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Video: The Exceedingly Powerful .454 Casull

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Generating wicked recoil, the .454 Casull nonetheless remains popular with big-bore shooters given its red-line power.

A wise man once said, “There’s no free lunch.” In short, it doesn’t matter the situation, there’s always a price to pay. This not only holds true in the world of money but also firearms. In the case of the .454 Casull, the toll is recoil.

Despite its recent popularity, the cartridge generates so much recoil it's generally considered unmanageable in all but the most dedicated big-bore shooter's hands. By some estimates, it generates around 75-percent more recoil than the .44 Magnum, which is saying a lot. When the .44 was introduced in 1955 average shooters flocked to it and, equally as quick, they scuttled away after pulling the trigger and unleashing the angry mule. The .454 is a whole bunch more mule.

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Given this, why in the name of the sane would anyone want to drop the hammer on exceedingly powerful .45? Simple, you harness the power to take down any game that walks the earth — coastal brown bears, Cape buffalo, and even elephants have fallen to the Casull. That, for many, is more than worth the price of entry — which is learning to handle hot fury, then place a follow-up shot accurately with it.

Unveiled three short years after the .44 Magnum, the .454 Casull is the brainchild of Dick Casull and Jeff Fullmer. While it was a mid-century invention, it took until 1983 before the first commercial revolver was chambered for it — the Freedom Arms Model 83.

Essentially a .45 Colt lengthened around 1/10 of an inch, the .454 Casull is fully capable of kicking out a 300-grain bullet at 1,600 fps. Though the cartridge is not simply a lengthier Colt. Operating at pressures that would devastate the cartridge it’s based on (60,000 psi plus), the .454 Casull endures due to reinforced case head and walls.

Surpassed today in power, the Casull nevertheless is among the most brawny cartridges available. And despite the price it wrests — generally out a shooter's wrists — it remains among the most popular big-bore cartridges.

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