Parent case .454 Casull
|Place of origin United States|
|Designer Hornady / Smith & Wesson|
The .460 S&W Magnum round is a powerful revolver cartridge designed for long-range handgun hunting in the Smith & Wesson Model 460 revolver.
The .460 S&W round is a lengthened, more powerful version of the popular .454 Casull, itself a longer and more powerful version of the .45 Colt. Consequently, firearms that fire .460 S&W are usually capable of firing the less powerful .454 Casull, .45 Colt and .45 Schofield rounds, but this must be verified with each firearm's manufacturer. For instance, some lever-action firearms are designed to handle cartridges within a certain length and bullet profile range. The reverse, however, does not apply: .45 Schofield, .45 Colt and .454 Casull handguns generally cannot safely fire .460 S&W rounds—nor can they even chamber the .460 S&W because of the longer case length. The length of the .460 S&W was intended to fully use the overall length (2.30") of the S&W X frame cylinder thereby increasing its powder capacity.
The .460 cartridge achieves high velocities by operating at chamber pressures (65,000 psi max) normally reserved for magnum rifle cartridges.
Smith & Wesson says that the .460 S&W is the highest velocity revolver cartridge in the world, firing bullets at up to 2409 ft/s. With Buffalo Bore's loadings, the .460 S&W can achieve 2,826 ft lbf of energy by driving a 300 grain .452 caliber bullet at 2060 ft/s, and 2,860 ft lbf of energy by driving a heavier 360 grain .452 caliber bullet at 1900 ft/s. For comparison, Hornady's 9249 load for the .500 S&W Magnum cartridge offers a bit more energy at the muzzle, achieving 2,868 ft lbf (3,888 J) by driving a 300 grain (19 g) FTX bullet at 2,075 ft/s (632 m/s). Buffalo Bore's loading for the .500 S&W Magnum cartridge offers much less energy at the muzzle, achieving only 2,579 ft lbf by driving a 440 grain .500 caliber bullet at 1625 ft/s.