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The Ruger Ranch chambered for the 450 Bushmaster is an exceptionally accurate combination with factory ammunition and with handloads. The only issue with handloads is that bullets intended for rifles rather than handguns are used. These are all spire tipped, long for bore and found as marketed specifically for the 450 Bushmaster or 0.451″ bullets mounted is sabots for use in muzzle loaders. The issue, circumstances and underlying factors were addressed in prior coverage, along with applicable handload data.

It should be a contender…

Pictured left to right, 45 Colt, 450 Bushmaster, 45-70 Gov’t. The 450 Bushmaster delivers excellent stopping power and accuracy, while skipping the shoulder bashing conduct of 45-70 +P ammunition and the mediocre performance of the rifle bound 45 Colt. The 450 Bushmaster also sidesteps the firearm stressing 65,000 PSI operating pressure of the 460 S&W.

The 450 Bushmaster should be the king of woodland cartridge, hog slayer supreme and unchallenged leading purveyor of venison. It is not, but Ruger’s little bolt action blaster may help the cartridge catch up and overcome Remington’s lack of inspiration and vision. What the 450 Bushmaster lacks is a sufficient selection of factory ammunition and reloading components.

Remington acquired Bushmaster, inclusive of the 450 Bushmaster cartridge, so it was theirs to support and promote or theirs to let it die on the vine… like so many other Remington acquisitions. Decentralized marketing in large and unwieldy organizations might do wonders.

Yes, Hornady Black 450 Bushmaster ammunition is very good, but it is available one bullet weight and type. Remington loads only one type, it is only seasonally produced and almost always out of stock. Sabot mounted bullets are currently produced in grain weights of: 245, 250, 275, and 300. Even if ammunition manufacturers won’t run the risk of manufacturing and inventorying loaded ammo, the least they could so is sell the components without sabots for the handloader, then watch the consumption and see of there is enough traffic to support additional types of loaded ammunition.

Four from the last project… + 1

The selection of bullets below, with the exception of the 450 Bushmaster specific Hornady 250 grain SST bullet and Barnes 275 grain TSX, were cannibalized from .50 caliber sabot ammo. Designed to work with modern triple charge, magnum muzzle loaders, these .45 caliber projectiles can hold 1 MOA out beyond 300 yards and impact with controlled, but full expansion at 450 Bushmaster velocity.

Bullet Bullet
Type
Weight
Grains
Bullet
Length”
Bullet
Diameter “
450
Bushmaster
COL”
Net
Case
Grains
Barnes Spitfire MZ HPBT 245 0.968 0.4504 2.260 44.0
Hornady SST PTFB 250 0.955 0.4517 2.260 44.1
Barnes Spitfire TMZ PTBT 250 1.110 0.4506 2.260 38.3
Barnes TSX FB HPFB 275 1.025 0.4505 2.210 39.2
Hornady SST PTFB 300 1.080 0.4518 2.260 39.3

The SAAMI bullet diameter specification for the Bushmaster is 0.452″ +0.000″/-0.003″, so all of the bullets indicated meet that criteria. This does not universally apply to all .50 Caliber sabot projectiles. As an example, the Remington AccuTip 260 grain  bullet contained in a .50 caliber sabot projectile measures 0.448″; close, but no cigar. The bullets above as assembled below.

Cartridge: 450 Bushmaster (Bolt action only loads

 Firearm: Bolt Action COL: 2.000 – 2.260″
 Bullet Diameter: 0.452 +0.000/-0.0030″  Primer: CCI BR4
 Barrel: 16.0″  Reloading Dies: Hornady
 Max case length: 1.700 +0.000/-0.010″  Groups: 100 Yards 3 Shots

COL and Capacity   Load Data & Performance
Bullet Type Bullet
Weight
C.O.L.
Inches
Case
Grains
Water
  Powder Charge
Grains
Muzzle
Velocity
FPS
Muzzle
Energy Ft/Lbs
100 Yard
Group
Inches
Barnes Spitfire MZ 245 2.260 44.0   Lil’ Gun 39.0 2308 2899 0.9
Hornady SST 250 2.260 44.0   Lil’ Gun 38.0 2259 2834 0.7
Barnes Spitfire TMZ 250 2.260 38.3   Lil’ Gun 36.0 2223 2744 0.8
Barnes TSX FB 275 2.210 39.2   Lil’ Gun 36.0 2130 2770 0.8
Barnes TSX FB 275 2.210 39.2   Win 296 36.0 2039 2538 0.9
Hornady SST 300 2.260 37.9   Lil’ Gun 32.5 1956 2549 0.6
Hornady SST 300 2.260 37.9   Trail Boss 12.0 1018 711 1.1
 

Ballistic coefficient for the bullets indicated fall between 0.203 and 0.250. While significantly better than their blunt nose handgun bullet counterparts with a BC between 0.150 and 0.180, there is little chance that they will skip off the atmosphere and enter low orbit. Excepting the subsonic Trail Boss load, the rest will hold 1000 ft-lbs at 250 yards while remaining supersonic and shoot point blank between 185 and 205 yards without wandering an inch above or below line of sight.

Barnes 275 Grain TSX
Yards 0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Velocity – fps 2130 1951 1782 1622 1477 1346 1234
Energy – ft.-lbs. 2770 2324 1938 1607 1332 1107 930
Momentum – lbs-sec 2.59 2.37 2.17 1.97 1.80 1.64 1.50
Path – in. -1.5 2.8 4.8 4.0 -0.0 -8.0 -20.9

And, while riding off into the sunset…

I hope Ruger’s attention to the 450 Bushmaster, within the context of its excellent Ruger American Rifle Ranch edition, will shed the light of success on this combination. With performance so far ahead of its price tag, it certainly belongs in the hands of a serious woodland hunter.