What are The Differences Between .454 Casull vs .460 S&W Magnum Ammo

Written by

Cecil B. DeMille

.454 Casull vs .460 S&W Magnum

The .454 Casull and .460 S&W Magnum are two of the most powerful handgun cartridges in the world, both capable of bringing down large game like elk, moose, and even bears.

However, there are some key differences between the two cartridges that make them better suited for different applications.

In this article, we will compare the two cartridges in terms of their ballistics, recoil, and overall suitability for different shooting activities.

Overview

About .454 Casull Ammo

.454 Casull

.454 Casull Ammo is a powerful handgun cartridge developed in the 1950s and is known for its significant muzzle energy and potential for stopping power. The cartridge is primarily intended for hunting medium to large game, metallic silhouette shooting, and bear protection.

Specification Value
Cartridge .454 Casull
Bullet diameter 0.454 inches (11.5 mm)
Case length 1.4 inches (36 mm)
Overall length 1.77 inches (45 mm)
Case capacity 45.5 gr H2O (2.95 cm³)
Primer type Boxer Small rifle
Maximum pressure (SAAMI) 65,000 psi (450 MPa)
Muzzle velocity 1,900 ft/s (580 m/s) (250 grain bullet)
Muzzle energy 2,000 ft-lb (2.7 kJ) (250 grain bullet)

About .460 S&W Magnum Ammo

.460 S&W Magnum

The .460 S&W Magnum is a powerful revolver cartridge that was developed by Hornady and Smith & Wesson in 2005. It is based on the .454 Casull but is lengthened by 10 mm (0.39 in) to accommodate a larger bullet and propellant charge.

The .460 S&W Magnum is the most powerful revolver cartridge in the world, with a maximum chamber pressure of 65,000 psi (450 MPa). It can fire bullets at velocities of up to 2,409 feet per second (734 m/s) and generate muzzle energies of up to 2,860 foot-pounds (3,880 J).

The .460 S&W Magnum is typically used for hunting large game, such as elk and bear. It can also be used for long-range target shooting.

Specification Value
Caliber .452 in (11.5 mm)
Case length 1.80 in (46 mm)
Overall length 2.300 in (58.4 mm)
Bullet weight 200 to 400 grains (13 to 26 g)
Muzzle velocity 1,800 to 2,409 feet per second (549 to 734 m/s)
Muzzle energy 2,200 to 2,860 foot-pounds (3,000 to 3,880 J)
Maximum chamber pressure 65,000 psi (450 MPa)

Pros & Cons

PROS CONS
.454 Casull
  • More powerful than the .44 Magnum. The .454 Casull is capable of generating over 2,000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, making it one of the most powerful handgun cartridges in the world. This makes it an excellent choice for hunting large game, such as elk and bear.
  • More versatile than the .460 S&W Magnum. The .454 Casull can fire a wider range of bullet weights than the .460 S&W Magnum. This makes it more versatile for hunting and target shooting.
  • Less expensive to shoot than the .460 S&W Magnum. Ammunition for the .454 Casull is less expensive than ammunition for the .460 S&W Magnum. This is because the .454 Casull is a more popular cartridge.
  • Heavy recoil. The .454 Casull has heavy recoil, which can make it difficult to control. This can lead to flinching and poor accuracy.
  • Loud report. The .454 Casull has a loud report, which can be uncomfortable for shooters.
  • Limited availability of ammunition. Ammunition for the .454 Casull is not as widely available as ammunition for more common cartridges, such as the .357 Magnum and .9mm Luger.
.460 S&W Magnum
  • The most powerful handgun cartridge in the world. The .460 S&W Magnum is capable of generating over 3,000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, making it the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world. This makes it an excellent choice for hunting very large game, such as African elephants and cape buffalo.
  • Flatter trajectory than the .454 Casull. The .460 S&W Magnum has a flatter trajectory than the .454 Casull. This makes it a better choice for long-range shooting.
  • More effective for stopping large dangerous game. The .460 S&W Magnum is more effective for stopping large dangerous game than the .454 Casull. This is because it has more muzzle energy.
  • Extremely heavy recoil. The .460 S&W Magnum has even heavier recoil than the .454 Casull. This can make it very difficult to control, and it can even cause injury to the shooter.
  • Extremely loud report. The .460 S&W Magnum has an extremely loud report, which can be painful for shooters and can damage hearing.
  • Very limited availability of ammunition. Ammunition for the .460 S&W Magnum is very rare and expensive.

Head-To-Head Comparison

.454 Casull vs .460 S&W Magnum

1. Recoil

Both the .454 Casull and the .460 S&W Magnum are very powerful handgun cartridges that produce a lot of recoil. The .460 S&W Magnum is generally considered to have more recoil than the .454 Casull, but this can vary depending on the specific firearm being used and the shooter’s experience.

The .454 Casull is a powerful cartridge that is capable of generating over 2,000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. This makes it an excellent choice for hunting large game, such as elk and bear. However, the .454 Casull also has a lot of recoil, which can make it difficult to control. This can lead to flinching and poor accuracy.

The .460 S&W Magnum is even more powerful than the .454 Casull. It is capable of generating over 3,000 foot-pounds of muzzle energy, making it the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world. This makes it an excellent choice for hunting very large game, such as African elephants and cape buffalo. However, the .460 S&W Magnum also has even heavier recoil than the .454 Casull. This can make it very difficult to control, and it can even cause injury to the shooter.

Cartridge Recoil
.454 Casull Heavy
.460 S&W Magnum Extremely heavy

2. Bullet Weights

Caliber Bullet Weights (Grains)
.454 Casull 200-400
.460 S&W Magnum 200, 230, 250, 260, 290, 300, 350, 400

3. Loading Type

.454 Casull .460 S&W Magnum
  1. Make sure your hands and work area are clean and free of debris.
  2. Inspect your brass for damage or defects. If you find any damaged brass, discard it.
  3. Use a case trimmer to trim the case to the correct length. The correct case length for the .454 Casull is 1.80 inches.
  4. Debur the mouth of the case to remove any sharp edges. This will help to prevent damage to your bullet when you seat it in the case.
  5. Use a primer pocket cleaning tool to clean the primer pocket. This will ensure that your primer will seat properly and that there is no debris in the pocket that could cause a misfire.
  6. Prime the case. You can use a hand primer or a priming tool mounted on a reloading press.
  7. Measure out the correct amount of powder. The maximum powder charge for the .454 Casull is 70 grains, but you will want to start with a lower charge and work your way up until you find a load that is accurate and safe.
  8. Use a powder funnel to pour the powder into the case.
  9. Use a loading die to seat the bullet in the case. Make sure that the bullet is seated to the correct depth.
  10. Crimp the case mouth to hold the bullet in place.
  11. Inspect your loaded round for any defects. If you find any damaged rounds, discard them.
  1. Make sure your hands and work area are clean and free of debris.
  2. Inspect your brass for damage or defects. If you find any damaged brass, discard it.
  3. Use a case trimmer to trim the case to the correct length. The correct case length for the .460 S&W Magnum is 1.90 inches.
  4. Debur the mouth of the case to remove any sharp edges. This will help to prevent damage to your bullet when you seat it in the case.
  5. Use a primer pocket cleaning tool to clean the primer pocket. This will ensure that your primer will seat properly and that there is no debris in the pocket that could cause a misfire.
  6. Prime the case. You can use a hand primer or a priming tool mounted on a reloading press.
  7. Measure out the correct amount of powder. The maximum powder charge for the .460 S&W Magnum is 80 grains, but you will want to start with a lower charge and work your way up until you find a load that is accurate and safe.
  8. Use a powder funnel to pour the powder into the case.
  9. Use a loading die to seat the bullet in the case. Make sure that the bullet is seated to the correct depth.
  10. Crimp the case mouth to hold the bullet in place.
  11. Inspect your loaded round for any defects. If you find any damaged rounds, discard them.

4. Trajectory

The .460 S&W Magnum has a flatter trajectory than the .454 Casull. This means that the bullet will travel farther before it begins to drop. This is because the .460 S&W Magnum has a higher muzzle velocity than the .454 Casull.

Here is a table comparing the trajectories of the two cartridges:

Range .454 Casull .460 S&W Magnum
100 yards -4.8 inches -2.4 inches
200 yards -19.2 inches -9.6 inches
300 yards -43.2 inches -26.4 inches

5. Pricing

The average cost of .454 Casull ammunition ranges from $2.00 to $3.00 per round. The average cost of .460 S&W Magnum ammunition ranges from $4.00 to $5.00 per round.

Here is a table comparing the pricing of .454 Casull and .460 S&W Magnum ammunition:

Caliber Average Price per Round
.454 Casull $2.00 – $3.00
.460 S&W Magnum $4.00 – $5.00

FAQs

Q: What is the .454 Casull cartridge?

The .454 Casull is a high-pressure, large bore handgun cartridge designed for hunting large game. It was developed in 1957 by Dick Casull and Jack Fullmer. It is capable of firing a 300 grain bullet at over 1,900 feet per second.

Q: What is the .460 S&W Magnum cartridge?

The .460 S&W Magnum was introduced by Smith & Wesson in 2005. It was designed to match or exceed the performance of the .454 Casull. It can fire a 200-300 grain bullet at over 2,300 feet per second making it one of the most powerful handgun cartridges.

Q: How do the ballistics compare?

The .460 S&W Magnum generates about 20-25% more muzzle energy than the .454 Casull. However, the .454 can be loaded to nearly match the .460 in power if using specially designed Ruger Only loads. Overall, the .460 S&W is capable of higher velocities and energy levels.

Q: Which recoils more, the .454 or .460?

Due to the higher pressures and velocities, the .460 S&W Magnum tends to have more felt recoil than the .454 Casull in typical loads. However, when loaded to maximum power levels, the recoil can be substantial in either cartridge.

Q: What types of handguns are available in these calibers?

The .454 Casull is available in single action and double action revolvers from manufacturers like Freedom Arms, Sturm Ruger, and Taurus. The .460 S&W Magnum is currently only produced by Smith & Wesson in their X-Frame revolvers.

Q: ​Can you shoot .45 Colt in a .454 or .460?

Yes, both the .454 Casull and .460 S&W Magnum chambers are designed to also fire the less powerful .45 Colt cartridge. This allows shooters greater flexibility with ammunition selection.

Conclusion

The .454 Casull and .460 S&W Magnum are both powerful handgun cartridges that are known for their ability to take down large game.

However, the .460 S&W Magnum is the more powerful of the two cartridges, and it is also more versatile. It can be used to shoot a wider variety of ammunition, including .454 Casull cartridges.

Last Updated on December 10, 2023 by Cecil B. DeMille

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