Remington R-15 now in .450 Bushmaster

r_15_450_bushmaster-tfb-tm

Remington’s hunting AR-15, the R-15, is now available chambered in .450 Bushmaster. The gun features an 18″ free-floading and fluted barrel and Mossy Oak Break-Up camo finish. The magazine can hold four rounds of the large .450 Bushmaster.

The rifle is pretty much the modern version of the classic .45-70 lever action carbine. A .450 Bushy packs about as much punch as a standard pressure (smokeless) .45-70 round. More than enough power for any North American game.

[ Many thanks to Heath for the info. ]




Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Tom Stone

    California legal?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Tom, nope

  • Gary

    Well that’s interesting. Definitely makes it more of a hunting platform.

  • Old Sarge

    Nice! Not much good over 125 yards but that’s enough range for 95% of all N. American game.

  • http://www.predatorwild.com Heath

    Steve and Tom,

    It actually CAN be made CA legal so you will be seeing them available. Some where in route to CA they just install a “bullet button” to satisfy the requirements sent by the CA DOJ.

    An alternative to buying the whole rifle is to pick up the upper and magazines from Cabela’s. Slap it on a CA legal lower and you’re good to go.

  • RedMinotaur

    While I think that the .450 Bushmaster is an excellent round (surely adequate for humans and medium game), and the most common load for it, (the Hornady SST FTX load of 250 grains at 2200 fps) is certainly nothing to sneeze at, we need to take a number of factors into consideration if we are to call it the equal of the .45-70 and say that it has “more than enough power for any North American game.”

    Hornady quotes its velocity figures from a 24″ test barrel, while the R-15 is 18″, and Bushmaster offers only 16 and 20 inch barrels. At moderate pressure (38,500 psi) and with a large expansion ratio, the velocity loss for the shorter barrels isn’t going to be substantial (probably around 100 fps), but it is still something to keep in mind. Judicious handloading may be able to recover some of the lost velocity, but I wouldn’t count on it, as I’ve read that Hornady’s other FTX loads (such as for the .30-30) are very well optimized with proprietary powder mixes, with handloaders finding it difficult to even equal their velocities.

    The .450 Bushmaster, being based off of a .284 Winchester case cut off at the shoulder and slightly trimmed to help fit into an AR-15 magazine well, eliminates the shoulder of its parent cartridge and thus must headspace on the case mouth, just like the .50 Beowulf. The .458 SOCOM, though it uses the same .473″ rebated rim as the .450 Bushmaster, has a fatter case that allows it to headspace on its shoulder, theoretically improving reliability and accuracy. Now, at the ranges that big thumpers like these will be used, any accuracy advantage will likely be imperceptible, but we can always use improvements in reliability, especially in hunting dangerous game, like big, angry hogs.

    .452″ bullets, like the .450 Bushmaster uses, are used primarily for handguns and as muzzleloader sabots. Since these bullets are, for the most part, designed for .45 ACP, or at most .454 Casull velocities, the number of bullets that are suitably constructed for being launched in excess of 2000 fps and used against game that is tougher and thicker-skinned than deer is significantly less than you might expect for this ubiquitous caliber. Bullets designed for the .460 S&W Magnum and hot muzzleloader charges are about our only good choices, and they don’t get very heavy, capping out around 300 grains. The sectional density of such a bullet is not terribly impressive (0.21), or about the same as a 140 grain .308 caliber bullet. I wouldn’t want to use such a light for caliber bullet against elk, moose, or brown bear, for fear of inadequate penetration. Using hardcast lead bullets could improve this, but this could be limited by the 1 in 24″ twist rate of .450 Bushmaster barrels. The specs for the R-15 claim a 1 in 10″ twist rate, but they appear to be incorrect, as this is the twist rate claimed for the .30 Remington AR that is also (strangely) listed on the specifications list for the R-15 450 Bushmaster. Since all of the literature on Bushmaster’s barrels says 1 in 24″ twist rates, I’d be surprised if Remington, a sister company to Bushmaster (both are owned by Cerberus), would deviate from this spec. The .458 SOCOM does better in this regard, using (no surprise here) .458″ bullets, the same diameter that the venerable .45-70 uses, and at similar velocities (greatly expanding the range of usable bullets). This caliber choice offers a range of bullets from 250 to 600 grains, giving the .458 SOCOM far greater flexibility in the size of game that it can take, from small deer to bison. Its 1 in 14″ twist rate (as used by Rock River Arms) is simply better suited to the heavier bullets necessary to humanely kill large game. It is even designed to be able to launch the heavy 600 grain bullets at subsonic velocities, making for much greater effectiveness when using a suppressor.

    Finally, though it applies less to hunting than to personal defense, the .450 Bushmaster requires specially modified magazines (replacement followers, really), with the R-15 coming with four round magazines, and the Bushmaster rifles coming with five rounders. The .458 SOCOM can use standard GI magazines, with a standard 30-round 5.56 NATO mag holding ten rounds of .458 SOCOM. (see http://www.teppojutsu.com/458FAQ.htm#_What_lower,_stock,_other_parts_can_I_use_)

    In short, the .450 Bushmaster, while highly effective against humans and deer, does not have the flexibility necessary to take game much larger than that which it was intended for. In that mission, the .458 SOCOM is much closer to being a modern .45-70, while the .450 Bushmaster has more in common with the .444 Marlin. This is not likely to bother anyone who is buying an R-15, and I would certainly not criticize them for this fine choice, as long as they maintain realistic expectations.

    P.S. Free-Floating is how you’ll want to spell what is done with the 18″ barrel. Not a big deal, but I really like TFB, and would like to see it perfect. :p

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      RedMinotaur, thanks for your comment.

  • RedMinotaur

    Wow. I guess I had a lot to say about that, especially for someone who’s never even fired an AR-15 of any variety. Sorry about that; I didn’t mean to write a book.

  • RedMinotaur

    I should also add that the .458 SOCOM is not fully the equal of the .45-70, when it comes to higher-pressure loads in modern firearms:

    Buffalo Bore’s .45-70 8B ammunition: 405 gr. J.F.N.(2,000fps/M.E.3,597 ft.lbs.)
    (http://www.buffalobore.com/index.php?l=product_detail&p=151)

    CORĀ®BON’s Self-Defense JSP 458 SOCOM 405gr SD458405-20: 1600 fps/2303ft-lbs
    (http://www.dakotaammo.net/Self-Defense-JHP/458-SOCOM-405gr-CORBON-Self-Defense-JSP/SD458405-20/100/Product)

    Even given that the SOCOM load is from a 16″ barrel, and the .45-70 is from a 22″ lever action barrel, the .45-70 is clearly more powerful. The .45-70 can be loaded even hotter in strong actions, such as the Ruger No. 1.

    Still, the fact that a 405 grain .458 slug going 1600 fps can reliably take all North American game means that the .458 SOCOM can be considered the modern equivalent of the .45-70 blackpowder loads that killed so many bison.

  • RedMinotaur

    Some further research has shown me that the Marlin 1895 lever actions in .45-70 have a 1 in 20″ twist rate, and, given that they don’t seem to have trouble stabilizing heavier lead bullets, I am hopeful that the .450 Bushmaster, with its 1 in 24″ twist rate, could stabilize bullets heavy enough to take large game, even if jacketed bullets with sufficient weight are unavailable.

    It appears that somebody is having luck doing so (http://www.450bm.com/?tag=lead-bullets) with resized .458 bullets.

    I don’t mind correction from others more knowledgeable than I, but it’s sure less embarrassing to correct myself. :)

  • Andy in Connecticut

    Yeah, I was never enamored with the .450 BM. Going to get a .458 SOCOM this year. Well, sometime after Marty finishes my upper in .44 Automag.

  • BD

    I’ve been working with the .450 B for about a year. Just to clear up a few things, Hornady’s load data for the 250 grain FTX develops 2,200 fps out of a 16″ barrel. This velocity is easily matched hand loading with H110, 296 or Lil Gun.

    I’ve worked up 300 grain cast loads at 2,000 fps, and a little beyond that using WC297, (surplus powder about a grain and a half slower than 296 in this cartridge).

    Brass is readily available and can also be made from .284 cases. I feel that this is a distinct advantage over the Socom and Beowolf. Any straight AR-15 mag will work simply by dropping in one of the blue single shot followers, and the Sig 556 mags work just fine out of the box, holding 10 rounds.

    It’s still not the equivalent of a modern 45/70, but I can’t think of anything in North America that would make me feel under-gunned inside of 200 yards using a 300 grainer @ 2,000 fps.

  • Shane

    Consider cartridges considered appropriate for Alaskan moose and coastal browns. .338 Winchester, .358 Norma, .375 H&H. Even the .30-06 (marginal at best for the really big ones). They blow it away at the muzzle. Then look at how those cartridges fair at 200 yards. Then look at how the Bushmaster looks at 200 yards.

    Even the energy numbers on paper look bad. Then consider the badly penetrating bullets this cartridge eats.

    I dare you to shoot one of the great bears with this thing at any range.

    I implore you to not shoot anything larger than a whitetail or muley at 200 yards. You might be better off with a .30-30 in this scenario.

    If you don’t know what you’re talking about when it comes to hunting large game, and the terminal ballistics involved in said activity, then just stick to what you know – ARs and tacticool fantasies about shooting humans. Don’t try to make your favorite toys something they are not.

  • BD

    Well, I’ll leave the rest of this discussion to you arm chair cowboys as you seem to have all the answers. To date the .450B has been used successfully on all of the North American big game species, and is becoming quite popular with guides in big bear country. It’s got a pretty fair following among hog hunters as well. Penetration has been excellent with the 250 grain FTX out to 200 yards, and my rifle will keep them inside of 3″ at 300 all day long. There’s been more than one instance of double kills on hogs from broadside shoot throughs. I’ve sized a variety of .458 jacketed bullets to .452, and everything up to 400 grains has run just fine. Hardcast from 250 grains to 350 grains are all perfectly usable, with the 300 grainers at 1,900 fps to 2,000 fps giving the best results. It’s not the be-all and end-all of hunting rifles. But it’s my choice for getting up close and personal with things that bite back.

    http://www.450bushmaster.net/

    In theory, theory and practice are the same. In practice, they’re not

  • howlingcoyote

    Hey, doesn’t anybody remember the 401 Win. self-Loading cartridge, chambered in the Winchester Model 1910 semi-auto rifle. It was made until 1936 or so. Ammo was supposed to be loaded until the 1950’s sometime. A bad thing was it was a blow back, okay if your shooting a 380 Auto , but it should have been gas operated, if it had been, it might even still be around today, in an updated model. (Like the Remington Model 750 semi-auto is).
    Ballistics are:
    200 gr. SP at 2135 fps, 2020 me
    250 gr. SP at 1870 fps, 1940 me
    I think the 200 gr. load was suppose to duplicate the 30-40 Krag load of 220 gr, at around 2000 fps, from what I recall reading years ago an article.
    Bushmaster and Remington could have chambered their AR-15’s for the 401 WSL., close enough to 450 Bushmaster.
    Another cartridge to think about is 475 Wildey or 475-50 Bewulf wildcat.
    Also, I’ve noticed that factory ballistics are usually in test barrels that are much longer than factory models. Remember how factories used to list 357 Magnum load-158 gr. at 1500 fps? Now it’s like 1200 fps. Oh sure, you can get 1500 fps, but only in a rifle.

  • Richard

    I get to pick up my 450 on tuesday and was wondering if anyone knows what the best scope for this gun is. I will more then likely not be shooting past 150 yard.

  • Dean Samons

    It seems amazing to me what some folks say you can and can not kill with a given caliber. Im not a pro hunter but have taken Moose from northwest Alberta to Newfoundland, with a 308 BLR. One of the guides I hunted wih in Alberta Has used a 243 (not saying its recomended). but done. I know of lots of elk taken with 7mm-08. My 7mm wtby mag have also taken all the above, My thought after reading this blog is,,,,Hum lots of tech-know but how much experince do some folks have to be talking down to others?

    • HANDGUNNER

      WOW
      SOME OF YOU GUYS SURE ARE LONG WINDED. I BOUGHT A 450 BM LAST WEEK. I BOUGHT IT FOR ONE REASON. MICHIGAN IS CONTEMPLATING PASSING A LAW SUCH AS INDIANA’S. THIS IS WHERE WE CAN USE A STRAIGHT WALLED CARTRIDGE IN A RIFLE FOR DEER HUNTING IN THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE LOWER PENINSULA. CAN’T USE THE 458 SOCOM IT HAS A SHOULDER, DON’T NEED THE BIG 50 BEOWULF. SHOULD BE A GREAT DEER CARTRIDGE OUT OF A GREAT GUN AT RANGES TO 100-150 YARDS. MY LONGERST SHOT MIGHT BE 120 WHERE I AM, MOST UNDER 75. 450 BUSHMASTER IS PERFECT.
      ALL YOU GUYS TALK ABOUT TAKING ANYTHING IN NORTH AMERICA WITH SOME OF THE ABOVE CARTRIDGES. HOW MANY OF YOU EVER WILL???? I HAVE SHOT THE 454 CASULL OUT OF MY FREEDOM ARMS FOR MANY YEARS AND IT HAS BEEN A GREAT DEERSLAYER. MY OLDER EYES WILL BE BETTER SUITED WITH THE 450BM IN A RIFLE PLATFORM.

      • jared

        Not sure what part of Michigan your from, but in the UP we can shoot deer with anything we want as long as its centerfire and over .22 caliber. Not sure who told you that, but there wrong.

        • billy

          he’s talking the SOUTHERN HALF of michigan where there are restrictions on types of firearms..

  • http://thefirearmblog Major A.W. Oliver

    Love the 450 Bushmaster.
    Been hunting big game most of my life and this round works up close as well as my 338 Win Mag thus far.

    450 BM is a strong big game mid range firearm.
    Yes the 250gr. Ballistic Tip and or 260gr. Rem Soft tip are not perfect for deep penetration on big game out past 200 yards.
    But thus far have taken 3 deer and two elk with these loads all with solid one shot kills within 200 yards.

    Brown Bear or the like might be a bit to much for some with such a soft tip Bullet. But I know several folks who have executed more than a few big Bears with 44 Remington mags and 240-300grs soft points. The situation was requiring their use. Yet they worked well as could be expected. 2 of the 4 case were one shot kills. Bullet in the right place, spine heart or both through and through.

    The 450 Bushmaster will execute Bear as quickly with well placed shots as any other large game within reason and range.
    It has manageable recoil thus 2nd shots and or many follow ups can be used when required. This is a solid performer against any animal in North America. Momentum really makes a huge difference. Big bullets even when slowed down get through and kill with power to spare. I thought Elmer Keith taught us this decades ago.

    At the turn of the century to 1900s the 45-70 and less powerful rounds killed 100s of buffalo and Brown Bears. So with the power behind the 450 Bm I’d expect similar performance or most likely much better performance. I have seen the old BP rounds from many 45-70s and their performance on game from what I’ve seen thus far they are very close to the 450 BM. But the 450 has much larger exit holes.

    I doubt I will get a chance to take a big brown Bear with mine. Being a bit disabled these days. But I would not hesitate if the circumstances made the opportunity possible.

    As a backwoods Bear country fishing support firearm I see it better than most any pistol or short shotgun. This my family has used in Alaska for a couple of years now instead of the above. It seems it is better to have 10 450BM ready at the quick and ready than 6, 454s or even 6, 12ga slugs. The rifle weighs in at only 6.5 lbs. All day in the boat or off down the remote creek in the Brown bear’s bag yard it is very comforting. Thus far not tested on a charging mother bruin but I’m sure it will work as it has on Elk in the lower 48 and 45-70s have in the past.

    Now we just need a solid slug from Buffalo Bore or Corbon with a large semi wad-cutter type tip and the game will be changed for the Alaska fishing support rifle. So pony up cartage companies and give use a better mouse trap for Brown Bears when required.