What are The Differences Between 450 Bushmaster vs 458 SOCOM Ammo?

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450 Bushmaster vs. 458 SOCOM

When talking about heavy-hitting ammo designed for usage in Modern Sporting Rifles, shooters and hunters only have a few options these days. The 450 bushmaster and 458 SOCOM cartridges are one of them.

The 450 Bushmaster was explicitly built for hunting, while the 458 SOCOM was designed for military and tactical purposes. Both can be great cartridges for target shooting and hunting.

Today we will discuss the difference between 450 Bushmaster vs 458 SOCOM cartridges. So if you are interested in this topic, let’s read on!

History of 450 Bushmaster

The .450 Bushmaster is a relatively recent addition to the world of firearms cartridges. It was designed by Tim LeGendre of LeMag Firearms, LLC, and it was first introduced in 2007.

The cartridge was developed to offer a powerful and versatile option for hunters, particularly for use in states with straight-wall cartridge restrictions for hunting deer.

The development of the .450 Bushmaster was influenced by the need for a cartridge that would provide sufficient power for taking down large game, especially in regions where hunting with rifles chambered in bottlenecked cartridges was prohibited.

It was specifically created to comply with the regulations of certain states in the United States that require the use of straight-wall cartridges for deer hunting.

The .450 Bushmaster is derived from the .45 Professional cartridge, which itself was based on the .284 Winchester. It utilizes a rebated rim design, meaning that the rim diameter is smaller than the base diameter of the cartridge case.

This allows the .450 Bushmaster to function reliably in AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles, which have a smaller bolt face than traditional bolt-action rifles chambered in large-caliber cartridges.

The cartridge is known for its power and effectiveness, delivering a large-diameter projectile with substantial energy. It typically fires a .452 caliber bullet weighing around 250 grains at muzzle velocities of around 2,200 feet per second. This combination results in excellent terminal performance and stopping power.

The .450 Bushmaster has gained popularity among hunters, particularly in states like Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana, where regulations mandate the use of straight-wall cartridges for deer hunting. It has also found favor with some AR-15 enthusiasts who appreciate its versatility and hard-hitting capabilities.

Overall, the .450 Bushmaster offers a potent and reliable option for those seeking a straight-wall cartridge with significant stopping power, making it a compelling choice for hunters in restricted areas or anyone in need of a hard-hitting semi-automatic rifle cartridge.

What is 458 SOCOM?

The .458 SOCOM is a powerful cartridge that was developed in the early 2000s by Marty ter Weeme, founder of Teppo Jutsu, LLC, in collaboration with the Special Operations community.

The primary objective behind its development was to create a cartridge that could provide increased stopping power and terminal performance for the AR-15 platform, particularly in close-quarters combat scenarios.

The origins of the .458 SOCOM can be traced back to the experiences and requirements of U.S. Special Operations personnel who were looking for an alternative to the standard 5.56x45mm NATO round used in their M4 carbines.

They wanted a cartridge that would offer better penetration, barrier performance, and terminal ballistics, particularly against hardened targets and in situations where a single shot could be decisive.

To meet these demands, Marty ter Weeme began experimenting with modifying the .50 AE cartridge case, a pistol cartridge used in the Desert Eagle pistol, to fit into an AR-15 platform.

By necking down the case to accept a .458 caliber bullet and adjusting the internal dimensions, he successfully created what is now known as the .458 SOCOM.

The .458 SOCOM cartridge fires a large .458 caliber bullet, typically weighing between 250 and 600 grains, at moderate velocities. It offers significantly increased energy and stopping power compared to the 5.56mm round, making it capable of delivering devastating terminal performance.

The .458 SOCOM quickly gained attention and popularity within the firearms community, especially among AR-15 enthusiasts and those involved in specialized military and law enforcement applications.

Its ability to deliver heavy-hitting power and excellent close-quarters performance has made it well-suited for tasks such as home defense, hunting large game at close range, and certain tactical operations.

Since its introduction, the .458 SOCOM has seen a growing number of firearms manufacturers offering rifles, uppers, and conversion kits chambered in this cartridge. Additionally, ammunition manufacturers have developed a variety of loads specifically tailored for different purposes, further expanding the versatility and capabilities of the .458 SOCOM platform.

In summary, the .458 SOCOM was developed to address the need for increased stopping power and terminal performance in the AR-15 platform. Its creation was influenced by the requirements of Special Operations personnel, and it has since become a popular choice for those seeking a hard-hitting cartridge for various applications.

Highlights Off 450 Buhmaster vs 458 SOCOM

The 450 Bushmaster
The 450 Bushmaster

While these cartridges offer excellent stopping power when going with the AR platform, they vary in many ways.

The 458 can manage between 140 and 600 gr rounds, which is more powerful. However, they will be effective at about 150 yards, which is quite close.

Also, you can find various rifle bullets of this type of ammo at local gun stores.

On the flip side, the 450 Bushmaster is built to come with less power (around 250 grains), not even matching the 600-grain ammunition of SOCOM.

But you can expect the velocity of the 450 Bushmasters up to 2,200 FPS, making this ammo great in range flexibility. As it has many advantages, it is no surprise hunters, and shooters favor this cartridge in an AR-15 platform.

450 Bushmaster Specifications

Parameter Specification
Cartridge type Rifle
Bullet diameter .452 in (11.5 mm)
Neck diameter .483 in (12.3 mm)
Shoulder diameter .573 in (14.6 mm)
Base diameter .579 in (14.7 mm)
Rim diameter .535 in (13.6 mm)
Case length 1.7 in (43.2 mm)
Overall length 2.26 in (57.4 mm)
Rifling twist rate 1:16 in
Maximum pressure 38,500 psi (265 MPa)
Bullet weight 200-300 grains (13-19 g)
Muzzle velocity 2,100-2,300 ft/s (640-700 m/s)
Muzzle energy 2,500-2,800 ft·lb (3,400-3,800 J)

458 SOCOM Specifications

Specifications 458 SOCOM
Bullet diameter .458 in (11.63 mm)
Case length 1.575 in (39.98 mm)
Overall length 2.260 in (57.40 mm)
Rifling twist 1:14 in
Rim diameter .473 in (12.01 mm)
Muzzle velocity 1,900-2,000 ft/s (580-610 m/s)
Muzzle energy 2,400-2,600 ft⋅lbf (3,300-3,500 J)
Cartridge type Rifle
Parent case .50 Action Express
Designer Teppo Jutsu
Designed 2000

450 Bushmaster vs 458 Socom: Main Differences

⚙️ Prices

The prices of both the 450 Bushmaster and 458 SOCOM are equally high. But in some cases, the 450 Bushmaster is available at a slightly more affordable price.

Winner: The 450 Bushmaster

⚙️ Design

The 458 SOCOM
The 458 SOCOM

Since AR 15 semi-automatic rifles can only work with cartridges up to 2.26″, the 458 SOCOM and 450 Bushmaster are within the limit.

Regarding the cases’ length, the 450 bushmaster is 1.7,” and the 458 SOCOM is 1.575”. Like some popular ammo available, their rim diameter is .473”.

⚙️ Power

Regarding the power, the difference between them only matters for what kind of game you handle and what you need to focus on.

The 458 can work well with a 600-grain range. Meanwhile, the 450 Bushmaster can handle around a 300-grain range.

For example, if you hunt deer or any big animal, utilizing the 450 ammo is your best bet as a 600-grain is not suitable at closer distances. The 458’s power and 150-yards limitation are ideal for large targets, such as wild boars and bears.

Winner: Draw.

⚙️ Minimal Risks

The minimal risk and compatibility often go hand in hand.

Hence, if you are considering one of the bullets, it is wise to equip the appropriate barrel on the AR-15 to reduce any risk attached to utilizing it.

Winner: Draw.

⚙️ Recoil

458 SOCOM bullets are created with wider grain ranges, but you’ll likely find them heavier recoil than their 450 Bushmaster counterparts. Meanwhile, the 450 Bushmaster bullets’ grain range ability enables them to deal with less recoil.

During testing, we compared the performance of these cartridges at 100 yards and got less recoil with the Bushmaster.

Winner: The 450 Bushmaster

⚙️ Ballistics

450 Bushmaster

Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity Muzzle Energy
250 grains 2200 fps 2686 ft-lbs
260 grains 2125 fps 2759 ft-lbs
275 grains 2050 fps 2837 ft-lbs
300 grains 1900 fps 2692 ft-lbs

458 SOCOM

Bullet Weight Muzzle Velocity Muzzle Energy
250 grains 2100 fps 2623 ft-lbs
300 grains 1900 fps 2556 ft-lbs
325 grains 1800 fps 2512 ft-lbs
350 grains 1700 fps 2414 ft-lbs

If you own one AR platform or a similar platform, the 450 Bushmaster and 458 SOCOM rounds are nearly supported on available models.

If you are a large game hunter with few weapons and manage much cross-compatible ammunition, both cartridges are best if you own the right barrel available.

Winner: Draw.

⚙️ Compatibility

When talking about ballistics information, we noticed a slight difference between the 458 SOCOM vs 450 Bushmaster. Both belong to the high & low range pressure of the .45-70 loads as to power and trajectory.

The 450 Bushmaster maintains the most power and features the flattest trajectory thanks to the higher muzzle velocity.

Winner: The 450 Bushmaster

⚙️ Weight & Balance

Each cartridge has different diameters: 452” for the Bushmaster and – .458” for the SOCOM. The 450 typically uses bullets weighing about 160g and 300g, and the recommended option is between 250g and 260g.

The 458 uses ammunition weighing from 200g to 600g, with the most common options being 250 gr, 300 gr, and 350 gr.

Winner: Draw. 

⚙️ Range

450 Bushmaster

Range Drop (inches) Velocity (fps) Energy (ft-lbs)
0 yards 0 2200 2686
50 yards -1.2 2025 2272
100 yards -4.9 1863 1896
150 yards -11.4 1714 1574
200 yards -20.2 1577 1306
250 yards -31.2 1450 1087
300 yards -44.3 1333 910

458 SOCOM

Range Drop (inches) Velocity (fps) Energy (ft-lbs)
0 yards 0 1780 2416
50 yards -0.6 1624 2012
100 yards -2.7 1484 1678
150 yards -7.2 1358 1407
200 yards -14.3 1245 1189
250 yards -24.2 1142 1017
300 yards -36.8 1050 860

The 450 has an extended range of two hundred and twenty yards, making it ideal for hunting deer.

The .458’s range becomes limited to 150 yards. It can allow you to take down bears, wild boars, and other big games with its 600-grain bullets. However, you may have to get as close to your target as possible, revealing your location.

Winner: The 450 Bushmaster

⚙️ Reload

The 458 features a more significant benefit in the reloading category.
The 458 features a more significant benefit in the reloading category.

When reloading the AR-15 rifles, both shooters and hunters enjoy shooting the 458 and 450. But the 458 SOCOM features a more significant advantage in the reloading category.

Winner: The 458 SOCOM.

⚙️ Ammunition Selection

Up to now, the 450 is the most popular cartridge.

For the .458 SOCOM, no major ammunition companies produce ammo for them. Instead, several much smaller companies make factory ammo for this cartridge.

For example, Hornady, Remington, Winchester, and Federal all produce .450 Bushmaster ammunition.

SBR produces variations of the .458 SOCOM cartridge, while Buffalo Bore, Black Butterfly, Inceptor, Great Lakes, and Underwood produce ammunition for both cartridges.

Winner: The 450 Bushmaster

⚙️ Rifle Selection

Rifle availability for these two cartridges is very uneven.

The .450 is the most widely available, and various companies make great rifles chambered in this cartridge.

On the flip side, a few companies make guns chambered in the .458 SOCOM.

Winner: The 450 Bushmaster

450 Bushmaster vs 458 Socom: Comparison Table

The 458 SOCOM The 450 Bushmaster
Rim Diameter .473 inches .473 inches
Bullet Diameter .458 inches .452 inches
Total Length 2.26 inches 2.26 inches
Case Length 1.575 inches 1.7 inches
Bullet Weights From 250 to 600 grains From 150 to 300 grains

450 Bushmaster vs 458 SOCOM: Which One Is for You?

Both the 458 SOCOM and 450 Bushmaster offer comparable performance. They are ideal for various games from short to moderate range.

Using them to hunt feral hogs, black bears, and deer is okay. With the proper bullets, they work well for tougher and larger games like brown bear and moose.

These cartridges are also ideal for home defense and law enforcement use. They are also highly endorsed by hunters in the midwest who are restricted to utilizing straight walled cases within deer season.

If you deer-sized hunting game at ranges less than two hundred yards, the 450 Bushmaster and 458 SOCOM work well as they have little difference at short range. But you should choose the 450 as you will have more options for ammo.

Both are also suitable for larger animal hunting games, such as moose, brown bear, and elk, but we recommend going with the 458 SOCOM.

Wrapping It Up

While they have slightly different pros and cons, the 458 SOCOM vs 450 Bushmaster are both excellent rifle cartridges, especially for hunters and shooters who love the AR platform.

While the differences between these cartridges are relatively significant in some respects, they are both excellent choices for a wide range of hunting missions.

Get a decent hunting rifle chambered in a cartridge that suits you best, learn to fire it well, utilize good-quality bullets, and you will be all set for most common hunting conditions.

Last Updated on November 21, 2023 by Cecil B. DeMille

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