table max at 53k, and minimum at 40.4k. The .460 operates overall, 25% higher pressures. Not my idea of fun in a hand gun cartridge.

October 15, 2010, 07:17 AM
Just a observation on my part between the size of Freedom Arms .454 casull & a S&W .460 revolver. First the FA, other than the longer grip frame it really isn't much larger than most full size SA revolvers. The S&W .460/500 is a big revolver as it has to have a longer cylinder to handle the length of those big long cartridges.

October 15, 2010, 05:18 PM
One might argue that the FA might be a bit longer cylinder, and the S&W is what it pretty much has to be.

I have had three FA's, and find that they might have been designed with a slightly longer cylinder, to allow longer bullets, or, heavy .45 colt bullets to be used. I think Baker designed it so you used his factory ammo, which was designed for the cartridge. In other words, flat point, jacketed bullets going around 1600-1700 fps, and 300 grains.
He made it dangerous to use the .45 Colt ammo in the gun, due to possible lockups, and
that the .45 colt bullets seat to far out, and lock up the .454 length cylinder.
I have a Ruger Maximum, and find the little cylinder length extra, only adds .2 pounds of that, and, it's still nearly as packable.

If anything, I find the FA's SMALLER then most .45 colt revolvers due to cylinder length, and, that they are designed as 5 shots, not 6.

I don't go for scopes on hand guns, and, if you are hunting, get a MUCH cheaper single shot pistol barreled for something that makes more sense, and works at less pressure.
45-70 comes to mind, or .308, if you intend to shoot over 100 yards.

As a short range defensive weapon, the X frames can work:


Problem is, the .460 takes a longer barrel to really work, since it's using a lighter bullet,
with a slow burning powder charge. The .500 S&W makes more sense.

You can also chamber BFR's in .50 Alaskan, 50-110 for a really close range canon.


Guns by Jack Huntington, ideas by Safarikid.

My take is the perfect packing gun is either a 5 shot BFR short cylinder, in .500 JRH, or an FA 83,


or in .475 Linebaugh, or, a .510 GNR by Gary Reeder.

I just don't see sense for the 460.

If you want to use cheaper ammo, get an FA 83 in .454 with a .45 Colt cylinder, and then your bullet cost is half mine.

October 15, 2010, 05:38 PM
Very interesting post!

October 15, 2010, 05:58 PM
Wow, that .500 snub looks nice!

October 17, 2010, 05:09 AM
Thanks. My opinion is worth what you pay for it.
I never shot, only handled the .500 Snub. General take was it would have been shootable with .500 JRH ammo loaded with light, 275 grain to 350 grain bullets, giving around 1400 or 1500 fps, and not much recoil. How much velocity one would loose is a matter for a chronograph.
It was small enough, and light enough to be fairly concealable.
Or, you can load heavy bullets between 950 and 1100, like 440's, and they don't kick much, depending on what you are shooting at.

October 17, 2010, 07:10 AM
I concur with the price of .475 bullets :eek: It's what got me into casting my own :D

Here's a couple shots of my Ruger SRH Alaskan .480



Recoil is not bad at all, much less than a .454 and more like a .44 mag on steroids and you get to throw around much bigger bullets to boot. Those pictured above were cast from a Lee 400gr bullet mold.

October 17, 2010, 11:14 AM
I imagine shooting 45 Colt in the X frame must be like shooting a 22lr.

....yep, pretty much. Loading .460 cases with Trailboss is a like a .22mag.

The .460 is not for everyone, but I enjoy mine. It is scary accurate @ 100 yards with 240 and 300 gr ammo. From my experience, the .460 likes lighter ammo than it's twin sister the .500 and if one wishes to shoot ammo heavier than 350 gr, one should consider the .500 or something else.

October 18, 2010, 01:10 AM
Hodgdon shows a 360 grain bullet at 1882 with lil gun, 40 grains. 53K.
It also show a 395 " " " 1796 " " 36.8 " 56.4K.
325 1955 " 41. " 55.6k.
Those are max speed loads.

That said, what animal is going to tell the difference? Penetration wise, the 395's are going to be REAL close to modern 45-70 rifle loads:
400 grain bullets at between 1883 and 2108 fps.
So, the top load with a 395 is REAL close to a minimum load in the 45-70.

When you think about carrying around that hand canon, one must be comforted that the 45-70 is not known as a light hitter. In fact, a LOT of guys have taken a LOT of big game with 400 grain bullets in the 45-70.
If you look at the 45-70 trap door loads, the 460 matches or exceeds those loads, admittedly at near triple the pressure.

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