Reloading The 460 S&W Magnum

Posted on: Thursday January 7, 2021
460mag-cu-300
MD Smith

MD Smith


(HP = Hollow Point, RN = Round Nose, FMC = Full Metal Case, FMJ = Full Metal Jacket, JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point and if GC indicated, means Gas Check at bottom of lead bullet)

Loads for 460 S&W Magnum:

This new magnum caliber is great for us who have lots of .45 Colt ammo (I reload for cowboy shooting, but want a gun that can handle everything up to this monster magnum with very heavy lead bullets moving out at speeds in the 1300-1500 fps range.) My lighter .45 colt loads recoil about the same or less as a .38 special in this heavy gun and are good to shoot for target practice. You can shoot the .454 Casull in this gun also. So anything from .45 Colt, .454 Casull to the .460 S&W Magnum will shoot in the revolver just fine. And with adjustments, you can use dies from your .45 Colt to reload the .460 (of course you can’t full length resize the case and the decapper might not work) but the case mouth belling and the bullet seater & crimper can be adjusted in the press to work. The shell holder is tight using the .45 colt for the .460, and it’s best to get a holder made for the .460 since the rim is a hair larger. Personally, I prefer to spend $25 to $40 to buy a full new set for this caliber and shell holder. The shell holder I got from Hornady is a #46.

A lead GC bullet (from LeadHeads Bullets of St. John, KS) are good for home brew loads. Most loads below use CPB (Cast Performance Bullets).

(Note: Shown on this page are START and MAXIMUM loads. Do NOT reduce below START or exceed MAX except at your own risk.)
(See note on Powders below or read all about various Powders.)
Bullet size is .451″ (jacketed) in diameter or .452 lead (and some jacketed). Use LARGE RIFLE primers in cases. Make sure primer does not go in too far (if you accidently used large pistol).

Due to different barrel lengths, type of bullet, seating depth, primer brand and other factors, you may not get near the FPS charted. It is just a guide and the reason you should start 10% under these charges and work up.
SOME ARE MAXIMUM LOADS! – NOTE, powder companies sometimes reduced some of these hot and maximum loads after these figures were posted. You might check current loads from powder company before loading maximum loads. The loads that produce velocities below 950 fps, are very nice, mild shooting, lower recoil rounds. Trail Boss is a great, low velocity, very bulky powder for this big boy that I have been shooting in my .45 Colt loads for some time. These are VERY mild in this big gun, and less than half the maximum pressures of the high velocity loads.

I have experimented using the cheap .45 long colt case, and you will see a few of these loads noted below. I tried to extrapolate loads that would be like a .38 special Plus-P, in the .45 colt case. Also the .454 Casull cases are easier to find and are stronger than .45 colt to experiment in the .460. Do NOT use a .460 load in anything but a .460 case.

(Note H110 & W296 are the same as of 2008 as is HP-38 & W231)
(IMR 4227 is same as H-4227 if made in Australia)

200 Grain Barnes XPB .451 dia. (Hodgdon Powder)
H4227 41.0 gr. 2,077 FPS
H4227 45.5C gr. 2,238 Max C=compressed
Longshot 20.0 gr. 1,752
Longshot 27.0 gr. 2,161 Max
H110 45.0 gr. 2,237
H110 46.5 gr. 2,315 Max
Enforcer 42.3 gr. 2,056 start
Enforcer 47.0 gr. 2,278 MAX
225 Grain Barnes X .451 dia. (Starting Loads)(Hodgdon Powder)
H4227 37.0 gr. 2,077 FPS
H4227 41.0C gr. 2,238 Max C=compressed
H110 39.0 gr. 2,045
H110 42.0 gr. 2,243 Max
230 Grain JHP .451 dia. (IN A .45 LONG COLT CASE, PLEASE NOTE THIS!)

Decent load for the .460 in a .45 colt case

AA 5744 26.5 gr. Avg. 1,222 fps Hi=1251 fps, Lo=1190 Spread= 61.4
240 Grain Hornady XTP Mag .452 dia. (Hodgdon Powder)
H4227 40.0 gr. 2,0187 FPS
H4227 45.0C gr. 2,198 Max
H110 45.0 gr. 2,084
H110 48.5 gr. 2,254 Max
AA 5744 27.0 gr. 1,230 Use for a Reduced Load
AA 5744 40.0 gr. 1,836
AA 5744 44.0 gr. 2,035 58,200 2.188 MAX.
Enforcer 42.0 gr. 1,936 start
Enforcer 47.0 gr. 2,195 MAX
240 SIERRA JHC
Ramshot Enforcer Start 31.0 gr. 1,750 ; MAX 39.0 gr. 2,150
250 Grain Hornady XTP/HP .452 dia. (Personal Loads)
AA 5744 38.0 gr. 1,596 Personal: (Spread 153 – Hi=1,686 Lo=1,533)(old powder)
AA 5744 38.0 gr. 1,540 Personal: (Spread 72 – Hi=1,572 Lo=1,500)(new)
AA 5744 40.0 gr. 1,576 Personal: (Spread 33 – Hi=1,549 Lo=1,561)* great load, even with some unburned powder in cases.
AA #9 34.5 gr. 1,400 avg. This was 12 year OLD powder and didn’t do well. Fresh batch might do better. Spreads varied from 660 to 872 fps.
250 Grain Barnes X .451 dia. (Starting Loads)(Hodgdon Powder)
H4227 36.0 gr. 1,938 FPS
H4227 40.0C gr. 2,074 Max (compressed load)
H110 39.0 gr. 1,985
H110 41.5 gr. 2,133 Max
Lil’Gun 339.0 gr. 1,945
Lil’Gun 40.0 gr. 2,044 Max
250 Grain Rainier Plated FP .451 dia. (http://www.rainierballistics.com/)
Not all the powder burned, but it’s a very good load.

5744 38.0 gr. 1,602 fps personal, Hi=1630 Lo=1564 Spread=65.6
Lil’Gun 40.0 gr. 1,617 fps personal, Hi=1718 Lo=1568 Spread=149.4
Titegroup 15.0 gr. 1,311 fps personal, Hi=1364 Lo=1280 Spread=84.7

[next loads below are in a .45 Long Colt case, not the .460 case]

250 Gr. Rainier Plated FP .451 dia. (In .45 Long Colt case)(try .454 Casull case)
AA 5744 26.5 gr. 1,259 fps Avg. Hi= 1289 fps, Lo=1203 fps, Spread=86.1
TiteGroup 14.0 gr. 1,411 fps personal, Hi= 1426 fps, Lo=1380 fps, Spread=46.2
255 Grain Lead SWC PB .452 dia. (Mild load-plain base lead bullets)(or use RNFP bullet)
Trail Boss 11.0 gr. 977 FPS (Spread=52 – Hi=999 Lo=947)
Trail Boss 11.0 gr. 987 FPS (Spread=99 – Hi=1031 Lo=932)
Trail Boss 12.0 gr. 962 FPS (Spread=225 – Hi=1064 Lo=839)(yes lower velocities and wider spread than one grain less. This is not such a good load for this combo)
Unique 11.5 gr. 1,056 fps (Spread=193 – Hi=1,134 Lo=941)
Unique 11.6 gr. 1,073 fps (Spread=65 – Hi=1,112 Lo=1047)

(these are personal loads with cowboy bullets for easy target shooting)

260 Grain Nosler Partition .451 dia. (Loads)(Hodgdon Powder)
H4227 38.0 gr. 1,939 start
H4227 43.0C gr. 2,098 MAX
H110/W296 41.0 gr. 1,959
H110/W296 46.0 gr. 2,178 MAX
Lil’Gun 43.0 gr. 1,971
Lil’Gun 46.0 gr. 2,080 MAX
AA 5744 28.0 gr. 1,250 Use for a Reduced Load
AA 5744 36.0 gr. 1,685
AA 5744 40.0 gr. 1,880 55,000 2.192 MAX
No 9 31.5 gr. 1,740
No 9 35.0 gr. 1,895 59,000 2.192 MAX
4100 35.0 gr. 1,730
4100 39.0 gr. 1,915 59,000 2.192 MAX
Enforcer 38.3 gr. 1,895 start
Enforcer 42.6 gr. 2,092 MAX
260 Grain Speer JHP (.451)
2400 38.0 gr. 1,939 start
2400 43.0C gr. 2,098 MAX
Power Pistol 41.0 gr. 1,959
Power Pistol 46.0 gr. 2,178 MAX
300 Grain Hornady XTP (Hodgdon Powder)
H4227 36.0 gr. 1,852 FPS
H4227 40.0C gr. 1,988 Max
H110/W296 38.0 gr. 1,825
H110/W296 42.5 gr. 2,034 Max
Lil’Gun 40.0 gr. 1,970
Lil’Gun 44.0 gr. 2,067 MAX

Ramshot Enforcer START 29.0 gr. 1,650 MAXIMUM 34.0 gr. 1,890 (from Ramshot)

300 Grain Speer Uni-Cor SP (.451)
2400 28.0 gr. 1,392 FPS start
2400 30.0C gr. 1,550 FPS Max
Power Pistol 18.0 gr. 1,292 start
Power Pistol 20.0 gr. 1,359 Max
H-110 36.0 gr. 1,412
H-110 39.0 gr. 1,557 MAX
325 Grain CPB LFN PB (Hodgdon)(Cast Performance Bullet, Lead Flat Nose, Plain Base)
H4227 34.0 gr. 1,790 FPS
H4227 38.0 gr. 1,897 Max
H110 38.0 gr. 1,810
H110 42.0 gr. 1,953 Max
Lil’Gun 39.0 gr. 1,843
Lil’Gun 42.0 gr. 1,925 Max
Titegroup 15.0 gr. 1,353
Titegroup 17.6 gr. 1,470 Max
325 GR. CPB LFN PB Dia. .452″ COL: 2.200″
Trail Boss 7.0 gr. 16,500 PSI Start
Trail Boss 11.0 gr. 20,400 PSI Max
335 GR. CPB WLN GC Dia. .452″ COL: 2.180″ GC=Gas Check
Trail Boss 38.0 gr. 1,939 start
Trail Boss 43.0C gr. 2,098 MAX
AA 5744 41.0 gr. 1,959
AA 5744 46.0 gr. 2,178 MAX
AA 5744 43.0 gr. 1,971
No 9 46.0 gr. 2,080 MAX
No 9 28.0 gr. 1,250 Use for a Reduced Load
4100 36.0 gr. 1,685
4100 40.0 gr. 1,880 55,000 2.192 MAX
Titegroup 31.5 gr. 1,740
Titegroup 35.0 gr. 1,895 59,000 2.192 MAX
Titegroup 35.0 gr. 1,730
Lil’Gun 39.0 gr. 1,915 59,000 2.192 MAX
Lil’Gun 38.3 gr. 1,895 start
H-110 42.6 gr. 2,092 MAX
H-110 42.6 gr. 2,092 MAX
W-296 42.6 gr. 2,092 MAX
W-296 42.6 gr. 2,092 MAX
H4227 42.6 gr. 2,092 MAX
H4227 42.6 gr. 2,092 MAX
360 Grain CPB WLN GC(Hodgdon)(Cast Performance Bullet, Wide Lead Nose, Gas Check)
H4198 37.0 gr. 1,531 FPS
H4198 40.0C gr. 1,644 Max
H4227 31.0 gr. 1,632
H4227 35.5 gr. 1,776 Max
H110/W296 3.0 gr. 1,713
H110/W296 38.0 gr. 1,836 Max
Lil’Gun 36.0 gr. 1,752
Lil’Gun 40.0 gr. 1,852 Max
Titegroup 13.0 gr. 1,208
Titegroup 15.6 gr. 1,340
360 GR. CPB WLN GC Dia. .452″ COL: 2.190″
Trail Boss 7.0 gr. 712 19,600 PSI Start
Trail Boss 9.0 gr. 827 24,200 PSI Max
AA 5744 26.0 gr. 1,220 Use for a Reduced Load
AA 5744 31.5 gr. 1,480
AA 5744 32.0 gr. 1,371 (Personal: Spread=82 – Hi=1,471 Lo=1,335)
AA 5744 32.0 gr. 1,353 (Personal: Spread=40 – Hi=1,374 Lo=1,334)
AA 5744 34.0 gr. 1,431 (Personal: Spread=34 – Hi=1,452 Lo=1,418)(excellent load & hot)
AA 5744 35.0 gr. 1,640 59,800 2.199 MAX
No 9 27.0 gr. 1,450
No 9 30.0 gr. 1,580 60,438 2.199 MAX
4100 29.7 gr. 1,450
4100 33.0 gr. 1,595 59,100 2.199 MAX
395 Grain CPB WLN GC(Hodgdon)(Cast Performance Bullet, Wide Lead Nose, Gas Check)
H4198 35.0 gr. 1,484 FPS
H4198 38.0C gr. 1,596 Max
H4227 28.0 gr. 1,516
H4227 32.0 gr. 1,647 Max
H110/W296 30.0 gr. 1,647 Max
H110/W296 34.0 gr. 1,553
Lil’Gun 33.0 gr. 1,693 Max
Lil’Gun 36.8 gr. 1,796 Max
Titegroup 12.0 gr. 1,138
Titegroup 14.6 gr. 1,255 max
395 GR. CPB WLN GC Dia. .452″ COL: 2.185″
Trail Boss 7.0 695 21,100 PSI Start
Trail Boss 8.0 754 24,000 PSI Max
395 GR. LFP GC Dia. .452″ (IN A .45 LONG COLT CASE, PLEASE NOTE THIS FACT!)
TiteGroup 10.0 gr. fps Avg. Hi=1129, Lo-1051, Spread=77.7

pretty good load using the .45 colt case. Also try .454 Casull case

500 GR. LFP Dia. .452″ (My personal bullet from a Montana Moulds pouring)
This mother kicks like a mule. Lil’Gun 30 gr. 1,438 fps Avg. Hi=1535, Lo=1385, Spread=150.1 MAX Load.
Heavy recoil.
2295 foot pounds of energy, and a Taylor KO factor of 46.3 (note, I had to seat the bullet out further than the crimp ring to get the powder in,
and crimped just enough to clear the revolver chamber of the .460 S&W).
This is 500 gr. bullet

Loads for the .460S&W Magnum direct from Hodgdon

Discussion:

Trail Boss is great for lead bullet loads at low velocities. It’s quite bulky and will fill the case beyond half full for most loads (making a double charge evident if it happened).

Accurate (XMP)5744 is one of my favorite powders that I use in my .45 Colt and other calibers. It seems to be less “case position sensitive” than others I have used. And only a few more grains (to MAX) is a compressed load, so it uses a lot of the case space.

I have used Titegroup & Lil’ Gun and I like them a lot. Tightgroup is a very light powder for its bulk, so it fills the case about 3/4 when seating a big lead GC bullet.

Just started using some Ramshot powders, and the “Enforcer” seems ideal for this caliber.

UNIQUE (more later) – Using around 10-12 grains for bullets from 240 grain, plain base, thru 440 grain (lead, gas check), were mild loads and the spread was quite good for loads tested above. Quite a difference in velocity with bullet weight (see tables above).

*
AA(XMP)5744, AA 1680, AA 4100 are products of Accurate Arms Company
Tightgroup, Longshot, Lil’Gun, H110, H4227 are products of Hodgdon Powders.
IMR Trail Boss (formerly DuPont) Powder Company, Winchester, Components Div.
Alliant (formerly Hercules) Powders: Unique, 2400 & Power Pistol

References: Accurate Arms Co. Alliant Powder Co. Reloaders’ Guide – – Hodgdon’s Reloaders Website- – Hodgdon Tech Support – – Speer Reloading Manual, #12 – – Winchester Reloading Components Manual, 14th edition – – Lyman Piston & Revolver Reloading Handbook, 2nd edition. – – VihtaVuori Oy Company, – Numerous magazine articles on reloading special calibers and personal loads where noted. Ramshot Powder Company on-line guide 2007.