As I stated in my last review, I love big-bore ARs. The .450 Bushmaster (aka “Thumper”) is absolutely one of my favorites.
The .450 Bushmaster was developed by Tim LeGendre of LeMag Firearms LLC, and licensed to Bushmaster. It was built around the idea of a cartridge that could provide a one-shot kill on virtually any big game in North America at 250 yards. It was designed specifically for the AR-15 platform, and, just by changing to a new upper receiver, fits on any standard AR-15 lower. In addition, it utilizes standard AR-15 magazines, although it does require a new single-stack follower to accommodate the bigger round (it takes a 30 round .223 magazines to 9 rounds of .450 Bushmaster). And let me tell you, this is one devastating round. Just take a look at the ballistic information:
250 Grain SST
- Muzzle – 2200 fps/2686 ft-lbs of energy
- 100 yards – 1840 fps/1879 ft-lbs of energy, 2.5”
- 200 yards – 1524 fps/1289 ft-lbs of energy, -3.4”
- 300 yards – 1268 fps/893 ft-lbs, -24.5”
As you can see this is not a long-range round by any means. But out to 200 yards it’s a pretty accurate and devastating round, capable of shelling out massive amounts of tissue damage on an unsuspecting large animal. If you’re a hand loader you could even load a lighter 200 grain bullet to obtain a bit faster muzzle velocity.
Because both Remington and Bushmaster are owned by Freedom Group (as well as Marlin, DPMS, and more), it was just a matter of time before Remington offered their own rifle based on the cartridge, which they did so back in 2010. Enough about the background – lets talk about the rifle.
- Caliber – .450 Bushmaster
- Weight – 7.5 lbs.
- Barrel Length – 18”
- Overall Length – 36 ¼”
- Twist – 1/24
Instead of the standard black, the R-15 is offered in Mossy Oak Break Up, which is befitting of a hunting rifle. The upper and lower are forged, which isn’t as strong as billet receivers, but helps keep the cost down and is plenty strong enough. Also, there’s no sloppiness between the upper and lower receivers. The butt stock and pistol grip is standard A2-style, which may or may not be fine depending on your preferences. Personally, I despise the A2 pistol grips that are found on most ARs. They’re clunky, cheap, and uncomfortable. The best grips in the land are made by Hogue, which are textured, rubberized, and oh so comfy. I am, however, a fan of A2 stocks. Although you can’t adjust the length of pull like an M4-style stock, they feel much more stout, and any adult should be able to handle it just fine.
The barrel is 18” and is a free-floating, button-rifled chrome-moly design with a recessed crown that aids in accuracy. The trigger is…not bad. It’s a single-stage with a pretty heavy pull, but it definitely breaks cleanly. An adjustable drop-in trigger from Timney or Geissele would definitely help to wring out all the accuracy this round is capable of.
The rifle ships with one 4 round magazine; however, 9 round magazines are available as well. More on the magazines, actually. Even though the .450 Bushmaster utilizes standard AR mags, the round count is drastically reduced due to the size of the round and they they’re stacked. The .450 Bushmaster utilizes a single-stacked follower and a heavier duty spring.
To close, this is one fantastically built rifle and I can’t wait to get out on the range. Stay tuned for part two!
On a side note, This is actually my second .450 Bushmaster rifle. A couple of years ago I put together a .450 Bushmaster upper receiver on a Rock River Arms lower. After awhile I kicked myself for not buying a camo version (this is a hunting rifle, after all).When I first moved to Virginia, I check around and found a place in Richmond that did cam0-dipping…for $300! So, it was going to cost me an additional $300 on top of the $1100 I paid for the gun? Screw that. I ended up selling the gun for $1100 and bought the new Remington version in camo for $1100, which also included two magazines and a box of ammo! How’s that for a deal?!