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460 Smith & Wesson


Introduced in 2005, S&W designed the 460 to directly compete with the 454 Casull when chambered in a special revolver with a longer, stronger cylinder, when compared to any previous S&W revolver design.

While loaded to 5% lower pressure than is acceptable for the 454, the significantly greater capacity still allows it to exceed what the 454 can do.  Top-end 460 loads can generate as much muzzle energy as a 308 Winchester rifle does!

The large capacity and long propellant column used in this round, combined with the common use of H110, which is notoriously hard to ignite, creates a situation where a squib is likely.  I have seen it happen.

The primer drove the bullet and almost the entire charge into the barrel.  Had the shooters simply pulled the trigger again, after assuming he had had a misfire or otherwise failing to recognize the danger, undoubtedly the gun would have failed catastrophically with the potential for serious bodily harm or worse.

Use due caution in component choice and loading techniques.  High neck tension and a properly seated primer of the correct type are critical.

Very few shooters can handle, let alone enjoy, the recoil generated by full-power 460 loads.  But, no law exists that one must use only full-power loads.  When loaded to more-mundane pressure and velocity, the 460 will easily outdo the 44 Magnum with recoil far more shooters can tolerate.  For plinking loads, Trail Boss is unbeatable, just use enough to fill the case to the base of the bullet and use the Remington 2½ primer.

As with any revolver round, best practice is to apply a roll-crimp after seating the bullet.  A roll-crimp eases loading of rounds into the cylinder and can help limit bullet pull under recoil if only modestly.  I cannot too-strongly recommend getting a second seating-and-crimping die so you can have one adjusted to seat the bullet and the second adjusted to only crimp the case mouth.  Generally, attempting to do both operations in one step is a recipe for damaged and destroyed cases.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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