Firearms enthusiasts and hunters alike are often drawn to the power and accuracy of firearms cartridges like the 460 s&w vs 500 s&w.

Understanding the ballistics of these cartridges is crucial for anyone examining to make an informed decision about their firearms arsenal.

In this article, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the460 s&w vs 500 s&w, exploring their histories, specifications, ballistic performance, and practical applications.

In the end, readers will gain a comprehensive understanding of these formidable cartridges and will be better equipped to make decisions tailored to their shooting needs.

History and development of 460 S&W and 500 S&W

460 s&w vs 500 s&w

The 460 S&W and 500 S&W are products of a lineage full of innovation and search for more powerful handgun cartridges. Development of the 460 S&W Magnum began in the early 2000s, when Smith & Wesson, in collaboration with Cor-Bon Ammunition, sought to create a pistol cartridge capable of delivering Magnum-level performance.

The goal was to offer hunters and handgun shooters a cartridge with exceptional power and versatility. The 460 S&W Magnum was officially introduced in 2005.

It features impressive ballistics and the ability to accommodate bullets of various weights, making it suitable for an expansive range of applications, from tracking to long-range target shooting.

On the other hand, the 500 S&W Magnum, often touted as the world’s most powerful production pistol cartridge, was introduced by Smith & Wesson in 2003.

338 mag vs 300 mag was designed to outperform existing pistol cartridges in terms of raw power and energy. The 500 S&W Magnum was developed in collaboration with Cor-Bon Ammunition and features increased case capacity, allowing it to propel heavy bullets at velocities previously unattainable with handguns.

Both cartridges were designed with specific purposes in mind. The 460 S&W Magnum was intended to offer a high-performance pistol option for hunters seeking big game.

In comparison, the 500 S&W Magnum was intended to push the limits of handgun power, catering to those seeking maximum braking and penetration power.

The history and development of the 460 S&W and 500 S&W reflect a continuous pursuit of innovation and excellence in the field of handgun cartridges. These cartridges provide shooters with powerful tools for various shooting disciplines and hunting activities.

500 S&W: Features and Performance

460 s&w vs 500 s&w

The 500 S&W Magnum stands as the pinnacle of power among handgun cartridges, known for its immense energy and formidable performance in a variety of shooting contexts.


Case Dimensions: The 500 S&W Magnum features a straight-walled, rimmed case design with a length of 1.625 inches (41.3 mm), allowing model 37 winchester to be chambered in specially designed revolvers capable of handling its size and power.

Bullet Diameter: The standard bullet diameter for the 500 S&W Magnum is 0.500 inches, allowing the use of heavy, robust bullets suitable for large and dangerous games.

Case Capacity: The 500 S&W Magnum’s generous case capacity allows it to accommodate large powder charges, allowing it to achieve extraordinary speeds and energy levels.

Rim Diameter: The 500 S&W Magnum’s rim diameter is 0.556 inches, which facilitates reliable extraction and chambering in firearms designed for this powerful cartridge.


Muzzle Velocity: The 500 S&W Magnum is capable of propelling heavy bullets at muzzle velocities exceeding 1,500 feet per second (fps), resulting in exceptional downrange energy and terminal performance.

Power: With 45 long colt vs 357 unparalleled muzzle power, the 500 S&W Magnum offers tremendous stopping power, making it suitable for hunting the largest and most dangerous species, including bears, bison, and even African plains animals.

Accuracy: Despite 460 s&w vs 454 casull, significant recoil and formidable power, the 500 S&W Magnum can exhibit remarkable accuracy, especially when paired with precision-engineered firearms and carefully selected ammunition.

Recoil: The recoil generated by the 460 s&w ammo is substantial, often described as strong or sharp. However, with proper shooting technique and grip, experienced shooters can effectively manage and control recoil, allowing for accurate and comfortable shooting experiences.

In short, the 500 S&W Magnum is a testament to the pinnacle of firearms power and performance, offering shooters an unparalleled combination of raw power, stopping power, and versatility in the field.

Whether hunting big game or simply experiencing the thrill of shooting a magnum-caliber handgun, the Glock 27 Gen5 remains the top choice among discerning firearms enthusiasts.

Ballistics Comparison: 460 S&W vs. 500 S&W

When comparing the460 s&w ballistics, shooters find two formidable cartridges, each with their unique strengths and characteristics.

Exit speed:

460 S&W Magnum: The 460 S&W Magnum typically achieves muzzle velocities ranging from 1,800 to 2,300 feet per second (fps), depending on bullet weight and load. It is known for its flat trajectory and impressive speed retention at extended ranges.

500 S&W Magnum: With its larger case capacity and heavier bullet options, the 500 S&W Magnum generates muzzle velocities between 1,300 and 1,800 fps. While it’s a little slower than the 460 S&W Magnum, it offers unparalleled pep and stopping power.

Power in the muzzle and the lower range:

460 S&W Magnum: The 460 S&W Magnum generates significant muzzle energy, often exceeding 2,000 foot pounds. 300 win mag vs 308 high energy levels contribute to deep penetration and devastating terminal performance.

500 S&W Magnum: The 500 S&W Magnum outperforms the 460 S&W Magnum in terms of power output, with some loads producing over 2,500 foot-pounds of power. This immense energy transfer results in exceptional stopping power and tissue disruption.

Trajectory and bullet drop:

460 S&W Magnum: Due to its higher muzzle velocity, the 460 S&W Magnum exhibits a flatter trajectory compared to the 500 S&W Magnum. Shooters can expect minimal bullet drop at extended ranges, improving accuracy and precision.

500 S&W Magnum: While the 500 S&W Magnum experiences steeper bullet drop than the 460 S&W Magnum, its formidable energy retention ensures reliable terminal performance even at extended ranges.

Recoil and handling differences:

460 S&W Magnum: The 460 S&W Magnum’s recoil can be strong, especially with full power loads. However, its manageable recoil allows for comfortable shooting experiences with proper technique and grip.

500 S&W Magnum: The 500 S&W Magnum generates substantial recoil, often described as sharp and powerful. Shooters must employ proper recoil management techniques to maintain control and accuracy.

In conclusion, while both the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum offer impressive ballistic performance, shooters should consider their specific needs and preferences when choosing between the two.

The 460 S&W Magnum excels in speed and trajectory, while the 500 S&W Magnum dominates in energy and stopping power. Ultimately, the choice between these two powerful cartridges depends on the intended application and the shooting preferences of the individual shooter.

Terminal ballistics: 460 S&W vs. 500 S&W

Understanding terminal ballistics is crucial to evaluating the effectiveness of pistol cartridges like the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum in real-world shooting scenarios.

Impact on target:

460 S&W Magnum: When a 460 S&W Magnum bullet hits its target, prvi partizan 120 grain releases immense kinetic energy, causing significant tissue damage and trauma.

The high speed and energy transfer results in deep penetration and expansive wound channels, making it very effective for hunting big game.

500 S&W Magnum: The immense energy and bullet diameter of the 500 S&W Magnum create devastating effects upon impact.

Its larger caliber and heavier bullets ensure deep penetration and extensive tissue disruption, making it suitable for hunting thick-skinned, large-bodied game species.

Penetration and stopping power:

460 S&W Magnum: The 460 S&W Magnum’s combination of bullet speed and weight results in impressive penetration capabilities, allowing it to hit vital organs and deliver decisive stopping power. Its ability to penetrate tough hide, bone, and muscle makes it a formidable choice for handgun hunters.

500 S&W Magnum: With its larger caliber and heavier bullets, the 500 S&W Magnum excels in penetration and stopping power.

It can penetrate deeply into the target, causing massive tissue damage and immediate incapacitation, particularly in large, dangerous game animals.

Expansion and wound channels:

460 S&W Magnum: Bullets fired from the 460 S&W Magnum tend to expand upon impact, creating wide wound channels and maximizing tissue damage. The rapid expansion of the bullet’s multiplied profile ensures effective energy transfer and efficient target incapacitation.

500 S&W Magnum: The expansive diameter of the 500 S&W Magnum bullets results in massive wound channels and extensive tissue disruption upon impact.

The large size and weight of the bullets contribute to rapid incapacitation, making them the preferred choice for stopping dangerous animals in their tracks.

In summary, both the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum demonstrate exceptional terminal ballistics, generating devastating effects on the target with their high velocity, energy transfer, and bullet design.

Shooters and hunters should consider the specific requirements of their intended game and shooting scenarios when selecting between these powerful cartridges, ensuring optimal performance and effectiveness in the field.

Accuracy and range considerations

When evaluating the performance of handgun cartridges such as the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum, considerations of accuracy and effective range play a crucial role in determining their suitability for various shooting applications.

Factors affecting accuracy:

Firearm Quality: The inherent accuracy of a pistol chambered in the 460 S&W Magnum or 500 S&W Magnum depends significantly on the quality of its construction, including barrel rifling, chamber dimensions, and overall accuracy.

Ammunition Quality: Consistency and quality of ammunition play a vital role in achieving optimal accuracy. Quality ammunition and handloads tailored to specific firearms can improve shot accuracy and reduce variability in shot placement.

Shooter Skill and Technique: The proficiency and shooting technique of the individual shooter also influences accuracy. Factors such as grip, stance, trigger control, and tracking contribute to consistent shot placement and overall accuracy.

Effective range:

460 S&W Magnum: With its high muzzle velocity and flat trajectory, the 460 S&W Magnum exhibits excellent long-range capabilities compared to traditional pistol cartridges.

While its effective range varies depending on factors such as bullet weight, velocity, and shooting conditions, shooters can confidently engage targets at ranges greater than 100 yards with proper sight adjustments and ballistic compensation.

500 S&W Magnum: While powerful, the 500 S&W Magnum is generally considered effective at shorter ranges compared to the 460 S&W Magnum due to its lower muzzle velocity and higher bullet weight.

While it can deliver lethal energy at extended ranges, its trajectory and bullet drop limit its practical range for accurately placing shots beyond 100 yards.

Considerations for hunting and target shooting:

Hunting: For handgun hunting applications, both the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum offer enough accuracy and range to take down large games at moderate ranges.

However, shooters should consider the specific requirements of their hunting environment and target species when selecting the appropriate cartridge.

Target Shooting: In target shooting disciplines such as silhouette shooting and long-range firearms competitions, the 460 S&W Magnum’s flatter trajectory and extended effective range can provide a competitive advantage over the 500 S&W Magnum.

In conclusion, accuracy and range considerations are essential factors for shooters and hunters when selecting between the 460 S&W Magnum and the 500 S&W Magnum.

Understanding the capabilities and limitations of each cartridge in terms of accuracy and effective range allows shooters to make informed judgments based on their specific shooting preferences and goals.

Practical Considerations for Shooters

When evaluating pistol cartridges like the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum, several practical considerations come into play, ranging from recoil management to ammunition availability and cost considerations.

Recoil management and control:

460 S&W Magnum: Due to its high muzzle velocity and power, the 460 S&W Magnum generates significant recoil, which can be a challenge for some shooters to handle, especially those with limited experience or physical strength. Proper grip, stance, and recoil mitigation techniques are essential to maintaining control and accuracy.

500 S&W Magnum: The 500 S&W Magnum produces even greater recoil compared to the 460 S&W Magnum, often described as sharp and intense.

Shooter proficiency and proper recoil management techniques are critical to effectively managing recoil and maintaining shooting comfort.

Availability of Ammunition and Firearms:

Both the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum are specialty cartridges, and as such, ammunition availability may vary depending on location and market demand.

While major ammunition manufacturers typically produce both cartridges, shooters in certain regions may need help to obtain specific loads or bullet types.

Firearm availability is another consideration, particularly for shooters looking for pistols chambered in these magnum cartridges.

While several firearms manufacturers offer revolvers chambered in the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum, availability may be limited compared to the most common firearm calibers.

Cost considerations:

Due to their specialized nature and larger case capacities, the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum cartridges typically cost more to load than standard pistol cartridges.

Shooters should take the cost of ammunition into account when budgeting for practice sessions and 460 magnum vs 500 magnum shooting activities.

Additionally, the cost of the firearms is another consideration, as pistols chambered in 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum tend to be more expensive than those chambered in standard calibers.

Shooter Experience and Comfort:

The shooter’s experience and comfort level with magnum-caliber pistols play an important role in s&w 460 vs 500 magnum practical considerations.

Novice shooters or those not accustomed to handling high-recoil firearms may find the 460 S&W Magnum and 500 S&W Magnum difficult to shoot comfortably for long periods.

Training and practice are essential to developing proficiency and confidence with these powerful cartridges, allowing shooters to maximize their performance and enjoyment while minimizing fatigue and discomfort.


In conclusion, the comparison between the 460 S&W Magnum and the 500 S&W Magnum highlights the unique features, strengths, and considerations associated with each cartridge.

The 460 S&W Magnum offers shooters a high-velocity option with a 460 mag vs 500 mag flat trajectory and excellent long-range capabilities.

Its impressive ballistics make it suitable for hunting big game and engaging targets at long ranges. However, shooters must face important considerations of recoil and ammunition availability.

On the other hand, the 500 S&W Magnum stands as a powerhouse in handgun cartridges, with unparalleled energy and stopping power.

While 460 sw vs 500 sw may have limitations in range and trajectory compared to the 460 S&W Magnum, its devastating terminal ballistics make it the preferred choice for dangerous, hard-skinned games.

Both cartridges represent the pinnacle of handgun performance and offer shooters unmatched power and versatility in a variety of shooting applications.

By understanding the nuances and practical considerations associated with each cartridge, shooters can make informed decisions to maximize their shooting experience and performance in the field.


Is a 460 more powerful than a 500 Magnum?

Overall, there is a negligible difference in the power between these two rounds. The projectile for the. 500 Mag is heavier than those for the.

Is 45 70 more powerful than 500 Magnum?

In a scramble, simply by inspecting various published data, it’s obvious that the 500 Magnum generates more foot-pounds of kinetic energy than a 45–70.

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