Wednesday, July 4, 2012

.458 SOCOM project - the beginning

Since building the 5.56 AR, I'd been debating in my mind a project to build an AR-pattern rifle in one of the many alternative calibers.  There are many competing purposes I had in mind, but the most pertinent of these was for hunting larger game, namely hogs.  While 5.56/.223 is appropriate for the kind of deer we get in this part of Texas, the hogs are a much tougher creature. 

I'd debated a number of calibers, including .300 Blackout, 6.8 SPC, 6.5 Grendel, and .458 SOCOM.  Knowing FlintKnapper from the Texas CHL Forum, I'd caught wind of the long-running thread he's got over at THR describing his efforts at controlling the rampant pig problem.  At current count, there are 1232 posts in that thread, and it's totally worth the read.

He had a .458 SOCOM purpose-built for his hog control efforts, at which it has proven more than effective.  The more I read about the caliber and its effectiveness, the more it seemed to be what I wanted.  It is not a long-range round, being mainly effective under 200y.  Long distance shooting is another interest of mine, but that will likely have to wait for another build, possibly in 6.5 Grendel.

Sometime late last year, I decided the .458 SOCOM was the direction I was going to take with my future rifle.  When Wally over at York Arms announced that he would be starting production of custom-engraved lower receivers, I took the opportunity to have one made, marked in 458 SOCOM to start my project.  The resulting lower is of excellent quality and finish.  Thanks to Wally for putting up with my ridiculously long custom serial number.  Here she is:

(Thanks to Wally for the image)

I'm working on getting the lower finished in Duracoat, at which time I'll post new photos.

Being a fan of stout rifles, I decided on the following details:

20" Barrel, heavy profile, carbine gas system
Magpul PRS stock in FDE
RRA Advanced Half Quad Free-float handguard (same as my 5.56 AR, but in rifle length)
Magpul MIAD grip in FDE

I've got a Weaver Classic Extreme 1.5-4.5x24 scope to top the rifle off with, and will be getting a Larue LT104 for mounting.

As production rifles in .458 SOCOM almost universally come with 16" barrels, I'm having Wally make a barrel for me to get the barrel length that I want, along with opening of the ejection port and a couple other custom items.

We haven't quite worked out a timeline for everything, but I'll update here as the project progresses.

With loaded ammo in .458 SOCOM difficult to obtain and quite expensive (around $3/round), I've already procured dies and components for loading for the caliber.  Expect updates regarding my efforts in that area as well.

2 comments:

  1. I'm looking forward to your updates. Like you, I had Wally make me a lower marked for .458, but I purchased a Rock River 16" carbine upper - that I'm still waiting for. I acquired dies, a case gauge, and some 405 grain Remington softpoints. Until I get an upper, it's all a moot point, but I'm really looking forward to loading up some "thumper" rounds.

    What buffer/spring combination will you be using?

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  2. I'm in the long wait myself, due to a 15 week lead time on barrel blanks from Pac-Nor. Delivery should be in mid-December, though I'm not sure if Wally will be able to finish things until January. We'll see how that works out.

    The stock will be rifle length, and a standard spring and buffer should be fine and is what I have. I do think I will be going for an adjustable gas block, though.

    I've got 5 different workups loaded already, using the Berry's 350gr RS and the Hornady 300gr HP bullets with a few powders. I ran out of boxes to put them in, but I get new ones in today (hopefully). I also just got some of the 405gr Remington SP and 300gr CT Silvertips in that I'll be loading up as well.

    I'm hoping to hit the ground running as soon as the rifle comes in. I've got a hog hunt in late January, and I really hope I can get the rifle back and put together before then. I may have to get a hunting load developed in short order, which is why I'm getting as many workups loaded as I can before then.

    If you haven't already, check out the 458socomforums.com site. Lots of great info there.

    I haven't updated yet because most of what I've done is amass parts and ammo components and do some reloading. I probably have a couple of posts' worth of content built up now, so I'll probably put something up soon.

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