Would a 450 grain .458 Win Mag be a perfectly acceptable standard for elephant?

gzr

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Could a 450 grain solid or Swift A-frame out of a .458 Win Mag be a Goldilocks loading that hits 2200-2300 fps without load compression, and still provide everything needed for Elephants?

IE could one safely let go of the 500 grain .470 Nitro Express paradigm, given the advances in bullet construction? Seems like dropping the bullet weight 10%, adding a little powder space and velocity while lowering the overall recoil could be a sweet spot for the .458 WM?

Submitted for discussion given the massive experience on this forum. Thanks!
 
good point,but no beer and chips in my house ;)

@ Mark Audino

you could certainly write a thick book about all the places you have hunted

C.A.R., Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Mongolia, Turkey, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Spain, UK, Romania, Mexico, Canadian Provinces, Multiple States in USA
 
The sectional density of a 450 grain .458 bullet is .306. Practically the same as a 300 grain .375 bullet and a 286 grain .366 bullet that made the 375 H&H and the 9.3x62 so famous (both have an SD of .305).

If I had a 458 WM I would not have any reservations about using the 450 grain, especially as a client. There have been AH members that have used that grain weight on elephant IIRC. @TOBY458?

Solids only for elephant.
 
It is not going to lower recoil much, because you are replacing bullet weight with a greater powder charge. If that’s why your interested in it…
I agree that it would be perfectly fine, but why change it?? The 500gr .458 is perfect
If a little recoil reduction is desired, maybe reduce the 500gr to 2000fps
 
A 450gr bullet is certainly more compatible with the case of a cartridge 458 Winchester Magnum, especially in terms of powder capacity. I think that many reloader use this advantage to get a well balanced performance from this controversial cartridge and a 450gr FMJ or Monolithic bullet caliber .458 is enough for elephant hunting.
 
Always recall the 450 NE developed and marketed in 1898 was a 480 gr bullet at around 2125 fps. and it replaced most of the black powder rifles quite effectively.
Point is is 30 gr less weight and 150 fps higher vel. off setting the orginal 450 NE.
Most will have an opinion.
 
I'm using 450 North Forks in my Lott. The NFs are longer than the AFrames.

450NF,450AF, 500 Woodleigh

20240326_170958.jpg
 
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Having hunted elephant, I’m not at all inclined to be the person that tries that particular experiment.

I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that modern bullet technology changes the game when it comes to expanding bullets and we can use lighter bullets given that the weight that matters is not the weight before impact but rather, the weight after impact. I’d be perfectly willing to test that idea with say, a 375 270g TSX on buffalo.

But when it comes to elephant, they are hunted with solids and while solids have advanced, they haven’t advanced as much as have expanding bullets. And until you’ve actually hunted elephant you really can’t understand just how inadequate a rifle feels. It’s the one case where even if theoretically sound, I’ll let someone else test the theory.
 
Having hunted elephant, I’m not at all inclined to be the person that tries that particular experiment.

I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that modern bullet technology changes the game when it comes to expanding bullets and we can use lighter bullets given that the weight that matters is not the weight before impact but rather, the weight after impact. I’d be perfectly willing to test that idea with say, a 375 270g TSX on buffalo.

But when it comes to elephant, they are hunted with solids and while solids have advanced, they haven’t advanced as much as have expanding bullets. And until you’ve actually hunted elephant you really can’t understand just how inadequate a rifle feels. It’s the one case where even if theoretically sound, I’ll let someone else test the theory.
I think the 450 grain CEB solids have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt
 
Having hunted elephant, I’m not at all inclined to be the person that tries that particular experiment.

I’ve been pretty consistent in saying that modern bullet technology changes the game when it comes to expanding bullets and we can use lighter bullets given that the weight that matters is not the weight before impact but rather, the weight after impact. I’d be perfectly willing to test that idea with say, a 375 270g TSX on buffalo.

But when it comes to elephant, they are hunted with solids and while solids have advanced, they haven’t advanced as much as have expanding bullets. And until you’ve actually hunted elephant you really can’t understand just how inadequate a rifle feels. It’s the one case where even if theoretically sound, I’ll let someone else test the theory.

That's right, there is a big difference between shooting buffalo and shooting elephant. Certainly you should not experiment when hunting elephants, but as long as the cartridge 375 H&H Magnum is considered sufficient by many hunters for elephant hunting, you can also hunt elephants with the cartridge 458 Winchester Magnum and 450gr bullets, sure FMJ or Monolithic bullets only.
 
The South African DZOMBO MARK 6 monometal flat nosed brass 450Gr solid (fired out of a .458 Winchester Magnum) has downed several bull elephants in the hands of one of my white hunters. Even with frontal brain shots. He was using South African Somchem powder and Federal brass cases to handload his cartridges to 2240 FPS. Rifle was built by a local South African gunsmith on a DWM Mauser Oberndorf action with a 25" barrel.

Any 450Gr flat nosed monometal solid of good quality (such as the South African DZOMBO or Rhino or the American Cutting Edge Bullets) can definitely accomplish this. The old flat nosed Barnes Banded Solid was also very good.

Expanding bullets can definitely be used on elephants...but only when you've made sure that the elephant is already dead.
 
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If you use conventional (lead) solids then a 500 gr solid can comfortably make 2150 fps. (Hornady factory ammo). If you choose a copper or brass mono, then I think a 450 gr bullet is better. I used to carry 450 gr copper solids in my win mag when I was guiding. I then had my rifle bored to lott which allows a variety of powders/ bullets. I still used those win mag loads with confidence. 450 gr at 2250 fps will put an elephant on its butt if you do your part.
 
I think the 450 grain CEB solids have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt
Amen.
michael458, aka Doc M of MIB, has eliminated any doubt with his thorough science.
Even before CEB, Richard Harland reported many elephant hunters were having great success with 450-grain brass FN solids like the old Barnes Banded Solid .458/450-grainer.

CEB-0-2.png
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CEB-0-2-3.jpg



That said, michael458 was very helpful in getting a special run of CEB Safari Solids done for the .458 caliber. They are 400 grains and have a longer nose projection than the usual CEB 400-grain Lever Solid used in the lever-actioned rifles.
I will pair that 400-grain CEB Safari Solid at 2500 fps from the .458 WinMag with a 404-gr Shock Hammer.
No proof there, yet, on elephant.
Might want to single load them and keep the magazine full of the 450-grainers.
Absolutely no doubt on those.
 
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450 grains @ 2300 fps would be great for elephant. I’m a fan of the .416s shooting a 400 gr bullet about that speed.

As to whether that can be accomplished though reloading, I wouldn’t have any idea.
 
I’ve seen pics of a 450 FN Barnes that went from a cow’s forehead to the root of her tail.
I've never heard of any bullet doing that. I broke both shoulders on a large bull ele with a .416 Rigby solid late last season...but I didn't get an exit. That's a LOT less than end to end and I think you would be hard pressed to get a lot more penetration than a premium .416 solid gives you.
 
Expanding bullets can definitely be used on elephants...but only when you've made sure that the elephant is already dead.
That's the best quote of the week.
 

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