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Old 01-03-2012, 01:50 AM
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Default 460 vs 500

Hello iam new on this forum but I have a few questions. Iam looking at buying a x frame revolver either the 460 or the 500 but don't know which would be the better gun. I may hunt black bear with it some day but iam mainly buying it to have a big powerful handgun. Your help is appreciated thanks,Jon
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:04 AM
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Either are quite adequate for hunting any game species found in North America. The .500 has roughly twice the muzzle energy that the .50-70 Model 1866 Springfield did that "Buffalo Bill" Cody used to kill the 1200+ Bison that got him his moniker.

They are roughly equal. The 460 will give higher velocity than the 500 creating approximately the same muzzle energy. If you expect to re-load for either, bullets for the 460 are somewhat less expensive.

Just a recommendation. If this is your first handgun start with something else until you are proficient. Very seriously a .22 is the place to begin, graduating to .38/.357 and finally .44 Magnum or .45 Colt, before jumping into a very specialized gun like either X-Frame.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:11 AM
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With the 460, you have the option also to shoot .45 LC. ,454 and the 460. I bought a 500 before the 460 came out but if I was doing it today I may have changed my mind. Either will handle anything you'd want to hunt.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:39 AM
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You may want to find a friend or range that will let you try a .460 or .500 first, especially if you do not reload. You may decide the "big powerful handgun" you want is a .44 Magnum of some type, for which you can buy ammo at Wal-Mart and shoot .44 Specials.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:44 AM
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The .460 is touted by many as being more "versatile" due to its ability to fire .45 Colt, .454, and .460. That appeals to the shooters who like the idea of getting "three guns in one."

I'm not one of those people.

I like to shoot a revolver in the caliber for which it is chambered, not a shorter case. I have been blessed with enough financial success that if I want to shoot .44 Special ammo, I can afford to own an M24 as well as a 29.

If you like to shoot more that just an occasional round or two, both the .460 and the .500 are VERY expensive to shoot if you are restricted to factory ammo. We're talking $3 a shot or more for ammo bought at your local gunshop.

Some people prefer the .460 over the .500 for it's ultra-high (for a revolver) velocity. Once again, that's true IF YOU ARE LIMITED TO FACTORY AMMO.

The moment the shooter has access to decent reloading equipment and components, all the above things go out the window and the .500 absolutely smokes the .460 for "versatility." This, IMO, is particularly true if you choose my 5" half-lug .500 with 10" twist and tight cylinder gap.

Want high velocity like the 200 grain .460 load? Try a polymer tipped 300 grain Hornady spitzer at 2250 FPS in your .500.

Want 3500 foot-pounds of energy? Try a long-nose, short-shank 400 grain cast bullet at 2020 FPS.

Want the up-close killing power of a .458 rifle? Shoot a short-shank 510 grain bullet at 1740 FPS.

Want to shoot 700+ grain bullets at anywhere from 800 to 1200 FPS with good accuracy at all ranges? Check.

Want a 400-450 grain bullet at 1200-1400 FPS that you can shoot long strings with and that Kent Lomont used to hit an oil drum 50 shots in a row (in front of witnesses) at a measured 700 (yes, seven hundred) yards? Check. (Gun was scoped and shot off sandbags.)

Want an accurate load that kicks like a .38 Special for your girlfriend to shoot, using Trail Boss powder and almost any bullet you want? Check.

Bottom line, the .500 has more case capacity and a bigger bore than the .460, and that means it can do things the .460 can't IF YOU WANT IT TO. Both guns are extremely accurate (2" groups at 100 yards, scoped, off a rest, are quite common.) Both guns are very well built. Either will give you years of shooting pleasure and pride of ownership.

But for the thoughtful reloader, the .500 has it all over the .460.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:56 AM
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I chose the 5" .460 for the ability to shoot .454 also. I don't shoot much 45LC. The gun is short enough to hip carry, yet has the ability to be scoped. There's nothing a .500 can do that a .460 can't. It all comes down to the load. Personally, if I'm ever going to hunt grizzly bear, polar bear, cape buffalo or elephants, I'm going to have a handgun like my .460 on my hip, but Ill have a rifle in my hands. People hunt those same animal with archery equipment too. But I don't plan on doing that. I hunt deer and hogs mostly and do bow hunt, and the .460 is more than enough gun to do what I need it for.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:01 AM
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John. I was leaning toward a 460 due to its supposed versatility. You made me realize I was incorrect in my thinking. I reload and the ability to shoot 45 LC, 454, and 460s in the same gun appealed to me. However you made me realize the the same could be done in the 500 w/o having to stock up on three types of cases. Looks like I'm going to the fun store today.
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Old 01-04-2012, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glock2740 View Post
There's nothing a .500 can do that a .460 can't.
That's a little like saying "There's nothing a .454 can do that a .44 Mag can't," or "There's nothing a .338 Win Mag can do that a .30-'06 can't." See above post. A 40% increase in muzzle energy and 23% increase in frontal area is NOT trivial, IMO.

That said, the 5" .460 is a great gun, and I have one. But it's not a .500.
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Last edited by John Ross; 01-04-2012 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:44 AM
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I have owned several S&W handguns in both rounds. I tested the 460 and 500 Mag extensively. Without a doubt the 500 Mag is far superior to the 460 Mag in my opinion. A bigger hole is always better. 275 to 700 gr. bullets out of a 500 Mag, larger holes, more energy. I picked the 500 mag over the 460, and don't look back!
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:08 AM
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I own the 4" 500 and the 5" 460 and use the Hornady 300 grain with the 500 and the Hornady 200 grain with the 460. Both go "Kaboom"...when in doubt get both!

New 5" 460 is tough to find under $1K.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:42 AM
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I knew I was going to buy one or the other. I rented both the .460 and the .500. Prior to these sessions, the biggest handgun I had shot was a .44 magnum. If you have the opportunity, you should test both before deciding.

I found out that I could handle the recoil on the .460 much better, so I decided to buy one of the 460 Performance Center models. The biggest, most accurate gun in the world is of little use if you can't handle it.

I don't have the time to reload and haven't had the need for the specialized characteristics available in reloads, so I just use off-the-shelf 200 grain ammunition for both hunting and target shooting. Heck, I don't even reload 45 ACP anymore, even though I have all the reloading equipment for it and I shoot that caliber the most.

I haven't used any of the other ammunition types that the 460 is capable of. My brother-in-law gifted me with a box of 45 Long Colt but I haven't used it.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:42 AM
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Ah, the never-ending question. And again it has brought forth informative and thoughtful answers.

When I faced this question I bought a 460 XVR with the longest standard barrel. I love the gun.

Then about a year later I found a four-inch 500 on the consignment shelf and bought it because the price was right. It looked unused but came at about a $200 discount to the new gun price. I love that gun too.

I didn't feel undergunned when the only X-frame revolver in the safe was a 460. I sometimes look at the 500 and think, "What am I going to use that for?" But I am not inclined to tune my collection by getting rid of it. Both are very accurate revolvers, and I like making tight clusters in far-away targets at the range (as tight as I am capable of achieving, at any rate).

Now that I own one of each, I can see that there may be a different way to approach the first-purchase question. Ask yourself, "How much excess capacity do I need?" If your answer is, "A whole bunch," the 460 is good enough. If the proper answer is "As much as I can get," you want a 500.

I believe 500s outsell 460s by quite a significant margin, but that is a descriptive statistic, not a recommendation.

You will like whichever one you get. Whichever one it is, I bet you will find yourself wanting the other one, too.
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Old 01-04-2012, 04:20 PM
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I have both of these guns as well. I love both of them but if I could only have one I would keep the 460.

Just my two cents worth.

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Old 01-04-2012, 05:30 PM
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My, my, my!!! How many times in our lives do we hear something is "almost as good as" or "as good as" something else?

This 460 vs 500 is another of those type challenges we all have to consider if making a serious purchase choice.

I've learned through my many years that the item that everything is being compared to is the item I would buy, or remorsefully, should have bought. That and and an in-depth comparison of the two guns motivated my choice of the 500 over the 460. Guns are more than an occasional "plinker" or novelty for me and are used as a "working tool". I hunt big game with my 500.

A strong defense can be made for the purchase of either and none of us can justifiably criticize what others may choose between these two fine guns and calibers. As usual, John Ross's earlier post assessment and ongoing in-depth research is consistent with my own experience. His opinion is certainly worthy of a second read for those who are still "straddling the fence..."

Choose wisely......
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphydog View Post
You may want to find a friend or range that will let you try a .460 or .500 first, especially if you do not reload. You may decide the "big powerful handgun" you want is a .44 Magnum of some type, for which you can buy ammo at Wal-Mart and shoot .44 Specials.
Good advice murphydog. I don't know your background sir but 95% of the people I know who own .44 mags cannot shoot them with any accuracy at all. If you can't handle a hot 240 gr. .44 magnum you will not do well with either of the two boomers.

I've been shooting big bores since I was 17. Developed a terrible flinch that took years to overcome. I've never shot a .500 but did shoot a .460. Should have worn my PAST shooting glove. What a whopper as they have some heavy recoil and was louder than heck even with double hearing protection on. Think one would lose some hearing very quickly hunting with one without protection.

I'll stick with my .41 mags loaded hot with heavy bullets thank you. If I need a handgun for an animal my .41's will take anything on North America, but I'd be using a rifle for any animal that bites back (bears) and have my .41 as a last ditch weapon.

My hats off to the few who can acurately shoot a cylinder full of .460's or the .500's wthout flinching! Just too much gun for me.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:59 PM
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I have the 500 with the 8 3/8" barrel and I love it. It is an absolute blast to shoot. I was surprised on how well the gun handles even when shooting the heavy loads. I shot pretty much every grain size made for this gun from 300 grain the the 500 grain Hornady rounds. I have never shot the 460 so I can't really compare the two. All I can say is the 500 is one of my favorites in my collection.
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:49 PM
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My thought process was a little different. Already have a .454 Casull, so for me going op six thousandths of an inch in caliber seemed a like I was not getting much more out of a .460 - even though the .454 is relatively constrained versus the .460 in OAL you can load to.

On the other hand, going up almost 5 hundredths in caliber is indeed a big step. After going back and forth on the right 50 cal for about 2 years and looking at the JRH, Wyoming, Action Express and a couple of others, it hit me that I kept comparing them to the 500 S&W. And while the others were 50 cal, you really were limited in getting close to the bounds with the OAL limitations. With that 2.3" cylinder, there was plenty of room to load all kinds of different bullets.

Did a lot of research on the X frame, and it is definitely a well engineered design that will handle some tremendous pressures (like 338 Lapua pressures).

My initial issue with going with the S&W pistol was the conventional barrel length and the twist. I don't want a snub nose - my primary purpose would be to use this as a packing pistol for situations where "final protective fire" was in order for some raging beast with me on its radar. At the speeds something like a grizzly travels, you can only count on getting one shot. So the barrel had to be of a size that would allow for quick extraction yet long enough to allow for getting the most out of the round. Between extraction, aim and shot, figure 2 seconds. Figure a bear going 30 MPH can cover over a little over 40 feet a second, or close to 30 yards in 2 seconds.

So, the bigger the better.

Then I came across the JR S&W Performance Center version of the 500 S&W - 5" barrel, no compensator (no real need for one seeing as how I have never noticed recoil in a high pressure situation - ever (also don't ever remember hearing a shot). 1:10 twist to stabilize longer and heavier bullets. On an X frame. That can make the 500 S&W round be all it can be.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:13 PM
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I have a 460 and I love it, it is honestly one of the most fun guns I have to shoot. Recoil is not bad with the weight of the frame and the muzzlebrake. Muzzleblast is pretty intense though, still enjoyable. I picked the 460 because it has a flatter trajectory and reloads can be made for about .40 cents a piece total for a 240 gr XTP MAG. Also, I have heard from people that have shot it and a 500 (I have never shot a 500), that recoil is much more manageable with the 460, makes sense because of the lighter bullet.

You can hunt anything in NA with the .460 or the .500

BTW, cordite, the .460 shoots the same caliber bullet as the .454 casull, just a different case. Thats why you can shoot them and .45 colt in the same chamber, because they all use .452 bullets.

In addition, I tried shooting .45 Colt in it and it's not worth it. Yeah, it works, but the mess it makes in the chambers and the required cleaning before putting any full length cartidges back in there was not worth it. I ended up getting a Ruger blackhawk for when I want to shoot .45 Colt. It was funny though, .45 Colt coming out of that XVR barrel felt like a .22LR, I actually had to look down the barrel to make sure the bullet had exited it felt so weak.

Last edited by folkenheath; 01-05-2012 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 08:52 PM
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:21 PM
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Both the 460 & 500 are super guns.
What made my decision to get a couple 500's was I already had the Rageing Bull 454 and a couple western 45 Colts.
One of my buddys has the 460 and it is a sweet shooting gun, recoil wasn't too bad.
The 500 on the other hand has quite a bit more recoil and brute force, but nothing thats not manageable even with the hottest loads.
I do like the 460 and more than likely will add one to the collection as well.



Ernie
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:46 PM
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One has to question why they want/need a .460 or .500 before they can decide which one is correct for them. I went back and forth between the two, shot both and after more thought and research went with the .460 because it filled the niche in my gun collection better. My primary use is for deer/black bear and at the range. Since I handload, I do not need to shoot other calibers when I want to shoot reduced recoil loads, I just download my .460 cases. Most of the time, unlike factory ammo, there is no difference in cost, so I just shoot what I hunt with at the range. Even handloading. when buying commercial bullets, appropriate .45 caliber bullets are much cheaper than .50 caliber. I can reload my .460 once I have the brass for the same amount as a .45LC. My experience shooting deer with my X-Frame shows me I have no need for anything bigger than 300gr nor do I need to go any faster than 1600fps. Now if I was hunting dangerous game such as Cape Buffalo or elephants, I might feel the need for a bigger hole and 700 gr ammo. At the range the .460 gives me more than enough attention from the other shooters there. The smaller cost of ammo gives me more ammo to shoot. No matter how deep our pockets, most of us have a limit to what we can spend on ammo. The more shots we get for that budget, the more shooting we get. That generally means more fun. For those that feel the .500 is more appropriate for them, I'm sure they have good reasons. Neither gun is one that should be bought without serious consideration, becasue they are serious firearms. Those that buy them on a whim generally have them for sale very quickly with relatively few rounds thru them.

Last edited by buck460XVR; 01-07-2012 at 12:47 PM. Reason: spelling
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