With the hunting season underway, now is when hunters are on the lookout for the latest and greatest in hunting ammunition. As the popularity of the AR-15 platform continues to grow it continues to see more widespread use in the hunting community. The 223 chamberings are effective for varmints but lack the sought after knockdown power. The AR platform has seen a slew of new cartridge offerings, but none as storied as the .458 SOCOM.
Here’s the full story of how the .458 came to be from the Steinel Ammo press release.
The legend of the founding of the 458 SOCOM round does not begin in a large ammo company’s R&D, but at a barbeque. The Battle of Mogadishu was the tipping point during a two-day battle between US Forces and Somali militiamen under Mohamed Farrah Aidid, the self-proclaimed president-to-be. The US Forces were comprised of the elite Special Forces from the US Army Special Operations Command, Air Force Special Operations Command and the US Naval Special Warfare Command, collaborating as Task Force Ranger. The goal was to capture two of Aidid’s top lieutenants and the time frame for the mission was estimated to be about an hour and ended up lasting overnight and well into the next day with 18 elite American troops killed. The 2001 Ridley Scott movie Black Hawk Down, a film based on the novel by Mark Bowden about the 1993 raid in Mogadishu, brought home the enormity and horror of modern warfare to the American public. One of the many issues our US Forces commanders realized was that the current military round, the 5.56×45 cartridge, did not have effective stopping power on enemy troops, especially enemy troops hopped up on the local drug Khat, an herbal stimulant that causes loss of appetite, excitement and the inability to feel and register pain.
Back to that barbeque. Marty ter Weeme, founder of Teppo Jutsu, a small, custom ammunition design and Firearms Company in Texas, was chatting with a senior member of the US special operations community while having a few beers and some good down-home Texas BBQ. Marty set forth from that stuff-of-legends meeting to develop the 458 SOCOM based upon the Special Operations Command requirements. The 458 SOCOM cartridge was required to fit the M4 carbine and fire at subsonic velocities using suppressors. Marty developed the cartridge and Tony Rumore of Tromix built the first 458 SOCOM rifle in 2001.
Today Steinel Ammunition company specializes in mil-surp, big bore, and hard to find calibers. Their aim is to deliver accurate, reliable rounds with high-quality projectiles for a wide variety of hunters.
Listed are the current .458 SOCOM cartridges available from Steinel.