A super magnum is a longer and/or more powerful version of a "magnum" cartridge. Although the term "super magnum" typically refers to a handgun cartridge, created by lengthening an existing straight-case design, it can also refer to a rifle cartridge, such as the .17 Winchester Super Magnum (WSM). In this case, it simply denotes that it is of greater power than existing "magnums" of similar caliber, similar to other designations such as "Remington Ultra Magnum". The most widespread of these cartridges are the "SuperMag" family of super-magnum handgun cartridges that were proposed and tested by Elgin Gates in the 1970s.
Gates tested super magnum cartridges in .357, .375, .44, .45, .50, and .60 caliber. Gates' SuperMag cartridges are all 1.610 inches long—about 3⁄10 of an inch longer than a "standard" handgun magnum (i.e. .357 Magnum, .41 Magnum, and .44 Magnum, which are all the same length)—and use the same bullets as the original magnum cartridges. The extra powder capacity can increase muzzle velocity up to 30–40% over the original magnum rounds.
Other super magnums
There have been other cartridges that were created by extending the length of existing magnum cartridges. Some of these are:
- The .327 Federal Magnum, based on the .32 H&R Magnum
- The .357 Remington Maximum, based on the .357 Magnum and virtually identical in dimension to the .357 SuperMag
- The .460 S&W Magnum, based on the .454 Casull. The latter cartridge is effectively, though not in name, a magnum version of the .45 Colt.
Details and performance
Based on the .357 Magnum cartridge, a revolver or single-shot pistol designed for the .357 SuperMag can also fire .357 Magnum, and .38 Special rounds. The .357 SuperMag is essentially the same cartridge as the later-named .357 Remington Maximum that was jointly developed circa 1982-1983 by Sturm, Ruger & Company and Remington, the .357 Max brass being only 0.005" shorter than the .357 SuperMag brass, but identical in all other dimensions. Ruger, as well as Dan Wesson, introduced revolvers in this cartridge, followed shortly later by Thompson/Center in their single-shot Contender. Due to flame cutting of the top strap of revolvers when shooting cartridges loaded with 125 grain bullets, Ruger discontinued their revolver in this cartridge after a short production run. Dan Wesson provided a second barrel to customers, but this failed to address customer fears, and the cartridge remained popular only in the T/C Contender. Remington then dropped this cartridge from production, although brass is still manufactured for reloaders every few years.
|RCBS #35-200FN||19.0 GRS. H4227||1468|
|19.0 GRS. WW296||1489|
|19.0 GRS. H4227||1495|
|19.0 GRS. WW296||1526|
|Speer 180 FMJ||20.0 GRS. H4227||1371|
|Hornady 180 FMJ||20.0 GRS. H4227||1427|
|Speer 200 FMJ||19.0 GRS. H4227||1286|
Based on the .375 Winchester rifle cartridge, this custom round was meant to fit between the .357 and the .445, but is no longer produced. It had a tapered case that was prone to sticking in the cylinder after firing.
|Hornady 220 FMJ||23.0 GRS. H110||1267|
|22.0 GRS. H4227||1258|
|27.0 GRS. WW680||1364|
|Sierra 300 JFP||31.0 GRS. H110||1395||1394||1295|
|34.0 GRS. WW680||1284||1247||1191|
|NEI #295.429GC||30.0 GRS. H110||1512||1502||1477|
|31.0 GRS. H110||1608||1572||1498|
|34.0 GRS. WW680||1554||1496||1442|
|SSK #310.429||31.0 GRS. H110||1546||1494||1491|
|34.0 GRS. WW680||1572||1521||1500|
|Hornady 265 FN||31.0 GRS. H110||1486||1459||1310|
|Speer 240 FMJ||33.0 GRS. H110||1516||1517||1387|
|31.0 GRS. H4227||1514||1493||1326|
|38.0 GRS. WW680||1504||1432||1353|
|Sierra 220 FMJ||34.0 GRS. H4227||1648||1635||1541|
|35.0 GRS. H4227||1759||1705||1561|
|36.0 GRS. H4227||1793||1780||1640|
- Taffin, John (2000). "Powerhouse Sixguns Of Dan Wesson". Guns Magazine. 30 (8).