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What Is a 450 Bushmaster: Is It Worth It [Expert Opinion] 

Dakota Potts | Updated February 23, 2024 | Why You Should Trust Us | How We Earn Money
What is a 450 Bushmaster cover photo with 450 Bushmaster bullets in a magazine

So you’ve heard about the 450 Bushmaster and its versatility. Good for hunting game, people say. 

But actually, is it any good? And more importantly, is it worth buying?

This article will be taking a deep dive into this popular cartridge and how it holds up against other frequently-used rounds like the 308 and 350 Legend.

For a list of rifles that use the 450 Bushmaster, see our artilce on the best 308 scout rifle of 2024.

Key Takeaways

  • The .450 Bushmaster is a straight-walled cartridge effective for hunting various game animals
  • Designed for use in AR-15 and M16 platforms with modified magazines and upper receivers
  • Gained popularity due to the legalization of straight-walled cartridges in certain US states for hunting

450 Bushmaster Ammo

450 Bushmaster Ballistics Chart

So, what is a 450 Bushmaster?

Well, this cartridge is known for its energy on target, with a 250-grain SST round achieving a muzzle velocity of 2,214 feet per second and roughly 2,722-foot pounds of energy at 100 yards

It’s versatile and effective in hunting game animals like deer, elk, hogs, and even some bears. It’s known as a powerful and reliable choice in rifle ammunition for a reason.

300 Grain Federal Power-Shok Jacketed Hollow Point Rounds

Image of 300 grain Federal Power-Shok Jacketed Hollow Point rounds
Muzzle100 YDS200 YDS
Velocity (FPS)190015921331
Energy (FT/LB)240516871179
Wind Drift (in)02.811.3

245 Grain Hornady InterLock American Whitetail Rounds

Image of 245 grain Hornady InterLock American Whitetail rounds in a box
Muzzle100 YDS200 YDS
Velocity (FPS)220017421364
Energy (FT/LB)263316511012

260 Grain Super-X Power Point Rounds

Image of 260 grain Super-X Power Point round and its box
Muzzle100 YDS200 YDS
Velocity (FPS)211017271403
Energy (FT/LB)257017221137

260 Grain Remington Core-Lokt Pointed Soft Point Bullet Rounds

Hand holding a box of 260 grain Remington Core-Lokt pointed soft point bullet rounds
Muzzle100 YDS200 YDS
Velocity (FPS)204016201282
Energy (FT/LB)24021515948
Wind drift (in)03.314.1

History of the 450 Bushmaster

The .450 Bushmaster was developed by Tim LeGendre of LeMag Firearms and licensed to Bushmaster Firearms International. Its purpose was to provide more knock-down power than the 5.56mm NATO round or .223 Remington. 

Released in 2007, it emulates the performance of the renowned .45-70 Government cartridge.

Popular Guns That Shoot 450 Bushmaster

Designed to be used in M16s and AR-15s, the 450 Bushmaster requires only modified magazines and upper receiver assemblies. Other popular firearms chambered for this cartridge include bolt-action rifles like the Ruger American Rifle and the Remington MSR.

Product image of an AR-15 rifle

Many hunters appreciate the cartridge’s straight-walled design as it complies with legal requirements in certain states that permit straight-walled rifle cartridges for deer hunting. In these locations, it’s chosen for its versatility and efficiency for hunting.

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Cressida Dick

450 Bushmaster vs 308

The 450 Bushmaster and the 308 Winchester are two popular rifle cartridges with unique characteristics. One major distinction between them is the bullet diameter: the 450 Bushmaster fires a 0.452″ diameter bullet, while the 308 Winchester uses a 0.308″ diameter bullet. 

What’s more, the 450 Bushmaster is a straight-walled cartridge, while the 308 Winchester features a bottle-necked case design.

When comparing the 450 Bushmaster to the 308 Winchester, it’s important to note that the 450 was designed for more knock-down power

With a 250-grain SST round, the 450 Bushmaster’s muzzle velocity reaches 2,214 feet per second. At 100 yards, it delivers an impressive 2,722-foot-pounds of energy on target. In contrast, the 308 Winchester has significantly less energy transfer.

Hand holding two 450 Bushmaster bullets and a rifle in the background

Recoil is another factor to consider when looking at the 450 Bushmaster vs 308. 

Generally speaking, the 308 tends to produce more recoil. However, the recoil experienced by shooters can be mitigated with a muzzle brake, which goes for both cartridges.

In terms of effective range, the 308 Winchester has a slight advantage over the 450 Bushmaster. The 308 is known for its long-range accuracy and is commonly used by hunters and competitive shooters. 

On the other hand, the 450 Bushmaster is favored for its punching power and straight-walled design, making it legal in states that don’t permit traditional bottleneck cartridges.

Hand holding a 308 Winchester bullet and a rifle with a scope in the background

To sum it up, both the 450 Bushmaster and 308 Winchester have unique characteristics, and the best choice may depend on your preferences, shooting situation, and regional regulations.

450 Bushmaster vs 350 Legend

Now, both the 450 Bushmaster and the 350 Legend are straight-walled and designed for hunting. The 450 Bushmaster uses a .45 caliber bullet, while the 350 Legend uses a .35 caliber one.

The muzzle velocity of the former is 2,200 fps with Hornady’s 250-grain FTX load, whereas the 350 Legend has a slightly faster muzzle velocity of 2,325 fps with Winchester’s 150-grain Deer Season XP. And as you’d expect, this difference in velocity results in varying trajectories.

Regarding magazine capacity, both cartridges can fit in standard AR-15 magazines, with slight differences in capacity. You might find a smaller magazine capacity for the 450 Bushmaster because of the larger diameter of the bullets.

Fun Fact

In general, the most common hunting dogs are scent hounds or gun dogs.
Source: justfunfacts.com

And when it comes to cost, 350 Legend ammunition is typically more affordable than 450 Bushmaster. Since 350 Legend is generally easier to find, availability may also play a role in this.

As for recoil, the 350 Legend is known for having less recoil when compared to the 450 Bushmaster, making it a more comfortable option for recreational shooting and hunting.

fingers holding two 450 Bushmaster cartridges

So, both the 450 Bushmaster and 350 Legend offer certain advantages for hunting, with the 350 Legend presenting a more budget-friendly option and the 450 Bushmaster providing more stopping power.

450 Bushmaster vs 458 SOCOM

The 450 Bushmaster is a big-bore rifle cartridge designed as an alternative to the 5.56x45mm NATO round. Perfect for deer hunting in Midwest states like Ohio, Iowa, Indiana, and Michigan. 

On the other hand, the 458 SOCOM is a powerful, hard-hitting round with a slight shoulder, ideal for taking down big-game animals.

Image of 458 SOCOM bullets and their box on top of a wooden desk

While both offer exceptional stopping power, the 458 SOCOM is generally more powerful, managing bullet weights from 140 to 600 grains. Yet, it’s essential to keep a close range of around 150 yards to ensure you can maintain target accuracy. 

Meanwhile, the 450 Bushmaster is faster, with its lightest 158-grain round from Inceptor being quite speedy.

The bottlenecked design of the 458 SOCOM aids in reliable feeding. Plus, the round has a plethora of factory loads and bullets available for handloading.

Fun Fact

The Labrador retriever is one of the most popular gun dogs. This enthusiastic, energetic, and loyal dog breed can withstand cold temperatures and easily swim through cold water. Source: justfunfacts.com

Regarding SAAMI specifications, the 450 Bushmaster is standardized, while the 458 SOCOM is not. Consequently, it might affect the availability of ammunition. 

Ultimately, both cartridges bring their unique potential to the AR platform, catering to different hunting and shooting preferences.


Is 450 Bushmaster the same as 45 caliber?

No, the 450 Bushmaster is not the same as a 45 caliber. While both are big-bore cartridges, the 450 Bushmaster is a straight-walled cartridge designed for modern rifles, while the 45 caliber typically refers to rounds used in handguns and some firearms like the .45 ACP.

What does a 450 Bushmaster compare to?

The 450 Bushmaster is often compared to other straight-walled cartridges, such as the .284 Winchester and .45 Professional. It offers similar downrange performance but with the benefits of being legal for hunting in many Midwest states and increased stopping power for big game.

Is a 450 Bushmaster a good deer gun?

Yes, the 450 Bushmaster is a good deer gun. It is recognized for its effectiveness against deer, elk, and hogs, reaching out to 250 yards. Its powerful round offers impressive stopping power, which makes it a popular choice for hunting in areas where straight-walled cartridges are legal.

What is the 450 Bushmaster good for?

The 450 Bushmaster is good for hunting big game, target shooting, and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a reliable and hard-hitting option. The cartridge can be used in semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15, providing versatility and the capability to handle large game effectively.

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