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Big bullets from an AR-15. That’s the trend these days, what with loadings like the .300 BLK and 6.8 SPC becoming popular and (kinda) mainstream. Am-Tac wanted to design a cartridge that not only pushed a massive projectile from an AR-15 rifle, but also used standard AR-15 magazines and existing tech. Their solution: the .416 Hushpuppy . . .

What’s cool about this round is its size. A 450 grain bullet is seated at the tip of this cartridge, and it leaves the barrel at right around 1,000 feet per second. That low velocity also means that the gasses at the end of the barrel are low pressure, and makes them easily suppressed with a standard .45 ACP can.


It might seem pretty cool, but there are some issues. Availability is only through Am-Tac, who make the only barrels and all the ammo. There are no reloading dies available yet, though they promise that they are coming. Even if the dies arrive, the cases are formed from 50AE brass where the neck is modified and the rims have to be rebated to fit the bolt. It’s a lot of work for a boutique caliber.

Whether this one will be a hit or not, only time will tell. As for me, I’m not putting any money on it just yet.

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    • You can use a standard ar-15 lower to start with, so you dont need to purchase an entirely new firearm to get into the caliber, its a familiar platform to shoot from for most, big bullet + low velocity = big hole very quietly (if suppressed). Magazine fed so capacity should be better than bolt action.

    • you wind up having to go into history as much as ballistics.

      The Assault rifle rounds (5.56 NATO and 7.62×39) were chosen with automatic fire in mind. Full size rifle rounds were too punishing on man and machine. If you wanted light, man portable automatic fire that wasn’t limited to pistol round range- you needed these intermediate rounds. The 5.56 gave up power and bullet size to achieve a flatter trajectory and higher velocity.

      Many people are of the opinion that these rounds aren’t great for long or short ranges. A simple google search will pull up both sides of that argument for you. The russians came up with the 9×39 for dealing with close in work. The idea being that it hits harder and is easily suppressed. This caliber (and the .458 socom) is a variation of that idea. It’s also akin to Jeff Cooper’s idea of a “thumper” and the old .45-70. A big slow moving bullet has sent many creatures to their maker and has its advantages. I think the shine has finally worn off the 5.56 from a terminal ballistics view and now we’re swinging to older ideas.

      A related concept for a ballistics newbie to look into is barrel length and powder burn.

    • It’s a large bullet a near subsonic speeds and will be easier to suppress. It has slightly less muzzle energy than a 55gr 223 (1281ftlbf vs 1000ftlbf). However it has the potential to leave a massive wound channel.

      Good supression, massive wound channel. Those are really the only benefits I see.

      For a lot more energy and a massive wound channel one could use 50 Beowulf (2158 ftlbf) However it is travelling much faster – 1800fps.

      Honestly though, I’m really not that excited about it.

      • Me either.

        I honestly think you’d get similar performance with a lot less overhead cost out of a .45acp rifle.

        • I think that’s stretching it. A 450 gr bullet at 1000 fps way, way exceeds anything in .45 ACP. .44 Magnum, maybe.

        • I agree with Larry; the probable yaw/tumbling effect of that long bullet in soft/squishy targets will leave a nasty wound channel, far worse than a standard HP, even from a magnum cartridge. It should also give great hard-barrier penetration.

    • Well, Omer, as with most things firearms-related, there are no real benefits……since most owners infrequently fire their firearms, and when they do, mostly only do so for plinking. So the technicals are more or less moot. Interesting, but moot.

      Sure, there exist some technical benefits, and drawbacks, too, with every firearm and ammunition selection. However, most of that really only matters if you have a specific application that calls upon those tech specs. In such particular cases, your selections can greatly impact the effectiveness, enjoyment, or even the legality, of your activity. So you want to learn what you can about the options aforehand.

      For most people, though, this or that firearm or ammunition just comes down to what you like, what you’re comfortable with, what you think is cool/sexy/bad ass, and what gives you bragging rights around the range. So you don’t want to get too hung up on the details, unless you just find it interesting, as many do.

    • When limited to subsonic, roughly 1020 FPS, the bigger and heavier bullets have more energy. This would have double the energy of a 300 BLK subsonic. 450 grains at 1000 FPS is 999 FPE. The heaviest a 300 BLK can go is 240 grains.

      • So what is the sufficient level of energy? Is there something that requires more energy than a .300 Blackout yet still requires subsonic velocities?

        • Don’t worry, I am trying to figure out the same thing. After a while it gets back to, “This thing can make dead things deader than a .300blk.”

        • As with everything in ballistics, there is a give and take. More energy, mass, and momentum benefits the shooter and hits the target harder. Greater weight slows the shooter down, reduced ammo capacity, etc.

          I’m not convinced the trade off is worthwhile in this case. I’d rather see a straight wall .50 cal case / projectile. The .50 Beowulf is already an established round. If a 500-700 grain load would function at subsonic velocities, that would be awesome. A user could still switch to supersonic for more energy.

          For the record, I own 5.56, 6.8, 300 BLK, and .50 Beowulf. I don’t have a favorite.

        • Suppressed lightweight hunting rig I guess? Subsonic 300BLK is pretty marginal as a hunting round being basically equivalent to 45ACP, and supersonic 5.56/300BLK/308 is still loud even suppressed. I could see one of these quietly taking out a sounder of big hogs under a feeder, though I shudder at the ammo cost for culling that many pigs.

          With the energy you’d only be good for hunting stuff that you could safely take with 223, and I don’t see this taking off as a varmint round. DIW.

        • .300 blk subsonic is pistol level energy. Shooting a 600 lb grizzly with it would be a bad idea. Shooting a bad guy, having a 20-30 round magazine would be a good idea. Double the energy would be twice as good, but still leave questions. To me, the biggest problem with subsonic is not even energy levels, it’s ballistics. Bullet drop gets real big, real fast.

        • No 6.5 Grendel. It’s a nice round, I just don’t need it.

          As others have said below, there’s nothing this round can do that a .450 Bushmaster / .458 SOCOM, or .50 Beowulf couldn’t do better.

          I’d also love to see a good subsonic 12 gauge slug in the 600-800 grain range which can function out of semi auto shotguns. Heck, maybe a 1 3/4 – 2 1/4 ounce subsonic 00 buck load.

    • I would argue their choice of a 150 yard zero is purely a sales pitch. I don’t want to aim 10 inches low at 75-100 yards. I think a 100 yard zero would provide a proper “point blank range”.

      • I plugged in the data using a 100 yd zero. Past that it started dropping like heck. It looks like they are going for a CQB round.
        Might make a decent hunting round on the brushy west side here where you might see past 100 yards.

        • 150 Yard Zero = +/- 10 inch to 180 yards
          100 Yard Zero = +/- 5 inch zero to 125 yards

          Depends on what you are hunting. I certainly wouldn’t call it a flat shooter, but compared to others in its class the hushpuppy is decent. All of these heavy subsonics really die off at 200 yards. Unless you are good at holdover/doping.

  1. Well, that’s twice the energy of a .300 blk 220 gr subsonic, but as of now sounds like way too much trouble. New stuff is cool, though. Most of my BBs only poke paper, more energy is not necessary. I bet piggies would not like these.

  2. What will this do that the 458 SOCOM doesn’t already do? Aside from costing a sh*tload more of course.

    Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

    • If you look at it, the ballistic coefficient is higher. That is part of the reason they were trying to make it. This thing has a flatter trajectory. It’s only slightly better than .300blk, though.

      • Ballistic coefficient means nearly nothing at these velocities and long pointy bullets are inherently unstable in trans and sub sonic flight. There will be nothing “flat” about this trajectory.

        • Agreed, what is with the obsession with super long ogive bullets for subsonics? I absolutely love 300Blk and have developed several very accurate loads for it… But there is a big hole in the subsonic bullet department. Why is using a 300 mag target bullet, designed for 1k meters and a zillion FPS, still the “best” option?

          A bullet designed to fly and fail and handgun velocities would theoretically be ideal… Think a Federal HST etc slimmed to 30 cal and stretched to keep in the 220-240gr range.

          One of the most accurate loads in 300Blk subsonic I have found is using Nosler 220gr partition round nose bullets… The profile is much more handgun-esqe but they are essentially FMJs in the Blackout as they are designed for big velocity.

    • “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.”

      Innovation is often its own reward. It also fuels unforeseen consequences (good and bad).

      By the “just because you can doesn’t mean you should” reasoning, we might all still be shooting smooth bore muzzle loaders with matchlock ignition. After all, it took a couple hundred years for rifling to catch on and become standard and widely held to be ‘better.’

      Not saying this particular cartridge is necessarily a good idea, but…”just because you can doesn’t mean you should” is pretty short sighted.

      • Way oversimplification there, we could rifle barrels and did so because it was a massive improvement over smooth bore muskets.

        This round is a solution to a problem that NOBODY was having.

        • You completely missed my point. Completely.

          The point was, it took a long time for rifled barrels to catch on and become universally accepted as “better.”

          That is…there was a period of a couple hundred years in which the mantra was something akin to “yeah, we CAN rifle barrels, but that doesn’t mean we SHOULD.”

          Innovation is the offspring of experimentation. THIS round may not be an innovation that is needed/wanted/serves a purpose, but the experimentation that it represents is necessary for such innovations to occur.

          That is, the process of experimentation itself, not just the end result, has value.

          “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” is short sighted thinking. If everyone adapted that mindset, no innovation would ever occur.

        • I think you need to go back and read your history a little more, but that’s a discussion for a different day. And honestly people who fought against rifling barrels probably did so from a time/cost/volume of production standpoint and they didn’t have the available research like we do today. Heck they didnt even have gyroscopes yet so how could you expect them to just blindly go down that road. Just as an example though, in the modern world, where people like Brian Litz and others have dedicated their lives to studying long range ballistics, we know that as a whole (excluding some of the really nice hybrid ogive profiles etc) long, super pointy, boat tail high BC, match bullets suck royally from an accuracy standpoint at trans and subsonic velocities, this is not a case of maybe if we try harder etc. its not the same argument as Jimbob put spiraled grooves in his shootin’ stick and claims he was able to shoot tighter groups that Jedediah who kept his barrel smooth. Given the manufacturing capabilities of the day I’m not surprised it took a long time. So yes I understood your comment and my point is that what you are trying to infer is apples vs chainsaws.

          You say my line of thinking is short sighted but I answer you with the converse, if everyone spent their time chasing after the next “hmm geee maybe we cud get this thar bullet in one a dem AR thingies” we wouldn’t get shit done.

    • Agree, I have a .458 SOCOM and it rocks. There is also the ..50 Beowulf and the .450 Bush Master that completely out preform this new .416. However, It’s what will rock someone’s boat, after all we have the 30-30, 32 Special, the .30 Remington and the .32 Remington which all are about the same as peas in pod.

  3. Sounds like it would be easier to go from a 50 Beowulf brass. The rim already fits a 7.2×39 bolt and a a 50Beo is just a really long 50AE.

  4. I would really like some of these companies start developing rounds like this for the AR 10 platform. I know it’s a completely different animal because of not being milspec. But there is a lot more room in that mag well

  5. Yet another single-stack-in-a-STANAG-mag round for the AR-15? We already have:

    .458 SOCOM
    .50 Beowulf
    .450 Bushmaster (“Thumper”)

    .458 SOCOM, at least, can use a W-I-D-E range of bullets from 97-gr screamers ( to 600-gr solids that run subsonic to 300-gr boattail spitzers from Barnes.

    The ONLY thing this round brings to the party is a “heavy” (well, not really) subsonic spitzer, which I’m sure someone could draw up for .458 in short order. Since nobody has done so yet, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say nobody wanted one to begin with.

    • Flat base round nose bullets are far superior to long pointy high BC bullets for subsonic use. The 458 SOCOM pumps out a 600grain monster at 1000fps and has a full 600fps advantage over this 416 cartidge if using the same bullet weight, that will more than overcome any mathematical advantage the 416 bullet has from a higher BC. Bullets for a SOCOM are also going to be purpose designed to reliably expand at subsonic velocities rather than relying on the potential for the projectile to tumble and cavitate when it hits a soft target (Thats clearly what they are going for from the mangled bullet they have up in that top picture).

      This 416 strikes me as more of a gimmick, if we were closer to April I would be inclined to think it was just a joke. I cant imagine downrange accuracy will be very good at least not until (or even if) the industry responds with purpose built bullets for this round like they did with the 300blk. That was a huge problem with early subsonic loads for the 300blk, downrange accuracy sucked, hard (so much so that manufacturers such as Savage just flat out gave up on developing a rifle for the BLK), because you are pushing long high BC match bullets well below their intended velocity range.

      • A buddy runs his 10″ .458 SOCOM upper on his M-16. The best description I’ve ever heard of the the thing is that it’s “angry.” 🙂

        The flexibility of .458 SOCOM is pretty amazing, and the only thing I haven’t seen as a load for it is a VLD mid-weight bullet at subsonic velocities. But then I’ve never seen anybody ever express a desire to shoot that.

        .500 Phantom ( could fulfill that role, and still be flexible enough to launch a 300-gr pill at Mach 2.5.

        I don’t see this .416 Hushpuppy thing as being very flexible. The short case length would probably preclude loading a light enough bullet to get very far past Mach 1.

    • That’s how I keep seeing it. Sure, it is a neat experiment. But… to what end?

      At some point, we arrive at the conclusion that if people in the 1950’s had put all of this type of energy into, say, the M1 Carbine platform, we’d never have needed the AR-15. We’d be shooting 40gr .224 pills out of a M1 Carbine round with ultra-hot powders, or something similar.

      But no, we went with a new rifle.

      At some point, someone will have to nut up and admit “We need a new rifle. Quit trying to shoehorn everything into the M-16/AR-15 parameters and let’s design something new and improved.” The trouble is, everyone who would do that keeps trying to chase the military contract market. If someone would say “Let’s keep some ideas and let’s break various other assumptions” we could see a real leap forward. But trying to maintain perfect compatibility with the AR-15’s mag well and magazines is really creating some duckbill platytpi where we’d like something a bit more elegant…

      • Indeed. Allot of these just seem silly. I have an AR, I use it for what you’d use 5.56 on. If I need a bigger round, I grab a gun designed to shoot a bigger round, like a 7.62×39 or .308. Could you imagine the silliness we’d get if we did this with pistols? Like, Everything has to be compatible with the Glock platform, and force feed all kinds of weird ammo into it.

  6. I sort of get the point – expanding use of an already-owned platform – and I love that people are experimenting; that’s one of the great things about the fringes of the firearms industry – lots of interesting things that can lead to even more interesting things (some times).

    That said, if I needed a 450 grain bullet within 150 yards, I’m thinking it’s just time to suck it up and pull out a Marlin Guide Gun in 45-70, or even a bloody 12 gauge with slugs. Sometimes, practicality rules.

  7. I’m definitely into the whole idea of doing subsonic projectiles to vastly improve sound suppression capability but also doing the heaviest possible projectiles to provide as much energy as possible considering the hard limit of under 1,100 fps velocity. I think the market is going to see more of this in the next few years. Really, really heavy projectiles loaded to ~1,050 fps or so. .458 Socom is a good option with 600-freakin’-grain bullets, but I’m not sure how many suppressors can handle it. If a strong .45 ACP pistol suppressor could run with a fixed mount and clear that bullet, I’d be all about it. At any rate, I like the idea of the .416 hushpuppy and want to see more options like this. .50 Beo could work, .44 magnum could work (although ~340 grains doesn’t hold a candle to 600 like in the .458 socom), .500 S&W… obviously there’s a benefit to avoiding a rimmed cartridge. .458 Socom might actually be the answer here assuming the silencer market has it covered. You could make one hell of a quiet, effective hog hunting semi-auto.

    • Yep I flirt with idea of building a 458 from time to time. For supers you have any bullet that could be used in a 45-70gvt, and several purpose built bullets from the likes of Barnes. Theres also no getting around the fact that 600grain subs have something like 1300-1400 fpe at the muzzle, and because you can actually find purpose built bullets for this round, they will expand like a proper bullet as opposed to relying on the bullet tumbling like appears to be the case with the 416 Hushpuppy.

      I saw a 458 put on a M4 lower once and it sounded like a freaking M2 BMG… got a little chub from that one.

  8. I thought pretty much every army agreed that .40cal rifle rounds were a bad idea sometime around the Boer War.

  9. So the standard 30 round 300BO mag is now 10 rounds of 416?
    Doesn’t sound like that makes sense for me and especially my less-practiced wife and elder teenagers.

  10. OK, but “Hushpuppy” ???

    Should have called it the “Minion”

    Or something Chinese for “Dragon’s sackscratcher”

  11. Since we are on the “huge bullet” bandwagon on this thread, I am waiting for someone to make 1 ounce (437.5 grain) 20 gauge slugs with a muzzle velocity of 600 fps for home defense.

    Even at the paltry velocity of 600 fps, a .62 caliber, 437.5 grain flat faced slug slamming into an attacker at 600 fps is going to cause massive trauma and be incredibly debilitating. And the slow velocity miminizes recoil and enables really fast and accurate follow-up shots. Of course the follow-up shots would be for the attacker’s accomplices as you should not have to shoot the attacker more than once with that load. Oh, and that load would be relatively quiet shooting out of an 18+ inch barrel … versus the deafening blast of a 12 gauge shooting 1 ounce of buckshot or slug at 1,400 fps.

  12. I can see a use for a 416 Hush Puppy as a round for Urban Special Services. It could be built up to look like a regular AR-16. With the range finders we have today its good out to at least 500 yards for calculated fire. I expect it would have would do a number on an engine block or batter down a wall in short order.

    Being minimally stabilized it makes a mess inside who ever it hits and the damage cavity starts deeper than hollow point or other expanding ammo. It makes the mess where the vital organs are not just under the skin.

    I wonder it would almost shoot the same with a 5.56 x 49 case blown out to shoot a 300 grain.338 bullet built the same way. A barrel with a 1 in 9.5 in or 1 in 10 inch twist should have the same minimally stabilized condition and all but the dies and barrel cam be made from off the rack parts. It wouldn’t have power of the .416. I’ll bet it could built for 20% the cost.


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