View Full Version : .458 Win mag-useful or not

05-16-2007, 08:16 AM
While this is not long range sniper rifle question. A gunsmith friend of mine claimed that some assassins use rifles in .458 Win mag for shooting through cars at what I assume are moderate ranges. Has any one of the readers ever heard of such a thing? The rifle in question was based on an interarms mauser action was made a few years ago for some government type. I did not ask for further details.

My friend claimed that a .458 rifle can be quite accurate and he once did enter a benchrest rifle match with one and was doing quite well until the range officer informed him he was bleeding from scope cuts and pulled him off the line. In the old days long range rifle shooting was done with guns with .45-70 ballistics out to 1000 yards. People now days do have .50 BMG rifles, but they are not really shoulder arms and I wonder if a .458 has any useful role for shorter ranges to perhaps 600 meters.

05-17-2007, 03:22 PM
I'd imagine that there are better choices.

05-17-2007, 04:16 PM
A gunsmith friend of mine claimed that some assassins use rifles in .458 Win mag for shooting through cars at what I assume are moderate ranges.I'm sure that there are cases of almost every type of firearm and calibre, having been used in a murder or assassination at some time in history.

The power of the .458 Win magnum was given a good 'airing' in the film Dirty Harry, when Clint Eastwood chooses one for his Stakeout rifle.

I remember another film ( but I forget the name, :o ) where a big game rifle was chosen for shooting into the engine of a vehicle, to stop it, so that the gang could do what they had to with the occupants?

We all know that both above scenarios can be resolved with other calibres and selection of ammo.

The .458 Win mag is an accurate cartridge.
Clover leaf three shot groups are quite possible at realistic big game ranges, from a sitting position. - I have witnessed this at 50 yards. - My own group was about 3". - First time ever I fired a .458.

I would imagine that there is a lot of talk about this rifle and calibre, from the same type of person that would recomend a .50 Desert Eagle pistol for self defense! ;)

As is noted, the .45-70 was used for long range shooting, back when there was nothing better.

These days there are far superior calibres than .458, for long and 'longish' range.
The balistic co-efficients of this cartridge with the available bullets, just do not lend it to long range shooting compared to other fine calibres. - .300 Win magnum, .338 Lapua, and others.
Also the .375 H&H should be much better in this respect.

Just my 0.02 cents BTW.

05-18-2007, 08:28 AM
The thought behind the question is that often certain targets ride in lightly armored passenger cars. Some of these cars are supposed to be capable of defeating .30 caliber ball and if the slug did get through the likelyhood of actually inflicting a fatal wound is decreased. Such people may actually wear body armor. A 500 grain .45 slug might do a better job of killing someone under these conditions. It seems as though that use of .45 caliber rifles is not a current path of thinking and is not considered useful from the few responses to my question.

In the past the US government has tried to kill certain protected people and in some well some known cases failed. I assume that there were other cases in which they were succesful. Perhaps these days with remote controlled armed aircraft the sniper rifle is not as important for killing highly protected targets.

05-18-2007, 09:55 AM
The .338 Lapua (designed as a sniping round to do the jobs you ask about), .416 Barret, and certainly the .50 BMG will go through most armor with the right bullet type.

As Anothony said, the .300 win mag will do the job pretty well too.

05-18-2007, 05:09 PM
It seems as though that use of .45 caliber rifles is not a current path of thinking and is not considered useful from the few responses to my question.I'll post now, remembering much info that I have read over the years. - I'm no 'expert' in any way.

A .45 calibre rifle, in itself, means nothing.
Everything depends on other things.
We have a large cartridge case.
We form a calibre with this cartridge of .35, and .45.
The .45 looks much bigger, and will certainly impress!
With the same cartridge case capacity, and therefore the same powder weight, the smaller and lighter .35 calibre bullet can be driven at higher velocities, than the larger .45 bullet.

Penetration of muscle and flesh etc, favors the high momentum bullet.
Penetration of hard obsticles such as windshield or light/thin metal plate, favors velocity and then a hard bullet.

A 9mm military ball bullet, out penetrates .45 ACP ball, through hard obsticles. But the .45 is chosen over a 9mm for game.

A .45 Win mag, which was developed to be the equivelent of some of the old British Nitro Cartridges, ( although obviously in a more compact and modern package,) for use on big game at close range, is a whole different 'ballgame' to a cartridge developed specifically for long range flat shooting.

The .50 BMG cartridge in a rifle gives us the best of all worlds, but at the sacrifice of rifle size and weight.


05-19-2007, 07:58 PM
... is not considered useful from the few responses to my question.


The previous posters covered most of the reasons why.


05-22-2007, 02:09 PM
Useful, maybe not. Fun...oh, yeah!!:D Besides, you can never tell when you might come upon a Cape Buffalo in the backyard (at least that was what I told my wife)!

05-23-2007, 07:52 AM
jcsd107 I remember once when living in the western suburbs of chicago that two elephants escaped and people did have these running through their backyards. I think the problem was handled without any elephants or any humans getting hurt. In my neck of the words in northwestern florida we do once in a while get black bears and wild hogs in a back yard and perhaps I do need to get a .458 to be ready just in case for sniping out of the bedroom window.

05-23-2007, 01:43 PM
Now if they would only clone T. Rex, we would have a perfect excuse to buy a .50BMG!:D Even using the Cape Buffalo excuse, the .458 still cost me a pair of sapphire earrings and a fancy dinner!

06-10-2007, 10:08 PM
Anyone here ever read the early Don Pendleton, Executioner series where he uses a .460 Weatherby as a sniper weapon…probably one of the most punishing cartridges ever fired from a rifle and very poor stock design didn’t help the situation any…

The Big Bores, Thumpers, Ubermagnums are called stopping calibers as they are supposed to stop a charging elephant or rhino in its tracks…The .458 Win Mag came about not to reproduce the older British nitro express rounds but because the old N.E. rounds weren’t available anymore and the PHs needed something and it was found lacking in many ways…Why do you think there is such a resurgence of the old .470 NE, .416 & .450 Rigby, .400 & .404 Jeffrey or the .505 Gibbs in the last 30 years…I’d be looking at the .458 Lott instead…much better ballistics and penetration, less recoil and in a pinch you can use .458 Win Mag rounds…

The old .45/70 Government was and still is a great long range cartridge, I shoot one at BPCR events at 600, 800 and 1,000 yards and they are fun to shoot but they’re at 2,000 fps and 2,600 lbs energy compared to 2,500 fps and 4,900 lbs energy for the .458 Win Mag…

Long range sniping work calls for the .338 Lapua, .408 CheyTac (which I shoot) or the new .416 Barrett, even the .300 Win Mag but not for the .50 BMG which is not the be-all-to-end-all in cartridges lots of people believe it to be. Why? First, the cartridge isn’t accurate, enough; it was designed for a whole bunch of them to hit a target from a machine gun. Second, the ammo for it to become accurate is $20 EACH round so expense comes into play. Third, it goes sub-sonic at 2,250 yds and finally to make it shoot you need a 35 lb rifle with a huge muzzle break otherwise you’d break your shoulder as it produces 2,900 fps but with 13,450 lbs energy but to stop a vehicle in its tracks there is nothing better.

Who are we going to be shooting at that distance, vehicles, certainly but the individual soldier would have to be very unlucky to be hit at that range. 1MOA at 100 yds is 25 at 2,500 yds. with 10, 15 different wind shifts and going sub-sonic would throw that bullet all over the place. Sure shots have been made at over 2Kms with it against an individual soldier but they are rare to say the least.

The point is what kind of armour are we talking about…I’ve seen .50 BMG bounce off a half track troop carrier as well as a Humvee but a 7.62x39mm Russian round went through other vehicles of the same type…A 7.62x51mm NATO out of an AR10 or M14 will go through most “light” armour but neither of them are good for stopping a vehicle by destroying an engine with a single shot which is where the .50 BMG excels…

This is my first posting so I should introduce myself. I fought as a sniper in an Israeli Sayerat Nahal unit during the Yom Kippur War in the Sinai and the Golan Heights, wounded three times and finished with the rank of Sgt. Now I’m part owner of a fly-in hunting/fishing lodge in Northern Canada and carried a .425 Westley Richards bolt gun all the time as we have lots of polar bears around. I’ve switched to a .416 Rigby as my .425 WR was destroyed in a fire. I loved experimenting with shotgun reloads and coming up with odd combinations of buck & bird pellets in the same husk; one of my favourites is #2 buck with #2 bird for the filler or #F buck with #BB for fill. Both are superb against predators either 2 or 4 legged within 20 yards. I’ve shot competitive rifle since I was 12 and had been collecting books on guns and hunting since then.

Bruce Piffel
06-10-2007, 10:36 PM
Welcome....we agree on a lot.:D

Rusty Phillips
07-04-2007, 10:17 AM
any tests of 45-70 or 458 against cars?

I think the boxotruth guys shot 45-70 against drywall and the bullet still hasnt stopped.....

but what about cars?