Hunting cartridges often fall into two different classes, light and fast or heavy and slow. Wilson Combat just developed a new cartridge that asks why not both?
Their new .458 HAM’R is a high-pressure thumper that pushes a 300-grain bullet at 2,000 feet per second generating over 3,000 foot-pounds of force at the muzzle — in an AR-15-size package with an 18-inch barrel.
This puts the .458 HAM’R at the top of big-bore cartridge family, beating .450 Bushmaster, .458 SOCOM and .500 Beowulf for sheer power.
“The HAM’R is designed from concept to completion to be the hardest-hitting, most powerful AR-platform carbine ever produced,” states Wilson.
“The .458 HAM’R is more than capable of cleanly killing any animal in North America, stopping a vehicle or blasting through a brick wall. Using a purpose-designed ‘hybrid’-length receivers, bolt carrier groups that are .75-inches shorter than a standard AR-10 and feeding from a Lancer AR-15 magazine, Bill Wilson and the Wilson Combat engineering team have produced the ultimate heavy-hitting semi-auto carbine.”
The .458 HAM’R cartridge is essentially a .458 SOCOM Magnum with a longer case shoulder loaded to as much as 46,000 PSI. By comparison, .458 SOCOM’s max pressure load is 35,000 PSI.
Wilson pulls this off by using an oversize AR-10-based bolt and barrel extension sized to fit in an AR-15-length receiver.
Right now the company’s offering two .458 HAM’R rifles, the Tactical Hunter and Ultimate Hunter. They also have two loads ready to go, a lower-cost ball load and an all-copper hollow point for taking game. Wilson Combat uses Starline brass with Barnes and X-Treem bullets for their ammo.
Like a lot of Wilson products, these are high-end, semi-custom rifles with a lot of parts designed and built in-house. In addition to the specialized bolt and barrel components, they also have custom buffers and machined billet receivers.
Despite all the over-built components the rifles still manage to weigh less than 8 pounds. Without optics the Tactical Hunter weighs 7 pounds 11 ounces unloaded. Thanks to carbon fiber components the Ultimate Hunter weighs even less at 7 pounds 4 ounces.
The main difference between the models are the stock assemblies. The Tactical model has a telescoping carbine-style Rogers/Wilson Super-Stoc while the Ultimate rifle has a fixed skeleton carbon fiber stock fitted with a Limbsaver recoil pad. The tactical model also has a threaded barrel.
Both models have fluted barrels with adjustable mid-length gas systems. They also come standard with Wilson Combat triggers set at 4 pounds. They both use the same 14.6-inch modular M-Lok free-floating handguards.
Pricing on these guns starts at $2,905. Other accessories including scopes are not included.
While that’s on the high side for an AR-based rifle, these guns aren’t like anything else on the market. And because they’re made by Wilson Combat, they’re also built to a standard few companies can match.
What do you think of this hot cartridge and hybrid rifle design? Let us know in the comments!
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