458 Win Mag comparison to its peers-375,416,404

Nhoro

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Hi All,

The debate has raged about the 458 win mag for years and I just wanted to cut through the bull doo doo and try to compare some well loved calibres and the math behind their reputation. In the picture below, I have put down some facts and figures that are used to compare ballistics performance and then done some sums with those.Sorry it is all metric but I have put in the imperial units next door for most. Most columns are self explanatory but I have done a column of energy per mm2 of cross sectional area. My theory is that energy is what does the penetrating and X sectional area is a measure of the resistance to penetration ie the size of the hole / the energy available to make the hole. It just allows a comparison of different calibres.

So here are my comments:
1/ 450 gr bullets from a 458 have the same sectional density as a 300 gr .375 bullet and have more energy per x sectional area than a 404 J. Maths suggests penetration would be in between those two ie less than 375 but more than 404 J.
2/ 458 win mag 500 gr at 1900 fps has significantly less energy per x sectional area than any of the others -30 to 40 %. This puts a number to the old stories from elephant culls etc. 30 -40 % less penetration would be a problem.
3/ Full power 458 win mag bullets are comfortably between 404 J and 375/416 in energy per x sectional area. That would suggest the penetration is between those.
4/ 375 and 416 rigby are highest in energy/xsectional area and in reputation for good penetration.

Conclusion: This figure of energy per Xsecetional area seems to predict penetration quite well and follows all the well known opinions. So I think the 458 win mag with 450 gr is a real option for dangerous game and the 480 and 500 gr are even better. The numbers put it right in the middle of well respected calibres, between the 404 and 375/416. Let the games begin !

Calibre comparison.png
 
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crs

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Interesting and thanks for putting in the effort.

Have done no such computations, but our experience with 450 grain .458 bullets at 2150 fps on buff and ele match your calculations.
 

BeeMaa

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Good numbers you have there, but it remains a fact that the 458LOTT lived up to the hype that the 458WM claimed...and never obtained.
Althought the recoil of the 458LOTT is more in line with the 470NE, I would still consider it a contemporary of the 458WM.
 

Nhoro

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Good numbers you have there, but it remains a fact that the 458LOTT lived up to the hype that the 458WM claimed...and never obtained.
Althought the recoil of the 458LOTT is more in line with the 470NE, I would still consider it a contemporary of the 458WM.
Interesting observations. In theory,recoil from the 470 should be the same as the win mag. Same bullet at the same velocity. Most people put the Lott a bit higher.. but so much depends on the rifle. I have fired a 500 NE that is more comfortable than my 458 win mag. But it weighs several pounds more !
 

Kawshik Rahman

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I am not very well read on ballistics , however l may only give my personal experience with the matter. When l was a professional Shikari in Darjeeling , India from 1962 to 1970 , the only calibres brought by clients for shooting thick skinned animals ( namely Gaur , or Indian Bison ) were the 9.3 millimeter cartridge by mauser , the magnum .375 by Holland and Holland and the magnum .458 by Winchester. In regards to the magnum .458 by Winchester , l will give two incidents . One good and one bad.
Screenshot_20191006-203431_01_01.png

This Gaur weighed in the ambit of 2000 pounds and was killed by my client who used a double barrel rifle calibrated for magnum .458 by Winchester made by the firm , Holland and Holland. It worked splendidly on the creature , using one soft head 510 grain bullet and one 500 grain metal envelope blunt head solid bullet ( from firm , Winchester ).

However , l had one other client who also went for a Gaur Shikar with us and he carried a magnum .458 Winchester caliber bolt operation rifle made by the firm , Birmingham Small Arms which used 500 grain metal envelope bullets from the firm , Hornady. We almost lost our lives in this incident and the full account of that incident can be read in an article l have written here , called " The Gaur Shikar which went very terribly wrong " and photographs of that incident also.
I personally never had hesitation guiding clients who would bring magnum .458 Winchester rifle to Shikar.
However , my former Shikar partner was very apprehensive of this cartridge. In his view , he compared it to the magnum .375 cartridge and always believed that if the .375 cartridge has a 76 millimeter case of powder to propell a 300 grain bullet , then the .458 which used a 500 grain bullet ( 200 grains heavier ) should have a case at least as large ( if not larger ) than a .375 to accommodate a correspondingly large charge of powder.
But please do not treat our view as gospel , because we were just two young men at the time who were not very well read about mathematical ballistics values and merely made judgements from what we observed . Also , much has changed in the five decades l have been retired . I
hope l was of assistance .
 

Forrest Halley

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you're losing me a bit in the explanation.
I feel as though the Indian gentleman's anecdote is working its way around toward being a proponent of the Lott over the standard .458. The proportionality of the case to the projectile and the powder charge and it all makes a great deal of sense. It's a quite simple manner of gauging penetration potential. What he's saying is correct in that the .458 should have a larger powder charge to propel a bullet such as a 500 grainer. Nothing in ballistics is free, except for the 6.5 Creedmore....joking. The one man is 50/50 on the .458 and the other found it lacking based on case volume is what I got out of it.
 

Kawshik Rahman

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I feel as though the Indian gentleman's anecdote is working its way around toward being a proponent of the Lott over the standard .458. The proportionality of the case to the projectile and the powder charge and it all makes a great deal of sense. It's a quite simple manner of gauging penetration potential. What he's saying is correct in that the .458 should have a larger powder charge to propel a bullet such as a 500 grainer. Nothing in ballistics is free, except for the 6.5 Creedmore....joking. The one man is 50/50 on the .458 and the other found it lacking based on case volume is what I got out of it.
Forrest Haley
That is very accurate. Thank you for helping to organize my words with better English and scientific analysis.
 

adzhoo

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Energy/mm2 is too favorable, imho, to fast calibers and doesn’t give justice to the .404.
If you extend the calculation to .378wm, or .460wm, you will of course show very high ratios for them, way higher than the good old proven .404... way higher than their value on the field.

I believe in sectional density, don’t take me wrong. Mass is important.
As of speed: I think there is a soft spot on speed reached by the .404, or the .416, and the .458 Lott that makes them the classical they are, for good reasons. The .375 needs a bit more boost but it’s not a stopping caliber anyway.
Higher speed than that only brings more recoil, blast, issues with bullets not conceived for that..
 
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Ray B

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Seems to me the properties of a cartridge are measured: frontal area, mass per square inch, millimeter of frontal area, ratio of frontal area to mass, and momentum. As noted previously, I got lost in the listings and didn't see a way of reducing the information down to these basics.
 

fourfive8

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To grasp full concepts involved, the difference between (kinetic) energy and momentum must be understood. The points about the relationship between frontal area and mass are well taken and can be applied to the original premise (comparing the 458 to other cals)... in basic terms.
 

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