Brevity might be the soul of wit, but summing up a cartridge in a few words is a pretty tall task.
As anyone who’s been around firearms can tell you, every round has many facets and characteristics that a book-worth of verbs and nouns can be spilled over. Frank C. Barnes, however, comes pretty close to accomplishing this feat in Cartridges of the World, 14th Edition in talking about the .458 SOCOM.
As the author puts it, “The .458 SOCOM hurls big chunks of metal at substantial velocity…” That pretty much captures the heart and soul of one of the largest rounds used in conjunction with the AR-15 platform.
If you need further convincing of the cartridge’s prowess, just check out the above video from YouTube mad genius Taofledermaus. He gives a quick rundown of the .458 SOCOM, and then shows it action, best of all in extreme slow motion. There is some nice camera work where the projectile can actually be seen cutting its way through the air.
While the size of the bullet the .458 SOCOM throws down range is impressive — 250 to 600 grains — it is not the most remarkable aspect to the round. Its particularly striking quality is that it can be fired from an unaltered AR-15 lower receiver. No need to change the buffer springs, bolt assembly or anything else.
Texas-based manufacturer Teppo Jutsu LLC., developed the .458 SOCOM and released it in 2001. The company was motivated to develop the cartridge by unofficial discussions with a senior member of U.S Special Operations member in the wake of the bloody 1993 battle in Mogadishu, Somalia.
In particular, Teppo Jutsu was attempting to address complaints the 5.56 NATO round used in the conflict had insufficient stopping power, requiring multiple rounds to incapacitate a belligerent.
Given the SOCOM can deliver a couple thousand foot pounds on a target, there is little arguing the company has delivered a round capable of stopping an aggressor in his tracks. But, retailing at around 10-times the cost of a 5.56 round, it does damage to something else — the shooter’s budget.