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Thread: 458

  1. #1
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    Default 458

    I have been reading this forum for a few months and was wondering about something. There have been discussions on almost every caliber known to man. But very little has been mentioned about the 458. Is that because the caliber is not a combination stopping power and long range gun like the 375 and 338? Or is because very few in Alaska use it?

  2. #2

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    Not nearly as sexy as a 338 or a 45-70.

    Actually, the limitation on the caliber is in trajectory. It's a fairly close range number compared to the 338 or 375, but within its range it's got lots of whop for anything you want to do.

    I've got a couple of them, but use them almost exclusively for cast bullets, whether for paper or game. I prefer to use it with full power loads rather than a souped up 45-70 in bear country, relegating the 45-70 to lesser pressure loads in line with the caliber's origins. But that puts me in the minority by a long shot.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I think you'll find that most people just don't cotton to the recoil of the 458, hence it just isn't that popular. Handloaded with a 350 gr bullet @ 2400-2500 fps it has the same trajectory as the 375 H&H w/ 300's, and recoil is in the same ball park.

    The other thing is, the only animal such a rig would be used for is the biggest bears, and there aren't that many people that hunt just the big bears. And if I were to build a dedicated bear rig, it would be a 416 pushing 325's or 350's 2700 fps.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    Its a good round with good bullets and it keeps the 45/70 alive trying to get close to it. When a 458winmag thread starts most times it turns into a 458Lott and 460 weatherby thread stateing how much better they are. I like the 458

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    The Kid loves .458

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    Default 458

    Not that the 458 Win Mag will ever be the Rodney Dangerfield of stopping rifles, it has suffered from people trying to make it more than it is. With modern powders the gold standard of 2150 fps for a 500 grain bullet is readily obtainable... and Hornady has ammo that pushes beyond 2200 fps... which is really enough of a good thing.

    It really isn't needed here, but still does daily duty in animal control in Africa. One can always extend out the over all length of the cartridge, if the rifle magazine allows, and up the power of the 458 since the throat is generous. I've seen a CZ 550 gobble up a 3.6 in long 458 with a Trophy bonded Bearclaw that a Ruger Lott couldn't chamber.

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    Default Too much, too heavy & too little

    The 458 WM is a good cartridge, but it has several drawbacks.

    For one, it has too much terminal performance for most NA uses. There is simply not a need for the kind of penetration that a 458 will deliver. I have not seen a beast that needs a 450-500 grain bullet in the wilds of NA. It has too much recoil for most hunters and very few actually enjoy shooting full power loads in the 458, though I might add I would be in the minority and I personally love shooting the big 458.

    It is too heavy. The normal gun weight is 9.5-10 lbs without a scope. Add a scope, ammo and sling and you are easily over 11 pounds. Said another way, 458s are not hiking friendly rifles. Perhaps if you needed the terminal ballistics I would feel different, but it is hard to convince myself to carry a rifle that weighs 30% more than a 338 WM when I have no need for extra terminal performance.

    Its external ballistics provide too little in regards to trajectory. It has ample power, but its velocity is such that it can't get out of the short range class(up to 150-200 yards) and its recoil doesn't commend it to shooting from the prone position. I'm not saying it can't be used at further ranges, but that it can become a handicap in some situations. The 338-375 class rifles have more than adequate terminal ballistics for NA big game and are much more conducive to the rare 250-300 yard shot. Also the ammo companies offer too little by way of ammo selection. In the 458 there just aren't NA loadings available from a major manufacturer. The 338 WM has loads readily available from 180-250 grains and the 375s from 235-300 grains. The 458 is basically 500-510 grains. There is too little versatility with factory ammo.

    The 458 is a niche cartridge. If you need its terminal performance no lesser cartridge is as good. However, if you do not need its terminal performance (as in NA big game) it is simply too much, too heavy, and too little.

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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Agree with what a lot of posters here have already said.

    Too much gun, too heavy, too little range and not really needed for even big bears. You see a few floating around up here but mostly with guys that bought them for Africa and are just squeezing some additional use out of them.

    I like the round myself and you see a few that use it but most of the big bear hunters want something with more range as a bear hunt is a relatively expensive and time consuming endeavor to hedge on a shorter range round. I bet I've seen 20 to 1 in .375 and 100 to 1 in .338s.- both of which are much more versatile for NA game.

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    I have a custom 458 that I built and I absolutely love the darn thing. I used it for pretty much all of my big game hunting this year. Matter of fact I just returned from Kodiak yesterday where I used the 458 for a one shot kill on a darn nice buck. I shoot the various different 350gr bullets most of the time and I used a Hornady on this last hunt. I find that the 350 gr bullets and handloading make the 458 a little more flexible for use up here, giving a flatter trajectory and making the round more pleasant to shoot and practice with. And brother let me tell you when I smacked that buck at around 200 yds with that thing it sounded like you hit a trash can with a baseball bat, I was a little suprised to see that he trotted off after the shot but he only went about 25 feet. Perfect shot through the pump station with no meat damage at all.

    My 458 is a little on the heavy side for most hunters, it weighs about 13.5lbs with sling scope and ammo, but that also makes it very easy on the shoulder and easy to shoot off hand. Besides weight isn't a huge issue for me cause I'm young and TUFF D-U-M-B TUFF.

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    It is too heavy. The normal gun weight is 9.5-10 lbs without a scope
    Got a 7 pound 458 here if you want a light one

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wildalaska View Post
    Got a 7 pound 458 here if you want a light one
    Oh you mean that little beauty I dubbed "The Punisher". Nice rifle great for carrying, probably gonna suck on the bench.

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    Default .458 popularity

    Looking at the popularity of the .45-70 it is hard to see why the .458 isn't more common. Most of us handload and you get lot of flexiabiity that way. I usually shoot cast bullets in mine to keep the cost and recoil down- even with cast bullets it is plenty powerfull for anything I plan to encounter or am trying to avoid. 350 gr. jacked bullets are plenty for any bear and do reduce the recoil. Remember all the animals and people killed with the .45-70 and 405 gr. bullets.

    I recall back in the early - mid 80's - I don't know when they stopped - the AK F&G stated that the .458 Win. was the most reliable big bear stopping cartridge. Don't remember any more details- perhaps I could find something if I did some research.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    I recall back in the early - mid 80's - I don't know when they stopped - the AK F&G stated that the .458 Win. was the most reliable big bear stopping cartridge. Don't remember any more details- perhaps I could find something if I did some research.
    Believe it or not I've got a .pdf copy of that report. USFS generated it way back when (early 80's I believe). It's pretty interesting reading. I'd love to see it redone with modern bullets to see how it turns out.

    I did correspond with one of the folks who helped do the research in Juneau. Pretty interesting methodology.

    I'd be happy to email a copy if folks will pm me an email address or to a moderator if they can post it in a link (not sure how to attach a document...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Believe it or not I've got a .pdf copy of that report...
    Apparently it was too good to be true! I appears my wife has "reorganized" my files and its so "organized" I can't find anything. Its gotta be around here somewhere- I'll keep looking for those that expressed interest in the document.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tvfinak View Post
    .. I recall back in the early - mid 80's - I don't know when they stopped - the AK F&G stated that the .458 Win. was the most reliable big bear stopping cartridge. Don't remember any more details- perhaps I could find something if I did some research.
    I recall reading that when it first came out and at least every other year since. It likely was a pretty useful report back then. But the bullet offerings have mostly made the analysis obsolete in IMO. A lot of its conclusions are probably correct, but the report was based almost entirely on results with conventional soft point bullets. During most of the time frame analyzed, the Nosler Partition was essentially the only non-fragmenting high-velocity bullet widely available, and still few used it. I'm not saying it's not useful, but it's not based on the bullet offerings that are vastly different from those before thirty years ago. for example, I read in one of Col. Boddington's articles/books about how he shot a brown bear with a .375 H&H (with the conventional soft-point bullet) decades ago. Now, I know it's anectotal, but his bullets did not penetrate or perform very well compared to the many animals, including brown bear, he has shot in dacades since with the 375 H&H with the superior bullets that have become widely available in the last 30 years or so. Just my $0.02, but I would like to see the same research with modern bullets that have a much better penetration capability.

    I would think the 458 Win Mag would be a great load only for someone who wanted a rifle only to hunt brown bears in AK as well as really big and dangerous game in far off lands. I can't imagine wanting to hunt carribou or even moose with one, though it would probably work if you could lug it to where you need to shoot and the range was less than 300 yds.

    My personal interest in the .458 grew when I noticed that the Fed. Premium 400-gr TBBC loading, when signted in at 200 yds (3.5" high at 100 yds--it's peak height), it is only 5.5" low at 250 yds, which is about as far as you would want to shoot something that big--though it shoots only 14.0" low at 300 yds. It's still pretty potent at 250 yds: 1,730 fps/2,660 ft-lbs. Surprisingly, this had as good or better down-range ballistics as the 400-gr .416 Rigby & Rem. Mag. loadings I could find.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Kid View Post
    Oh you mean that little beauty I dubbed "The Punisher". Nice rifle great for carrying, probably gonna suck on the bench.
    That's why Lead Sleds were invented!

  17. #17

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    I'm not man enough to pack a lead sled on hunts, so I do all my shooting without. A hundred rounds a session, once a week for three months before a hunt teaches you all you need to know about taming recoil from a hunting gun.

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    Default Many short shooting intervals

    Shooting a heavy recoiling rifle or pistol for only a relatively few rounds more frequently over a longer period of time is better in numerous ways than trying to fire many rounds once or twice right before the hunt. With a nasty enough gun you can develop a flinch before you know as the gun becomes inceasingly painfull to pull the trigger.

    I like to load inexpensive cast bullets and plink with my hunting rifle all year round - I seldom shoot a .22 except for practice with tha gun or bulleye pistol practice. Even with a .458 I can load 250 gr. bullets and put many rounds throught the rifle year round at minimum cost.


    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    I'm not man enough to pack a lead sled on hunts, so I do all my shooting without. A hundred rounds a session, once a week for three months before a hunt teaches you all you need to know about taming recoil from a hunting gun.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

  19. #19

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    Agreed, though take a close look at the Lyman 462560 for the 458. It's virtually a one-holer at 50 yards and not much bigger at 100 when launched at 1300-1500 fps with any of several powders. Snort it up with a stiff charge of 3031 for around 1950fps and the accuracy is nearly as good, while it gives you the full "experience" of the 458 and cheap practice with good stout loads.

    It tips the scale at almost 550 grains when cast from wheelweights. It's also got a sizable meplat, so it's a real game whacker. In truth it's about my favorite bullet for the 458, whether on game or paper.

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    Default heavy bullets

    I recently ran across some of that bullet no. in hollow point that I must cast many years ago. I think it was my friend's mold, I didn't find it my accumulation. I'm getting ready to load up a bunch of .458s in the next few weeks, I'll try it again in the .458 as I think I was using it in a .45-70 before (before was like in early -mid 70's).

    The heavy bullets will certainly give full load recoil at a fraction of the cost of jacketed. I usually don't fire too many of those at a time but the lighter weight ones I can shoot a fair number of comfortably.

    The "lightweight" mold is actually 290 gr. not 250 gr. - #457491. I have it in a double cavity so I can throw out bullets fairly fast but it will drain down a pot of lead pretty quick but not like the 462560 etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post
    Agreed, though take a close look at the Lyman 462560 for the 458. It's virtually a one-holer at 50 yards and not much bigger at 100 when launched at 1300-1500 fps with any of several powders. Snort it up with a stiff charge of 3031 for around 1950fps and the accuracy is nearly as good, while it gives you the full "experience" of the 458 and cheap practice with good stout loads.

    It tips the scale at almost 550 grains when cast from wheelweights. It's also got a sizable meplat, so it's a real game whacker. In truth it's about my favorite bullet for the 458, whether on game or paper.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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