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Calibers for beginners .450 Bushmaster

The winds of change are coming to deer camp. States across the country are now allowing the use of straight-walled cases in what used to be shotgun-only zones for deer. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Iowa are among the states where a somewhat new cartridge is taking the woods and fields by storm. The .450 Bushmaster has come of age and is making waves. Buckle up, kids, we’re going to cover a lot of ground in the next 1,900 words.

The first thing that the beginner should understand about the .450 Bushmaster is that it makes very little sense at all. I’ve authored some of the most detailed content ever written on the cartridge, the guns that fire it, and its theory of use and I can’t wrap my head around it as a modern round.

The beginner should know that there are forces that drive sales and popularity, but not all are valid or even logical. The .450 BM is sort of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi of the cartridge world. It’s not what we wanted or asked for. Instead it’s just a bumbling mess of random features that we somehow have to live with. At least you’ll never get called a bigot for saying that you’d rather shoot .45-70, unlike when I say that I’d rather watch the Star Wars Holiday Special than deal with Disney’s SJW agenda.

For as much as I make fun of the 6.5 Creedmoor and its salivating, sore-wristed followers, I can see that it does have some advantages for playing games and hunting small to medium game at close ranges over legacy rifle cartridges, especially in the hands of the small-statured and the young. When it comes to the .450 Bushmaster I fail to see what it brings to the table. So why is it so damn popular today?

The answer to that is simple: vapid, ignorant bureaucrats in state and local government. To my DNR and local government readers out there, please take no offense. It is the prerogative of government to know close to nothing about any given subject when making policy, and it isn’t your fault that you are so woefully uninformed.

The .450 BM rose to popularity because it’s legal in virtually all of the Midwest and especially in Michigan, which is were just about all the good deer hunting in the world takes place. Not only that, we have the best beer, the best beaches, the most culture, the best rivalries (U of M vs MSU), the most attractive women, and Tim Allen and Ted Nugent as our unofficial state mascots. How can other states even compete? (Pro tip: they can’t.)

But for all the incredible things we have here in Michigan, we have two major problems: a shared border with Ohio and nonsense deer hunting laws. The truly amazing thing is that I can coyote hunt year-round with anything smaller than a 6.5 bore day and night, 24/7, but I can’t hunt deer in more than half the state with the same rifle during gun season.

If the DNR suddenly changed their case size laws, the .450 would instantly be forgotten. Let me repeat that for you: the .450 Bushmaster owes its success to state laws, not its superior ballistics, marketing, or ease of use. It is, in point of fact, a terribly designed cartridge that has a huge number of flaws.

The beginner to the .450 should know that they ought to buy a factory-made .450 rifle, and a bolt-action at that. I did a very large spread on my custom AR-15 build for another publisher and it was nothing but problems. I ended up having to modify almost every part in the action, including the magazines.

There are only a few true options out there that I’ve seen, and a couple I can’t release details on just yet because they’re still in development. At the end of the day, the industry as a whole hasn’t answered demand for reliable .450 AR mags. That’s currently changing, but it has been a long, uphill battle.

Calibers for beginners .450 Bushmaster

Why does the round not work well? The answer is in the case. The case is what makes it legal for these straight-walled (non-bottlenecked) zones, but it isn’t exactly straight. There’s slight taper to the body and the head is rebated. This means that the case body isn’t supported by the magazine lips along the whole length. Rounds can lift point-up and cause the action to jam. I’ve seen it happen frequently. This does not have an impact on bolt actions that I’ve seen.

The cartridge also suffers from another problem: weak sauce loads. The cartridge was designed, albeit poorly, to fit into an AR mag and action. The problem with this is that the relatively flimsy AR action is prone to damage when introduced to the type of pressure the .450 BM can generate if loaded hot.

Unlike the .223 where you might get a stuck case, the .450 is capable of being handloaded above safe levels and still have plenty of room in the case left over. Most bolt-action rifles would have no issue with hotter .450 loads, but in a semi-automatic black rifle you’re asking for trouble.

The issue with these weak loads is that they rob the .450 of what it could be. The .450 has the potential to be a truly great cartridge, but it’s being held back by the limits of the AR platform. The result is much the same as we’ve seen with other greats that have fallen on hard times due to high pressure concerns such as the 10mm Auto, .44 Magnum and 6.5-284.

Rest assured that all are making a significant comeback now that companies are making stiffer loads and good casting decisions. I’d like to see some dedicated hot bolt-action loads that have a longer OAL to prevent them from fitting in an AR mag at some point in the future.

So now that we’ve established that the .450 isn’t that great a design, we need to look at why it’s actually a terrible cartridge for beginners. I will say some positive things about it, so be patient.

The .450 generates a tremendous amount of recoil, even in an AR. It’s comparable to a .45-70 and is relatively violent in terms of how much it drives into the shoulder. I find that fast follow-up shots are hard to get. The other concern is how loud it is. I hunted with a muzzle brake on my rifle, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It cuts recoil, but it increases blast like you wouldn’t believe.

Calibers for beginners .450 Bushmaster

The beginner isn’t served especially well by the .450 Bushmaster. Instead, I would probably recommend something like a lever-action .44 Magnum or the like before I told a new hunter to go with this on their first trip. Ammo is somewhat expensive and can be hard to find, unlike common rounds like .44 Mag. Considering that most all deer hunting occurs inside 200 yards, with most in Michigan at only about 50 yards, it is certainly overkill.

That said, the .450 does a great deal right. It’s capable of handling huge bullets over 350 grains, has a .308 case head, making it just a barrel swap on most .308 rifles, and is easily able to kill all North American game with the right bullets, up to and including grizzly.

It is, in factory form, limited to about 200 yards in the hands of a skilled shooter, but with careful handloads can be pushed another hundred yards or so. It isn’t a long-range round, but it’s capable of delivering more lead inside its effective range than almost any other round in common use today.

Another benefit the .450 has it that it is generally pretty accurate. Many lever guns have limited accuracy past 150 yards, but the .450 BM is able to perform within MOA all the way to 200 and beyond. The trajectory of most .450 factory ammo allows you to zero at about 200 yards and hold right on anywhere inside that.

As far as rifles for this round go, you can find them from an increasing number of makers, but I’ll give you the highlights here:

Ruger: In addition to their Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, which may be one of the best medium-range hunting rifles you can own today, they also make their affordable Ruger American Rifle Ranch model in .450. They just released a new AR rifle chambered for it. Curiously, Ruger also makes a beautiful No. 1 single-shot in stainless and laminate that I have had the pleasure of testing.

AR Rifles: Bushmaster, Remington, Windham, and many others make good quality AR rifles for the .450. I’ve had issues with all the above as far as reliability, but that’s much more a magazine problem than anything having to do with the gun. The soon-to-be king of all the AR hunting rifles comes from Brenton USA. I have been to their facility and have seen with my own eyes the level of engineering and innovation that has been done to produce the finest .450 hunting rifles available. Keep your eyes on Brenton USA, my friends. They aren’t building parts guns or cheap imitations. I believe that their name will soon be synonymous to AR hunting and I couldn’t be prouder that they are in Michigan.

Other Guns: Savage, CVA, and several other makers have bolt actions, break-actions, and more available. The market is steadily growing in this department.

Ammunition: The struggle of the .450 has also been in the ammo arena. Hornady has a 250gr FTX load that has been the standard for years. Earlier this summer, Buffalo Bore released four loads to cover everything from deer to grizzly bear. I’ve had the chance to fire each and they are all excellent performers. Winchester and Remington also make ammo for the .450. There are more and more .450 loads coming out every week, so keep an eye out for new stuff.

The .450 Bushmaster is one of the most unlikely cartridges to achieve success in recent years, but I like to think that it has the potential to become a favorite. I like that it isn’t a long-range round. If I had to take a shot for every time I heard some braggart talk about shooting deer at 900 yards, my liver would have shut down years ago.

I enjoy that the .450 has brought a level of sport back to some otherwise foolish and idiotic trends in hunting. It’s not exactly a classic, but one day it might get there. Hell, it may be known as the cartridge that introduced a new generation of deer hunters to the woods. Wouldn’t that be something?

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  1. Michigan State will always play second fiddle to Michigan. Both +500 favorites this weekend, Michigan State FAILED.

      • True, but it’s tucked into a corner of the state and is easily avoidable. I’ve lived here most of my 60 years and have only needed to go down into Detroit 4 or 5 times. I only had my life threatened one of those times.

  2. In my opinion, no rebated case is ever going to be satisfactory in an autoloading action. The problems of proper support for the case in the magazine to insure proper feeding, are just too large.
    Which means that I believe we have not yet arrived at a point where a reliable, big bore, cartridge for the AR platform exists. What is needed is a non-rebated case that still qualifies as big bore, say .375 or .400 inch. That might just be doable, but the marketing moguls dictate that the .458 bore size is better known, thus easier to sell. And OFC, being in marketing, they haven’t the slightest clue as to the engineering problems they so create, since rare indeed is the marketer that can understand physics or math. Their practical skills tend to end with addition, as in: “add up this column of figures….”

      • The largest boltface I can find in an AR bolt is the one for the 7.62X39. I wouldn’t build one of those either, as the large amount of case taper in the X39 is much more suited to a heavily curved magazine that rocks backward to lock home, like the AK or Ruger mini rifles do. That conversion is also fraught with problems when paired with the AR’s straight mag well.
        With 7.62X39 out of the question, I think that is still about the most that one can open up an AR bolt, at .447 inch. With a small amount of body taper minus the brass thickness that would be somewhere around a .41 – .42 inch bore size.
        Perhaps the 7.62X39 case blown out to make a 10.5 (.416) X39? That should take care of the body taper. And the capacity still ought to push a 300 grain slug at 1500 fps or more. I’d call that enough for most anything one should want to put down with a 5 pound carbine. And we’d lose the taper and rebated rim that cause so many problems.

      • In fact, that’s a hell of a good idea. One wouldn’t even need to machine the bolt face. Just use the bolt from a 7.62×39 AR. I’ve never seen an AR barrel for sale with a .416 bore but Lilja(my favorite) or some other custom barrel maker should be able to provide one on order. There are enough AR gas systems on the market for almost anything, so that shouldn’t be much of an obstacle.
        That leaves the ammo to build, but Norma makes 7.62X39 ammo, in brass cases, with boxer priming. One fireform should do the trick, even though one would need to anneal the brass both before opening up the neck to .416, and again before fireforming out the body taper. That’s a bit of a pain, but once done on a number of cases it won’t be needed again for some time.
        That only leaves the magazine… Hmmm. That’s a poser. Can’t use 7.62 X 39 because the removal of the taper will mean the mag can’t have much curve. Lacking the manufacturing to create one’s own mags, It would have to be on a STANAG mag body with mods. Perhaps with only a new, custom, follower. It still might be doable in a small shop like mine though.
        I think I just found my next personal project… I’m going to contact Lilja right now. This is the kind of thing he digs on.

        • You have our attention as well. Knowing what needs to be tweaked saves a lot of frustration. You’re definitely onto something.

        • G.C.
          I just heard back from Carson Lilja. He’s on board to do the barrel. I just put a feeler out to RCBS to see if they would be interested in doing the chamber reamer. I’ll draw up some reamer specs over the next couple of days.
          BTW, who might you be? Do you have access to manufacturing facilities that might be of use in this project? Like the magazine in particular?
          Know anyone in the bullet biz? I think this might work better as a 10mm, but all the bullets are too light in both weight and construction. I can hard cast plain lead in whatever size needed for prototyping and testing, but jacketed bullets will still be needed, somewhere down the timeline. One thing about 10mm, it’s almost automatic to call it the 10mm Mag. It’s about the only size left that hasn’t got the word magnum hung on it anywhere. That might help make up for it not being called a .45 or a .50.
          Or we could make it 10mm bore and just call it the .50 supermag and count on the name to convince people the way they did the .38 special at the turn of the last century. 🙂
          (not really! I believe in the truth, and if the marketers don’t like it, too bad)
          Anyway, if you want to feedback on this my email address is: knlazar08@gmail dot com

  3. I did not know much about the .450 BM, 1900 words later I still don’t. Other then a few firearms chambered for it

    • I knew absolutely nothing about this Cartridge before this article so I guess I learned something.

      And I’m not in a beginner class by any measurable standard. But I do prefer to sticking to the basics. (Like how versatile a 12ga can be. That was a good beginner article if I ever saw one.)

  4. It hammers deer, I’d probably prefer 357 AR rimless max if major manufactures did pressure tests and got 358 rifle bullets hitting 2600 fps ie 180 grain Barnes. but that’s not likely to happen. But that’s the straight wall game.

  5. So.. the .450BM guns and ammo should be in the same section of the gun store with the rifled shotgun barrels and slug shells made for such. The sign above reads, “bureaucratic compliance equipment.”

    Here in Illinois, people hunt deer with scoped revolvers in .357 Magnum. Because a lever action rifle in .357 Magnum would be illegal.

    Michigan may have the best beaches, but Illinois leads in the category of legislative ignorance.

  6. I have to concur on your sentiments about the deer in Michigan. Although we sure could stand to have a few more folks out here hunting them, the population is enormous. So many in fact that we have had to have them culled out of season to thin the herds I delivered newspapers in the early mornings in western Washtenaw County (just outside Ann Arbor) for about 10 years, and during that time hit 7 of them with my little car. Every one of those hits was from a deer clearing cover at full speed, head down in a full out run. 2 of the impacts were from the deer running into the side of my car. After one incident I got my car back from 2 weeks in the body shop and 10 days later it was right back to the shop from another hit. I have counted 50+ deer yarding at one time in a cornfield more than once. Some of the best whitetail deer hunting in the country is in S.E. Michigan. And please don’t be too hard on Ohio. Like my father would often say “Ohio does keep Kentucky from bumping into Michigan”.

    • Thank god for Ohio. It keeps Michigan’s deer with CWD from infecting the Kentucky herds.

  7. I live in Michigan too. I have hunted deer here since 1974. the 450 BM is overkill on deer and small shooters alike. most of the guns I have seen chambered for it art very light and short barrel . this only makes shooting it worse. same problem with the 12 ga full power sabot slugs . I am ocassionally a range safety officer during site in days at a club here. you cannot believe how many people show up with a plastic stocked pump weighing in at 6.5 lbs , and shooting sabot’s with 385 gr at 1900 fps . I have even see 600 gr 3″ at 1730 fps . needless to say shooting these from the bench is absolutely brutal.
    Most hunters in the shotguns zone would be better served with a 77/44 bolt gun or a single shot 44 mag like the cva . another good choice is a 20 ga with a rifled barrel . either one is a good deer gun to 150 yds if you can hit well with it.
    I have had very few opportunities at over 125 yard in southern mi. In the rifle zone, there is nothing saying you can’t hunt deer with a 460 wby mag, but there are better choices.

    • A lot of what you say is true and if you can handle it IMHO, after 40 years of hunting with many weapons, the 450BM is just about the most effective caliber I’ve ever seen for deer inside of 200 yards. Have shot 8 of them now with it and all have been DRT, no tracking.
      That being said and lucky for us there is a new cartridge out there for those hunters that must use straight walled cartridges, the 350 Legend. It’s performance on game is unknown at this time but it is basically a lengthened version of the 357 Maximum. With a roughly a .100″ longer case it sits in the sweet spot with a 158gr or 180gr bullet moving at around 2300fps and recoils less than a 243. IMHO shows real promise for the recoil sensitive or youth shooters. Did I mention it looks like ammo is just a couple dollars more than .556 for FMJ practice rounds ?

      • The 350 Legend is not a new idea or caliber really. It has been around for quite a long time as the ‘Remington Maximum’.
        There are ballistic tables in the Hornady reloading manuals.
        I have been shooting the Rem Max for many years in a Springfield S.A.S.S.
        Great round, took a couple of deer… No Problem.

        My favorite round is now the 450 BM… Dropped a 250lb bear in it’s tracks…

        Bless and Happy New Year..

        Riddim Guy

  8. It looks like a better solution would be to resurrect the old Winchester .351 and .401 cartridges. They would be adequate for deer without beating up the gun or the shooter.

    • Recoil is NOT bad at all with a proper setup. Changing buffer and recoil spring might be helpful but simply adding a PRS stock can make .450 easy (A Joy) to shoot and much less perceived recoil than a 12G with slug. I greatly enjoyed and concur with the post where a reader said it’s now their favorite round. The sheer power and using on a smaller platform is worth a few compromises ( which we make with EVERY round we pick). I do agree it has Much more potential in a bolt gun, but it is making a Ton of people happy- even in non-restricted states.
      And the feeding issues should not be a concern with quality parts and correct magazines (center fed follower, low 4-5 rd capacity) in 2021

    • 22 mag it’s only for head shot but the 450 is a 1 shot kill providing you hit the boiler room. I’ve taken 2 DRT! Plus been told by a few others DRT or 2-4 steps. Hell a 22lr will kill deer but use an ethical round and shot placement. Now 22mag on Turkey yes!

  9. While I rightly despise the 6.5 Creedmoor as the lame imitator that it is, I am a .260 Rem fan. So I have to ask, by ‘small to medium game at close ranges’ I assume you mean deer out to 500 yards?

    The Bushwhacker has about exactly the same taper as a .223, so I’m guessing it’s the rebated rim that’s the problem. The 7.62×39 has quite a bit more taper but I keep hearing how the AKs will feed, fire and fling no matter what.

    • “The Bushwhacker has about exactly the same taper as a .223, so I’m guessing it’s the rebated rim that’s the problem.”

      It smells to me like it’s a cartridge designed to extract the most it can out of an AR bolt.

      And manages to piss off most everyone in the process…

    • Yes, the Creedmoor isn’t close to a 260 or 280 and no, there is no feeding problems with a 450 BM. I own 2, an AR I built(20″ mid gas barrel) and a Ruger American 16″ and never had a problem.
      I have built 4 more for relatives and friends and if there ever was any problem with those rifles I would have heard of it. All I’ve heard has been comments like flawless, cannon, DRT, under 1 moa and How much for another ?
      As for the 7.62×39, it has very heavily tapered case walls and a generous headspace tolerance and is usually fired out of rifles with overly large chambers. In other words it will fire and fling anything shoved into it, dirty bent and dinged, mud covered, doesn’t matter. Just what you want in a battle rifle. Hunting rifle, not so much and if you a look at ballistics, velocity is close but you have a bullet with increased caliber and weight. Power factor adds 50% for the 450 and performance on game is FAR superior.
      That being said, If I was stuck on a desert island and could only have one firearm ………

  10. I have found a great round for the .450, made by Black Butterfly ammunition. The use a 275 gr Barnes XPB all copper bullet. It works great on feral hogs!!

  11. I found it odd that the author would pick Ted Nugent (self professed pedophile) and Tim Allen (former convicted drug dealer) as the leading representatives of Michigan. He could have made a better choice in Charlton Heston and Tom Selleck. Much better représentatives of the state.

    • But Tom never rode a bull bison onto the stage in a loincloth.

      Chuck did part the Red Sea though.

        • “Night Moves” is the saddest song ever. Except for maybe “Running On Empty”, by Jackson Browne. He isn’t from Michigan, though…
          Ever hear “Sunspot Baby”, IMO one of the best songs ever?

  12. Just got an AR chambered in .458 socom…bigger round, better ballistics…why bother with the smaller nonsense(only for the hunting reason above?). Wierd rant in the article…keep it to the guns.

      • The 450BM is a straight walled cartridge. The sides taper slightly from the base to the mouth BUT they are straight with no bottleneck. The law looks at the side of the case along the datum line not the cartridge as a whole.

  13. Almost the whole way through, I’m thinking, “But I have NEVER had a loading or cycling problem with MY AR .450 BM using Brenton USA mags…”

    Guess I did my homework first and picked the right magazine maker. 🙂

    I’ve shot nothing but Hornady 250gr FTX and only have Brenton magazines for my .450 and have been thrilled with it (although I DID slap a Limbsaver recoil pad on it…)

    For what it’s worth, I live in the NC mountains and the .450 is fairly popular with bear hunters here.

  14. Just wanted to say this is my caliber to make an “ignorant” AR pistol from. My game plan is to put a block in it to make it single shot auto eject gun and use it to hunt for deer in IL in the most politically incorrect way plausible.

  15. The 405 gr. 45-70 cowboy loads are more than powerful enough and recoil in my Henry doesn’t seem any worse than .308 in my AR-10.

  16. Among other virtues, if that be an acceptable term, Michigan sends, and I believe has for many years sent Debby Stbenow, aka Debby-Stab-Me-Now to the U.S. Senate, correct? Please bear with me regarding possible misspelling of the lady’s last name.

  17. I have the Ruger American 450BM in SS with the 22″ barrel. Hands down one of the most accurate bolt guns I have shot out of the box. As I am an avid reloader I can see what different hand loads can do.

    I am also a huge 45-70 fan, so getting a 450BM in a bolt was a must have. It is a fun round that you KNOW you’re shooting. The Ruger American has become a best value for the money in my house and with friends. I have 3 of them and every one of them is sub MOA.

    • I also own a Ruger American in 450BM and couldn’t be happier. After blowing holes through deer with my 30-06 and 35 Whelen and tracking them all day I bought a 450BM upper for my AR. Sub MOA accuracy and 6 DRT deer convinced me but then NY outlawed AR’s. I picked up the Ruger and the accuracy rivaled or bettered the AR and when I stepped up the loads beyond what was recommended for the AR I picked up another 250fps over factory ammo and the Ruger never broke a sweat. Here in NY most shots are under 100yd. and 150 is really long. Hit with this cartridge the deer just fold up and there is very little lost meat. I’m a believer.

  18. Whatever.

    This article is out of touch. .450 Bushmaster…
    1) is legal in Iowa
    2) is easily the best of those legal in Iowa for rifles, even ahead of 45-70 govt
    3) works flawlessly in the AR I built- and had a blast doing it -without requiring major alterations to every part -and the same for my son and friend who built one after seeing mine -and both our Bushy magazines and our 223 magazines feed correctly
    4) has WAY better ballistics than .44 mag or .357 mag -and you can’t build an AR for them anyway -and the least espensive levergun for those is approaching $1,000, or at least $700 (and the Ruger American in .450B at around $500 is NOT second class rifle, either.).

    SHOULD .450 Bushmaster be the best rifle round legal in Iowa? Why not something like .30-30? The fact is that Iowa laws will NEVER allow for traditional rifle cartridges like .30-06. So I’m not going to sit on stand with 12 ga slugs wishing I had a rifle when I can build and afford a good, reliable, accurate rifle like my Bushy that far outperforms any shotgun option. Anything else isn’t worth discussing because Iowa will never change its laws- so I shoot the best of what’s allowed.

    Maybe bigshot outdoors writers that travel around to all kinds of exciting hunting with different rifles can say differently, but that’s out of touch from an average Joe in Iowa who just wants range, accuracy, and a clean kill.

    • (I don’t know why this didn’t post with the original. Stupid iPhone, or fat thumbs, or…)

      If he doesn’t understand why there are so many more options of season and rifles for coyote hunters, he’s not too bright. It’s easy; the DNR wants as many coyotes killed as possible and only wants to control the deer herd. There are fewer coyote hunters, and coyotes eat calves while deer don’t. Limiting rifle use for deer has never been about ‘safety’ it’s always been about limiting effectiveness- everywhere in the Midwest where rifle hunting has not been legal.

      All his whining about “This cartridge is only popular because it’s legal…” is nonsense. It IS legal. 7mm mag is NOT legal, and it’s not going to be. Ever. Why not compare 450 Bushmaster to 12 ga slugs, because that’s the real choice for actual real world hunters? Bushy is far more accurate than shotgun slugs and has way more range. It can be shot out of as classy a rifle as the Ruger No. 1, to some very fine bolt actions, to the much-maligned AR platform in both factory and homemade variations. It is not over-powered; have you seen what 12 ga slugs do to a whitetail at 50 yards? But no one complains about overpowered. 450 B does about the same at 50 yards, yet has energy and it is accurate and flat out beyond 200 yards- unthinkable for a cannonball out of a shotgun.

      Go pout to the state legislature about what is legal, but save your tantrum for them, because hunters have to choose from what is legal right now- and likely to remain so. He claims to have written extensively about this caliber, yet recommends the .44 mag over the vastly superior killing ballistics of 450 B? That’s just irresponsible. Bushy is flatter with more energy.

      Go make your case to Montana hunters and they’ll choose .30-06 or 7mm or .300 Win Mag almost every time, but as long as the list of legal rifles remains what it is in the Midwest, the 450 Bushmaster is the best alternative to klunky 1 oz hunks of lead lumbering out of pheasant guns we’ve been waiting for.

    • Spot on. If I hunted where a 30-06 was legal I would use it. This guy would argue using a .416 Rigby to hunt a pussy cat. The 450BM is popular for far more reasons than just legal ones.

      Are there ‘better’ choices? Depends on what you are looking for. One can always make a case for better cartridge or platform. Its like asking which bikini is best without considering who is wearing it. Your daughter or someone else? Is she a looker or should she be in a moo-moo for public consumption? ; )

      I like my Ruger scout in 450BM because I’ll get to use a nice rifle while hunting rather than a shotgun. I like shotguns, but for turkey and such. I also like my Henry BB in 45 Colt. Got 2 deer with it this year but the range is far more limited, (for me), than will be the 450BM. Did fine with my x-bow as well but that has, for my comfort, a 50-55 yrd cap. I hunt woods and field and the 450BM is going to be my field gun as I have shots out to 350 yards if I can take one. I will most likely keep it under 200.

      I have seen first hand how the 20ga bolt slug rifles have open up new vistas to lower MI hunters. The 450BM from Hornady uses the same bullets as those in the saboted slugs these guy rave about. In the BM they are about 1/2 the cost of the slugs and get better ballistics from the Rugers and the American RR is about 200 dollars less than the Savage bolt 20ga. The scout is 350 more but it is a beauty. Sometimes we get things for more than just the statistics. Like a sports car or model A. To each his own but for me I have high hopes for the 450. Do I need it? Nope, no way. You need that extra slice of pie?

  19. Misinformed 450 hater! I disagree with just about everything in that “article for beginners”! I have shot numerous 450s out to 300 yard target shooting and all of them shot sub-moa groups at the 300yd mark using factory ammo!

  20. Well, I have learned nothing but ranting and whining. I just recently finished an AR .450B build, Modified a 223
    magazine by changing the follower and tooling the front of the mag to clear the fat round. The upper I purchased already modified for the fatter round for a mere few dollars more than a standard upper. Used a standard buffer and spring and an adjustable gas block set wide open to start. Like any fresh build it had a couple of quirks in feeding the first few rounds while taking HUGE chunks out of a log I was using as a back stop. Hell yes it recoiled more, DUH that was expected. But after its initial hang ups it worked flawlessly after 4 or 5 rounds As far as follow up shots, that was not a problem at all, it barely moved off of aim point which is inherent to the AR platform when done right. If you don’t like it that’s fine, stick with bolt guns, because you will never be able to properly use an AR of any platform. I also have built them in 7.62×39 for the reason of people having problems with this round. It didn’t hiccup once from the first round fired, EVER! I have built several AR10’s in various calibers also and have never ran into the problems people complain about. The biggest problem I see from all these problems people are having in the AR platforms is they are spending big money on top of the line brand name parts and wasting there money, it may impress there friends, but does nothing for functionality, reliability or accuracy. I am not a “professional” gun maker. I just know what I am doing.

  21. Your article is misinformed put a real scope with turrets on a 450 bushmaster dial up 21 moa and your hitting 8 in plates at 400 yds 44 mag is nothing close too a 450 . Close range 6.5 creedmoor 😂 definitely only hits harder than your suggested 44 mag at 800yds . Who ever wrote this doesn’t understand ballistics or long range shooting

  22. Wow, if I listened to your advice and half the comments on here I wouldn’t have gone with a .450 Bushmaster AR. I sure am glad I didn’t find this article until later, my beer Creek cheapo AR upper on a dpms lower functioned flawless the first time and has never given me trouble. All I done was get a plastic mag follower off eBay placed it in a steel mag and went to the range. With mid length gas and 20 inch barrel bone stock gas,and bolt it ate everything I put through it. I didn’t modify until I hot loaded it, I put a mid weight buffer in. My reloads have 300 grain pill at 2100 fps. And yes I watched for any and all pressure sign and have NEVER seen pressure sign with this cartridge in fact that’s a compressed load and have shot thousands with no problems. It still shoots factory just fine as well and also cast if you powdercoat and gas check with sages outdoors gas check (made for AR). 450 Bushmaster is the big bore good of AR , in fact I wouldn’t own one if I couldn’t fire off fifteen in a row without stopping. Makes a awesome range toy and will kill anything big enough to die. Oh and p.s. the same lower I still use with a .223 Wylde upper and it functions perfectly with that buffer.

    • Amen Dan. I built mine from standard parts and used a mid gas, 20″ BM barrel. Maybe the 20″ barrel is the secret, mine has never missed a beat and shoots sub MOA using GI 20 round mags with the blue, tip in single stack followers and a tube style full floating handguard. I love the round and have killed 6 deer with it and never had to track one. To bad NY outlawed AR’s with the Safe Act, I just picked up a Ruger American in 450 BM and am looking forward to next deer season, the 35 Whelen I’ve been using just ruins to much meat.

      • Just an update, picked up a Ruger in 450BM and with a 2×7 Vortex scope on top it shot to just over .75moa right out of the gate after break in with factory loads. Went home and found a dandy load in the Western Powders Load Book, 7th ed. A full charge of Ramshot Enforcer behind a 200gr. Hornady FTX designed for the 460 S&W shot at just over 2600fps across my Chrony from the 16″ barrel. With cases trimmed to 1.690″, flash hole reamed and cases fully prepped those handloads shot under .75moa using a Lee FCD on the last pass through the press. Can’t wait to shoot them in my 20″ AR once I’m down South on some pigs, that rifle has never missed a beat in 8 seasons of hunting.

  23. Interesting perspective. Im an Australian hunter and have shot many good years with my 45-70 levergun, but two years ago I wanted to jump on the ‘Scout Rifle’ wagon but owned a lot of 308 bolt guns already. I saw the 450 Scout and thought ‘why not’?

    Ive sold my 45-70. For the pigs I hunt in the north, this cartridge is doing great. I have been developing loads for a few years now, and can tell you that in the 77 action with the 16″ barrel, you cant overload a 250gn projectile with Lil Gun to the point of destruction. Flattened primers and face full of unburnt powder is all I can get to. At 50 grains Im compressing the load and sending the FTX pill downrange at 2540 fps, which I also recorded at 45.5gns during development. Flattened remingotn 7.5 primers of course are the norm at this point. More barrel length would increase velocity.
    I have also put the 300 XTP MAG loads in front of 46.0g of Lil Gun and absolutely walloped a good water buffalo, the bullet making a lump in the other side of the still beast where it was easily recovered. Its like a short action scout rifle 375H&H.

    Im really enjoying this gun. I’ve left the brake off for good, as I dont use hearing protection in the scrub. Its not too hard on the old ears. Certainly a lot quieter than my 24″ 7mm Mag Tikka.
    Im not enjoying the cost of components though, they are quite expensive, and limited in variety. in 45 cal, the idea of ballistics is almost irrelevant unless you have ultra magnum amounts of case capacity to drive the higher bc (we’re talking 450g +) projectiles anyway. That said, the Barnes 275g .451 offering is the most aerodynamic I’ve found yet. Almost looks like a rifle bullet!

    Happy hunting 🙂

  24. I don’t know if it is mentioned in any of the many comments, but there is an excellent forum on the 450BM at Check it out and read what the people who really understand the cartridge and AR platform feel about it.

    The information about the round (except for the recoil, which is more of a shove than a hit, and the overemphasis on magazine problems), where the author sticks to the facts, is accurate. His opinions are just that: opinions.

  25. I have a 450 Bushmaster AR upper from bear Creek that functions flawlessly. It has a 20 inch barrel, medium length gas, and I use a heavy buffer. Do the research and you will see a 450 works best in AR platform with a longer barrel and a mid length gas or rifle gas. Buy a replacement follower or a top cover for the follower in for a 5.56 AR mag. Make sure you only use all steel mags. A ten round 5.56 holds three 450 Bushmaster. A semi auto 45-70 that never gives a minute of trouble is unbelievable. Mine is as accurate as any 45-70 I own ( two, both single shots). Oh and a AR 15 is way more affordable than a AR 10. Wondering why someone would want a 450 Bushmaster is like asking why you would want Thor’s hammer. “Traditional” “sentiment” need not apply.

  26. I built my own AR 450 BM from various available parts. Hand fit everything together ( not slap together and go) I noticed right off the bat the AR 5.56 mag follower would not work. Found someone that made big bore followers. Modded the bolts for correct function. Also put took out a half moon in the front of the mags so nothing catches on the rounds. Also modded the uppers for a proper feed ramp and ejection port. AND since then I have made several 450 BM uppers for various people and they have been flawless. The Amish love them.

  27. Good stuff.

    Fast forward to 2020 and the 450 is still king of Lower Michigan. I have it in the Ruger Gunsite Stainless and am 4 deer 4 shots with it. No follow up shot needed but have had zero feed issues on the Gunsite. The polymer mags are even smoother then the included metal ones.
    The round is very accurate and I agree its a great 200 yard round, if you get bolt only ammo or hand load 300+ yards.
    If you want full pass through at 200 yards I would not use the Hornady Black, i does dump all the energy in the Deer but at the cost of none to low blood trail. The Barnes or Bear Creek Copper bullets offer better performance in this area.

  28. I have a bushmaster upper with a ruger muzzle device on a rock river .458 lower with a GL shock stock and mine doesn’t really have much kick at all. I have also never had an issue with the rifle not cycling but I do only use five round mags loaded with three rounds

  29. I’m in the process of building my first 450 bushmaster AR from parts I didn’t buy a complete gun or upper I have a few AR10 in 308 and I don’t know if the 450 has any real advantage over a heavy bullet in a 308 I’m just building it because I want to not necessarily to hunt with I live in NC and no stupid cartridge regulations so far

  30. Complaining that a cartridge, specifically created to work in an AR with the ability to take down all N American big game out to 200 yards, presents a danger from loading to exceed pressure recommendations is stupid. It wasn’t made with bolt action rifles in mind. It does exactly what it was designed to do. Author is an idiot who sets up fake problems in order to complain about them.

  31. The only way you could have put anymore misinformation in this piece is to say the Biden administration is great for the 2nd ammendment. You do know nobody can even point out Michigan or your ugly women on a map right? I have no doubt you couldn’t get an ar to run if you were working on it but I put together a bottom of the barrel upper(bca) and lower(anderson) and have yet to have a single issue with feeding or accuracy. (around 1 moa) I built this to be a thermal setup and run supressed and it has been nothing short of amazing for a $500 build. As for recoil it is not anywhere close to average and definitely not the mule kicking monster you described. Surely hope someone doesn’t come here for your knowledge. Just stop.

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