View Full Version : .458 SOCOM v. .50 Beowulf

June 16, 2012, 11:11 AM
I've got a 5.56 AR on order from RRA and am already considering a new upper. I'm debating between a SOCOM and a Beowulf. It will be a combination home defense weapon and hog hunter. Any ideas about advantages and disadvantages?

While we're at it, why is .458 SOCOM ammo twice the price of .50 Beowulf ammo?

June 16, 2012, 02:52 PM
both are impressive, i think i'd opt for the 458 because there'll probably be more choices in bullets and it should get better penetration. No doubt that its powerful enough for just about anything.

June 16, 2012, 03:29 PM
I saw a hunting show on tv a few months back where a guy killed an elk with a AR type rifle that was 458 socom. It was about a 100yrd shot give or take. Honestly though I dont know much about either caliber. Both would be good defense and short range hunting calibers. Probably be a great pig gun.

June 17, 2012, 06:06 PM
Big bore rifle for HD? Unless you're getting attacked by terminators, I do not see the advantages. I owned an AR in .50 Beowulf and it was fun, but it also had a pretty stout recoil and ammo was about $1.50 per. The rounds I used, 350 gr FMJ, left the barrel at 1800 fps. Alexander Arms and a variety of magazines touted the round to be good for punching holes in engine blocks, and there's a lot of video to support this claim. Ballistics tables suggest a LOT of drop after 150-200 yards due to the weight of the bullet.

So, without knowing the specifics of your living situation, I ask this: is 350 grains of lead moving at 1800 fps optimal in a any possible HD scenario? While that's more than enough force to stop a two-legged intruder, a bullet that can punch through engine blocks probably won't even be phased by skin, muscle tissue, bone, etc., and will keep on flying with enough force to ruin the day of anyone else.

If only AA made frangible .50's...

June 17, 2012, 07:37 PM
You make a valid point, Achilles11B. My main defense weapon is a Glock 27 (.40 S&W), but I also want something more accurate and heavier. I have several WWII rifles, including a Garand, but that, along with the 5.56, can go on forever if I miss. The limited range and penetrating power of the SOCOM and the Beowulf using rapidly expanding bullets are, I would think, advantages for a home defense weapon. Anyway, my wife says that bigger is better. I assume that she was talking about bullets. :)

There are also hogs that occasionally invade my back yard. Usually I take them down with a .58 Enfield using a double military powder load, but I yearn for something more modern.

Originally, I was going to get a pistol caliber rife, but that would be strictly for defense. Now I am looking for something that will stop a man and a several hundred pound hog.

I want to thank everybody for their input. I guess that there is no right answer, so maybe I'll flip a coin.

By the way, Achilles11B, can you conjecture why SOCOM rounds are over over $2.50 a round while Beowulfs are half that?

June 17, 2012, 10:16 PM
If you're shooting hogs just in your back yard the Beowulf will suit that bill just fine. I clear farms of wild pigs down here in Fl on the side for a few friends that have some crops, and the Beowulf is what I use. I've taken some pigs out up to about 150yds with it. It doesnt matter where you hit that pig with that round, its going down. As far as home protection, don't even think about it unless your walls are made of 2" thick steel. I looked into getting the 458 also but got turned off by the price of the ammo. I am not exactly sure why the rounds are twice as much. I just use the 334 grain Rainer hollow points and the 400 grain Hawk JSP's. The 334 grain is pretty much all you'll need. I get mine from either the gun show at $30 a box of 20 or bass pro for $26 a box. Just be ready for some recoil. I have mine on a rockriver lower also and the recoil sucks. I've heard a few people say it only recoils like a 12g bird shot load, I just laugh and say " Appearently you've never shot a Beowulf". After about 20 rounds on row it's time to put it down.

June 18, 2012, 05:32 AM
Lmao! 2x the sentiments about the recoil.
12ga has a bit of kick, but that Beowulf is a different beast altogether! It's acertifiable donkey... But still alot of fun to shoot.

I've been curious about the .458 (I seem to have a thing for unconventional rounds), but alas I don't have a buddy who owns one.

June 18, 2012, 08:09 AM
What about the 450 Bushmaster? Its in the same catagory as the 50 and the 458. Slightly smaller bullet but a huge difference in price. Between 25-30 dollars a box of 20 and I think its performance is close to the beowolf and socom.

June 18, 2012, 09:33 AM
go with the .50 Beowulf, i currently use a .499LWR, but will get a .50 Beowulf soon.., the reason ? after several reloads the .499LWR cases start to have cracks/splits around the mouth, i trim off 1/10 inch to remove the cracks/splits and they are perfect for the .50 Beo. also if you plan on reloading, doing so is quite different procedure, when fired the cases actually shorten, resizing usually brings the cases back to optimal length, most times a bit longer.

Maximum Case Length 1.655 inches
Minimum Case Length 1.644 inches

head space for this round is critical, reloading is the best way to keep the cost down, BUT !! if not an experienced reloader, post a note in the reloading section here, personally i have been reloading the .499LWR for about 10 years and other calibers for over 50 years.

June 18, 2012, 10:36 AM
I will comment in order:
frigate88: No, I don't have armored walls, but the neighbor might get a Sherman tank. :) I know what you're saying about the Beowulf and I note that Alexander Arms has a Speer Gold Dot round that they state is for defense and LE use. The lower price per round is a plus. I don't know if it would make a difference, but the .458 upper would be a RRA upper on a RRA lower.

insomni: The only time I ever have fired a shotgun was on the range for annual qualification. As I recall, I always walked away with a sore shoulder, but the, my .58 shooting a 510 gr minnie ball on 120 grains of black powder kicks like a small mule. But, of course, it's one round every minute or so.

Bamashooter: I haven't even considered the Bushmaster, for no particular reason, except that bigger is better (maybe it was my wife's boyfriend who told me that:). I will look into it. I will say that, because of the cost, if I get a SOCOM I will have to learn how to reload, just to save money.

BPowderkeg: If I start reloading I'm sure all of that info will make sense. Meanwhile, it's Greek (or geek) to me.

Thanks again everybody.

June 18, 2012, 09:25 PM
Couldn't tell you why the difference in ammo price is so great, never really thought of it.

The recoil is tough, but King Armory makes a good muzzle brake for the .50 from what I'm told. It gets a lot of good reviews and might be a good place to check out if you go the Beowulf route.

Bart Noir
June 19, 2012, 02:06 PM
There are also hogs that occasionally invade my back yard. Usually I take them down with a .58 Enfield using a double military powder load,


Any more powder and you'd have to using a small field gun. With a crew of 5 for reloading.

But it sounds like fun! I guess you only get one shot, since it is slow to reload and all that smoke hides the sight of remaining piggies running for cover with their little corkscrew tails poking straight out from terror.

But there is always one hog lying there with a huge hole, right?

Bart Noir

June 20, 2012, 07:12 PM
Oh, yeah, it is fun! When I was in the Army I used it for deer. I've seen deer run 50 yds with a .30-06 slug through its heart. Heck, with the .58 the wind would knock them over :). One shot; one kill.

When I shoot hog I try for the largest sow. Those things are considered pests and have really torn up yards around here. One of my neighbors takes the carcasses off my hands. In return he calls me when they are in his yard. Antique firearms are pretty much excepted from the firearms rules so no one is complaining. The local deputy mentioned that he might invite me over 'cause they are scaring his kids and pets.