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Old June 19, 2017, 06:07 PM   #51
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Looks like something you'd shoot at another battleship!!
Exactly--resembles a 16" or 18" main battery shell--I thought the same thing.
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Old June 20, 2017, 02:18 AM   #52
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What charge weight did you use?
Much of the "popular" load data on the 'net is over-pressure.

(Just trying to prevent potential headaches and/or parts breakage.)
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Old June 20, 2017, 06:29 AM   #53
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I'm running 28 to 30 grs. of lil gun driving 300 gr tac tx's seated to a COL of 2.25 (seems to be about where they end up right on the middle of last cannelure) which should put my max pressure somewhere around 33,300 psi. I've dry-cycled in my build and the cartridge makes it in and out without any issues--being such a blunt projectile doesn't seem like much of an "opportunity" for it to hang up in the chamber or throat upon feed. By sheer coincidence--the cavity back mags that I bought for my 6mm predator project--and which seemed to hang up the cartridge's grendel base design--so far appear to work just fine in dry-fire tests in the 458 SC.

I took a look at the 458 socom forum and some of their load data there--and I saw where some folks were bumping up on pressure signs on using what theoretically should be a safe charge. I also took a look at Barnes (quite old) test data--kinda left me scratching my head since QL was returning low numbers.

Looking at the default value in QL for barnes part #30640 it lists a bullet length of 1.280. HOWEVER upon measuring the bullets I have with same part number they consistently come up with a length of 1.239--as well as a slightly shorter shank/seating depth. Why the discrepancy? I then remembered that barnes did the same thing when they rolled out the their "MIL LE" version of the 308 tac tx for the 300 BO--in other words they took the existing bullet and "tweaked it" for specifically one cartridge--changing the box color to black and putting the "MIL LE" designation on it. That 300 BO bullet, by the way, is by far the best shooting bullet in my 300BO pistol--I'm hoping this incarnation in the 458 SC is similarly good.

I have to say though that many of the tac tx's and the ttsx's that I bought for the 458 look a bit crude in finishing--the plastic tip stuff appears to have melted flashing hanging over the sides of the bullet's tip cavity--not impressed with that.
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Old June 20, 2017, 02:03 PM   #54
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28 gr to 30 gr should be in the ballpark. It's possible that the heavier charge weights might show signs of approaching the limit, but they'll probably be okay.

Be sure to keep the ammo in the shade for testing, as well. For some reason, Lil Gun is very temperature sensitive in this application -- as you may have read on the other forum. Several of us that ran, or still run, Lil Gun behind Hornady 325 gr FTXs ended up with two or three different load levels for different seasons. (Summer loads, winter loads, etc. )

In my opinion, QL can't be trusted with .458 SOCOM (and offspring). The predictions are so far off the mark that I've totally given up on trying to make it work.
I've tweaked all kinds of stuff, including the Ba values for specific powders, in order to get the data to at least come close. And it has worked to some extent. ...Until I changed COAL or went to another bullet. Then everything was way off again and had to be completely reworked.
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Old June 20, 2017, 03:02 PM   #55
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I think I understand what you mean--I took my first shot today with 28 grs and was following the Superlative Arms directions for bleed-off instructions (start with no cycled gas and work your way to open so the bolt locks back--more or less the opposite of a DI block)--so basically I had no gas pressure in the system--not sure that was a great idea. The case came out but it took a hard pull on the charging handle--The primer looked fine but I measured .004 expansion at the case head. I'm concerned--and I've learned from experience to listen to that inner voice.

I've loaded lil gun in lots of 44 mag cases--I think you might be right about "unpredictable" behavior in the 458--it seems to need a certain amount of "airspace" inside the case along with the powder volume to get the best burn efficiency--otherwise alot of ends up unburned or going out the muzzle in a fireball. I'm seriously considering pulling all the rest of the bullets--but lil gun does seem to be one of the major "go to's" on the 458 SC forum. Maybe I should look at win296/H110 or 4227??

PS--biggest wallop I've ever felt from anything in an AR 15
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Old June 20, 2017, 06:33 PM   #56
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@Franken--OK--after thinking about it (for maybe 5 minutes) I decided to reverse the gas block approach and start wide open and dial it down as I went--in other words I went out and shot the rest of the test group.

No pressure signs at any of the charge levels--even the case heads looked good--I guess they just stretch a bit more cause of the chamber and don't snap back as readily.

Howvever--I still got problems--the cavity back mag didn't work as well as I thought once I loaded up multiple cartridges--single stacked they had a propensity to pop out of teh mag and jam--so I reverted to single feed. The other issue was ejection of spent cases--sometimes they would go 5 ft away to my 4:00--other times they would barely fall out of the ejection port--and that's whithin the same charge range. I figure there's probably something with dwell time going on--I'll put a higher power extractor and ejector springs in and see if that helps any.

Unfortunately I couldn't get much meaningful data--though this group (29.2 grs) almost came together barring the flier in the lower right.



Without a doubt the most powerful AR 15 variant I've ever fired--the recoil felt like something between a 308 and 300 winmag
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Old June 20, 2017, 10:21 PM   #57
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Not a bad group.
It's a fun one, even if there are teething problems, isn't it?

I'm glad you got the loads to run.

As for ejection...
I have two primary theories:

1. You're over-gassing it, and the small variations in charge weight and chamber pressure are changing the delay until the case releases from the chamber. The lack of brass deflector on the upper may be a contributor to the strange pattern(s).

2. (More likely?) I'd say it's probably a burr on the extractor, or too sharp of an angle on the extractor hook. Both problems (often found together) are very common on extractors made by anyone other than Tromix or RRA (even other "approved" makers). And, everyone makes mistakes. My first Tromix extractor was bad and caused stove-pipes or cases actually stuck on the extractor (smashing mouths on the ejection port and ruining those expensive cases ). Usually a little deburring and stoning can get them to run. Or, you can contact the company and ask for a replacement.
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Old June 21, 2017, 02:16 AM   #58
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Not a bad group.
It's a fun one, even if there are teething problems, isn't it?

I'm glad you got the loads to run.

As for ejection...
I have two primary theories:

1. You're over-gassing it, and the small variations in charge weight and chamber pressure are changing the delay until the case releases from the chamber. The lack of brass deflector on the upper may be a contributor to the strange pattern(s).

2. (More likely?) I'd say it's probably a burr on the extractor, or too sharp of an angle on the extractor hook. Both problems (often found together) are very common on extractors made by anyone other than Tromix or RRA (even other "approved" makers). And, everyone makes mistakes. My first Tromix extractor was bad and caused stove-pipes or cases actually stuck on the extractor (smashing mouths on the ejection port and ruining those expensive cases ). Usually a little deburring and stoning can get them to run. Or, you can contact the company and ask for a replacement.
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I did stone the extractor and ejector when I first got the bolt--also I'm not getting any notable damage to the case rim where they contact. I'll take the bolt apart and power-up the springs and see if that makes a difference. Got tons of 5.56 mags lying around around--be sure to use one of those next time.

My shoulder is actually a bit sore!

Are there other "go-to" powders other than lil gun for the 458 SC? I know from my 44 mag SBH even in a revolver it has a bit of a "reputation."

I found on Nosler's website their formula for their spitzer which is not listed in QL. Their top load is driven by 4227--which I suspected was a possibility so I'm going to give that a try next/
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Old June 21, 2017, 11:00 AM   #59
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In my wanderings over to SBR site I could help but notice the 338 Spectre. I took at look at it's ballistics and it seems like it's performance falls off compared to the 458--my guess is that's because the higher BC/SD bullets encroach more on case space.

In my experience in building AR 15 hybrids--so far the 458 socom seems like the top of the heap in terms of energy delivered as a CQB type weapon--I have no trouble imagining it would be a devastating hunting weapon at close ranges as well close being maybe 150 to 200 yds or less.
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Old June 21, 2017, 12:34 PM   #60
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I usually have a bruise the day after a session with the SOCOM/Tremor.
It makes me look like a pansy, but I can't stand to shoot with any kind of padding between me and a rifle.


Lil Gun, H110/W296, N110, and the 4227s are the "go-to" powders for standard loads.
I've seen loads shared that used everything from X-terminator (too slow) to 800X (questionable). I've seen a few people that say the 4198s work well with 325-405 gr bullets, but I have my doubts and haven't tried it myself.

Most guys, like you and I have done, jump in with Lil Gun, since there's so much more data to get started with; and then we can at least have some trigger time and do some testing while looking for the next load.

For heavies/subs, Reloder 7, H4198, Norma 200, and VV N120 seem to get a lot of talk.
Some guys have had good luck with Trail Boss, but others have had nothing but problems.

My "go-to" load in .475 Tremor actually uses Norma 200 behind a 275 gr Deep Curl. It's a filthy application, since the powder is too slow - especially for the light bullet; but it runs well, is very consistent, has good case fill, burns well enough to not leave a lot of powder granules, the rifle doesn't get fired enough -overall or in a single session - for the fouling to become a problem, and it still provides unexpected velocities (1,800+). ...And it is, at least theoretically, a much "cooler" load than Lil Gun.
One of these days, I'll work that load back up with H110 and see how it does. One of these days.

I really need to get some 4227...


I have not yet been able to take any game with mine, nor has cornbush (the new owner of my .458 SOCOM upper); but we've been very impressed with clay, water, and wet-pack performance. It just seems to do things that calculations on paper say it shouldn't.
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Old June 21, 2017, 03:01 PM   #61
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Fortunately I have all of those powders--because I load a fair bit of magnum revolver rounds--and when is all is said and done--from what I can tell so far, that's more or less what the 458 socom boils down to--it a BIG pistol cartridge being pushed through an AR 15 but has some pointy bullets.

I've built quite a few AR 15 variants--but it's very rare that a new flavor brings something outstandingly different to the table--but this one does IMO. Except possibly the other big bores like 450 bushie and 50 beowolf--I can't think of one that projects so much power out to the range that it does.

Rest of the parts to complete the build came in today, so the receiver it was meant to have is now mated to the upper. I also upgraded the ejector and extractor springs, as well as installed enhanced buffer and buffer spring.

I'll see how it all works out.

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Old June 22, 2017, 09:46 AM   #62
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I have been watching this thread with interest considering I'm a recent/ new 458 SOCOM owner. These are just my experiences/ observations and are not a criticism of any of the posters.
First I want to mention the shipping problems some of you are having. I don't doubt what you say. If you have flown on an airline recently and it's taken multiple planes to get you across the country, you often go the opposite way you are traveling, to get to a bigger hub or to get to a plane that goes to your destination. Any shipping that travels by air is subject to the same frustrations. Even ground shipping has to go to hubs, which may or not be in your direction initially. That said, I live rural and other than groceries, we buy everything online. It all makes it in 3 - 5 days, with Priority Mail often making it in two. My UPS and FedEx guys are here 2 or 3 times a week. They even leave "Adult Signature Required" stuff because they know me and know it's safe at my place. I don't even look at the tracking emails. Sounds like a new form of OCD is being obsessed with tracking packages. Call Dr. Phil.
So I want a 458. I start doing my research, starting of course, at the 458 SOCOM forum. Before internet forums, I never knew all the problems I wasn't having. I remember when forums first started and I discovered that reloading 44-40 was problematic, even though it was my favorite caliber and I'd been reloading it without "issues" since 1976. After reading the 458 forum, they almost talked me out of trying one but I plunged ahead. The brand prejudice at that sight bothered me a little. A lot of forums are run by people with something to sell so they might not be the most objective. I also can't register there because they won't take my hotmail email address that I've had since the internet started. So after reading about all the problems and fixes and how hard it was to reload, I didn't want to have $1000 in an upper that I'd have to tune and play with a lot.
So I bought a Radical Firearms 458 SOCOM complete upper on sale for $450. When it came, I disassembled it to look for any obvious problems and clean the barrel before I fired it. Only thing I could find was the gas key was probably not staked to a lot of peoples satisfaction. I love the Panzer muzzle brake. I mounted an old, but high quality, 4X scope (from the 1960's), popped it on a mil spec carbine lower I built on an Anderson receiver that I keep around just to test different upper builds. I used a Colt USGI 20 round mag, as suggested on the 458 forum.
I bought some factory ammo from Underwood and Great Lakes, to get shooting quick and generate a brass supply. Went to the range, sighted in at 25 yards, checked it and made one adjustment at 50, then moved to 100. My first three shots with Underwood using 300 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip duplicated your photo. First shot took out the X and the next two where overlapping holes an inch away. The Great Lakes used 300 grain Hornady JHP's and weren't quite as accurate, two inch group.
It never failed to cycle and all empties rolled out on the table to my right, from a standard size ejection port, a foot and a half away. Nice to not chase expensive brass. One problem not related to the upper. At around 40 rounds my buffer came apart. It was a no name buffer and the plastic plug wasn't pinned, that's what came out. And this lower has had a lot of 5.56 shot through it. I had a spare Colt H buffer and it worked fine, till I got another quality buffer with a pinned plug.
I have 56 rounds through it without a hick up. I'm just a paper puncher and this is just a fun gun, so I won't need more than 100 rounds of ammo. I did buy Imperial Sizing Wax, which should work nicely with my 44-40's too. A range buddy likes the rifle and wants to take it to Missouri, hog hunting. I'm going to build a dedicated lower for it.
So I got into 458 SOCOM for half price and no drama or hand wringing. All the reviews
of this upper on Joe Bob's and Primary Arms have been positive. Some forums won't allow you to say anything good about Radical Firearms and will delete your post. Same haters didn't like my AR Stoner side charging upper, but it has been a great upper and I got a side charger for $200 less than the nearest competition. If yours has a problem, send it back. I've never known Midway, Joe Bob's, or Primary to ever refuse a return.
I have another Radical 5.56 upper, that has worked fine. I like the aesthetics of their handguard and, as I said, the Panzer muzzle device sold me on their 458.
Que the nattering nabobs of negativism.
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Old June 22, 2017, 10:52 AM   #63
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I have been watching this thread with interest considering I'm a recent/ new 458 SOCOM owner. These are just my experiences/ observations and are not a criticism of any of the posters.
First I want to mention the shipping problems some of you are having. I don't doubt what you say. If you have flown on an airline recently and it's taken multiple planes to get you across the country, you often go the opposite way you are traveling, to get to a bigger hub or to get to a plane that goes to your destination. Any shipping that travels by air is subject to the same frustrations. Even ground shipping has to go to hubs, which may or not be in your direction initially. That said, I live rural and other than groceries, we buy everything online. It all makes it in 3 - 5 days, with Priority Mail often making it in two. My UPS and FedEx guys are here 2 or 3 times a week. They even leave "Adult Signature Required" stuff because they know me and know it's safe at my place. I don't even look at the tracking emails. Sounds like a new form of OCD is being obsessed with tracking packages. Call Dr. Phil.
So I want a 458. I start doing my research, starting of course, at the 458 SOCOM forum. Before internet forums, I never knew all the problems I wasn't having. I remember when forums first started and I discovered that reloading 44-40 was problematic, even though it was my favorite caliber and I'd been reloading it without "issues" since 1976. After reading the 458 forum, they almost talked me out of trying one but I plunged ahead. The brand prejudice at that sight bothered me a little. A lot of forums are run by people with something to sell so they might not be the most objective. I also can't register there because they won't take my hotmail email address that I've had since the internet started. So after reading about all the problems and fixes and how hard it was to reload, I didn't want to have $1000 in an upper that I'd have to tune and play with a lot.
So I bought a Radical Firearms 458 SOCOM complete upper on sale for $450. When it came, I disassembled it to look for any obvious problems and clean the barrel before I fired it. Only thing I could find was the gas key was probably not staked to a lot of peoples satisfaction. I love the Panzer muzzle brake. I mounted an old, but high quality, 4X scope (from the 1960's), popped it on a mil spec carbine lower I built on an Anderson receiver that I keep around just to test different upper builds. I used a Colt USGI 20 round mag, as suggested on the 458 forum.
I bought some factory ammo from Underwood and Great Lakes, to get shooting quick and generate a brass supply. Went to the range, sighted in at 25 yards, checked it and made one adjustment at 50, then moved to 100. My first three shots with Underwood using 300 grain Nosler Ballistic Tip duplicated your photo. First shot took out the X and the next two where overlapping holes an inch away. The Great Lakes used 300 grain Hornady JHP's and weren't quite as accurate, two inch group.
It never failed to cycle and all empties rolled out on the table to my right, from a standard size ejection port, a foot and a half away. Nice to not chase expensive brass. One problem not related to the upper. At around 40 rounds my buffer came apart. It was a no name buffer and the plastic plug wasn't pinned, that's what came out. And this lower has had a lot of 5.56 shot through it. I had a spare Colt H buffer and it worked fine, till I got another quality buffer with a pinned plug.
I have 56 rounds through it without a hick up. I'm just a paper puncher and this is just a fun gun, so I won't need more than 100 rounds of ammo. I did buy Imperial Sizing Wax, which should work nicely with my 44-40's too. A range buddy likes the rifle and wants to take it to Missouri, hog hunting. I'm going to build a dedicated lower for it.
So I got into 458 SOCOM for half price and no drama or hand wringing. All the reviews
of this upper on Joe Bob's and Primary Arms have been positive. Some forums won't allow you to say anything good about Radical Firearms and will delete your post. Same haters didn't like my AR Stoner side charging upper, but it has been a great upper and I got a side charger for $200 less than the nearest competition. If yours has a problem, send it back. I've never known Midway, Joe Bob's, or Primary to ever refuse a return.
I have another Radical 5.56 upper, that has worked fine. I like the aesthetics of their handguard and, as I said, the Panzer muzzle device sold me on their 458.
Que the nattering nabobs of negativism.
Thank you Mr. Sunshine

In case you haven't figured it out--I like building these things and figuring them out--including the loads. I do listen to what people have to say in forums--But I've been doing this long enough to know that what I experience may not match up to what they do. I've only had a couple of builds that ultimately didn't turn out to be great shooters--and that's usually because I chose to go the cheapo route on the barrels--so no surprises or disappointments there.

I can already tell this one is going to end up being a hunter and going into the woods under some pretty harsh conditions--my requirements might be different from your's.
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Old June 22, 2017, 01:35 PM   #64
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And my point is made.
You quote my post but apparently didn't read my second sentence. I never said anything bad about your build or you. I think I was careful to just be critical of internet forums in general and the 458 forum specifically. I didn't say their info was useless, just that we need to be cautious that there might be another agenda.
Reread your posts. How many times did you express an expectation of problems, when you didn't even have parts or fired a round? And as for your last sentence, I already said I was a paper puncher and this gun wouldn't see a lot of use beyond recreation.

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Old June 22, 2017, 02:14 PM   #65
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And my point is made.
OK--you win.
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Old June 22, 2017, 03:52 PM   #66
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Called Tromix today and ordered their extractor as well as other components to build some center-feed magazines. My mags work OK but will every now and then will have a case that fails to clear the port. Seem like great folks happy to help--even though I didn't buy my barrel from them.

Within an hour of placing my order I received notice it was shipping USPS priority today!
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Old June 22, 2017, 06:16 PM   #67
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I wish you could get that thing into some ballistics gelatin.
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Old June 22, 2017, 06:34 PM   #68
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I wish you could get that thing into some ballistics gelatin.
That's a good question--given the velocities I think the bullet opening design would be very important--but on the other hand it's so darn big that if you can get it to dump it's energy in a relatively short distance--still got to be major bad news even without opening much. The Tac Tx load I did--a warm but not overly hot load--was theoretically leaving the muzzle with about 2,300 ftlbs of energy--my guess is that you can get boutique ammo (underwood, SBR, Strike Force etc.) that exceeds that.

You do feel it in the recoil.

I've been eyeballing that 338 socom as well--pointy bullets probably means it carries energy out further--according to Tromix's website "what a lot of people don't know is theat the 338 can take 60 grs of powder in the case." I would think (though I could be totally wrong), unlike the 458--it uses a slower burn rifle powder rather than the faster pistol powders the 458 needs.

This is pretty entertaining https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NWRB0bXeUc
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Old June 26, 2017, 11:54 AM   #69
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Care package from Tromix arrived today with their bolt--seems to be more robust and precise than the one I got from Saturn--I'll pop it in and see what happens with the next batch of handloads.

Also arrived are 3 Lancer mags which I popped the followers out of and installed Tromix's own single feed followers--these are made from machined aluminum BTW. I hope there are no issues getting the cartridges through Saturn's extension--which unlike Tromix's does not have the bottom lug removed though it is cut back some.

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Old June 26, 2017, 05:56 PM   #70
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New batch of "AR Ouch" 325 ftx's driven by H110.

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Old June 27, 2017, 02:41 PM   #71
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Tasty.

Any issues with neck tension?
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Old June 27, 2017, 02:54 PM   #72
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Tasty.

Any issues with neck tension?
I finish them off with a healthy Lee factory crimp. I shot these today with the new bolt and magazines--they all operated flawlessly with only 1 FTE and that was only because I adjusted the gas block letting too much pressure out. Using this cartridge without an adjustable block will probably lead to beating yourself and the gun to death I've concluded. Once I find the ideal recipes I'm going to adjust the block for minimizing recoil pressure and leave it at that--there's enough of a difference in pressures generated over a ladder that "one setting fits all"--while it does work--will lead to excessive pounding as you get into warmer loads.
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Old June 27, 2017, 02:59 PM   #73
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Very cool.
Drive it like you stole it.
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Old June 27, 2017, 03:12 PM   #74
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BTW--these are 325 gr ftx's driven by H110--my best group right at MOA was 32.8--the next charge at 33.2 was almost as good--I will be doing secondary ladders from these two.
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Old July 4, 2017, 06:21 PM   #75
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Latest batch of homebrews; 300 gr Lehigh Extreme Penetrators. These are about the nastiest things I've ever seen to be fired out of an AR15.

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