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AR-15 Military & Law Enforcement Rifles

Building the AR to Kill Hogzilla: The .458 SOCOM AR-15

by Will Hayden   |  January 17th, 2012 47

.458 SOCOMIt has been estimated that wild hogs caused over 12 million dollars of crop damage in Louisiana last year. These pigs can grow damn near up to 600 pounds, and two of them can reproduce 100 offspring in just a year. I think you can call that a huge problem. These nuisances don’t need to be killed — they need to be  eradicated.

The hog-killing AR-15 we built earlier this year was in response to a local farmer who had been working the Federal Wildlife Agency. They were just getting overrun in that area, and it was crucial that the farmhands had a gun that actually had pretty short range, but a hell of a knockdown and good accuracy.

While it’s heavily populated in that area ,  there’s more livestock to worry about than houses. So, you might be shooting a hog in one field and have a herd of Holsteins on the other side of the fence 50 yards away. You don’t want to use something that would just blow right through the hogs and endanger the bovines. You want something that will hit the target, knock it down and bury itself into the ground pretty quick.

My crew did a lot of the research, and we really liked the .458 SOCOM – we liked the variety of bullets with it, and we loved the ballistics. When we went out with it to do the deed, we were using 500-grain bullets, and I personally attest that will stop a hog dead in his tracks.

We built this gun out by moving the gas system back a tad, shortening the barrel and porting it out. We did some porting on the barrel in front of the gas block, incorporated a  true integral suppressor for it using a titanium tube and made a inconel blast chamber in it for easy maintenance. We installed some Magpul furniture on the gun, mounted the vortex optics and just made hog meat, we made bacon.

One of the best results for the final product of this AR was that there was almost no recoil. Honestly, it was more like shooting a .22 conversion than a .458 conversion. The idea wasn’t just so much hunting hogs – the idea was to kill hogs – so you wanted something quiet, something fast, something accurate and something that will knock them down.

We went out in the daytime with the customer and got on the airboat, and I took one out of a field with a slick little head-on shot. The .458 caught him right underneath his left eye and the bullet went down into the chest. It was like running it into a brick wall — not another step, just dropped right there. Those boys just loved the gun, and it was a success for everyone at Red Jacket. It was pretty damn fun too.

  • JP3

    I Love It! …and I love my old Colt Combat Commander too!

  • shon

    i want 1 i think its bad ass. i live n south tx an would love to have 1 for hogg hunting. o by the way love the show haven't mess a 1 ty for what u an ur crew do.

  • Peter Ferguson

    Saw the show and enjoyed the idea behind the build. But you really have to find one of those HUGE Hogzillas; one that is over 600 pounds.
    The other thing that I would like to find out about is the need to build a AR that is completely functional in all Special Warfare conditions. I remember seeing an AR featured on Future Weapons a couple of years ago, which was produced by H&K that fires under all harsh conditions and is used by the Special Warfare fighters, now. Please make sure the show produced from Red Jacket Arms shows in detail what are the differences between the firearm Red Jacket will produce and the current H&K 416.

  • Dave Armstrong

    Are you making them for the market? How much?

    • Will_Hayden

      Yes , they're on our website



  • Anson

    Near – bear

  • John

    The premier hog killing round for the AR is the 6.8 SPC II. It also does a superb job on deer. There is no need to worry about excessive range or over penetration if using the right load, and the shooter has his head screwed on right. The 6.8 is the second most popular cartridge after the 5.56 in the AR, and the top AR makers have improved the specs over the original Remington specs to make it even better.

    I like the .458 Socom, but it is very expensive to shoot, and just doesn't have the versatility of the 6.8.

    • Jeffrey

      I also like the newish 300 blackout.

  • Rick walden

    First i just want to say i watch your'e show all the time "I love it"
    All ready have a ar 15 is it easy to convert it to a hogzilla?
    Also would love to go to lousiana and hunt the wild boar with you.
    Is it possible?

  • Rick walden

    I have a smith and wesson 500 magnum It hurt's my hand when i shoot it .
    It has like a stock rubber handle, Anything you can do to make it more comfortable?

  • Tom

    check out a Rock River Arms LAR-458 Operator its built with a .458 socom already on the market at around $1500 ….looking at it in a catalog right now lol

    • Will_Hayden

      That's right . Then you can have the barrel worked and an integral suppressor built onto it and you'll have one like we make .

      • Guest

        Talking trash? Seriously, Red Jacket is a joke, especially these days. Who’s still in business and who is facing jail time?

      • satalac

        I’d rather buy one from a company like Rock River than Red Jacket.

  • Tom

    and you can buy just the upper too for around a 1000 if you dont need the whole AR

  • LiveEasyDieHard

    Love the show! Im wondering how you made it a true integrally suppressed rifle? (I have to admit I havnt seen this episode) But I thought the gas system on ARs made it practically impossible to integrally suppress, like a integrally suppressed MP5. Too bad the teaser video didnt show the money-shot on that pig!!!!

    • Will_Hayden

      Yes , it is .

  • Boyscout

    Actualy I bought a .458 SOCOM complete upper from Rock River w/mid gas system for $725.00. The .458 SOCOM is a legal deer round in Indiana. I got into reloading because of the cost of the rounds. I expanded to reloading 40S&W, 30-06, 223/5.56. Now i shoot as much as I can.

  • Joe

    Yep, Rock River Arms (while they were not the inventor) has been manufacturing the 458 SOCOM upper for quite a while now, I'm guessing at least 4 or 5 years, so this is nothing new, just a cooler looking version with an integral suppressor.

  • Brett

    Why did they stop at 458 when they could have amade it a .500 Beaouwolf?

    • earlyboomer

      What turns me off about the .500 Beowulf or the newer .450 Bushmaster is that both straight wall cases headspace on the case mouth. This means that case trimming with type and severity of crimp is critical. This applies only if you reload of course but very few can afford to shoot these much if you don't reload. The 458 SOCOM on the other hand head spaces on the shoulder which makes case trimming and crimp not quite so critical.

    • Will_Hayden

      We liked the .458 better for this application

      • Brian Michael

        Hey will u claim if u dream it u will build I just want the upper receiver for 458 socom I bought my ar from red jacket now I really want this reciever how can I get it from red jacket or is it only the rich you will build the gun for hit me up willing to pay more than advertised on your web site!!! 765-717-7435 dreaming of this receiver

      • Adam Simcik

        Also Will ,, let most of these dopes know its a .458 head ( 45-70) which you can load from 250 grain to 600 grain which is why it’s the best large ar-15 round and loading your self cost $1.25 a round using hornady 325 ftx heads 30.2 grains lil gun and cci350 with a starline case,,, and I Will didn’t know you guys were making them. I already bought a Wilson combat But glad to see this being made. By Americans. With small businessmen who appreciate the sale which is who I choose over big company’s that don’t give two shits after the sale

      • gbaltil

        Will I take you to be a smart man. Why would you let your daughter marry that monkey? I know how much you love your daughter so its hard for me to understand why. The guy is a suck _ss loser who cant build crap. Im sure he is poor at assembly production. The guy is such a fake and most of all, a manipulator. He played all of you. I never could stand those guys who couldnt do the work so they kiss butt.
        I would love to take that boy out to the wood shed.

        Master craftsman

  • JMB

    IMO, shows such as this and American Gun wouldn't be as interesting to watch if they weren't building a one of a kind. AG built a Winchester Yellow Boy, the customer wanted American Made. Navy Arms has one.

  • roadkil2

    Why not just buy a Bushmaster.450 / catalog price: $1350?? Would have been a lot
    Cheeper & easier?

    • Will_Hayden

      mostly because we're not in the retail business for Bushmaster product's . We're in the manufacturing business making our own

      • roadkil2

        All I'm saying is that was a lot of $$ and trouble for a weapon that comes from the factory.I realize YOU are not in the retail business for Bushmaster; however Bushmaster does have a government contract for the troops.If it's good enough for them it's good enough for me. I realize you have a show to produce for the Slightly un-educated public. I, in good conscience could not "build" an expensive rifle for an individual when he could buy the same thing commercially. But I guess you have to go by the script that your writers come up with. Personally I would rather have a factory weapon than one "built" by people that can't even get along with each other. In other words: I am not impressed.

  • camomomma

    Where is the fun in "buying" a stock gun? It's all about ingenuity, hard work, seeing it through to the end. Seeing a seed of an idea become a reality. I haven't missed a single episode. I'm so hooked I change my patients' channel on their televisions if it's Wednesday @ 9!!

    WIll Hayden 2012!!!!!

    • Will_Hayden

      Thanks man , we appreciate it . Will

  • Eathan

    That is a VERY sweet tool for stopping wildlife from tearing thru your neck o the woods. The integral supressor wouldn't be permissible if your state has regs against supressors, or does that apply to the ADD-ON type of supression? If your weapon is naturally quiet, and easy to control isn't that a good thing?

    Silencers have a bad rap. Flash supressors keep your vision from losing your target during low light use. Sound Supression just keeps the neighbors happy. Anyone know the deal with an integral supression and legal loopholes? Love to buy the gun, but hate to have the state ban my shiny new toy.

    • Will_Hayden

      I think you should make a quick call to your state police and your wildlife dept. and find out what the law in your state is

  • Anonymous

    What was the point of throwing a suppressor on it? Seems like the hogs started running after the first shot regardless of it. For 1/3 the price what's wrong with getting a .50 Beowulf AR-15?

  • Dustin

    458 SOCOM is cool but where can you find the ammo?

    • earlyboomer

      Probably best to plan on loading your own as factory ammo can run as high as $70 for 20. Casting gas checked bullets can also bring your costs down. IMHO, this is not a cartridge for non-serious shooters unless of course, you have unlimited funds.

  • Lonn Holman

    Hi Will — really enjoy your show! Watch it when handloading in the evenings. I've been contemplating buying one of the RRA .458 socoms uppers. Wasn''t aware you guys built them. The integral suppressor would certainly be nice. Don't know what the regs. are regarding that here in WA state? Maybe I missed it above, but didn't see a price mentioned. What do you charge for an upper? Also, I notice most socoms are with 16" barrels. Would an 18" or 20" give better velocities, or do the powders used give just as good of velocities with the 16"?

  • gary

    i think the 458 socom bulid was awsem we have a private hunting park were we hunt hogs and i know how tuff skinned they are i want a 458 upper for my smith & wession

  • david

    you know with the way shows are coming out now a days it and people like snooki and the jersey shore cast it is refreshing to find a "reality show" like son of guns. between you and your competition gunsmoke i always and only watch your show will. Keep up the good work and keep producing truly amazing works of art Willl. I have a question will your uppers for the ar 15 how much does a complete upper run and would ordering one take the 5-6 month wait like posted on your site for guns.

  • april

    wats up will how much yall sell the hog gun for

  • Conndog

    Dear will,
    Love the show and I'm a big fan. Is the lower featured on this 458 one of y'all's and how long is the barrel after trimming it down? Thinking about building my own version but I like the length of yalls. Thanks

  • Micheal Whitford

    Why is his elbow up in pic shooting w horrible posture.he must have learned w shotgun shooting clay pidgeons.

    • Michael Garand

      probably because he’s shooting a .458 and wants his arm to absorb the recoil not his shoulder and chin

  • gbaltil


  • Jaime

    Hey was up guys. I. Want to go shoot. My guns ar’s. And. Saiga ,300blackout. In the country anybody. Got a place like that

  • pako

    Is this gun weak

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