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Any experiences with big-bore AR-15 uppers?

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  • Any experiences with big-bore AR-15 uppers?

    Been looking over some of the big-bore uppers with interest. Specifically the 50 Beowolf and the 450 Bushmaster offerings. Curious if anyone has actually tried one of these and what kind of performance they got out of it.
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  • #2
    **Subscribing**

    Also include .458 SOCOM
    The Alaska Life www.facebook.com/thealaskalife
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    ~Spero Meliora~

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    • #3
      Bog bores

      Check ar15.com Lots of info there. I think that a 450 could be a good close range back up weapon.

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      • #4
        My only comment is on the 450 Bushmanster versus 458 SOCOM intended usage. If you want to shoot thin-skinned game, then go for the Bushmaster. If you want to shoot thick-skinned game, then go for the SOCOM or Beowulf. The Bushmaster shoots .452 caliber bullets that don't do very well for penetration on thick-skinned game. The SOCOM shoots the same bullets used for .45-70 and the various .458 Magnums. The Beowulf also has bullets designed for thick-skinned game.

        After buying a SOCOM, but then testing the other two because I thought I might want to change, I stuck with the SOCOM. You can use 300 grain bullets for light-skinned game and plinking, but then move up to 350, 400, and 450 grained bullets for the tougher species. My personal all-around hunting load uses a 350 grain Hornady RN bullet.
        "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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        • #5
          I believe I read somewhere that the SOCOM has a tapered case for better feeding versus the 'Wulf....

          Kay9, can you build your own upper buying the pieces separately (for either the .50 of the .458?) or are these uppers proprietary for some reason?
          The Alaska Life www.facebook.com/thealaskalife
          sigpic

          ~Spero Meliora~

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          • #6
            I'm no AR-15 junkie, so take my information for the little amount it's worth, but the SOCOM is not proprietary (the inventor Marty ter Weeme released the specs for all to use) and the Beowulf is proprietary (owned by Alexander Arms).

            As far as buying parts, I don't know either way. I used to follow some big bore AR-15 forums quite regularly and it used to be that you couldn't get parts for the Beowulf except for direct from Alexander Arms. I don't know if it's still that way. There are several companies now making SOCOMs, RRA being the biggest, so parts are probably more available. I've never built an AR-15 so I don't have a lot of experience buying parts.

            One of the main accuracy arguments between the SOCOM and Bushmaster/Beowulf is that the SOCOM has a shoulder and the others don't. Some proponents of the SOCOM claim that makes it more accurate. There are obviously plenty of rounds out there without a shoulder and they do just fine, so I'm not sure that's a valid argument. My SOCOM was built by Tromix, back when they were still building them, and shoots 1" five shot groups at 100 yards about half the time (otherwise they open up to about 1 1/2"). That accuracy is pretty good in my book.

            If you're a handloader, there's a lot more options for the SOCOM than there are for the other two. That's what ultimately made my decision for me.
            "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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            • #7
              Good points. I've been looking through the reloading components catalogs in the last week and have seen very little for the 50 Beowolf. I've seen some mention of the 450 Bushmaster here and there. Having the SOCOM a standard 458 caliber certainly makes a lot of sense as for bullets, but I don't see any more offerings of ammo or brass, nor uppers than there are with the 450 or the 50. In fact, I find the 458 SOCOM mentioned less frequently than the other two (thus far).

              A quick google finds only two manufacturers. RRA is the primary and the other manufacturer (Teppo Jutsu) is making them under license from RRA. Might be others, but I'm not seeing them yet.

              The biggest issue I keep seeing with several of these offerings is the lack of reloading dies and brass. Oh, and the limited availability of the uppers, which also happen to start at about $800 (basically the same price you'd pay for a similar but more common caliber in a separate rifle).

              So, I keep looking for something about these to convince me it would be better than just a simple 45-70 lever gun... or at least as good.
              Winter is Coming...

              Go GeocacheAlaska!

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              • #8
                I've had the Beowulf for about two years now. I don't know how it is to get brass and spare parts for the Bushy or the SOCOM, but it's kind of a pain with the Beowulf. I've had an order in for brass with both A.A. and Midway for over three months. It's made by Starline and I've read that it might be awhile before I see my brass. Another problem is parts, I put my 16" upper on a Bushy lower so that's no problem. Upper parts have to be purchased from A.A. I've been trying to get bolt parts or a whole bolt for awhile, their's is custom, a regular 7.62 bolt won't work. I say 7.62, because the case has a rebated rim. I haven't had any trouble with feeding or reliability issues, it goes bang every time. Shot a Brownie with it last year, felt good knowing there was seven rounds in the mag (12 if you use a .223 30 rounder). Good Luck!

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                • #9
                  If anyone is really interested in the 458 SOCOM, Google "458 SOCOM forums". That should get you to the board dedicated to the round. The web site has had some technical difficulties lately, but has a wealth of information. The creator of the round posts on that board and is very helpful. Also, a guy on here that goes by "Cold Zero" is a moderator on the 458 SOCOM forums. Hopefully he'll check this thread and have something to add.

                  Brass is made by Starline and used to be very easy to come by, but there was a bad lot and production slowed for awhile. That's all been worked out and the new brass is readily available...I just bought another 100 from Midway last week. There are 3 companies that make dies: Lee, Hornady, and I think the other one is called C4HD. I have both the Lee and Hornady.

                  I seem to remember there being more companies making SOCOM uppers, but I might be mistaken. I know you can purchase parts and make your own upper, but I would recommend Teppo Jutsu hands down.
                  "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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                  • #10
                    I forgot to add that loaded rounds are available from a couple companies, but Corbon is the most popular. I believe the offer 300 grain HP and 400 grain flat nose.
                    "Beware the man with only one gun; he may know how to use it."

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                    • #11
                      I've never shot any of the big bores for this platform but was thinking about a new upper a while back. I decided against it. I ran into this article and came to the conclusion that there was no real point to these guns. For combat the high mag capacity of the original is superior and for going out in the woods or hunting my bolt action will do just fine.

                      Just my opinion and I realize others may see it differently. Which is perfectly fine.

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                      • #12
                        I wish they could make an upper in 454 casull.

                        I have been looking at the Beowulf and Grendel, i like them both and wish i had the money for them both.
                        Josh
                        Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by akula682 View Post
                          I wish they could make an upper in 454 casull.

                          I have been looking at the Beowulf and Grendel, i like them both and wish i had the money for them both.
                          460 S&W mag that will feed 454 and 45LC also!

                          Andy
                          Andy
                          On the web= C-lazy-F.co
                          Email= Andy@C-lazy-F.co
                          Call/Text 602-315-2406
                          Phoenix Arizona

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ADfields View Post
                            460 S&W mag that will feed 454 and 45LC also!

                            Andy
                            Even Better.:cool:
                            Josh
                            Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

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                            • #15
                              Pressure is the limiting factor in the AR design. I am going to try a 458 Socom for fun and let you know how it turns out. Unfortunately, it will be springtime when I get to shot.

                              Matt M

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