January 10, 2022
I've never been much of a bowhunter. I like the challenge of getting within the animal’s sensory zone and using a difficult-to-master weapon, but I just can’t get excited about shooting a bow. Sure, I’ve got one and have taken some game with it, but it isn’t my passion. When I want the challenge of hunting big game up close, I do it with a handgun. One of the most memorable moments of my 2020 hunting season came when I sat at the base of a tree on my favorite hillside and used a .32 H&R Magnum revolver to cleanly take a deer. Though the deer was “only” a doe, the challenge of the short gun made it an exciting and rewarding experience. Such challenges are what make us hunters rather than mere killers.
Most of my handgun hunting is done with one of a few iron-sighted single-action revolvers, most chambered in .45 Colt. These handguns have comparable capabilities to modern compound bows in terms of range but, at least in my hands, are more lethal. Revolvers fell out of favor for defensive use in the 1990s, but for big-game hunting, they still reign supreme. Thanks to such innovators as Elmer Keith, Dick Casull, John Linebaugh, and Hamilton Bowen, the big-bore revolver has become an immensely powerful tool capable of taking any game animal that roams this planet.
For many years, if you wanted a revolver for hunting large, heavy game, you had to go the custom route. Hunting-appropriate handguns, such as the Freedom Arms Model 83, are fantastic, but they have always been pricey. Taurus changed that in 1997 when it released the Raging Bull chambered in the powerful .454 Casull. This was the first “everyman revolver” capable of taking any animal that walks. In 2021, the company raised the bar even more by offering the Raging Hunter 460, which handles the mighty .460 S&W Magnum cartridge.
The .460 S&W Magnum is essentially an elongated and more powerful version of the .454 Casull, which was itself an extended .45 Colt. Factory .460 loads are hot, with Federal Premium’s 300-grain bullet leaving the muzzle at around 1,750 fps. Hornady’s 200-grain load exits the bore at 2,200 fps. The beauty of the Raging Hunter and other .460 revolvers is that you can use full-power .460 S&W Magnum loads, step down slightly to the .454 Casull, and even use .45 Colt cartridges for low-recoil practice or smaller game. Given the lack of ammo availability these days, it’s nice to have options.
The Raging Hunter 460 is available in three barrel lengths: 5.12 inches, 6.75 inches, and 8.37 inches. We tested the 54-ounce, 6.75-inch version. This big, heavy revolver is what I consider a primary hunting handgun and not a smaller and lighter backup gun. There is no way around physics, and the .460 S&W Magnum with full-power loads produces some pretty violent recoil. The Raging Hunter 460’s weight is one of the features that does a nice job of taming that force.
The entire handgun is built from stainless steel and is offered in either an all-black oxide or a two-tone color scheme. Ours came fully blacked-out. Due to the diameter of the cartridges and the need to allow plenty of steel between the chambers, the Raging Hunter 460 is a five-shot revolver. The cylinder locks in two positions for added strength, so there are release buttons at both the traditional position on the frame and on the crane forward of the cylinder itself.
Though the Raging Hunter 460 is a double-action revolver, in the field it is far more likely to be used in single-action mode. The double-action pull on our test sample was heavy enough to peg my trigger gauge at 10 pounds. The single-action trigger was a more manageable seven pounds with zero creep. Personally, I’d like it a bit lighter, but I was nonetheless able to shoot the gun very well at the range.
The Raging Hunter is equipped with well-made adjustable iron sights. The barrel is stainless steel and wrapped in a shroud that is built with a heavy, full underlug. A castle nut at the muzzle holds everything securely in place. The top surface of the barrel shroud has an integral Picatinny rail for optics mounting. We used this rail surface to mount a Leupold FX-11 4x28mm handgun scope with a simple duplex reticle. I wanted the optic as low as possible, so I had to remove the front sight, which was as simple as drifting out a roll pin with the appropriate punch. With higher rings there would be no reason to remove the sight. Mounting a red dot sight would have been even easier.
If my math is correct, the 300-grain factory load produces almost 50 pounds of recoil energy in the Raging Hunter 460, which is triple that of an average .44 Magnum sixgun. Other than raw mass, this revolver has three different methods of keeping recoil manageable. There are eight barrel ports near the muzzle that direct propellant gases upward. This force, combined with a heavy underlug, counteracts much of the muzzle rise, which makes the Raging Hunter 460 recoil almost straight to the rear. A soft rubber grip helps mitigate much of that rearward force, making the gun reasonably comfortable to shoot with full-power loads. Don’t get me wrong. This gun kicks hard—though at a tolerable level so long as you don’t put too many rounds downrange.
In typical Taurus fashion, the Raging Hunter is offered at a price that represents a great value to the consumer with an MSRP of $1,065. To put that in perspective, the only other production .460 S&W Magnum revolver on the market retails for almost double that amount. Like all Taurus products, the Raging Hunter comes with a lifetime warranty. Though these guns are made in Brazil, any necessary repairs are handled in the company’s Bainbridge, Georgia, facility for a fast turnaround.
I’ve had the chance to handle and shoot two examples of the Raging Hunter 460, and both performed well. If you’re looking for a revolver for the largest and toughest game animals, or if you simply want the biggest pistol on the block, the Raging Hunter 460 is a viable and reasonably priced option.
- Type: Double-action revolver
- Caliber: .460 S&W Magnum
- Barrel: 6.75 in., stainless steel
- Weight: 3 lbs., 5 oz. (empty)
- Finish: Matte black oxide
- Grips: Soft rubber with cushioned insert
- Sights: Adjustable irons, Picatinny rail for scope mounting
- Trigger: 10-lb. pull (double action), 7-lb pull (single action)
- Suggested Retail: $1,065
The Essentials Gear Box.
Our editors have hand-picked these essential pieces of gear to make you a more successful hunter when you hit the game trails this season.