Large caliber AR uppers

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Large caliber AR uppers

Postby Seismic Sam on Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:10 am

This post is in reply to the 458 SOCOM bullet pictures, and I thought I would share a few facts and opinions just to inform you of what's out there and things you might want to know. Right after the Blackhawk down incident in Somalia, a guy named Marty Ter Weem saw a need for a large caliber AR platform for the purpose of blowing door hinges and also heathen infidels out of the way, and set out to make the biggest caliber AR upper he could that would still use regular .223 mags and uppers. What he wound up with was the 458 SOCOM, which has a 50 caliber case body, a 45 caliber case neck, and a 30-06 rebated case head. It's an incredibly versatile round, and you can run anything from a 250 grain .458" rifle bullet to one of the big Barnes 500 grain solids through this thing. From what I know, the DoD has been buying Marty's stuff since he started building it.

http://www.sbrammunition.com/458sl.html http://www.rockriverarms.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=category.display&category_id=251

Now then, at the beginning, Marty had a gifted but fully gonzo gunsmith name Tony Rumore (Tromix.com) who was building the 458 SOCOM uppers, and Tony was also offering uppers that whould shoot the 50 Action Express cartridge. The 50AE, by the way, is a 50 caliber straight walled case with a 44 magnum rebated case head. That combination was selected so you could upgrade the 44 magnum Desert Eagle to 50 caliber without changing the bolt face or slide. Seeing as I had a DE 50, I went ahead and bought one of Tony's Sledgehammer AR uppers in 50AE, so I would have a pistol and AR combination that would shoot the exact same round. It should be noted that to make a 50 AE upper, Tony had to machine out the AR bolt to tale the larger case head, build his own extractor hooks, and open up the gas port to make the system work. Seeing as the 50 AE round is shorter than the .223 round by about half an inch, Tony put Delrin spaces in the front of his .223 mags to keeps the rounds where they belonged.

Now, in a galaxy far, far away, there were two guys who also wanted to make a 50 caliber AR upper, but they wanted to use all stock AR components and not modify the mags, so they designed a case unlike anything that had ever been seen. The case body is the same diameter and length as the mighty Smith 500 so it would fill up the mag, and then they put the case head of the 7.62 x39 AK-47 round on this massive case, because they wanted to use stock AK-47 bolt faces, which ARE available for AR-15 uppers. The result is grotesque beyond all imagining, and here are a couple of pictures of what was created.
Image

Image

And just for reference, here's the 50AE, the 50 Beowulf, and the 500 Smith.

Image

Now, the 50AE cartridge is a time tested and proven round. There have been many guns chambered for this round besides the Desert Eagle, and this round IS a military round in the Isralei Army. (Glad I'm not a Muslim terrorist!! :? )

The 500 Smith is a MUCH more powerful round than the 50AE, and was also well designed, and has a pressure rating of 65,000 CUP. In general, your wrist(s) will give out before a Smith 500 will, especially if you are shooting those humongous 440 or 500 grain bullet rounds. :o :shock: :( :cry:

Shortly after this round was created, its two designers got in a huge pissing match and split up. As such, there were two different headstamps for the same case, with one being the .499 Leitner-Wise, and the other being the 50 Beowulf. The .499 died on the vine, but the 50 Beo lived on and was offered to the US Coast Guard for trials.

Now then, a little math and geometry is in order. For the 50AE cartridge, the minimum diameter of the case head (meaning extractor groove) is 75% of the cross sectional area of the case body. For the tiny 50 Beo case head, the cross sectional are of the extractor groove is only 48% of the area of the case body. That's the math. Now for the geometry, look at the difference between the body tapers between the 50AE and the 50 Beo:

Image

The taper angle is much steeper for the 50AE than the 50 Beo, which means that the pressure from the case body can more efficiently and safely be transferred back to the case head, and there's never been an incident I have heard of where 50AE brass blew out or collapsed.

When you add up the less-than half the case body area to case headwith that shallow base taper, things are entirely different. Second hand, I have heard reports of full case head collapses into the case body, and also stories of the bolts on some guns getting blown. The initial loadings may have been hotter to try and use all that case capacity, but with that case design that didn't turn out to be feasible. Last I heard, the 50 Beowulf round hrows a 325 grain bullet at about 2100 FPS, while my puny little 50AE Sledgehammer puts the same bullet out the barrel at 1800+ FPS with stock Desert Eagle loads. Needless, to say, that's WAAAAYYYY below what you could do with one of the rifles currently chambered for the Smith 500. (Hell, I can get a 325 grain bullet to 2000 FPS with my 8 3/8" barreled pistol!)

So, if you're looking for a large caliber AR upper, you can look at the 458 SOCOM, and if you don't reload you can pay for your reloading setup in about THREE boxes of 458 ammo! The other round to look at is the 450 Bushmaster, which was developed by Hornady and Bushmaster, and is probably a slightly depowered 460 rimless Smith round.

http://www.ableammo.com/catalog/default.php?cPath=10480_14658_14743_14909_16855
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby gyrfalcon on Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:36 am

Cool post... Not to derail your thread, but does anyone know much about Bohica Arms and who runs it? They make large caliber AR uppers in Minnesota, or at least I though they did for sometime, but now appears they're out of AZ.

http://www.bohicaarms.com/far50_features.html
http://www.ar15armory.com/forums/Bohica ... 30616.html

Curious since I saw vulcan / hessie arms at one of the gun shows recently and thought they might be linked.
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby RAGGED on Mon Nov 15, 2010 12:23 pm

Nice post Sam!

I've often found myself seconds away from picking up one of these

http://www.remington.com/products/firearms/centerfire/model-r-15/model-r-15-450-bushmaster.aspx

I like that Hornady had a big hand in developing the 450 BM and I also like that it's a complete rifle being put out by a major maker (Remington/Bushmaster) Seems like it would be a great hog hunter.
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby Greg on Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:15 pm

gyrfalcon wrote:Cool post... Not to derail your thread, but does anyone know much about Bohica Arms and who runs it? They make large caliber AR uppers in Minnesota, or at least I though they did for sometime, but now appears they're out of AZ.

http://www.bohicaarms.com/far50_features.html
http://www.ar15armory.com/forums/Bohica ... 30616.html

Curious since I saw vulcan / hessie arms at one of the gun shows recently and thought they might be linked.


If it has ANY connection with Hesse/Vulcan/Blackthorne, run away FAST. The guy lies and won't cover any service/warranty issues; he'll just shut down whatever he's calling it this week and start up something else.

http://bananafufu.blogspot.com/2010/02/ ... y-lie.html and many others.

You should have seen the total abortion that was my first 1919A4 Browning, the only way I could get it to run was to replace ALL the internal parts with someone else"s. Hesse wouldn't even supply screws or springs, in person at a local gun show, much less fix my gun.

Been there! :(
Last edited by Greg on Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby Squib Joe on Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:18 pm

Seismic Sam wrote:The other round to look at is the 450 Bushmaster, which was developed by Hornady and Bushmaster, and is probably a slightly depowered 460 rimless Smith round.


Originally these were made from cut down .284 Winchester brass and known as the .45 Professional, then again slightly shortened to accept Hornady SST bullets before becoming the 450 Bushmaster
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby macphisto on Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:19 pm

Bend Over Here It Comes Again Arms? No thanks.
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby JoeH on Mon Nov 15, 2010 2:54 pm

Great post, Sam!

So, say I go out and buy a RRA 458 SOCOM. Then I setup to handload the 458 SOCOM.

How many loadings do you think that I could get out of new Starline brass shooting a middle of the road load?
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby macphisto on Mon Nov 15, 2010 3:07 pm

JoeH wrote:So, say I go out and buy a RRA 458 SOCOM. Then I setup to handload the 458 SOCOM.

How many loadings do you think that I could get out of new Starline brass shooting a middle of the road load?

Based on some reviews at Midway, quite a few:

Al Lopata of Pittsburgh, PA wrote:I have reloaded this brass up to 20 times.


Brian Starkey of Copperas Cove, TX wrote:Awesome brass!! Worth every penny for these high quality cases! At 4th reload cases have barely expanded beyond max COL of 1.575"


http://www.midwayusa.com/viewProduct/?p ... =941591224
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby Norsesmithy on Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:10 pm

gyrfalcon wrote:Cool post... Not to derail your thread, but does anyone know much about Bohica Arms and who runs it? They make large caliber AR uppers in Minnesota, or at least I though they did for sometime, but now appears they're out of AZ.

http://www.bohicaarms.com/far50_features.html
http://www.ar15armory.com/forums/Bohica ... 30616.html

Curious since I saw vulcan / hessie arms at one of the gun shows recently and thought they might be linked.

Don't buy a Bohica, at least on of their customers didn't have an inspec chamber, and it Kaboomed on him (though he's far from blameless, as he was using a mallet to get the bolt to close).

Click this picture for a story.
Image

If you are interested in a .50 BMG upper for an AR-15, the Safety Harbor SHF R50, the Ligamec Ultralight 50, and the Watson Weapons "The Boss" all get good reviews, though reloading the Watson Weapons upper takes a million years, because you have to push your take down pin and screw the bolt out of the back of the upper, place a cartridge in the bolt, and screw it back in.
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby Squib Joe on Mon Nov 15, 2010 5:15 pm

Norsesmithy wrote:If you are interested in a .50 BMG upper for an AR-15, the Safety Harbor SHF R50, the Ligamec Ultralight 50, and the Watson Weapons "The Boss" all get good reviews, though reloading the Watson Weapons upper takes a million years, because you have to push your take down pin and screw the bolt out of the back of the upper, place a cartridge in the bolt, and screw it back in.


Or the Zel Custom
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby Seismic Sam on Mon Nov 15, 2010 6:08 pm

My 50AE brass is 10 years old and is still fine. You'll go broke buying bullets, powder, and primers before you have to buy more brass. Straight walled brass like this lasts for a very long time.

And to be a PITA, take a good look at that bloodstain in front of the chair, because if you reload without reading the whole manual rather than asking questions in here to save time, that could be YOUR blood on the concrete. Reloading is no EFFEN joke. You screw up, you pay in blood. This guy screwed up a different way, but using a mallet to close the breech is NO different than reloading without taking the time to know exactly what your are doing.

Rant over.
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby sochr000 on Tue Nov 16, 2010 12:42 am

Seismic Sam wrote:Rant over.


LIES!
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby gyrfalcon on Tue Nov 16, 2010 1:03 am

I'm still trying to figure out how the 50 Beowulf can be proprietary... Is the .45 GAP proprietary too? It seems crazy to me that any rifle/pistol caliber could be proprietary.
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Re: Large caliber AR uppers

Postby Seismic Sam on Tue Nov 16, 2010 10:15 am

gyrfalcon wrote:I'm still trying to figure out how the 50 Beowulf can be proprietary... Is the .45 GAP proprietary too? It seems crazy to me that any rifle/pistol caliber could be proprietary.


Very easy to do. Obtain a design patent (which is much simpler than a normal patent filing...) for the case dimensions and you're good to go.

It should be noted that this is a double edged sword, because if you're the only person/company who can supply the brass or ammo, you're limiting the market and also the popularity of the cartridge. If you're Alex Zimmerman at Guncrafter Industries, being the sole supplier of 50 GI ammo is not a big deal.

If you're the Strum Ruger company, limiting the supply of 204 Ruger brass would have been the stupidest financial decision they could have made. IIRC, it's also the case that to get a caliber certified with SAAMI, you have to agree to release the caliber to the public domain.
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