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BMG rifle barrels

 
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  #1  
Old 03-02-2009, 04:03 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 63
BMG rifle barrels

So I picked up a .50 BMG action a little while back. It is a McBros Fisher action and I'm looking at getting the parts together to build the rifle. The first major part I guess would be the barrel. I've been doing some research and come up with a list of barrel makers who have 50 cal offerings. I'm sure there are more but these are what I've found so far.

all prices are for 36" or close to


1. Lothar Walther - button rifle
Lothar Walther
price $350 (CM??)

2. Lilja - button rifle
Lilja Precision Rifle Barrels - 50 Caliber Precision Barrels
price $495 - SS

3. Krieger - cut barrel
Calibers & Prices
Price $540 - SS
$410 - CM

4. Bartlein Barrels - cut barrel
Bartlein Barrels, Inc. - Barrel Pricing
price $540 - SS
$420 - CM

5. Pac-Nor - button rifle
PAC-NOR Barreling, Inc. - Price List
price $536 - SS
$466 - CM


Twist options 1-15
3 groove - Pac-Nor
6 groove - Lilja
7 groove - Bartlein, Lilja
8 groove - Pac-Nor, Lothar Walther
Polygonal - Pac-Nor

According to their site Krieger will accommodate most twist options.

I guess now I'm trying to figure out if there is any benefit with a particular groove design? Would any specific barrel manufacturer be a clear choice? Any experiences others might have with building a BMG rifle. This will be my first rifle done up from an action.

Also what are people using for muzzle brakes on BMG rifles? I'm leaning towards the Armalite AR50 or that style brake as I've read good things about it's recoil reducing benefits. I'm not worried about the noise or blast but do want a rifle that is fun to shoot.
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  #2  
Old 03-02-2009, 07:33 PM
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Re: BMG rifle barrels

Of the barrels you list, the Lilja has the biggest following with 50BMG 1000 yard BR shooters. Lilja also contracts with several US military special forces for their 50 cal precision rifles.

I have used several of their 50 cal barrels and all have been extemely impressive. I have also shot several Pac Nor and Kreiger 50 cal barrels. The Pac Nor were hit and miss with accuracy. All were 1.5 moa or better rifles, some were 3/4 moa.

I have also shot the Lother Walter barrels on the LAR Grizzly rifles. They shoot very well but they are very hard and difficult to machine so I generally do not recommend them for a barrel blank for a custom rifle.

The krieger was a good rifle but it fouled pretty heavily, I suspect it was not broken in properly. Barrel break in is extremely critical with a 50 cal.

Groove design means very little in the 50 cals. I have seen 1/2 moa rifles in a wide range of groove designs.

Twist rate is also an easy choice. 1-15 is what you need. No need for a fast twist. THe 1-15 will shoot any 50 cal bullet up to the 800 gr solid match bullets.

In fact faster twists have some ill effects in the 50 BMG. Go with the standard twist. Do not try to reinvent the wheel, its been done and redone many times, 1-15 is the best way to go.

Also, unless your wedded to a 36" barrel, its really not needed for the 50 BMG. Anything from 30-32" is plenty of barrel length. THe added performance you will get in a 36" barrel is really not worth the pain in the rear of dealing with all the extra length of barrel as far as handling the rifle.

I would strongly recommend the Armalite muzzle brake. Its big and ugly and it flat out works better then any other 50 cal brake on the market. I took two shooters out today and shot a 50 BMG AR-50 I just got in for a customer and shooting my practice ammo, recoil was about like a 270 Win. This load consists of a 650 gr Winchester FMJ in Win cases loaded to 2700 fps with 225 gr WC872. They were keeping all their shots on my 20" diameter gong at 1010 yards once we get her dialed in. We put nearly 100 rounds of ammo through the rifle and we were all shooting in light shirts. The more you shot the rifle the funner it got because of the lack of recoil.

You do have to get used to the muzzle blast but thats pretty easy to do. Get some good ear protection and eye protection and you will be fine.

If it were me, it would be a Lilja SS barrel with an armalite muzzle brake.
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Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.

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  #3  
Old 03-02-2009, 09:01 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 177
Re: BMG rifle barrels

im not a 50 man but i would go with who builds them, Lilja or McMillan.
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  #4  
Old 03-03-2009, 12:36 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 63
Re: BMG rifle barrels

Thanks for the input. I've not any brand bias so I'm just looking for what will be the best for the money.

I'm not stuck on a 36" barrel but thought it was needed for the 750 gr and heavier bullets?

As for the muzzle brake I want the most effective brake I can buy. I've got a JP muzzle brake on my .338 UM and while it is not comfortable for anyone nearby it is amazing what it does for the recoil. It really makes the gun fun to shoot, that's what I'm looking for in a BMG rifle.

Looks don't matter much to me, I get a bit of flack carrying around my Ultra Mag during elk season. I usually get one of those "What you planning on shooting with that" comments once a season.
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  #5  
Old 03-03-2009, 12:39 AM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Oregon
Posts: 63
Re: BMG rifle barrels

Oh, any thoughts on the BMG Improoved?
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  #6  
Old 03-03-2009, 01:47 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 2,454
Re: BMG rifle barrels

I think Kirby's got one of those too... about 14K ft. lbs. of muzzle energy.

510 Allen Magnum
50 BMG parent case, fireformed to min body taper and sharper shoulder angle.
750 gr. A-Max or ULD RBBT at 2900 fps in 34” barrel length
Designed for heavy game hunting where legal and extreme range target shooting.
Appropriate powders: H-50BMG, WC872, H-US869, VV 20N29

Allen Mags
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Last edited by jmden; 03-03-2009 at 01:50 AM.
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  #7  
Old 04-21-2009, 01:31 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 14
Re: BMG rifle barrels

Lilja - Krieger then others can follow. Lothar Walther were great on my State Arms rifles 36" barrel length. If your not worried about accuracythen you can drop down a few hundred dollars & get some 4140 chrome moly barrels from Legamec, Safety Harbor, Bohica, Serbu etc. They will sell you a barrel, you just have to ask.

Last edited by benich; 04-21-2009 at 01:37 PM.
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