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Old November 09, 2018, 10:56   #1
Randall
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.458 SOCOM, .450 Bushmaster, or .50 Beowulf?

For no particular reason (maybe its just the season); recently, I've been considering a large caliber upper for when the mood strikes. Not really interested in a dedicated rifle, just an upper to fit on a 5.56 lower. Thoughts?

One other question. Which red dots would you recommend to handle the recoil?
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Old November 09, 2018, 11:25   #2
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I have had the "urge" for a thumper, but so far have managed to resist.

I think if I did give in, it would be with the 458 Socom.....or in second place the 450 Bushmaster. I like the speed demons of the thumpers!

But I have no plans to get one as of yet.......
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Old November 09, 2018, 11:40   #3
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I love my .50 Beowulf but damn it was expensive to get into and develop a decent cheap load. It kicks the hell out of everything. I like the .458 socom but it doesn’t do what the Beowulf does. I feel my 7.62 battle rifles can cover the .458 socom need. The Beowulf is like a semi auto 45/70 with max loads.
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Old November 09, 2018, 12:39   #4
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I've had my Beowulf over 20 years. Don't take it out much but it's great fun to shoot when I do.
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Old November 09, 2018, 12:53   #5
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I can only speak of 458 SOCOM and 450 Bushmaster. In straight walled restricted states the SOCOM round gets left out of the picture if hunting is what you have in mind.
The Bushmaster takes a bit more care in selecting magazines the will feed reliably. Aluminum and plastic mags lack enough feed lip strength to hold back a full stack and will send rounds flying every which way if bumped. Steel have worked quite well for me with a bit of tuning. For a hunter on the go, or for a non-reloader, the Bushmaster can be found nearly everywhere.

SOCOM rounds feed better from mags and chamber better due to the bottle necked cases. And it hits hard and suppresses well too. Better have plenty on hand for an outing because ammo is hard to find if you run out.

The 50 Beowulf is something I have no experience with. I would think that the lips in a steel magazine could easily handle the large diameter case. Here is another cartridge that you need to make sure you have brought enough on a outing.

All three are thumpers and are effective at rearranging anything hit with one. Considering bullet selection, case availability, ease of reloading, mainstream availability, and performance expected will determine which is best for you. I always used EOTECHs on my builds. You pays the money and makes your choice.
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Old November 09, 2018, 13:39   #6
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I just took advantage of the Primary Arms sale on .458 SOCOM barrels and bought a couple. Totally an impulse buy though and no experience and little knowledge of the cartridge. I will get a bolt and carrier from somewhere, Brownells has them for a little over $100, and I already have an upper receiver that is not being used. Then a gas block, a muzzle device and a few other small parts and I can put it all together. I have found ammo for about $42 a box. Why got involved in another project, I don't know.
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Old November 09, 2018, 15:23   #7
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Beowulf ammo is the cheapest of the three starting at $1.11/round with .458 Socom starting at $1.35/round and .450 Bushmaster $1.17/round according to ammoseek.com
As stated before Beowulf and Bushmaster are straight walled.
The Beowulf probably has the shortest effective range of them.
I bought my Beo upper at one of the Black Rifle Conventions held back in the early '90s after myself, my girlfriend and another couple ate dinner at the same table as Bill Alexander and his chief engineer (don't recall his name, though he was from H&K). This was before they were selling complete rifles and only uppers at the time IIRC.
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Old November 09, 2018, 17:48   #8
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[QUOTE=Gazz;4656091] I will get a bolt and carrier from somewhere, Brownells has them for a little over $100, and I already have an upper receiver that is not being used.

Be warned that those large caliber thumper rounds need to have enlarged ejection ports for fired cases to pass though. You will have to modify your own or purchase one made to accommodate the larger size. Tromix and others sell them plus has drawings for the do-it-yourselfer.
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Old November 09, 2018, 19:25   #9
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Thanks for that tip! I have an upper that has no forward assist and was made without provisions for a dustcover so should be easy enough.
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Old November 09, 2018, 23:16   #10
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I considered the cost of building a straight cased ammo rifle, but chose to buy a NIB Ruger AR-556 MRC in .450 Bushmaster. Cost was around $750. It is a well built rifle, and I appreciated the beefer bolt and chamber profile. the rifle also comes stock with a two stage trigger compared to RRA and Larue.

I found that building an upper would run me around $500, give or take, excluding shipping (and time). Taking into consideration the lower with decent trigger and Magpul furniture (… also a MIL-SPEC receiver extension), $750 was a good buy.

I was pleasantly surprised by how mellow the .450 Bushmaster round is to shoot! I really enjoyed zeroing it, despite crappy weather, and laying in the grass/mud on a buddy's private property (40 degrees and rain, but it was the only chance I had before hitting the wood line next week). The rifle comes equipped with a carbine weight buffer, I am looking forward to playing around with heavier buffers and springs to lighten the recoil (thought it isn't really necessary).

I tossed on an Aimpoint that I pulled from another zeroed AR to speed up zero time. I also tossed on an old KAC Sop-Mod buttstock (creature of habit).

The .450 Bushmaster is a FLAT shooting round! I launched my first round at 25 yards, made a mild adjustment and went straight to 100 yards. Shot three rounds, made another minor correction. Laying prone off a rubber block in the rain, with the Aimpoint, I confirmed a final three round group and called it a day!

The ACS Magazine that came with the rifle worked flawlessly. It isn't just a 20 round 5.56 mag with a different follower in it.


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Old November 14, 2018, 15:15   #11
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Considered all, now have two 458 SOCOM's and waiting for Form 1's to return to finish another pair. I run them 90% subsonic but plan on setting one up as a supersonic gun once get all four completed. Will most.likely be the longest barrel 458 SOCOM of the group. 330 grain Barnes TTSX are wicked destructive and a 550 grain JSP still makes huge energy at 1,050 fps plus the bottle neck design feeds and extracts very reliably even inna nasty rifle from suppressor blowback.
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Old November 14, 2018, 17:41   #12
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I have no experience with 450 Bushmaster and don't recall anything about it.

I have shot 458 SOCOM and 50 Beowulf, full auto as well. I expected both cartridges to shoot the same and was more interested in the 458 SOCOM thinking it would be cheaper to reload for. After shooting them I did not like the 458. It was obnoxious and just didn't feel right. The 50 Beowulf of course is a big thump of course but smooth and I liked shooting it. Myself with what I have seen I would buy the 50 Beowulf, but always open to new ideas.
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Old November 16, 2018, 09:15   #13
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While I am not a fan of anything made in the Philippines then branded with a big logo that says AMERICAN TACTICAL imports in a manner most see the AMERICAN very boldly and the "made in Philippines" only if you hunt for the fine print LGS has sold a boat load and never seem to have one of their AR 15 or scatter gun designs come back with any complaints and why always a few on the wall due to price point and getting folks out the door with a complete rifle instead of a lower and dreams of ordering internet parts. We have an ATI AR 15 on the wall right now in 450 Bushmaster that will go out the door for $599 all taxes included and probably a box or two of ammo with a little negotiating. I understand the 450 Bushmaster is deer legal in many states the 458 is not plus get a couple hundred more ft/lbs of energy but energy at subsonic velocity is my thumper goal.

Since my number one use for a thumper was subsonic suppressed have gone with 458 SOCOM and not looked back. Have a can waiting on a BATFE Form to come back that has a very good baffle design, two inch internal diameter and eight inch internal length. Have all my math done so that when form comes in can tack the can to an 8.5" barrel and have 16.1" from bolt face to end of can. Right now running subsonic through my AAC Hybrid can from a 10" 458 SOCOM it's quiet. So quiet that have been working on buffer and bolt noise as that along with sound of 400 to 550 ground bullets striking the target are my largest hurdles. Already got a lot of that worked out with a Tubbs Flatwire Spring, M16 Clinic buffer pad, lapping bolt run inside of upper and more. Still the AAC can is a bit overwhelmed but believe the new can is going to have enough internal volume and baffle design that will pretty much have bullet strike sound pressure being the loudest part of the system.

A 400 to 500 grain bullet at 1,050 fps does exactly what I want it to do. Now have more 6.8 spc II's than I can accurately count without going to the list which have all the horsepower I need in a poodle shooter running supersonic. The 300 BO is useless to me as it just doesn't have the juice subsonic to slay zombies with authority or carry any real energy full power and seen too many folks blow up 5.56 rifles with 5.56 headstamp converted 300 BO ammo even though it takes a lapse of reasoning seems to happen often. When I want a real thumper just grab one of my AR 10's in 338 Federal and they will thump the ever living crap out of about anything I need.

Had an excellent opportunity to go with 50 Beo when scored over 500 commercial cast, 300 commercial jacketed projectiles and several hundred cases in an estate deal but was able to sell the cases and projectiles for most parts needed to build another 458 and gave away the cast bullets here. As mentioned above for Gazz's benefit the big bores need different ejection port sizes to chunk out the shells. First one I built I opened up the port on my upper on my mill but since am using the DPMS heavy walled uppers with no forward assist or dust cover doors for extra meat in the uppers in case I decide to run a few mag loads of binary fire with full power ammo. Put a binary in one of my 458's and the one touch double taps are impressive even with subsonic. Brownell's sells the DPMS properly designed upper and a nice HPT/MPI shot peened bolt and carrier group for way cheap most of the time. Now have my fleet of 5.56 and 6.8 AR 15's which niche needs are filled by four 22 Noslers and soon to have four 458 SOCOM's and may call the poodle shooter game over except for occasional special builds and working at LGS.

For the OP who asked about building a 450 Bushmaster upper may want to carefully price all your build parts and may be able to buy a complete rifle for same price or within a hundred bucks and not have to move uppers and worry about gas system settings, buffer weight, etc. More an upper is moved the more steel pin on aluminum receiver wear is accelerated though it's a seldom discussed issue except with the precision shooting crowd.
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Old November 16, 2018, 15:28   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockjaw View Post
I considered the cost of building a straight cased ammo rifle, but chose to buy a NIB Ruger AR-556 MRC in .450 Bushmaster. Cost was around $750. It is a well built rifle, and I appreciated the beefer bolt and chamber profile. the rifle also comes stock with a two stage trigger compared to RRA and Larue.

I found that building an upper would run me around $500, give or take, excluding shipping (and time). Taking into consideration the lower with decent trigger and Magpul furniture (… also a MIL-SPEC receiver extension), $750 was a good buy.

I was pleasantly surprised by how mellow the .450 Bushmaster round is to shoot! I really enjoyed zeroing it, despite crappy weather, and laying in the grass/mud on a buddy's private property (40 degrees and rain, but it was the only chance I had before hitting the wood line next week). The rifle comes equipped with a carbine weight buffer, I am looking forward to playing around with heavier buffers and springs to lighten the recoil (thought it isn't really necessary).

I tossed on an Aimpoint that I pulled from another zeroed AR to speed up zero time. I also tossed on an old KAC Sop-Mod buttstock (creature of habit).

The .450 Bushmaster is a FLAT shooting round! I launched my first round at 25 yards, made a mild adjustment and went straight to 100 yards. Shot three rounds, made another minor correction. Laying prone off a rubber block in the rain, with the Aimpoint, I confirmed a final three round group and called it a day!

The ACS Magazine that came with the rifle worked flawlessly. It isn't just a 20 round 5.56 mag with a different follower in it.
I have seen multiple flyers for the last several weeks where you could buy a 450 or 458 upper with the oversized ejection port receiver w/o bolt,carrier and charging handle for less then $200.

A couple of years ago, I made a promise to myself to not add any different cartridges to my reloading stable and I have been pretty good about keeping it. The "thumper" AR's have been my biggest temptation so far!

Still holding out, but sometimes I wonder why I hold out and then next I am wondering why the hell I want one....
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Old November 17, 2018, 07:06   #15
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I have seen multiple flyers for the last several weeks where you could buy a 450 or 458 upper with the oversized ejection port receiver w/o bolt,carrier and charging handle for less then $200.

A couple of years ago, I made a promise to myself to not add any different cartridges to my reloading stable and I have been pretty good about keeping it. The "thumper" AR's have been my biggest temptation so far!

Still holding out, but sometimes I wonder why I hold out and then next I am wondering why the hell I want one....
Based upon reviews, many of these inexpensive uppers and barrels are a gamble. It appears that a number of them come from a single source and rebranded, with many poor reviews. Then you still have to add $$$ or BCG (and a crap bolt can also sideline a build), lower ect., muzzle break, decent trigger, furniture, the Ruger for $750 pans out as a solid deal. The Ruger also comes with the beefier chamber and bolt with rounded lugs, which I have found to be a smart move.... it takes some energy to chamber that large round from.the magazine. I'm very pleased with my purchsse.... highly recommended.

Here in Michigan, we can only use straight case ammo during rifle season, hence popularity of .450 Bushy and .50 Beowolf.

I took a large doe night before last for the freezer.... .450 Bushy rocked.it. Blew the heart to pieces, made a mess of its shoulder at exit, leg hanging off by skin. Fielding Hornday Black.

Currently sitting in the blind waiting for a.buck!
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Old November 17, 2018, 13:56   #16
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Congratulations on your kill this year. I think you did yourself right with that Ruger purchase. A friend bought the Ruger bolt gun for hunting and was initially disappointed with it. Didn't like the plastic stock. Once he got the optics mounted and did the sight in, he was like "HEY!, this thing shoots".

Still couldn't convince him to run with it, though. He wanted me build him up an AR like the other guys. So with a new barrel and an assemblage of parts out of the parts bin, he got his wish. Tagged a nice nine point buck at 80 yards with it yesterday. He says he couln't understand wtf was going on. Hit it with a broadside shot and the buck did a little shiver then took a few more steps. Hit it again and it stopped and wobbled. Fired one more and it was lights out.

Last nights autopsy showed first shot took out bottom half of lungs. Following shot exploded heart. Third took out plumbing in it's neck. Damn thing was a zombie that didn't know it was dead. A little patience would have netted results after the first hit. This was his first experience with a semi-auto and he liked it a wee bit too much. It's nice to have quick follow up shots available, but damn, easy on the bullet hose.

Hunting ammo used was the Hornady black factory stuff. Performance was considered to be very efficient and effective by the troops. Comparison to the 12ga slug loads was described as every bit as deadly with the shotgun hollow point being more explosive internally. 450 wound channel was just as deadly but without excessive tissue damage to good meat when the hollow point falls appart.

Waiting for three more hunters to report in. Michigan season is off and running and 450 bushies are evrywhere.
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Old November 17, 2018, 15:17   #17
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My next door neighbor hunts with Remington 742 in 30-06 and does not stop shooting till deer hits ground or magazine runs dry. Most were dead upon first shot just not smart enough to fall down so got four more rounds scattered through bodies in the meantime so they look like hit by an A-10 tank buster with 1/2 the meat ruined. Won't recount shooting a deer with a 350 Rem Mag where 250 grain bullet entered chest/shoulder as almost facing me and exited the opposite rear hip turning all internal organs into soup and ruining shoulder, one side of ribs and rear quarter. Now quite happy dropping them with one shot into ear canal with my 22 Hornet. Only damage is trickle of blood from ear and their eyes bug out of their sockets.
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Old November 17, 2018, 15:44   #18
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I witnessed a head shot via a 7mm magnum. Shot was taken close range walking back to truck, and when partner fired at the head peeking through the brush, all I saw was the red mist explosion with both antlers flying off spinning in opposite directions. Damnedest thing I ever saw.
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