The .454 Casull started out as a wildcat cartridge but quickly went on to become a favorite based on its power, performance and small size. The .454 Casull is a versatile handgun cartridge that makes it possible to hunt a wide variety of medium and large sized game.
About The .454 Casull
The .454 Casull is a handgun cartridge that started out as a wildcat cartridge. Wildcat cartridges refer to cartridges created for a specific weapon and is not mass produced. The .454 Casull was developed by Dick Casull and Jack Fullmer in 1957 and officially announced in November of 1959.
The magazine, Guns & Ammo published information for the newly developed and available wildcat .454 Casull. The design of the .454 Casull is based on a .45 Colt case which had been structurally improved and lengthened.
The cartridge was mainstream around 1997 when other gun and ammo manufacturers began to release cartridges and weapons of the same caliber. In 1998 the .454 Casull was commercialized and the official standards were published.
The .45 Schofield cartridge and .45 Colt cartridge are both able to fit into the chamber of the .454, however, it doesn’t work in reverse due to the length of the case on the .454 Casull. Another interesting feature is that the .454 Casull uses a primer found in rifles instead of the customary pistol primer. This results in a higher tolerance for pressure which is better tolerated by the rifle primer.
The case of the .454 Casull is rimmed and straight with a bullet diameter of 11.5 millimeters. Its overall length is 45 millimeters and it uses a Boxer Small rifle primer. Bullet mass can vary from 240 grains up to 400 grains and bullets can reach a velocity of up to 1900 feet per second depending on bullet mass.
While many individuals have .454 Casull cartridges for weapons that are for hobby or target shooting, these cartridges are versatile and powerful for their size. Hunting with this cartridge is a very real option, and larger prey like feral hogs or black bears are achievable targets.
Performance Benefits and Design
It would be unwise to classify the .454 Casull as a longer version of the .45 Colt. The Casull case has undergone numerous changes in order to achieve such impressive performance and the casings while similar have other differences.
The casing of the .454 Casull is not only longer, but thicker, more structurally sound, and able to stand up to the kind of pressure usually reserved for rifle rounds. With this kind of impressive performance, it is also comforting to know that you can use it to hunt most game in North America.
The case can tolerate the hotter spark that it requires the rifle primer for, and it can also hold a larger amount of powder for greater firepower. Using the small rifle primer also serves to further strengthen the case of the cartridge.
While there are firearms that shoot much larger cartridges that have far greater power these can be somewhat large, and quite heavy. The .454 Casull strikes a good balance between weight, power, and recoil.
The Casull chamber can effectively shoot .45 Colt ammo, which makes a better practice ammunition for the price and is a good starting round for someone new to handguns with recoil. By starting with a lower caliber cartridge, it is easier for some to develop skills at a lower level of recoil and then work their way up to more powerful cartridges.
The .454 Casull can withstand pressures of up to 60,000 CUP (copper units of pressure) which is impressive given its size. With an overall length of 1.77 inches, this petite cartridge has a rim thickness of 1.4 millimeters which is not only thick but reinforced.
The .454 Casull does not have a bottleneck shape like rifle cartridges and instead has a non-pointy bullet. It is one of the more powerful cartridges for handguns currently in production and generates approximately 5 times the amount of recoil produced by the .45 Colt.
The Casull cartridge had originally been loaded with three kinds of propellants that allowed it to have a progressive burn. When aided by the ignition of the rifle primer the staged burning would give the bullet a progressive amount of acceleration as it moved through the barrel of the handgun.
Are There Other Cartridges Similar to the .454 Casull?
The .454 Casull was such a success that other similar cartridges have been created. The .45 Colt is the closest match to the .454 Casull with some small differences in performance and cost. Another similar cartridge is the .45 ACP which is another handgun cartridge that is somewhat interchangeable with the .454 Casull and .45 Colt in certain weapons.
In 2005, the .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum cartridge was release which was also very similar in design to the .454 Casull. The .460 cartridge was slightly longer than the Casull, but it has the same diameter as both the Casull and the .45 Colt.
Another similar cartridge is the .45 Schofield followed by the .44 Magnum. With this many similar cartridges, it is no wonder that some revolvers and handguns are chambered to hold multiple types of cartridges.
For example, a revolver that is able to chamber a .460 Smith & Wesson Magnum cartridge may also be able to chamber the .454 Casull, the .45 Schofield, and the .45 Colt. Having a weapon that can chamber multiple different rounds can be a great benefit for gun owners.
Those who own firearms are very familiar with the cost of ammunition and how the expense of practice rounds and firing rounds for excursions can add up. Even occasional visits to the shooting range can become pricey if the ammunition is costly and you are trying to improve your skills.
Having a weapon that is able to chamber multiple kinds of round allows you to choose the best fitting cartridge for the task and the budget that you are working with at the time. For example, you may not want to pay the price of expensive ammunition to practice with when there is a much cheaper option available that will serve the same purpose.
Another factor to consider is the availability of ammunition and where you will be able to find it in your area or the area that you are planning to be in. In smaller towns, you may get lucky and find ammunition shops with special or hard to find cartridges, but in other locations, you may not be able to find much outside of the basic cartridges.
With a weapon that can chamber different kinds of ammunition, you are able to use what is available to you and still be able to use your firearm. Although it is possible to travel with some ammunition, travel arrangements can be tricky when you need enough for longer excursions or larger rounds.
Being able to use different cartridges also makes your life easier when one of the types of cartridges you are using is no longer in production. While some ammunition stores will still carry hand loaded ammunition, it will get increasingly hard to find once the cartridges are not being mass produced.
What Is The .454 Casull Best Used For?
The .454 Casull is a very powerful handgun cartridge that has a wide variety of uses and can be very versatile as a form of bear protection, hunting of different types of game, target practice, and hobby shooting.
While the recoil may make this cartridge unpleasant if you plan to shoot often all throughout the day, many hunters find it to be very capable in many hunting situations where a large hunting rifle is too bulky.
The .454 Casull is ideal for bear protection due to its power, accuracy, and overall velocity while also being rather compact. Weapons that are able to chamber the .454 Casull are typically somewhat smaller than a rifle but may seem somewhat large when compared to other handguns.
Target practice and hobby shooting are not the most popular use for this cartridge, but the .454 Casull will accommodate these activities easily. Many individuals will decide to work their way up in caliber to the .454 Casull before going on a hunt, and time at the shooting range will be needed.
With the ability to change up the kind of ammunition, hunters can save valuable .454 Casull cartridges for when they are needed during hunting excursions. The .454 Casull will allow hunters to pursue a wide range of medium to large size game in North America, including bears, elk, and other larger species. Wild hogs, deer, pronghorn, brown bear, grizzly bears, and boar are all targets for this cartridge.
It is worth mentioning that there is some disagreement about the active hunting of bears with the .454 Casull as other rifle cartridges exist that allow you to fire from a much safer distance. That being said, the .454 Casull has the firepower, and the risk must be carefully assessed for each situation.