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Thread: Best "big bear" bullet for S&W 460 and S&W 500 magnums

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    Default Best "big bear" bullet for S&W 460 and S&W 500 magnums

    A few years ago I went on a DIY black bear hunt to Prince of Wales Island in SE Alaska. I was fortunate enough to take a good sized "blackie" with my FA 454 Casull. I was shooting factory FA 260 grain bullets.

    My "dream hunt" is to take a grizzly/brown bear with a handgun. My primary hunting handgun would be a S&W 460XVR 8 3/8" barrel with a variable scope and I have a backup of a S&W 500 mag with a 4" barrel for anything up close and personal.

    What bullet would you all recommend for both the 460 and 500? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

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    Member Timber Smith's Avatar
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    I'm sure some of the more experienced pistoleros will be along to chime in, as I am but a mere novice when it comes to hunting big game with a revolver. Considering limited knowledge, I believe either a Barnes or Swift bullet would punch the ticket. In fact, I will attempt to take a good bear this coming spring with a revolver and plan on using a Swift A-frame bullet. A lot of advice and knowledge available from the experienced folks here:

    http://www.handgunhunt.com/


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    I'm certainly no expert, I've never knocked down a bear with my 460, but I carry Corbon 395gr Hardcast for bear defense.

    With 1525 fps & 2040 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle, the numbers look good to me and as far as I know the flat hardcast bullet is known for penetration on big tough game.

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    Although I've never killed an animal with one, I've been extremely impressed with Hornady's 300 gr. XTP in my 460V. They are the most accurate of any bullets I've loaded, and my penetration tests (unconventional - hardwood logs) convinced me they would work quite well on big brown fuzzy. I carry alternating rounds of the above and 345 gr. hardcast lead boolits for bear protection in my 460.

    The other 299,300,000 people can have it.

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    I have not taken a brown but moose and elk with my 460V using a 395g hard cast over LilGun load that mimics the Corbon (they use H110/W296 and same Cast Ppreformance bullet) load posted by normK. They go right on through, do a fine job and are what I carry all the time for defense . . . I plink with cheaper smaller cast though.

    Now, there is so much penetration from a 395g cast out of a 460 that I have been playing with the 300g XTP to get some expansion and less over penetration, more smack less poke as it were, to take better advantage of that 460 speed. I believe 300g XTP will become my hunting bullet and the 395 cast will be kept for defense. But who knows, I may just use XTP for everything after I see how it kills.
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    The heaviest flat nose cast bullet you can get loaded to 1200/1400fps. Nothing else is going to be any better in real life no matter what paper figures say.

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    I think the paper figures agree with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    I have not taken a brown but moose and elk with my 460V using a 395g hard cast over LilGun load that mimics the Corbon (they use H110/W296 and same Cast Ppreformance bullet) load posted by normK. They go right on through, do a fine job and are what I carry all the time for defense . . . I plink with cheaper smaller cast though.

    Now, there is so much penetration from a 395g cast out of a 460 that I have been playing with the 300g XTP to get some expansion and less over penetration, more smack less poke as it were, to take better advantage of that 460 speed. I believe 300g XTP will become my hunting bullet and the 395 cast will be kept for defense. But who knows, I may just use XTP for everything after I see how it kills.


    Over penetration, what's that? I like and want an exit. Penetration is your friend, it is holes through vitals that kill

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    Premium Member MarineHawk's Avatar
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    jwp, I assume that, by "overpenetration," AD doesn't mean that he doesn't want the bullet to penetrate. Bigger and deeper holes both are good. For the same mass/velocity bulllet, widers holes mean shallower holes--i.e. expansion comes at the expense of penetration. But, if you have crazy amounts of penetration out of a 400gr .45 caliber bullet, depending on how much that is and what you're shooting, you can afford to sacrifice some of the excess with an expanding bullet so that the bullet might be exiting at say 200 fps, instead of 500 fps (made up numbers) but make a bigger hole.

    For example, for bear defense, in my .454, I used a 360gr HC WFN bullet moving at 1,500fps, but I doubt I would not use that on deer or even elk. Something like the Speer 300gr JHP, 1,600fps combo would have more than enough penetration on those I think, but also make a bigger hole. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my thinking. In some states, you have to use expanding bullets for hunting by regulation, though I don't know how often they try to enforce that.

  10. #10

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    The 360 grain WLFN HC at 1400FPS will exit a Bison and will also put a deer or elk on the ground pronto. How do I know? I have seen it do so

    The 400 grain bullets in 45 cal I don't get or see the need for, the same goes for the 460 & 500 S&W X-Frame revolvers

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarineHawk View Post
    jwp, I assume that, by "overpenetration," AD doesn't mean that he doesn't want the bullet to penetrate. Bigger and deeper holes both are good. For the same mass/velocity bulllet, widers holes mean shallower holes--i.e. expansion comes at the expense of penetration. But, if you have crazy amounts of penetration out of a 400gr .45 caliber bullet, depending on how much that is and what you're shooting, you can afford to sacrifice some of the excess with an expanding bullet so that the bullet might be exiting at say 200 fps, instead of 500 fps (made up numbers) but make a bigger hole.

    For example, for bear defense, in my .454, I used a 360gr HC WFN bullet moving at 1,500fps, but I doubt I would not use that on deer or even elk. Something like the Speer 300gr JHP, 1,600fps combo would have more than enough penetration on those I think, but also make a bigger hole. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my thinking. In some states, you have to use expanding bullets for hunting by regulation, though I don't know how often they try to enforce that.
    Yes, exactly. I donít know how much penetration Iím getting but way more than I need hunting. However if I dump 100g of weight pushed a tad faster and use an expanding bullet I bet I could still shoot end to end through anything with a bigger hole. Plus I get flatter long range shooting when I want to reach out improveing the kill zone and spending less time dragging run off moose out of cold skeeter ponds.

    Iím still learning what 460 will do . . . I know what 44mag, 45 Colt, 454, and other conventional rounds that have been around a while will do but 460 velocity opens doors in handgun hunting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADfields View Post
    Yes, exactly. I donít know how much penetration Iím getting but way more than I need hunting. However if I dump 100g of weight pushed a tad faster and use an expanding bullet I bet I could still shoot end to end through anything with a bigger hole. Plus I get flatter long range shooting when I want to reach out improveing the kill zone and spending less time dragging run off moose out of cold skeeter ponds.

    Iím still learning what 460 will do . . . I know what 44mag, 45 Colt, 454, and other conventional rounds that have been around a while will do but 460 velocity opens doors in handgun hunting.


    Most handgun bullets will over expand if driven as fast as a 460 is capable of an lose a tremendous amount of penetration. A wide meplat flat point hard cast will expand and or fragment if driven excessive.Not recommended for really large game

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    Thanks for all the replies, I really appreciate the information.

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    Grizzly Catridge also makes a "Punch Bullet" for the .460 that have tested superiorly in Linebaugh testing (FWIW).They are 320 gr with a fairly large meplat and will run close to 1900 out of the XVR.Being mostly brass with some lead fill in the rear this bullets will not expand in the least.

  15. #15

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    Best bullet for .454 Casull is Lyman #452651 cast from straight wheelweight alloy. I bought the Ruger SRH for bear defense and carry while fishing. The .44mag just no longer inspired my confidence. A SRH shooting 300gr cast bullets, maybe; but why mess around?

    I originally loaded the XTP and XTP Mag 300gr bullets. Stopped using them when I put my cast bullet and a hornady on the anvil and saw the cast bullet, water quenched, was much harder to deform with a 4lb hand sledge. The bullet has a flying pie-plate meplat which is a huge flatnose for maximum energy transmission. Probably won't need a max load with one of these in a .460 S&W, just load to the maximum you can reliably control shooting fast double-action. Save the max-loads for at night on the trail, when you're sleeping with your gun on your stomach just in case...

    Would like to have a bit extra length in my Casull cylinder for more variety in bullet seating, but those huge S&W handcannons just don't fill a need for me. Try the Lyman 452651 and run some penetration tests on timber. You will be amazed!

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