In 2005, Hornady collaborated with Smith & Wesson to produce the .460 S&W Magnum – which was based on a longer .454 Casull case, arriving two years after S&W released the .500 Magnum. It might seem like a questionable marketing call, but the .460 S&W Magnum has features the .500 Magnum does not. The recoil of the .460 is much less than the .500, yet the muzzle energy of the .460 is only about 10% less. The muzzle energies of both cartridges overlap in the range of 2,900 foot pounds, so the difference is not much when considering the bullet energy needed at shooting distances for hunting pistols.
The .460 S&W Magnum cartridge is available in many different configurations. And based on the case of the .454 Casull, most .460 S&W Mag revolvers can fire the .454 Casull and .45 Long Colt, as well as .45 Schofield cartridges.
Ammunition choices also abound for the .460. Hornady manufactures a load with their FTX bullet, the name given to their Flex Tip expanding bullet technology. Buffalo Bore offers a specialty high-pressure load, with a 300 grain jacketed flat nose bullet and a heavier 360 grain flat nose bullet. Federal offers .460 ammo with a Barnes XPB 275 grain bullet and a Fusion bullet weighing 260 grains. Winchester offers their Dual Bond bullet as well as a 250 grain bullet loaded light to reduce recoil, which still has a potent muzzle velocity of 1,450 feet per second.
The .460 S&W Magnum sends a heavy bullet at high speed with the necessary power for hunting large or dangerous game animals anywhere in the world. This cartridge is accurate, and when matched with the correct firearm, can shoot groups smaller than one inch at 100 yards! The numbers for this cartridge are impressive – muzzle velocities alone are between 1,500 and 2,300 feet per second for bullets weighing from 200 to 395 grains. Velocities like these for such heavy bullets result in muzzle energies between 2,000 and 2,350 foot pounds.
The effective range of the pistol hunter reaches unprecedented distances. This combined with excellent accuracy and a wide variety of bullet designs and loads for the caliber are why the .460 S&W Magnum will remain a popular choice for years to come.