It seems the .458WM really is underpowered and lacks penetration.

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  • It seems the .458WM really is underpowered and lacks penetration.

    Yep, according to this article I stumbled across.

    'Safety in bear country protective measures and bullet performance at short range.'

    In the article they do a ballistic comparison between various high powered rifles including the .460Wby, .458WM, .375H&H, .338WM, .300WM, .300Wby, 8mmRM and 45/70 to name a few

    Here are some quotes from the article;

    "In overall ballistic performance, the .458 ranked
    first. Bullet penetration was the deepest
    of all the cartridges tested - average
    depth, 19 inches. Striking energy was
    79 percent of the .460 Weatherby (rank-
    ed second), part of which may be attrib-
    uted to the extra 10 gr of bullet weight
    in the .458. The bullet expanded well
    (4.6 times) and retained 82 percent of
    the unfired weight. The 510-gr Winches-
    ter factory bullets used in the .458 did
    not fragment, but the 500-gr bullets of
    the .460 Weatherby did. This was the
    major reason for the first-place ranking.
    Recoil in the 9.4-lb rifle was 54.7 ft-lb or
    about 71 percent of that of the .460 in a
    rifle that was 1.3 lb heavier. The lesser
    recoil in a lighter rifle and better bullet
    performance make the .458 Winchester
    preferable to the .460 Weatherby. A
    short-barreled, bolt-action .458 would
    be an excellent rifle for an experienced
    rifleman. Shortening the barrel to 22 or
    even 20 inches should not reduce ballis-
    tic performance much. Any weight re-
    duction, however, would increase

    This is what was written about the .460 Wby which must be noted was loaded to Lott velocities;

    The .460 Weatherby Magnum cartridge ranked
    second in overall performance. The
    large-caliber, heavy bullet at relatively
    high velocity had good, but not the deep-
    est, penetration. Although the chrono-
    graphed velocity did not approach the
    advertised velocity, bullet energy ex-
    ceeded that of the .458 Winchester by
    over 1300 ft-lb. Average retained bullet
    weight was 65 percent of the unfired
    weight. The bullets had a tendency to
    fragment. It appears the high striking
    energy exceeded the design limits of
    the bullet at the short test range.
    Cross-sectional area expansion was
    adequate and overall bullet perform-
    ance good, but not the best.
    The high overall performance of the
    .460 Weatherby was obtained in a
    heavy-recoiling, 10.7-lb rifle with a
    26-inch barrel. The heavy
    recoil made it very uncomfortable to shoot.
    The stock shape, heavy weight,
    and long barrel detract from the utility
    of the rifle in the heavy bush of coastal
    Alaska. This could be ameliorated if the
    rifle were remodeled, but shortening
    the barrel to 20 inches would lower
    velocity and energy. This might be
    beneficial if it also reduced the
    tendency of the bullet to fragment;
    however, there is little reason to reduce
    the .460 if a .458 is available.
    A short-barreled .460 would have tre-
    mendous muzzle blast, and the recoil
    of a .460 Weatherby less than 10 lb in
    weight would be so severe that it would
    be difficult for the shooter to recover
    from the recoil and operate the bolt to
    rapidly chamber a second cartridge."

    I think the above statement goes to show the importance of premium projectiles in DG calibers.

    And finally to sum it up;

    "A .458 Winchester Magnum with a 510gn
    soft-point bullet. For a shooter who can
    handle the recoil of this cartridge, a
    bolt-action rifle in .458 Winchester
    Magnum is the surest weapon available."

    So there you go. Sure, it's an old article but is was done in an unbiased manner and all calibers were fired at the same medium and at the same distance... and the .458 held it's own... just as some of knew it would.
    I have no intention of opening up a can of worms in regards to the .458 being better than this or that, but I do believe that the .458WM is now beyond criticism. It now does exactly what it was st out to do and thats to fire a 500gn bullet at 2150 fps. This is what it was designed to do, this is what it does and this is all it needs to do. History has shown time and time again that a 500gn bullet at 2150 fps is absolutely adequate for all that can be hunted. And this it does with no drama's or horror stories that have (rightly or wrongly) plagued this cartridge. It really is all it was meant to be.
    "A gun is like a parachute..
    If you NEED one, and don't have one,
    you'll probably never need one again!"

    You'll probably never NEED a gun. In fact I hope you never do. BUT IF you do, you will probably need it worse than anything you've ever needed before in your life...

  • #2
    It seems the .458WM really is underpowered and lacks penetration.
    Yes, I concur.


    • #3
      I know a cranky bear is a bad-azz, but Jeez, what do they think they're made of?

      Can't see how a 45-70 with a hard cast 500g bullet wouldn't be plenty.

      Good comparison on the 458 and 460 by the way. And you are quite right, 2100fps is plenty for those big'uns.


      • #4
        There's no reason you can't use your .204r or .223 on a large brown bear, I've shot balloons at 100m with them and they go right through. An average balloon measures 8-10"

        Besides shooting a 590gr bullet at those velocities ruins too much meat and no one wants to be out in the cold for less than 200kg of bear jerky

        On a seriouse note though those are some big numbers there and not sure I'd volunteer to do the load development on a 9-10lb rifle shooting 500 rainers



        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          I love my Zastava 458 Mag in Boyd T H stock,with Houge grind to fit recoil pad.I have never had a bruse after 900 plus shots fired,with quite a few of them off a bipod.The 458 does the job asked every time. Cheers Allan

      • #5
        Prompts the question, anyone had bear meat?


        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          Hi bobnob,No not prone with bi pod, but bi pod sitting,bench working out accurate loads to 300mtrs,off car bonnet,logs and fence posts hunting.Cheers Allan

        • Snag
          Snag commented
          Editing a comment
          Originally posted by bobnob" post=30922
          Prompts the question, anyone had bear meat?
          God No!

          I'm a vegetarian. I can't bear meat.