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What is the difference between 460 S&W and 500 S&W?

The .460 S&W and .500 S&W are two powerful handgun cartridges known for their substantial muzzle energy and recoil. Here are the key differences between these two cartridges:

  1. Bullet Diameter: The .460 S&W and .500 S&W cartridges have different bullet diameters:

    • .460 S&W: The .460 S&W has a bullet diameter of .452 inches (or 11.48mm), which is consistent with the .45 caliber family of cartridges.
    • .500 S&W: The .500 S&W has a significantly larger bullet diameter of .500 inches (or 12.7mm), making it one of the largest commercially available handgun cartridges.
  2. Case Length and Capacity:

    • .460 S&W: The .460 S&W cartridge has a case length of 1.80 inches (or 45.72mm) and a large powder capacity.
    • .500 S&W: The .500 S&W cartridge has a case length of 1.625 inches (or 41.28mm) and also possesses a generous powder capacity.
  3. Muzzle Energy and Recoil:

    • .460 S&W: The .460 S&W cartridge is known for its high muzzle energy, typically exceeding 2,000 foot-pounds. It generates significant recoil, which can be managed with proper technique and a well-designed firearm.
    • .500 S&W: The .500 S&W cartridge is even more powerful, often producing muzzle energies of 2,800 foot-pounds or more. It generates substantial recoil and requires a robust and well-built firearm to handle it effectively.
  4. Applications:

    • .460 S&W: The .460 S&W cartridge is versatile and can be used for hunting large and dangerous game, such as bears or African plains game, at close to moderate ranges.
    • .500 S&W: The .500 S&W cartridge is often considered one of the most powerful handgun cartridges available. It is primarily used for hunting large and dangerous game, where maximum power is required. It can also be used for target shooting or as a novelty or collectible cartridge.

It's important to note that both the .460 S&W and .500 S&W cartridges generate significant recoil, require strong and well-designed firearms, and should be used by experienced shooters who can manage the recoil and handle the power of these cartridges safely. Always consult the firearm and ammunition manufacturers' recommendations for safe and appropriate usage.

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