In the world of big-bore handguns, the .454 Casull and .500 S&W Magnum stand out among the rest. Both cartridges are known for their enormous stopping power, long-range effectiveness, and a recoil that commands respect.
But how do they compare in terms of ballistics, stopping power, price, and other key metrics? More importantly, which cartridge is better for what use case?
Join us as we dissect these behemoth rounds and answer all these questions to see who emerges victorious.
Table of Contents
What Is The 454 Casull Ammo?
The .454 Casull is a powerful handgun cartridge. It was developed in the 1950s by Dick Casull. Basically, it’s a longer and more powerful version of the 45 Colt cartridge and can fire bullets up to 400 grains. I enjoy the 454 Casull, especially for its superior accuracy and penetration, making it one of my first choices for handgun hunting and self-defense.
What Is The .500 S&W Magnum Ammo?
The .500 S&W Magnum is the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world. It was developed by Smith & Wesson and Cor-Bon in 2003. This versatile cartridge can fire bullets up to 700 grains and has immense stopping power. Similar to the 454 Casull, it also has a rimmed case but is considerably more powerful. It is often used for hunting large and dangerous game such as elk, moose, and bear.
Main Differences Between 500 Magnum vs 454 Casull
Below, we discuss the main differences between these two cartridges.
- Ballistic Comparison
- Stopping Power Comparison
- Use Case Comparison
- Range Comparison
- Recoil Comparison
- Price Comparison
1. Ballistic Comparison
When it comes to ballistic comparison, the .500 Magnum reigns supreme. With a bullet weight reaching 700 grains, the cartridge is sheer power, generating a muzzle energy that exceeds 3,000 ft-lbs. In comparison, the .454 Casull maxes out at around 2,000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy.
However, the .454 Magnum has a flatter trajectory, making it a better choice for long-range targets.
2. Stopping Power Comparison
As you know, both these cartridges offer exceptional stopping power. However, the .500 Magnum, thanks to its larger bullet size and higher kinetic energy, has more stopping power. This doesn’t mean the .454 Casull should be disregarded – it’s adept at taking down medium to large game.
3. Use Case Comparison
While you might think more power is always better, it’s usually not the case. For instance, the .454 Casull is easier to handle than the .500 Magnum, making it more suited for hunting large game and for self-defense against predators.
In comparison, I only reserve the .500 Magnum for the most massive game and rarely use it for self-defense due to its extreme recoil and large size and barrel length.
4. Range Comparison
Both cartridges are capable of long-range shots, but the .454 Casull’s slightly flatter trajectory makes it a bit easier for hunting at longer distances. This is because the .454 Casull has lower bullet weights and higher velocity. Just like we saw in our comparison of the 458 SOCOM vs 450 Bushmaster cartridges, maximum range should always be considered when deciding between two different rounds.
5. Recoil Comparison
It should come as no surprise that the .454 Casull has slightly less recoil. Don’t get me wrong, neither cartridge is a slouch in the recoil department, but the .500 Magnum is notably harsher. Its immense power comes at the cost of higher recoil, which is a major reason why I prefer the .454 Casull.
6. Price Comparison
Another major decider on which cartridge is better is the price of both the ammo and guns they fire. The .500 Magnum is generally more expensive, especially in the firearm category. For the same gun size and quality, you can expect to pay a couple hundred dollars more for the .500 Magnum than the .454 Casull.
Additionally, on average, it costs between $2.9 and $5 to fire a single .500 Magnum round, whereas the .454 Casull costs between $1.9 and $3.5 per round, making the 454 Casull much better in the price comparison category.
Which Cartridge Is Better: 500 Magnum vs 454 Casull?
Choosing between these two rimfire cartridges depends on your use case. If you simply want the most powerful handgun cartridge in the world, you should get the 500 Magnum. However, the 454 Casull is much better for day-to-day shooting, offering more versatility and a somewhat easier shooting experience.
Should Hunters Use 500 Magnum or 454 Casull?
For the largest game, such as bear hunting, I would go for the .500 Magnum due to its sheer stopping power. However, as I already mentioned, the .454 Casull is one of my first-choice handgun-hunting weapons because of its versatility – boasting a flatter trajectory and easier handling. Therefore, the .454 Casull is better for medium to large game.
Is The 500 Magnum or 454 Casull Better For Self Defense?
While the .45 ACP and 44 Magnum have long been seen as ideal self-defense weapons, it’s worth considering whether the 500 and 454 can also perform well in this category. The .500 Magnum is too powerful – the extreme recoil and size make it difficult to handle. In comparison, the .454 Casull is generally more practical for self-defense purposes, as it has less recoil and is easier to handle. However, if you can handle the .500s recoil, then it makes an excellent self-defense weapon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can both the 454 Casull and 500 Magnum cartridges be classified as powerful handgun rounds?
Is the 500 Magnum cartridge generally larger than the 454 Casull?
Does the 454 Casull have a flatter trajectory than the 500 Magnum?
The Bottom Line
In the end, both the .454 Casull and .500 Magnum are exceptional cartridges, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. The choice between the two ultimately depends on your specific needs, whether it’s the raw power and stopping power of the 500 for hunting massive game or the versatility and manageable recoil of the .454 Casull for more general use. Choose wisely, and either will serve you well!