Weatherby Magnum

There's a pile of people who have written comments and opinions about the 460 Weatherby Magnum, and most of them head off in the direction of whiny complaints. Too powerful. Too loud. Too much recoil. African guides don't like them. Blah, blah, blah. My thoughts are that the vast majority of the writers have never seen, let alone fired, a 460. I also suspect that there have been at least a few amateur hunters who have gone to Africa with one, only to flame out when they needed to perform. A powerful rifle can't make up the differential gap between totally unprepared and fully capable. Unprepared wannabe hunters should stay home and watch football on television.

Let's set the record straight... A lot of other very powerful rifles weigh as much or more than a 460 Weatherby. The 460 moves 450- to 600-grain .458" bullets much faster than any other commercial rifle; or, when loaded down, moves them at a somewhat reduced speed at significantly lower pressure. Read the loading books and you'll see that a 460 can easily be loaded to the level of performance of a 458 Lott. Even more, the 460 is a very accurate cartridge. So far, what's not to like?

As far as recoil goes, it's way too much without the muzzle brake. Leave it on. As for the noise, well-heeled professional hunters should be fitted with appropriate hearing enhancement-and-protection devices, as should the hunter. In actual testing using three decibel-measuring instruments located at increasing distances, we confirmed that rifles with muzzle brakes are appreciably louder to the shooter, but are not necessarily louder in all circumstances. At distances of 50 to 100 feet, depending on the rifle, the intensity of the report had moderated to about the same level as the rifle without the brake in place. It's very much a matter of the direction and/or diffusion of the blast. In any event, hearing protection should always be used when you're near guns being fired. Think about it; how much is your hearing, and the lack of permanent ringing, worth to you? When rafting white water, wear a life jacket. When driving your car, wear your seatbelt. When shooting or being near shooting, wear hearing protection. How difficult is all of this to understand?

The 460 is not an uncontrollable monster. There are almost always some videos on YouTube that show them being shot. Take a look; I think you'll see that it's no big deal. The big deal is the outstanding power and accuracy at a very reasonable price.

Since my first one in 1968, I have owned eight 460 Weatherby Magnum rifles built by Weatherby. I still have three of them, including a beautiful AAA+ French walnut stocked Safari Custom. Good loads shoot three shots in about an inch. Try that with any $50,000 double rifle. They're incredible! Friends and acquaintances love to shoot one so they can say they've shot the world's most powerful rifle. Some might argue today that it still holds that distinction, but it remains the general perception to the majority.

A couple of years ago, I saw a non-commercial video of a Cape buffalo hunt in Africa. The PH (professional hunter) was clearly not pleased that his client was carrying a 460 Weatherby. It was a Mark V DGR (black synthetic stock)) that already had the muzzle brake removed at the PH's request. The hunt for the renegade bull ended when it unexpectedly charged out of some brush at the left. The hunter swung the 460 and popped him. That was it. The bull went down in a heap right there, and took just a brief moment to finish dying. I was surprised at how hard it was hit, but don't know what bullet was used. The successful outcome didn't make the PH any happier. Worse, I think. Maybe the hunter should have hit the bull with the 300-grain bullet of a 375 H&H, followed by a few people being run over. It's interesting... Take a 300-grain bullet and drive it at 2550 fps. That's okay. Even driving a .416-inch diameter bullet at 2550 is okay. The not okay starts with a .458-inch bullet being driven at 2550 fps. I wish someone would explain this to me.

You hear stories about several shots being needed on some Cape buffalo. It has happened with most any of the buffalo-capable cartridges; 470 N.E., 500 N.E., 505 Gibbs, 577 N.E., 458 Lott, 375 H&H, 416 Whatever, and so on. It's best to have that first shot hit the right spot, because the adrenaline in a Cape buffalo goes from zero to sixty in about one second.

Some writers say that bullets can't stand up to the velocity of the 460 Weatherby. Maybe some can't, but I don't believe this of the better choices. For example, pay attention to what Hornady has done with their dangerous game bullets to make them even more reliable. Besides, the "too fast" argument doesn't hold up if it doesn't also apply to the 375s and 416s. Those who believe the "too fast" argument can either load down a little or back up a hundred yards. Mostly, I think there's a lot of discussion because people like controversy. The 7mm Mauser fan might complain about the 7mm Remington Magnum. "All that power and velocity isn't necessary!" It's garbage. If somebody wants a 460, that's their choice. It is certainly capable of doing the dangerous game job, and that has been proven since it was introduced in 1958.

I bet not too many people with a 460 Weatherby drive a minivan.