The .450 Bushmaster is a respectable and yet hugely overlooked round on the market today. Originally designed to provide the AR-15 with a lot more firepower in order to bring down big game on the North American continent, today the .450 is available for many different firearms beyond the AR-15, including for bolt action rifles such as the Ruger GSR and the Ruger American.
Best Overall Pick: Bushmaster .450 Bushmaster AR-15 Magazine
The Bushmaster .450 is the most expensive magazine on this list, and with good reason why: not only is it a factory Bushmaster product with the name attached to it, it’s a very high quality product with an incredibly strong steel body and a reinforced follower.
Best Budget Pick: D&H .450 Bushmaster 4 Round AR-15 Magazine
The D&H is the cheapest magazine in this list and it’s also one of the best .450 Bushmaster magazines in existence: built out of the same materials that are used to build the AR-15s themselves and strenuously stress tested to ensure proper function, it’s just hard to look past this offering from D&H.
Best Value Pick: ASC .450 Bushmaster Magazine 5 Round
The ASC .450 Bushmaster magazine comes with a number of neat features for the money, including a self-lubricating finish, a stainless steel body construction, and a non-reflective finish to keep the sun’s glare away.
In many ways, the .450 Bushmaster is a lot like the .45-70 Government: it’s not exactly a ‘long range’ caliber, but it within moderate distances it hits hard and can put down the biggest game animals such as grizzly bear or moose.
Needless to say, if you already own an AR-15 chambered in 5.56 and want to upgrade it to use for hunting big game in North America, swapping out the 5.56 parts for .450 components can be a great way to do it (all you should really need to swap out is the upper receiver). While you can technically use 5.56 magazines for the .450 if you want to, you’ll most likely be much better served by investing in actual .450 Bushmaster magazines instead in order to ensure truly proper function. That’s because while the .450 Bushmaster rounds will fit in 5.56 magazines, they will not necessarily feed reliably in it. Here is a selection of suitable barrels.
In this article, we will go over our choices for the top three best .450 Bushmaster magazines on the market today, and our reasons for why we think they are the very best. But we’ll also talk about the importance of owning a lot of magazines to begin with (yes, ‘a lot’), a buyer’s guide of the top qualities and features to look for in the .450 Bushmaster, and what makes the .450 Bushmaster such a great round to begin with.
Why Go With The .450 Bushmaster Round?
It could be that you’re reading this article because you’re not yet convinced that you should buy .450 Bushmaster components for your AR-15. In this case, it would be appropriate to first talk about the merits (and the drawbacks, in fairness) to the .450 Bushmaster so you can decide if it is indeed a round that you would like to chamber your .450 Bushmaster for.
The .450 Bushmaster was designed by Tim LeGendre, who worked with LeMag Firearms. However, the .450 Bushmaster gained the name ‘Bushmaster’ with it because it is technically licensed with Bushmaster Firearms International.
LeGendre designed the .450 Bushmaster to be used with standard AR-15 (and M16 and M4) rifles. All you’ll need is a new upper receiver assembly and most likely a new magazine (more on the magazines later). He also got the idea for the round originally from famed gun expert Jeff Cooper, who had perhaps a great impact on modern firearm tactics than any other individual in history.
Cooper recognized the merits of the AR-15 as a platform but for the most part was dissatisfied with the 5.56x45mm NATO and .223 Remington rounds that it fired, believing that they were too under powered for hunting North American big game.
Cooper envisioned a larger caliber, and LeGendre took his advice to develop the new .45 Professional cartridge. Bushmaster took the .45 Professional and had Hornady shorten it a bit so they could accommodate a flex tipped bullet. The result, of course, is the .450 Bushmaster round that we have today. So in other words, a .450 Bushmaster is just a shortened .45 Professional.
The .450 is a high pressure round, in order to adequately propel the .452” bullets it fired. The round offers flat trajectory out to around two hundred yards. By zeroing your .450 out to a hundred and fifty yards, you can expect a drop of nearly five inches at two hundred yards, and a rise of just under two inches at a hundred yards.
This is why the .450 is often compared to the .45-70 Government: it’s not a precision long range round by any stretch of the imagination, but it hits hard within moderate distances.
Today, the AR-15 platform is the most common rifle platform for the .450 Bushmaster round, and each of the magazines that we will be taking a look at later are for the AR-15.
Technically, the .450 Bushmaster will fit as a single stack round in the double stack 5.56 AR-15 magazines. A thirty round 5.56 magazine will hold thirteen rounds of .450 Bushmaster, a twenty round magazine will hold nine, and a ten round magazine will hold five rounds.
The issue is that even though any 5.56 magazine should be able to theoretically hold .450 Bushmaster rounds, that doesn’t mean that they can reliably (chances are good that metal GI style magazines will work better with .450 Bushmaster rounds than polymer magazines such as those made by Lancer or Magpul). If you truly want to ensure proper feeding for your .450 Bushmaster AR, then you should buy magazines that are designed specifically to hold the .450 Bushmaster round.
And if you are going to be converting your 5.56 AR into a .450 Bushmaster, you should stock up on a lot of magazines.
This leads us into our next topic…
How Many Magazines Do You Really Need?
Having plenty of spare magazines is always a smart idea, and for more reasons than one.
The biggest reason to stock up on spare magazines right away is because there are a number of things that could happen to your existing magazines and you may not be able to resupply.
Magazines can be worn down, beaten on the outside, or the springs can get worn out to name a few things. Any one of these things will cause feeding issues. Of course, that’s also not to mention that your magazines could easily become lost as well.
You may not consider these to be valid concerns, because you can technically order new magazines as needed.
But what if you can’t order new magazines? What if there’s a shortage?
After the tragic Sandy Hook shooting in late 2012, there was a widespread fear for around the next year that the government would ban so called ‘high capacity magazines.’ As a result, magazines, semi-automatic rifles, and ammunition were flying off the shelves like quickly, and d manufacturers couldn’t keep up with demand even though they were pumping out more products out of their factories than ever before.
If a widespread buying panic like this were to ever happen again, it could be years before you could buy more magazines when the demand cools off.
That’s also not to mention that if you’re a prepper who’s preparing for an SHTF end of the world scenario, then investing in new magazines should be an automatic no brainer.
Complicating things for the .450 Bushmaster is that it’s not nearly as popular or commonplace as other rounds like 5.56 or .308. As a result, manufacturers would try to produce more magazines popular chambering’s first. This means that even if 5.56 magazines were to become common against following a future shortage, it would likely take a while longer before .450 magazines would become widely available again.
So the question isn’t if you should stock up on extra magazines, but rather exactly how many magazines you should stock up on.
A good rule of thumb will be to own at least five magazines per magazine fed weapon. That may seem like a lot to some of you, but if you view it from the perspective of those magazines lasting you for the rest of your life, it really isn’t. In addition to the magazines that you use most often, you should have at least a few extra in storage that you can pull out should anything happen to the other mags.
The good news too is that magazines are relatively inexpensive the most part, so it’s not a significant monetary investment to make. During a shortage, though, the prices will undoubtedly increase significantly (assuming that you can even find new magazines to begin with).
Buyer’s Guide To Finding The Best .450 Bushmaster Magazines
These are the most important factors to consider when looking for a new magazine for your .450 Bushmaster rifle:
Magazines are typically made out of either durable polymer or aluminum. Either are good to go. Between the two, aluminum is probably more durable and will last longer, but will also be heavier. However, polymer magazines such as those made by Lancer or Magpul are very common due to their quality and lighter weight.
Feeding and Design
There are an abundance of magazines made specifically for the .450 Bushmaster round that do not feed well at all due to the design of the feed limps or the follower. This means that just because you buy a magazine marked .450 Bushmaster does not necessarily mean that it will function properly. You really have to do your market research to find one that you know will work just fine (like any of the three that we will dive into later).
As with other AR-15 magazines, .450 Bushmaster magazines are available across a wide variety of different magazine sizes. However, magazines that hold under ten rounds are very common for the .450 Bushmaster, because the round is designed primarily for hunting rather than tactical use.
The 3 Best .450 Bushmaster Magazines For 2020
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in a magazine and the pros and cons of the .450 Bushmaster round, here are the top three best .450 Bushmaster magazines on the market for today:
ASC .450 Bushmaster Magazine 5 Round
This is a five around AR-15 magazine made specifically for the .450 Bushmaster round and is made by ASC – the Ammunition Storage Company. This magazine is built out of 410 stainless steel, which is not only rust and corrosion resistant but is also plenty durable enough to handle the .450 Bushmaster round. The magazine has been chemically treated even further to make it more rust and corrosion resistant as well (rust can be a major problem with metal magazines of any kind).
Furthermore, ASC coats these magazines with a marlube finish, which has cool self-lubricating properties so it won’t chip off after extended use. It also means that any scratches this magazine sustains will be self–repairable. The curved structure of the magazine also ensures that you can get a good grip over it.
The follower to this magazine is made out of polymer and not metal, but fortunately it has a good anti-tilt mechanism, and the floorplate is also made out of durable 300 stainless steel.
This ASC magazine is a solid option for a .450 Bushmaster rifle and an overall good value for the relatively low price. If you want a magazine that is durable and that will absorb scratches and dents, this is the magazine you want.
- Durable 410 stainless steel body will be long lasting and rust and corrosion resistant
- Non-reflective matte finish
- Excellent performance for the AR-15
- Comes with a self-lubricating marlube finish
- Curved structure will give you a good grip
- Follower is polymer
Bushmaster .450 Bushmaster AR-15 Magazine
If you want to stick with factory components, you can go with the Bushmaster .450 AR-15 magazine for your Bushmaster .450 rifle. Bushmaster has been existence since 1973, being officially based out of North Carolina. Today, the name is virtually synonymous with ‘AR-15.’
As a five round magazine, this definitely isn’t the best choice for tactical use, but it’s still good for hunting purposes. Keep in mind the lower capacity means that it will be fully compliant in states that do not allow so called ‘high capacity’ magazines.
Bushmaster based the design of this magazine off of the classic USGI AR-15 magazine design. It’s built out of a very strong and rust resistant stainless steel with a standard black finish, which is also low glare and will keep the sun at bay.
If you want a magazine for your .450 Bushmaster AR-15 that is both classic looking in its appearance and fully durable in its construction, look no further than this magazine that Bushmaster has designed.
- Single stack follower ensures good reliability
- Stainless steel construction is very sturdy and corrosion resistant
- Five round capacity is suitable for hunting scenarios
- American made
- Extra strong and rust resistant stainless steel body
- Follower is reinforced
- Low glare finish
- 5 rounds is not ideal for tactical or non-hunting scenarios
D&H .450 Bushmaster 4 Round AR-15 Magazine
D&H deserves a spot on this list due to the immense amount of work that goes into producing each and every one of their magazines. Based out of Wisconsin (so you know that you’re buying an American made product), each magazine that they make is built out of high grade precision aircraft grade aluminum and steel, and is also heat treated for superior durability. For reference, this is the same level of quality that usually goes into making the AR-15 itself and not just its magazine.
Furthermore, D&H thoroughly tests a few examples in each batch of magazines that they make, running the magazines through various stress and the elements to ensure that they work properly. Each magazine is also Teflon hard coat anodized on the outside to ensure that they are fully resistant against rust and corrosion as well.
If there is a downside to this magazine, it’s that it only holds four rounds of ammunition. While that’s fine for hunting, it is definitely rather low for other purposes, such as tactical use. 5.56 magazines will even hold more .450 rounds in them.
This may not be the best choice for a tactical magazine (as the four round count is definitely rather low), but there’s no denying that a lot of work went into the D&H .450 Bushmaster magazine to ensure that it’s as durable and well-made as possible.
- Ideal for hunting
- Top qualities materials used
- Went through a rigorous testing process before being approved
- Made in the United States
- Magazine spring is very corrosion resistant
- Built out of aircraft grade aluminum
- Heat treated for even better durability
- Hard coat anodized for superior rust and corrosion resistance
- Not ideal for tactical uses as four rounds is rather low
Remember that your rifle is only really going to be as reliable as the magazines are. You can have the highest quality and most reliable rifle ever made, but it simply won’t function properly if you don’t use good mags.
Furthermore, you have to be especially careful with the .450 Bushmaster round. There are an abundance of high quality magazines made for the 5.56 that will function perfectly fine with that round, but that could potentially cause issues with the .450 Bushmaster. That’s why you have to take the statement that ‘you can use .450 Bushmaster with 5.56 AR-15 magazines’ with a grain of salt, to say the least.
Maybe your 5.56 AR-15 magazines will function just fine with the .450 Bushmaster, or maybe they won’t. But if you want to ensure proper functioning with the .450 Bushmaster no matter what, you can invest in quality magazines made specifically for the .450 Bushmaster round, which includes any of the three that we have covered here today.