The .458 SOCOM is a member of the “thumper” family. The Thumper concept comes from the great Jeff Cooper. A larger caliber bullet out of a rifle-length barrel. When Bear Creek Arsenal offered up a review, obviously I was going to request it be one of their .458 SOCOMs. Bear Creek is known for making affordable options for the gun world. Having a more affordable price point does not change the review, just gives it a perspective. How well is it made, and of course does it perform? Is shooting a “thumper” enjoyable. Well, I can tell you upfront, it is a lot of fun. Let’s take a look at Bear Creeks 458 SOCOM upper.
Bear Creek Arsenal @ TFB:
The BEAR CREEK 458 SOCOM upper came out of the box pretty standard. Assembled without any visual defects. The very standard charging handle was removed and replaced. Nothing wrong with it, however, I just really dislike using them. The bolt and carrier group looked great. A nice finish, and looks stout. The gas key is well staked, a small thing that is all too commonly skipped or done poorly.
The six handguard bolts are all well torqued. Removing the handguard shows a meaty barrel bolt that does not require a proprietary tool to remove. That is a big point in Bear Creeks’ favor. I dislike having to find a proprietary wrench, and inevitably losing the one I need. Next is the gas block. It is pretty large and held in place by not two set screws, but five. A small point that does show a corner was not cut. On the end of the barrel is a spiral-cut muzzle device. Looks cool, hope it helps while launching the baby howitzer rounds.
While inspecting the barrel, I did find some roughness on the lands, I was unable to adequately capture this with my borescope in a picture. However, all the imperfection was taken out in twenty minutes with some bore polish.
I fired a total of two hundred rounds for the review, primarily 325-grain FTX projectiles. I had two misfeeds that clearly were from the ammunition. If you have not experienced firing an infamous “thumper round” you should, just not a lot in one day.
The first 25 rounds were fired with an H1 buffer, you do not want to do that. Awfully poor choice on my part. On the second range trip, I had dropped in an H3 buffer, with a far better experience. The .458 SOCOM was routinely knocking over the entire stand to my steel target. (I really like the .458 SOCOM). With a red dot, I was hitting a 16″x16″ steel target at 200 yards. That would certainly be a “minute of hog” gun.
Near the end of my review, I found a fair amount of wear marks on the finish of the handguard and bolt carrier group. More than expected for a few range trips. They are noticeable in the pictures. A very small point, and the only real negative I was able to notice. Now I have an excuse to get it Cerakoted.
|Material||4150 Chrome Moly Vanadium|
|Thread Pitch||5/8 x 32|
|Gas Block System||0.875|
TFB Review: Bear Creek 458 Socom Upper
Throughout the review I never felt as though I had a “budget” upper, it all seemed “standard”. My negative finding is the finish wore sooner than I would expect. At the price point that is negligible. When I purchase an upper I am primarily looking for something that runs. I want it to consistently feed and fire. I certainly want accuracy but that is going to depend on the price point. I can not think of wanting more out of a thumper round than consistently hitting steel at 200 yards.
The BEAR CREEK .458 SOCOM provided me lots of fun in a ballistic paradise. I know of two other TFB writers that keep a shorter barrel 458 in their vehicle. I may re-barrel this upper to a shorter length and mount it on a pistol lower. Then I would not hesitate to do the same.
Why would one want to shoot or even own a .458 SOCOM? Beyond it just being fun, here are some cool numbers to consider.
A 325-grain projectile traveling at 1,688fps has 2,055 foot-pounds of energy. Two thousand foot-pounds of energy will leave a bit of a mark on a feral hog.
That right there is some all-American thumping power. If that is not enough to sell you on the .458 SOCOM here is some more motivation. Bear Creek is providing a coupon code for our readers so, enter the letters TFB in the coupon code and get another 5% off.
There is no excuse now. Get yourself a thumper.