I have been reading many excellent discussions in these forums , some of which go back to 2011. I also made some notes about numbers. I found out something very interesting about the .458 Winchester magnum calibre which might interest some of my dear respected forum members . No less than 54 forum members here in the last eight years are vocally outspoken critics of this cartridge. No less than 70 forum members here had a rifle in this cartridge , but switched for something else eventually. No less than 42 forum members here believe that “ It works , but so many better options are available here today that l would not really consider it an option “ No less than 26 forum members here consider it a good cartridge which they would confidently use if they did not have anything better available. No less than 63 forum members here have one in their collection , but do not use it for hunting dangerous animals . However, there are at least 10 forum members here , who are very passionate about the cartridge and use ( or have used ) a .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifle as their primary rifle for many years . Today , on encouragement of my fellow forum members Foxi , Hoss Delgado and Kurpfalzjager , l have decided to write an article of my personal experiences and observations about this much debated cartridge , the .458 Winchester magnum calibre . I want to begin this article by saying two things : Firstly , l own every photograph used here except two , which were kindly provided to me by Hoss Delgado . Everything else here , is mine and mine alone. Secondly , l am not well read about the technical aspects of many modern fire arms and so do not consider myself an authority on this subject. I am merely describing my personal experiences with this cartridge and my personal observations. Many well read gentlemen may feel the need to correct me if l am incorrect about anything and l welcome that. Let us commence , dear readers . When l used to be a professional Shikari in Darjeeling , India from 1962 to 1970 , the largest calibre rifle ever brought to India for Shikar by any of my clients was a .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifle . A little bit of side information for my readers about India’s fire arms laws for foreign client Shikaris of this era . On paper , any fire arm of .45 bore was prohibited ever since the English colonial period. I actually called my friend , the retired Major Masud Rana ( who himself shot and killed a man-eating Royal Bengal tiger in 1979 ) to ask about the historical reason behind this decision. Rana, being an avid historian was bound to know the answer . Indeed , he did . The reason was because during the British colonial period in the late 1800s , many rebels had acquired .450 bore martini Henry rifles captured from old English military armories . In an attempt to ensure that the rebels cannot replenish their existing supplies of cartridges , the colonial government listed the any .450 bore as a prohibited bore in Colonial India ( how sound this decision was , is a whole other matter ) . This law was still in place after India’s independence in 1947. (Although , one can easily guess how tightly this law was actually enforced , if all . ) However , in 1964 , customs were finally allowing foreign client Shikaris to bring .458 Winchester calibre weapons into India and letting these rifles and cartridges pass through the customs . In six years , l have had close to two dozen foreign client Shikaris bring .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifles to Darjeeling, India for Shikar. Today , l shall talk about the more memorable ones . By far , close to 75 % of my clients used to bring a rifle calibrated for .375 Holland and Holland magnum . Around 10 % of my respected clients used to bring a 9.3 millimeter mauser calibre rifle ( interestingly enough , they were ALL continental sportsmen) . 10 % of them would bring a rifle in .458 Winchester magnum calibre and 5 % would invariably bring something else . While l personally consider a .375 Holland and Holland magnum to be perfectly adequate for anything on Allah / God’s green earth ( except perhaps a large bull elephant which l have no experience shooting ) , many of my clients felt the need for more “ stopping power “ ( exactly how important stopping power is , compared to correct aim is a different story , altogether) . This is where the .458 Winchester magnum calibre came into the picture. After the .375 Holland and Holland magnum calibre , it was the largest ever brought into India by my respected clients. In my previous articles “ Rifles for Royal Bengal tiger “ and “ Rifles for Gaur bison “ , l have already listed the different varieties of rifles brought to old India in this .458 Winchester magnum calibre and how l felt about each of them . So , l shall not bore my dear readers by being monotonous and repetitive. However , just in case a small summary is appropriate : Rifles without mauser type extracting claw device - Model 70 from Winchester , Model 700 from Remington , Birmingham Small Arms late pattern , Sauer model from Colt , Hi Power model from Browning . Rifles with mauser type extracting claw device - custom pieces built on military mauser mechanisms with changed barrels , Birmingham Small Arms early pattern . Double barrel rifle - Only one example . A bespoke piece from Holland and Holland . The .458 Winchester magnum cartridge was available in my time from the firms : Winchester , Remington and Hornady . The cartridge was loaded either with a metal envelope blunt head bullet of 500 grain weight , or a soft blunt head bullet of 510 grain weight . It’s advertised velocities were 2150 feet per second on their boxes ( give special attention to the word “ advertised “ ) . The question however , here is this : Can it do what it claims to do ? Observe this picture , kindly provided to me by fellow forum member , Hoss Delgado . It is a comparison of the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge with the beloved .375 Holland and Holland magnum cartridge. The cartridge case of the .375 bore is of 76 millimeter length . It fires a 300 grain bullet with superb penetration , because of that 76 millimeter cartridge case worth of propellant powder . The .458 Winchester magnum has a 500 grain bullet ( exactly 200 grains heavier ) , yet it has a 65 millimeter cartridge case length . An issue is very visibly evident . If the .458 Winchester magnum's bullet is heavier than the .375 Holland and Holland magnum bullet , then why does it have a smaller case worth of powder , instead of a larger case's worth of powder ? A favorite childhood author of mine , the Victorian era big game hunter , Sir Samuel White Baker once wrote that a heavier bullet always requires a proportionately larger charge of powder . Otherwise , it is like a heavy sword in the hands of a weak man . My late Shikari partner , Karim Chowdhury is in fact the very first person to point this out to me in 1965 , when a client brought a bolt operation rifle in such a calibre , made by the firm , Birmingham Small Arms . To my novice eyes , there are only three ways how one can circumvent this problem : 1) Either , they reduce the size of the bullet to accomodate a larger charge of powder. This is a compromise , as it means a lighter bullet. 2) They can get much closer to the beast to shoot it , so that velocities generated by the reduced charge of powder is of no consequence . The unsafe nature of this act , is foolhardy in and of itself ( although , many brave men have done so in days gone past ) 3) They find some way to compress the necessary charge of powder into that 65 millimeter cartridge case . How successful , this has been , l cannot say . 4) They develop a propellant powder which generates the requisite velocity by using a quantity small enough to fit the 65 millimeter cartridge case . How successful , this has been , l again , cannot say. However , my scientific knowledge ends here . I am no ballistics expert , not do l pretend to be . Let us go to field experience , which l do have . Perhaps the most positive memory l have , of a .458 Winchester magnum calibre rifle , was of a double barrelled rifle built by the English firm , Holland and Holland which was brought by an English repeat client . He was a master with that rifle. In three Shikars with us , he had secured three Gaurs ( all weighing near to 2000 pounds weight ) with that rifle ( and in one trip , he also secured a 486 pound Royal Bengal tiger the day after he had secured the Gaur ) . The rifle will always have a core place in my memory , because it had all of my desired features in a double barrel rifle . Built by the Royal gun maker , Holland and Holland , it had 26 inch long muzzles , double triggers and no automatic safety mechanism . The makers had calibrated this piece of beauty for the Remington firm 500 grain and 510 grain pattern of bullet ( which l was amazed by , that a British gun maker can calibrate his rifles for American pattern cartridges ) . It had the finest stock of English walnut and folding sights . My respected client never needed more than two cartridges for anything that he had ever shot at . My knowledgeable forum member , Pondoro wrote here that he has doubts if a double barrel rifle , firing a cartridge such as the .458 Winchester magnum would be fine for long , on account of it being a high pressure cartridge . He may very well be correct , however l must also state that in the three Shikar trips with us , where our respected client used that double barrel rifle , he never had any problems with it ( to be fair , however , l have only seen him fire it eleven times in front of me and one should not draw any conclusions from a mere eleven shots ). For Gaurs , our client would load a 510 grain Remington soft head cartridge in one barrel ( for the first shot ) and a 500 grain blunt head metal envelope bullet in the other barrel ( for the finishing insurance shot ) . For his Royal Bengal tiger , our client used 510 grain soft head cartridges I both the barrels . He was most successful with it . For details of the actual Shikar , l refer you all , to my article " A double barrel rifle , a Gaur and an unpleasant surprise " . Let us now go to an experience , which was not so good . The rifle in question here was from the firm , Birmingham Small Arms . It was a bolt operation rifle without the mauser type extracting claw device and the ammunition for it came from the firm , Hornady . An attempt made by our client , to dispatch a Gaur with this rifle , almost resulted in the deaths of all of us in our party . After we had finally managed to kill that enraged Gaur , we did a post mortem on it's corpse and saw that some of those 500 grain metal envelope bullets did not go six inches through the Gaur's flesh , and in some areas , no more than four inches through . The entire details of that horrible week , can be read in my account , " The Gaur Shikar which went very terribly wrong " . If you all are interested in seeing a photograph of the bullets cut out from the flesh of the Gaur , please read Hoss Delgado's upcoming book " A hobby called Hunting " chapter six . What you see , may well shock you. I had never seen metal envelope bullets deform like that in my entire career as a professional Shikari . Some bullets were slightly bent , while others had lead coming out of the badly ruptured metal envelopes . So there , you have it. I had one very good experience with the .458 Winchester magnum calibre and one very bad experience with the same calibre . I had another , slightly unpleasant experience with a rifle of .458 Winchester magnum calibre , however l cannot blame the penetration capacity of the calibre at all . I shall relate the incident here in short . In 1968 , we had a client visit us , for a Gaur Shikar . His weapon of choice was a Hi Power model bolt operation rifle , from the firm , Browning which was calibrated for the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge . He was using cartridges which he had reloaded by himself . He actually told me that he did not trust the Winchester firm of ammunition for the .458 Winchester magnum calibre , due difficulties in getting all of the powder inside the cartridges to ignite properly ( He used a term for this phenomenon to explain the compressed powder , however it sadly escapes my memory ) . So what this client did , was load his cartridges with 500 grain metal envelope bullets and a quantity of powder designed to achieve an extremely high velocity . Unfortunately , when he fired his first shot at the Gaur ( a 510 grain soft head cartridge ) , the force of the recoil caused the trap door hatch on the under side of the rifle to swing open and dump his remaining cartridges on the ground . The wounded Gaur , enraged and furious , charged us all . Me and my former Shikar partner , the late Karim Chowdhury were trying our best to hold off the 1900 pound beast by shooting it repeatedly with SG cartridges from our 12 bore Ishapore Arms Factory side by side shot-guns , but the real savior of that day was our loyal Nepalese gun bearer , Rishi . Rishi , loyal , optimistic and ready for anything that ever awaited us in the Shikar field . Rishi managed to toss a 500 grain metal envelope cartridge , to our client , who was still , by the grace of God clutching his rifle. Our client quickly loaded the cartridge into the rifle , took aim at the charging Gaur's heart ( which is located at the base of the chest , between the two fore legs of the beast ) and fired . That finally did it in . Of course , l cannot blame what happened to the .458 Winchester magnum calibre , at all. No , what happened was a result of a cavalier type attitude towards reloading one's own cartridges . This was an innocent mistake made on the part of our well meaning client . My other experiences with the .458 Winchester magnum calibre went by rather uneventfully . Do l think that the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge is a good one , or do l think it is a bad one ? Truth be told , l never could make up my mind . Indeed , with so many modern cartridges ( the names and details of which l do not know ) available today , does one really find any appeal to the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge anymore ? Well , my opinion is : Why not ? It is the calibre which many an American sportsmen carried into Old India , to pit his skill against large , dangerous wild beasts with success . It is , l believe, the first American cartridge truly designed for tackling dangerous animals . Call it the first of it's kind if you will . I was granted the privilege to read an early draft of Hoss Delgado's book , which mentions an African professional hunter by the name of Mr. Terry Irwin . This gentleman predominantly used a .458 Winchester magnum calibre bolt operation rifle , from the firm , Mannlicher and hand loaded cartridges to dispatch elephants and cape buffaloes by the hundred with success. In a thread here once , l read about another gentleman named Mr. La Grange , who used to be a professional elephant culler in Africa , who used his .458 Winchester magnum calibre issued rifle to lay low bull elephants by the thousands , using 500 grain Hornady metal envelope ammunition . Certainly , a good deal of hunting has been had with the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge . And in all probability , modern bullets and powders have made it a very safe cartridge ( whether it is the best cartridge , is another very different argument ). My late colleague , Clayton with the head of a beautiful Indian water buffalo shot by his client . The rifle was a mauser type bolt operation rifle ( old pattern ) made by the firm , Birmingham Small Arms . The cartridge was a 510 grain soft head cartridge made by the firm , Remington . A single shot through two lungs of the beast from the side , made short work of him . At the same time , however , the Knowledgeable forum members Bull Hunter, Pondoro , Foxi and Kurpfalzjager have also brought to my attention the fact that dozens of double barrel rifles originally calibrated for the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge , have been converted to use other calibre's instead . Now , to my knowledge , the only reason some one would convert the calibre of an excellently crafted double barrel rifle ( and impact it's re- sale value ) is because of one of two reasons : 1) The cartridges for the original calibre are no longer available . This cannot be the issue with the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge , as it is so readily available . 2) The owner dislikes the original calibre of the rifle with a passion. I have no illusions as to which reason is a factor here , for the conversions . Thus , to conclude this article , my views on the .458 Winchester magnum cartridge are no more conclusive today than they were five decades ago , when l was an active professional Shikari in Darjeeling , India . Personally , however , were l to choose , l would stay with a .375 Holland and Holland magnum and be very content , for my personal hunting . Do any of my dear readers have a place in their battery , for the .458 Winchester magnum ? If so , have you had any success with yours ? And what rifle do you own ? If your experience with the .458 Winchester magnum is decidedly negative , still feel free to share your own input and experiences . It will be most educational . I hope that you all have enjoyed this article .