S&W 460XVR Optics and Ammo

posted on June 16, 2009

While the 460XVR is supplied with open sights, the handgun’s full potential can only be realized through the use of an optic. Fortunately, Smith & Wesson anticipated this and drilled and tapped the top strap for a scope base.

Smith & Wesson recommends that only quality steel bases and rings be used, and highly touts those manufactured by Warne. In fact, both can be purchased directly from the company. When mounting the base and rings, Loc-Tite is absolutely necessary for prevention of screws backing out under the .460 S&W Mag.’s stout recoil.

When choosing an optic, select only quality scopes designed for, and tested on, big-bore handguns. Bargain-priced scopes will not hold up to the stress imposed by this cartridge! The top choices are Leupold’s FXII (fixed-power) and VXIII (variable-power) handgun scopes, as well as those in Bushnell’s Elite 3200 line. If possible, opt for a matte finish, as those with a gloss finish tend to move more readily from recoil. A third ring can help prevent this, and is recommended. While I’ve yet to try them, a red-dot optic should make for a nice addition, given sufficient quality.

When mounting an optic, ensure its bell is not located directly above the top ports of the compensator, otherwise venting gases could not only mar the scope’s finish, but cause structural damage. While this isn’t a problem with the 460XVR, it could be with the 5-inch-barreled 460V, particularly with longer scopes and the jacketed-bullet compensator.

In the period since its introduction, .460 S&W Mag. ammunition has greatly diversified with regard to manufacturer and type. Let’s examine what’s currently available.

While the two, 200-gr. loads - Hornady’s SST, now with Flex Tip Expanding technology, and Cor-Bon’s Barnes XPB – the cartridge was founded on are still available, the latter company has several other options as well. In fact, Cor-Bon’s loads are as diverse as they come: a 275-gr. Barnes XPB, a 300-gr. jacketed soft point, a 325-gr. bonded-core soft point and a 395-gr. hard-cast, lead flat-nose.

Although Buffalo Bore is renowned for its +P (plus-pressure) and +P+ (plus-pressure-plus) loads, such are not needed with the .460 S&W Mag.’s 65,000-p.s.i. MAP. Still, the company has two ammunition choices available: a 300-gr. jacketed flat nose and a 360-gr. lead, long flat-nose.

Federal, Magtech and Winchester each bring something interesting to the table. Like Cor-Bon, Federal loads the Barnes’ all-copper 275-gr. XPB, but what sets it apart from the competition is its reasonably priced 260-gr. bonded-core Fusion load. Magtech has a 225-gr. solid copper hollow point round, but it also has a 260-gr. full-metal-jacket load—the only such available. Winchester has three .460 S&W Mag. ammunition choices, including the new 260-gr. Dual Bond, 260-gr. Partition Gold and the only low-recoil load, the Super-X Reduced Recoil round featuring a 250-gr. jacketed hollow point. Don’t take this load lightly—at 1,450 fps it’s no slouch.

If you can’t find a suitable .460 S&W Mag. load, there’s always .454 Casull, .45 Colt and .45 S&W Schofield. That’s the beauty of the 460XVR.


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