Meet the .45 Raptor: .460 S&W Magnum for semi-auto rifles

The .45 Raptor is one beast of a cartridge. Designed by Arne Brennan, the .45 Raptor is new cartridge that replicates .460 S&W Magnum performance in a package tailor-made for semi-automatic rifles. 

When fired from a rifle-length barrel the ballistics put other big-bore cartridges to shame, including .450 Bushmaster, .458 SOCOM and even .50 Beowulf.

The .45 Raptor can be loaded with a wide range of bullet weights, from 160 grains at the light end of the scale all the way up to 395 grains at speeds up to 3,000 feet per second. Depending on the load that translates to in the neighborhood of 3,150 foot-pounds of force to upwards of 3,500 foot pounds.

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The .45 Raptor cartridge with and without a point. Enjoy.

This is clearly a powerhouse of a hunting cartridge. Even at 200 yards you’re looking at projectile energies around 1,500 foot-pounds. Early load development suggests that the .45 Raptor is capable of 1- to 2-MOA accuracy.

Another impressive aspect about .45 Raptor is how flat-shooting it is. At 200 yards there is only about 5 inches of deviation in the bullet’s trajectory, up and down. So not only is it hard-hitting, it’s fast and easy to get on target with no real need to adjust for elevation or hold-over in the field.

While .460 S&W Magnum is a tremendous round, like most rimmed cartridges it doesn’t lend itself to semi-automatic guns. Brennan’s solution: redesign the head to match .308 Winchester dimensions. The round can be reloaded using .460 S&W Mag. dies and a .308 Win. shell holder.

The simple beauty of this small tweak allows the .45 Raptor to be used with AR-10-style rifles with just two modifications. The rifle needs to be re-barreled, naturally, and loaded up with .45 Raptor magazines. That’s it.

Brennan has conversion parts listed on the .45 Raptor website with complete uppers and rifles coming later this year.

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A silly rifle trying to Scrooge McDuck the casings.

Considering how unique and promising this cartridge is the prices are very approachable. Initial pricing is set at $300 for the barrels, $39 for the custom magazines and $39.50 for a box of 50 cases ($195 for 250). 

Because the case diameter is similar to .308 Win. it’s possible to load a full compliment 20 rounds of .45 Raptor in the modified 20-round .308 mags. However, because of changes to the follower it can’t be used with curved mags, although it would be hard to find many complaints about “only” having 20 rounds of .45 Raptor per mag.

Brennan’s design requires that the magazines, and not the barrel extension, host the feed ramp for the cartridges, otherwise flat-faced bullets, such as hollow points, will not feed correctly. The overall length of .45 raptor is also substantially shorter than .308 and the magazines need to be blocked or the cartridges will rack back and forth under recoil. 

This is a very cool new development in the shooting world and we think this might just have legs. Backed by Brennan, who was crucial in developing 6.5mm intermediate cartridges, .45 Raptor is available freely to all companies “who are properly licensed by [the] BATF, ITAR-registered, maintain proper product liability insurance coverage and have an established reputation for quality customer service.” 

Interested? Find out more at .45 Raptor.