Josh reviews the Smith & Wesson Performance Center 460XVR Revolver and says its fun to shoot yuuuuuuuge guns,,, wait what?!
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- I’ve fired some pretty big guns in my time. I’ve shot fifty caliber at both short range and at long distance. Desert Eagles? Sure. How about .45-70 or .458 Lott? Check and check.
Now, the thing with me is that I’m not a fan of being hurt or submitting myself to copious amounts of physical pain on a daily basis. I don’t generally like large-bore guns for several reasons, but the Smith and Wesson Performance Center 460XVR is about the easiest shooting and most powerful pistol I’ve ever fired.
I was a bit confused when I first walked in the door to pick up the weapon. The shipping box was, to quote our president, ‘yuuuuuuuge’. Buried inside the cardboard was a slick, black Performance Center zippered gun rug and… a sling?
Yes, a sling and swivels were present in the case and I quickly saw why.
Smith & Wesson Performance Center 460XVR Revolver
The 460VXR revolver is a truly massive gun. When I say massive, I mean MASSIVE. The weapon weighs an astounding 77 ounces and spans over fifteen inches in length. Every part of this gun is big, solid, and robust. As soon as you pick it up, there is no mistaking that this is an all-weather hunting machine made for the most discriminating handgun hunter.
Starting on the business end, you’ll notice a radial-style muzzle brake that, to put it in no uncertain terms, is extremely effective. I fired a variety of ultra-powerful ammunition out of this gun and the brake managed to tame every single one of them.
The blast at the muzzle is very alarming and you must be aware of anything you have on the bench in front of the gun. They will get rattled or knocked clear off with the force of the escaping gases.
The barrel is thick and heavy and features an integrated sling mounting point and optics rail. An interesting note to make on the barrel is the profile. It is hard to tell from the photography, but the barrel has a wedge shape on the underside that, if I didn’t know better, was designed specifically to work with a set of crossed sticks while out in field conditions.
The weight on the gun is primarily in the barrel. This is advantageous because it, combined with the brake, works to control the sudden energy release upon firing. The stability of the gun in this type of setting is hard to ignore. It is not a gun that I believe is designed for standing or kneeling. Any sensible hunter would find a stable way to rest the weapon, hopefully overlooking a wide field.
The sights mounted on the 460VXR are extremely effective and work very well in low light. The front is a bright and very visible HI-VIZ fiber optic affair. The rear is a traditional windage-and-elevation adjustable job with a white outline. As you can imagine, zeroing these is pretty easy and is very straightforward. I chose a zero of 25 yards initially, which I later changed to 50 and then 100, but more on that later.
Moving on down the gun, the frame and cylinder are truly gigantic. I’ve handled and shot a bunch of revolvers over my career and nothing truly compares to them. The cylinder is unfluted and holds five shots. You can get a picture of the power generated by the .460 cartridge by how thick the walls are. The cylinder locks in solidly and feels like you’re closing the door on your gunsafe. It is rock-solid and has no wiggle to speak of.
Firing the Smith & Wesson Performance Center 460XVR revolver is accomplished by means of a traditional Smith and Wesson setup. The double action pull is extremely smooth and light while the single action pull is nothing short of glorious. It is a pull so smooth and nice that it could easily outclass full size rifles. This pull is critically important to the accuracy of the gun.
Firing the 460VXR is a unique experience. I was told before I ran this test that it was a horrible experience and I’d only fire one shot and put it away. Those people, for lack of a better way of saying it, need to get stronger wrists and perhaps a stronger constitution. The 460VXR is a pleasant gun to fire and I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
What you must be aware of is that gun itself is made for this cartridge. That may seem like a dumb thing to say, but it is important to consider. Many people get high-powered +p+ loads for existing revolvers and it is too much to handle. The 460VXR is designed to handle these ultra-powerful rounds and as such the features of the gun lend a hand to control and ease of use. Even the rubber grip is specially padded in certain areas to reduce felt recoil.
All that said, the Performance Center 460XVR is powerful and it takes a skilled hand to become a good shot with it. A firm seated position, a solid, two-handed grip, and a single-action pull will result in wonderful accuracy.
I fired a variety of loads out of the gun and found it to be very pleasant with everything from .45 Colt cowboy loads to massive Buffalo Bore hardcast rounds.
I recorded the following velocities using an Oehler 35P chronograph on a 70 degree day while five feet from the muzzle out of the 460VXR’s 7.5” barrel. Velocities are an average of ten shots.
- Buffalo Bore 360gr Hardcast LBT-LFN————— 1536fps
- Buffalo Bore 275gr Barnes XPB———————– 1848fps
- Hornady 200gr FTX————————————— 2203fps
- HSM 454 Casull 325gr Bear Load——————— 1350fps
- HSM 45 Colt 250gr Cowboy RNFP——————– 802fps
- Black Hills 45 Colt 250gr RNFP———————— 767fps
The firing of the .45 Colt loads was done at 25 yard only and it was like shooting a very weak 9mm. The gun bounced a fair amount when standing because of the weight of the barrel, but it was very fun to shoot and both loads provided excellent accuracy. Both grouped 2” at 25 yards from the bench. The lone .454 Casull load was also tested at this distance and it was very easy to fire. I’ve fired guns in this caliber before and nothing tames it like the big Smith. The HSM gas-checked load generated 1.5” at 25 yards and 2” at 50.
Moving on to the full-size .460 loads was a bit different. The loudest and fastest was the Hornday 200gr FTX. This load delivered a tremendous amount of concussion, but the bark was worse than the bite. I zeroed at 25 yards and delivered one-hole groups. I made some adjustments and went to 50, then 75, and then 100 yards. The zero at 100 yards resulted in groups of 4” for five shots while using iron sights.
I tested the lighter of the two Buffalo Bore loads at 100 yards and it displayed excellent accuracy. By the time I got to the larger 360gr loads, I found that I had managed to trim my Hornady groups down to about 2” at 100. I developed a very keen eye for how to hold the gun while in a field position and it had stellar results. I ended up firing about 200 rounds over the course of a couple days and, due to consistent techniques, was able to fire the gun with rifle-like accuracy.
I wanted to see how the cartridges and gun would do at a range of 200 yards. I fired on a 10” steel plate from a field position to simulate hunting on the edge of the woods. The drop from 100 to 200 yards was significant with both Buffalo Bore loads, about 15”, but it was actually quite easy to overcome. I wasn’t able to deliver 100% accuracy on steel at this range using iron sights, but I was able to land a majority of hits on target, typically in the range of 5-8” on a horizontally-mounted IDPA target to replicate a deer’s body.
I would say that, in my experienced hands, the Performance Center 460XVR model is able to deliver a certain hit on a deer’s vital zone inside of 150 yards using iron sights from a stable position. The Hornady load is several hundred feet per second faster than the other loads and is able to bump the gap for 150-200 yards with ease. It generated a near perfect 200 yard hit percentage with 19/20 rounds dropping into five inches at that range on the plate. I did not use optics on this gun, and I expect that a red dot sight could remedy the issues I had in from 150-200 yards with the heavier loads.
Inside of 100 yards, any .460 load is totally unfair on deer. The accuracy I got at 100 made me totally confident and I wouldn’t hesitate to take this gun out and set up in the corner of a bean field or in a shooting lane in the deep brush.
My time with the Smith and Wesson Performance Center 460XVR was all too short. In the course of use I fired about five hundred rounds of various calibers from this fine weapon and experienced nothing but absolute reliability and accuracy. Smith and Wesson has delivered what may be the ultimate hunting handgun with this offering and any serious medium to long range sportsman should take a serious look at it, “big league“.
Jerry Miculeck: S&W .460 magnum vs. Purple cabbage in slow motion!
About Josh Wayner:
Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan.