.460 S&W Magnum
.460 S&W Magnum
Country of origin

United States


Hornady, Smith & Wesson

Year(s) designed


Year production began


Year production ended


Cartridge type

Rimmed, straight

Parent cartridge

.454 Casull

Overall length

2.29in (58.2mm)

Case length

1.8in (46mm)

Neck diameter

.478in (12.1mm)

Base diameter

.478in (12.1mm)

Rim diameter

.520in (13.2mm)

Rim thickness

.059in (1.5mm)

Muzzle velocity

1,525ft/s - 2,300ft/s

Primer type

Large rifle Magum

The .460 S&W Magnum cartridge is a large caliber revolver cartridge, designed alongside the Smith & Wesson Model 460. The .460 S&W Magnum is a favourable cartridge for hunting purposes, and is the "highest velocity cartridge" that Smith & Wesson use.

Design DetailsEdit

The .460 S&W Magnum was based on the large caliber .454 Casull cartridge, a popular and powerful hunting cartridge. The .454 Casull was significantly more powerful than its predecessors, hence the majority of arms the utilise the .460 S&W Magnum can use any of the less powerful, former cartridges (ie the .45 Colt, .45 Scholfield and .454 Casull).

The length of the .460 S&W Magnum is utilised to completely fill the space in the Smith & Wesson X-frame cylinder, with the majority of the cartridge filled with more powder than the former cartridges. This extra length prevents the .460 S&W Magnum from being used in certain rifles (which are set to fire with specific cartridge lengths) despite the fact that the .460 S&W Magnum produces muzzle velocities comparable to most rifle cartridges.


The .460 S&W Magnum, when firing the heaviest (395gr (26g) hard cast) bullet, produces a muzzle velocity of 1,525ft/s (465m/s). Yet when this cartidge fires the significantly lighter 200gr (13g), Corbon DX bullet (the factory standard) the muzzle velocity is increased to 2,300ft/s (700m/s).

Other bullets used with the .460 S&W Magnum cartridge are:

  • 275gr (18g) Corbon DX - 1,825ft/s (555m/s)
  • 300gr (19g) Jacketed Flat-Nose - 2,060ft/s (630m/s)
  • 360gr (23g) Lead Long Flat-Nose - 1,900ft/s (580m/s)

The case itself can contain a pressure of, on average, 65,000psi. This is a figure that many rifle cartridges would be expected to reach but will vary with each bullet used.


The .460 S&W Magnum is "the highest velocity cartridge" that Smith & Wesson use in their revolvers. It is important to point out that this is not the most powerful cartridge that Smith & Wesson use, with the .500 S&W Magnum taking that honor (used with the Smith & Wesson Model 500). Both the .460 and .500 S&W Magnum cartridges were designed as a joint project between Smith & Wesson and ammunition specialists Hornady.

Some critics of the .460 S&W Magnum criticise the cartridge for the fact that it is recommended (and sold) by Smith & Wesson with the 200gr Corbon DX bullet, while the caliber size would point to the .460 S&W Magnum being a powerful "moose and elk gun". Most, however, conceed that the larger bullet sizes make the .460 S&W Magnum a better cartridge than most.


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