Wilson Combat’s new .458 HAM’R – Hot Hybrid Pushes the Limits

Wilson Combat is pushing ARs to the limit with the new .458 HAM’R cartridge. (Photo: W.C.)

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.

.458 HAM’R is not safe to use in .458 SOCOM rifles and will not chamber correctly. (Photo: W.C.)

“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.

See Also: Wilson Combat’s EDC X9 Brings the 1911 into the 21st Century

The Tactical Hunter, top left, and Ultimate Hunter, bottom right. (Photo: W.C.)

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!

***Shop for Wilson Combat Firearms on GunsAmerica***


About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 80 comments… add one }
  • Larry January 20, 2020, 7:44 pm

    Actually, I like seeing new cartridges come along, with few exceptions: (when we already had the .222Mag. why the .223? Corporate envy???) Why though, would you put a case as expensive as this, in a platform that inherently notorious at loosing brass???

  • 45-70HERO December 1, 2018, 8:32 pm

    Why do you need AR’s to do what a 45-70 lever has been doing for 100+ years?
    Maybe Wilson Combat just doesn’t understand that. They build expensive paperweights.
    When do you think the ammo will be in stock at Walmart or the gun store? Nice paperweight you have their for $3000. If you owned a 45-70 = $600 and spend the other $2400 hunting and shooting. Glad Wilson Combozo has their priorities strait. Build weapons that are yuppie paperweights.

  • Wilson-Stolen Valor 458Socom December 1, 2018, 8:27 pm

    The only thing Wilson Combat did was use a reamer to steal the 458 SOCOM away from what they did not engineer in the first place. They are liars and thieves who once were a good company, but no more. They steal engineering from others and can’t even make the weapons work. If you want to throw away 2 thousand dollars on something not as good as a 100 year old 45-70, go ahead. But don’t call Wilson Combat honorable or a good company. They outright took reamers and stole a product and can’t even make it run right! Wilson Combat = liars and thieves.

  • krinkov54t February 16, 2018, 4:23 pm

    Oh great another Louis Vuitton/Gouache AR15 cartridge!

  • will February 6, 2018, 1:41 pm

    lol it pushes the 300gr bullet to 2000 fps and says its faster and has more energy than a 50 Beowulf the Beowulf will push a 325gr bullet over 2000 fps so why lie about it toping the 50 Beowulf or did you just cherry pick slow data to make the Wilson look like it wasn’t a waist of time building when the 50 beo is already there and cheaper

  • Tom February 1, 2018, 8:02 am

    What’s the big deal? This “problem” was already solved during the 1800’s.

    Buffalo Bore makes a .45 Colt round that, out of a lever gun, pretty much matches (or exceeds) the “HAM’R” ballistics.

    Does Wilson Combat make a revolver for this round as well? That would be nifty! :)))

  • Daryl January 7, 2018, 10:59 am

    Whats the point…

  • Ted Koler January 5, 2018, 9:56 pm

    The above calculations for muzzle energy v. muzzle velocity are close, but not correct. The kinetic energy equation e = 0.5mv^2 (one-half mass times velocity squared) is in metric units (Kg, meters/second) and the result is in kilojoules. The conversions are: 1 grain = 0.0000648 kilograms; 1 foot = 0.3048 meters; 1 kiloJoule = 737.56215 ft-lbs, so (0.5) x (300) x 0.0000648 x 2000 x 0.3048 x 737.56215 = 4370 ft-lbs of kinetic energy at the muzzle (if the muzzle velocity was indeed 2000 feet/second). Working back from the stated kinetic muzzle energy of 3000 ft-lbs would result in a much lower muzzle velocity of 1373 feet/second.

    • Jon January 6, 2018, 11:29 am

      You may want to re-think your math……. the op is right in the neighborhood with what he said. maybe he just rounded off. my 50 beo, shoots, on average, (my handloads) 335gr bullets at 2023fps. across the chrony. that ends up at 3071 flbs of energy at the muzzle, if i’m remembering right, and I am….

      • Rick February 11, 2020, 3:44 pm

        The velocity is in ft/s, the energy is in ft-lb, the mass is in grains therefore, you only need to convert the grains into pounds with a multiplier of 4.442E-6. If the velocity is truly 2,000 ft/s, then the energy equates to the following:
        E = ½ x 300 x .000004442 x (2,000)2 = 2,665 ft-lb.

    • Aaron Tabor April 17, 2020, 1:02 pm

      Can you help with calculations on 245gr .452 (450BM) 2650fps

  • Archangel January 5, 2018, 6:33 pm

    So, it uses AR-10 parts sized down to fit an AR-15?
    Why bother?
    I have the 45 Raptor and the only part I needed to buy was a barrel!
    Yeah, I had to modify the magazines, but that’s it, no $$$ custom machined parts!

  • lukeum January 5, 2018, 5:00 pm

    holy donut batman and shazamm

  • Duane Perry January 5, 2018, 1:38 pm

    45 raptor

  • Cam January 5, 2018, 12:21 pm

    Thanks but no

    • Cam January 5, 2018, 12:26 pm

      Also regarding the article, is it a hybrid’-length receiver or an ar-15 length receiver? Can’t have both.

  • TERRY SMITH January 5, 2018, 12:04 pm

    Since I don’t know anyone that hunts elephants, I don’t think the effort will be matched by the demand for this. One of the advantages of the AR15 platform is the readily available accessories and interchangeable parts and cheap ammunition. Sometimes you can engineer the best features clear out of a product. If you want one to just say you have one, fine, but the cheap “fun factor” at the range just went out the window and using it for self defense will actually endanger your neighbors.

  • Terry January 5, 2018, 12:01 pm

    Uhm, if you think 2000fps is fast, you really shouldn’t be a gun writer. SO no, this is NOT a combination of heavy and fast. Just because it is faster of the slow cartridge doesn’t mean it is fast. And no, no dumb post hoc caveats. FAST cartridges are ones over 3000fps, period. 2000fps is simply another slow cartridge. Maybe drop trying load up on unfounded hype, learn to write and actually write something meaningful – say like “Fastest of the AR thumper cartridges”. THAT is relevant, accurate and would still get readers. We have enough BS in media without gun writers adding to it. Unless you are so clueless you think 2000fps is a fast cartridge.

    • Russ H. January 5, 2018, 5:15 pm

      For a short length case firing a 300 gr bullet out of an AR10 style receiver – that\’s fast.

    • Jamie January 8, 2018, 12:11 pm

      Fast for big bore ar type cartridges is obviously what is meant. You’re being really dumb for some reason and it’s kind of funny at least. Please, give us some more!

    • Tony Rumore January 9, 2018, 1:03 pm

      It’s not a Thumper, not even close, per Jeff Cooper.
      Here’s the criteria.

      20rd Magazine
      Firing a Cartridge Similar to a 44 Automag
      In a small, light, compact carbine similar to an M1 Carbine.

      A big bore AR-15 doesn’t even come close to qualifying.

  • WarZone January 5, 2018, 11:29 am

    Speaking as a Wilson Tactical Supergrade buyer, this exercise in penis envy looks like a Big Block V8 in a VW Beetle.

    • Kaos January 5, 2018, 10:53 pm

      If “penis envy” is the topic, why start your response by claiming to be a Wilson Tactical Supergrade buyer? Seems like two sides of the same coin.

  • loupgarous January 5, 2018, 11:22 am

    Nice weapon. Two caveats:
    1) the modified AR-10 bolt/barrel extension mated to an AR-15 receiver is an arrangement you or your local gunsmith would probably be lost trying to repair. With those chamber pressures, that would be scary.
    2) not an SHTF weapon. Even if you buy much, much brass and bullets and hand-load, it’s strictly a range toy unless you have (as some of us with land in the South do) a feral hog problem. Then, it could be just the thing. If I owned forest or farmland here in the Gulf Coast, I might find $2,000 for this weapon, if a slug gun didn’t do the job to my liking.

    • Andrew Whitehill January 6, 2018, 10:37 am

      I’ve got a Remington 742 in 30.06 that will spit a barnes ttsx at 2700fps and it only cost $241. Plus the libtards don’t go all wonky over “a guy with an assault rifle walking around at night”.

  • Rick January 5, 2018, 11:00 am

    GOOD JOB, keep going with innovations !!! Fixing to see where I can purchase. Anyone make a suppressor that will work on it?

  • Steven Johnson January 5, 2018, 10:53 am

    Build it with a bolt so we can use it in California without a bullet button, keep the pistol grip, adjustable stock and flash suppressor.
    Otherwise is has to be registered as an assault weapon , thanks to our idiot Democrat tyranny in California.

  • Leon Jester January 5, 2018, 10:53 am

    The 7.62×51 works fine for distance; the 5.56 works fine mid-range. Why throw yet another cartridge into the mix? My son’s Marine Corps DI summed it up well: “Ammo is cheap; Marines are expensive. Shoot them again.”

    • Philo January 5, 2018, 8:02 pm

      “Why throw yet another cartridge into the mix?”

      To make you get out your wallet!

    • Tom January 7, 2018, 6:11 am

      I agree with your son
      God bless him for being a Marine

  • Ricky Price January 5, 2018, 10:32 am

    Like to have one. Be great in bear country. Wild pigs run for your life.

  • James January 5, 2018, 10:32 am

    Nice concept and implementation. I own and shoot a large variety of AR style rifles including 50 Beowolf and 458 Socom. I don’t see me personally acquiring one of these anytime soon. The Beowolf gives me all the power I need for large dangerous game in North America, but having the ability to approximate my 45-70 lever gun ballistics in an AR was very appealing to me. The 458 Socom did that well for me. Nice to see your new product advancing that platform.

  • James January 5, 2018, 10:12 am

    Wilson has never been one to appeal to the little guy except for some 1911 parts which are reasonably priced. I think in this case it all comes down to “mine is bigger”. I don’t own a Lamborghini or Ferrari but if I was that guy and had disposable money laying around and already owned 3 houses, a yacht, 36 gun safes, 24 machineguns, 15 cars, and an ex-wife or 2 than hell why not splurge and grab a rifle platform for 5k or so that I’ll probably never see again once it’s unboxed and thrown in the back of the safe. Personally I’d probably just buy another machinegun but to each his own.

    • lukeum January 5, 2018, 5:10 pm

      or another wife

  • Jon January 5, 2018, 9:56 am

    My 18″ 50 Beowulf does those velocities with heavier bullets, only have around 1k in the rifle. of course I hand load but this seems like solution for a problem that doesn’t exist. At those prices I would much rather have 450 raptor than some hybrid thing.

  • Buffalobwana January 5, 2018, 9:44 am

    These guys are well aware they didn’t just reinvent the mousetrap, or invent Velcro. They just made a big round slightly bigger. They know their market is small, they know they will only sell a few.

    Sometimes it’s not about all that. It’s about showing that you can still be relevant in a saturated marketplace. Showing you still have balls, you can still push limits and design things nobody else can.

    You guys think they did this to sell them and make money on them? No, I doubt that was their intention. I’m betting it was bigger than that. It was to get attention. Maybe a feather in their cap for future Gov contracts by saying “look what we made”.

    They will likely loose money on it if you only count the production vs sales. But look at us. We are all talking about Wilson Combat. A name we didn’t intend to discuss when we woke up this morning. It’s hard to measure the marketing effect of a move like this on brand identity. Give them props where props are due. They made a cool gun. Nobody cares that you can’t afford it or that the 45-70 is more powerful blah blah blah. They pulled a marketing stunt. You fell for it if you read this far into the comment section. But, so did I.

    Cool gun.

    • Russ H. January 5, 2018, 5:20 pm

      My thoughts exactly – couldn\’t have said it better.

    • William January 6, 2018, 9:52 am

      Perfectly said

    • Stephen January 6, 2018, 9:49 pm

      For the person that’s wanting best and has limited knowledge with investment and foreseeable future Wilson Combat is always a safe bet. Don’t put this company down they’re The Real McCoy do I own a Wilson Combat no. 37 years as a master combat shooter and when someone else for a investment quality AR Wilson Combat is always 1 or 3 I recommend and in the last 26 years ever person is super glad gives me credit for being smarter than I am

    • Doug West January 7, 2018, 1:06 pm

      Best comment by far…….exactly how I feel. Just look at that round!!!! Exciting

  • Moises Del Toro January 5, 2018, 9:14 am

    That rifle would be great to rid me of that nuisance buffalo who keeps crapping in my yard.

    • brian January 5, 2018, 6:08 pm

      ROFLMAO !!

  • Edmond St.pierre January 5, 2018, 9:13 am

    Overpriced in a saturated market already where other products are already meeting the needs of the consumer.

    You have a fantastic engineering team, but I have shared a few questions for you to think about.
    * Do you have a tenured User Experience Researcher?
    * Do you have a tenured Product Owner?
    * So then who is providing the data to engineering and product marketing leadership to determine the unmet need and with confidence knowing you will be successful?
    Your brand will only carry you so far in today’s market. Don’t take my word, check with Harley Davidson, a brand that we know and trust builds motorcycles. Just because you create something fresh does not mean customers will buy it!
    Skip St. Pierre

    • Rick January 5, 2018, 10:40 am

      Really, Come down off your high horse. It is a cool rifle and it keeps there employees engaged in doing something new. Have you ever heard “WHY” = ” BECAUSE I CAN”

  • Qhorse13 January 5, 2018, 9:00 am

    Whenever I consider buying a new gun that isn’t a common round caliber I always look at ammo costs first. Because I don’t want to pay $3k for a firearm and then have it sit there looking at me because I don’t want to spend $100-$150 for 10-20 rounds of ammo. It would cost that much on the necessary evil of sighting in your scope. So I don’t want to have to spend a ton of money on ammo from the very few people in the ammo production world that would even produce this round because of its specialty. I mean most ammo producers aren’t going to make it unless they can sell hundreds of thousands of rounds. Where it’s viable for them to deem it worthy to produce in the first place. And if it’s not, your stuck with very very few companies that would make it. And the ones that do will be asking a lot for it because it’s special. It took a long time for companies to start making .50 Beowulf and the few that did charged an arm and leg for it. And it’s still high now and there are several companies that make it. So I would give you his a few years before I’d consider buying it.

    • Alan January 5, 2018, 10:10 am

      Ten to one, the folks that buy this type of firearm reload and/or don’t have to worry about the cost of ammo.

    • David a January 5, 2018, 10:52 am

      I load my own ammo and yes it expensive it is cheaper then buying it from store. So if can buy ones fired brass from your local gun shop u can make cheaper it mite cost a little more to start. But u will have more fun in the long run if u are serious shooter.

    • Rick January 5, 2018, 10:53 am

      What are you people thinking? Use your brain. Some people own a Corvette and some can only afford a Pinto but I can guarantee you that every Pinto owner wants a Corvette. I cannot haul a couch in a corvette but I am not stupid enough to try either. Props to Wilson!!! If nothing else it is COOL and I can be the only kid on the block with one if I want to and if I cannot afford the ammo then I should not buy one. Find something else to complain about but give them credit for at least doing something. What have you created lately? Why do people have to try and tear other people down? Try something new for a change and build someone up!!! GOOD JOB WILSON!!!! All the self appointed experts with all these so called great suggestions — Since you are so much smarter than Wilson, Start your own rifle company and see what you can make.

  • Martin Gitlitz January 5, 2018, 8:59 am


    • Philo January 5, 2018, 8:06 pm


  • mike chizmar January 5, 2018, 8:58 am

    45 raptor works for me cause my ar10 platform was designed to handle the recoil and won’t fail after heavy use.

  • Joe R. January 5, 2018, 8:52 am

    Doubtful this will stick- Especially with Wilson being the only provider of proprietary parts and ammo. Think how relatively simple it is to build .458 SOCOM (no REAL custom parts- just barrel and a bolt on any run of the mill AR, and slightly hog out ejection port) and I wouldn’t say that has caught on with the masses or become very affordable. Its still a pay to play platform. Even with several ammo producers, prices vary from $1.60-2.50+ per round. But at least you can go to 3-4 sources for parts (Radical on the low end, Wilson on the high end) and various ammo suppliers (Black Butterfly, Ventura, SBR, Strikeforce, Wilson). With the HAMR it’s all Wilson for everything. Custom bolt length, receiver, buffer, etc…,there goes the modularity and simplicity of the AR + Custom ammo from a single source = $$$$$$$$$$$$.
    Guys with money to burn will buy them. Then what?

    • curtis Rollins May 21, 2018, 9:28 pm

      and then we shoot them into little “Arnold”.

  • Bill January 5, 2018, 8:37 am

    Hot, heavy loads like that makes me wonder how often yuo’d Have to change the barrel…

  • Dr Motown January 5, 2018, 8:16 am

    Don’t hunt in grizzly country, so I’ll pass. Now, if the price comes down to something reasonable, maybe I’ll take another look at it…

  • Mike Garbe January 5, 2018, 7:55 am

    Personally, I’ll stick with the Bushmaster. If Wilson wants to get my attention, build me 6.5 on the .30 RAR platform.

    • Cyrus January 5, 2018, 8:44 am

      Agreed – I will stick with my $650 Bushmaster Ar which has never failed me.

  • Ryan January 5, 2018, 7:51 am

    No need for it in a market already covered by the big 3, especially at that price point. Besides, I already get 2000 fps out of a 300 grain bullet in a 450 Bushmaster.

  • Joe January 5, 2018, 7:48 am

    Bullwinkle the moose will never be the same.

  • Tom January 5, 2018, 7:35 am

    Hornady’s LEVERevolution in 45-70 Govt…

    Unlike my wallet, I don’t think the animal will know the difference.

  • Michael January 5, 2018, 7:30 am

    Why not take one of the 308 models and convert it to 358 Winchester? That will put a 225 g bullet out at 2400 fps giving it better range and plenty of killing power. This would also be a much easier conversion.

    What you have with the advertised rifle is a denuded 45/70.

    • curtis Rollins May 21, 2018, 9:29 pm

      already did t, order one from the web site at wilson

  • Mark January 5, 2018, 6:54 am

    I am a 450 Bushmaster owner and I love it. Had I known about this beast earlier, the 458 HAM’R would have been my go-to machine. I guess I will just need to own BOTH!

  • Bama Slamma January 5, 2018, 6:49 am

    Not quite the most powerful. Seems like a nice rifle and maybe the most powerful current production rifle BUT, not the most powerful. I own an LWR 499. Some were made by LWR a few years back in an experiment for the Coast Guard who needed an AR platform round that could shoot through the engine to stop small boats. The round is almost identical to the 500 S&W except just a tad longer. Imagine 500 brass that fits a 7.62×39 bolt head. The 500 dies can be used to reload. I shoot a modest 300 grain Hornaday Red Tip 50 cal that gets me an average of 2350 fps at the muzzle with 100 yard groups of under 1.5″. I have a Trijicon Accupoint 1.5×4 on it that is perfect. I purchased all of the remaining uppers, dies, and brass from LWR and have assembled or helped assemble about 6 of these for my friends. One of my friends uses them where deer hunting with a rifle is illegal unless it is a pistol caliber. LOL When you shoot at the range, you draw a crowd! And, talk about a hog gun……

    • Donny Roberts January 5, 2018, 8:49 am

      Send me the build specs on that!

  • SteveK January 5, 2018, 6:42 am

    Looks GREAT! Love to have one!

  • Altoids January 5, 2018, 6:30 am

    What do I think?
    Too expensive.

  • Jeff Ellis January 5, 2018, 6:09 am

    Nice rifle

  • Ronald Moore January 5, 2018, 6:08 am

    Great toy if you have an extra $3k lying around for starters. Still need to finish with sights and accessories. Then there’s the ammo. Only Wilson sells right now and if, like the 30 Remington AR, which never caught on even with its 308 ballistics, you’ll be limited in the future to one company making ammo, if you’re lucky that is. I like innovation, just not at that much expense. For now I’ll stick with my 450 Bushmaster! Lots of support for it out there already.

  • Steve in Detroit January 5, 2018, 6:04 am

    Love everything about it except the cost. And speaking of ‘Cost”, what is per round cost? I for one think ammo price,s in general have gone through roof. To shoot today you have to buy in bulk, and that is almost always north of $200 for all popular calibers (think 9mm, mil surp AR & AK based rounds) and if you consider raw materials have not increased that much in 25 years and most production is automated, it does seem that prices are high.

  • Krp57 January 5, 2018, 6:03 am

    Yet another 150 yard rifle built on a marginal platform. Might be a nice brush gun.Sorry , I don’t see the point.

    • watercam January 5, 2018, 8:04 am

      Couldn’t agree more. A plain Jane 30-06 beats it to death and has more range.

  • Warren January 5, 2018, 5:57 am

    It would be more impressive if they designed a totally new cartridge.

  • Paul H Kleyman January 5, 2018, 5:37 am

    I would love to have a Wilson Combats .458 HAMR-Hot Hybrid.

  • Paul H Kleyman January 5, 2018, 5:23 am

    I would love to have a 438.

  • KEN January 5, 2018, 5:20 am

    2,123 ft per sec would be correct. 2,123 x 2,123 x 300 / 450,400= 3,002 would be a lot closer than 2,000 ft per sec.

  • KEN January 5, 2018, 5:16 am

    The author needs too get some equations right first of all. It is velocity squared times bullet weight divided by 450400. 2,664 is the correct answer, but nice try on making something new out too be something that it is not (3,000 ftlbs).

    • Max Slowik January 5, 2018, 9:07 pm

      The expanding loads make 2100 FPS for 2938 ft-lbs.

  • roger January 5, 2018, 3:12 am

    Wouldn’t the 50 Baewulf be more powerful? Just thinking.

    • will February 6, 2018, 2:07 pm

      yes it is I don’t have data for a 300gr bullet but do for a 325 and 335gr and the 335gr bullet gets 2000 fps lol out of a 16″ barrel why would they say it tops the 50 Beowulf lol at least you can reload for the beo do they even have dies for the Wilson big cal wanna be rifle so a person can reload for the rifle

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