50 bmg

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by hemiscrub, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. hemiscrub

    hemiscrub Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    hello, i have been a member of this site for about 2 months and i finally had something to post. my uncle and i are in the market for a .50 bmg. i am wondering what yall think the most accurate and econominal is. i was looking at the armalite 50 was wondering what yall thought. any help is appreciatd. thanks in advance

    hs
     
  2. jimmym40a2

    jimmym40a2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    I have an AR50 and its a great gun. I've shot mine out ot 2200 yards. It's about 3/4 minute gun at 1000 with amaxes. It's big,heavy,loud. way to much fun. You would like it............
     

  3. britz

    britz Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,217
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2007
    I have always thought the 50bmg was an awsome round but I have recently come to terms with the fact the military considers it an anti-equipment (the proper term isn't comming to mind right now) rifle. Rarely used on personel. Are you sure that a 338 cal wouldn't be more "economical"?
     
  4. jimmym40a2

    jimmym40a2 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    83
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    If your shooting match ammo both the 338 and 50 are expensive. The great thing about 50cal is surplus ammo and powder that you can get that significantly cut the cost if your reloading. It all depends on what your final goal is. (how far, what your hitting, weight restrictions, etc.)
     
  5. ammo burner

    ammo burner Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    55
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2009
    I'm thinking on selling my ar50 if you are interested.
     
  6. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Messages:
    6,848
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    The 50 BMGs are big bo doubt, thats a nessesity because of the size of the round and the recoil they generate. The more accurate 50s are rarely much more expensive then a top end full custom rifle of conventional chambering. Several can be had for less then $4000.

    I have owned several of them starting out with the LAR Grizzly and it was an extremely accurate rifle, just did not care for the shellholder bolt design.

    Ended up with the Armalite AR-50. I really like the AR-50. Reasonably priced, with taylored loads tends to be very accurate but you need match grade handloads. Surplus ammo is fine for plinking but will not get you fine accuracy, its not made to.

    One great aspect about the AR-50 is that its easily rebarreled, just like any conventional bolt action rifle, to get a new barrel put on or accurize the receiver, its no different then any other rifle. In fact my last AR-50, I rebarreled to my 510 AM with a Heavy Lilja fluted barrel. It was easily a 1/2 moa rifle at 1000 yards in good conditions when I was on top of my game.

    I sold that rifle but just purchased another AR-50 and will rebarrel that one with a lighter, fluted sporter weight Lilja for a rifle in the 35 lb range, instead of 45 lbs that my last one scaled out at.

    As far as cost in loading, lets be honest here. If you shoot a 338-378 Wby, your going to pay $50 for 20 brass and if you shoot a premium bullet, you will often pay $1 to $2 per bullet. Powder will be around 120 grains of powder depending on what powder you use.

    You can get virgin brass for the 50 for around $1.5 to $2 each so its even cheaper then the Wby brass or Lapua for that matter. Another point, you will never wear out a 50 BMG case if you load it properly and anneal the necks every 5-6 firings.

    The bullets do cost more for the 50 BMG. The 750 gr A-Max will run you from just under to just over $2 a piece depending where you get them.

    Powder is alot more in volume but often about 1/2 the price if you use surplus powder.

    Per round, yes they are more then most high intensity conventional chamberings but realize your producing at least 2 to 3 times more energy them most conventional chamberings, even the largest ones.

    I once figured out my cost per round for my 50 BMG and for practice ammo, it came out to around $2 each using surplus(new) brass, surplus powder and surplus AP projos. This is not overly accurate ammo but it sure makes gravel at 600-800 yards!!!

    My match ammo was around $5 each. Now this is including brass cost. Once that is paid for its much less then that.

    You need dies and a press that will work with the big 50, that is easy, RCBS has packages for the 50 BMG loading as does Hornady. Both work fine for starting out.

    Ballistically, the 50 BMG is not overly impressive as far as drop goes, in fact, a 190 gr SMK out of a 300 Win Mag will match the 50 BMGs trajectory nearly to the nuts. It does have alot less windage and a ton more energy, well, several tons more!!! LOL

    Owning a 50 BMG is not all about ballistics, its mainly about owning a 1/2" gun and as mentioned, its just alot of fun. I have never had anyone come off one of my 50 cal rifles without having a big smile on their face after throwing 12-14,000 ft/lbs of energy down range!!!

    For the money, the AR-50 is hard to beat.
     
  7. SES50

    SES50 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    I have been considering reloading for my 50BMG since accuracy sucks with the military stuff. Since we are on the discussion of presses can anyone tell me why the Lee press kit is so much cheaper than the Hornady and the RCBS kits?

    Is the cost represenative of the quality of the press and dies?

    Also, does anyone have a good starting load?

    Thanks
    SES50
     
  8. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Messages:
    6,848
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    I have not used the LEE tooling in the 50 BMG but have with other chamberings. From that experience, there are some things that would make me think the LEE tooling would work but may not last as long as the Hornady or RCBS.

    Between the RCBS and Hornady, the presses are pretty much the same, very similiar at least. I would say the Hornady seating die is a better choice then the RCBS as far as getting good bullet run outs.

    Starting load, generally 210 grains of H-50BMG under the 750 gr A-Max seated 30 thou off the lands is a good place to start. Most load data for H-50BMG will say 233.0 gr is a max load, in my experience, this may be fine in a very loose chamber and throat of the M2 but in a single shot bolt gun, this is far to heavy of a load.

    I have topped out at 220 to 225 grains in every rifle I have loaded for with this bullet.

    TO check for proper pressure in the 50 BMG, there is a simple test you can do, shoot a round, eject the fired case. Take that same case and rechamber it, there should be no real difference in force needed to close the bolt on the fired case. If there is an increase in pressure, drop down a grain or two. If there is no increase in bolt closure pressure, you can increase the load by 2 grains and repeat the test, repeat until you feel the resistance when you rechamber the fired case.

    The 50 BMG should be loaded to roughly 50,000 psi and no more. Cartridge brass will permanently deform at 50-55,000 psi in most 50 BMG brass. The big 50 is really far to large for what we want to do but when it was designed it was nessesary to be that large.

    Many BR shooters will load to the 2500-2600 fps range for best accuracy. Not only are they more comfortable to shoot then the 2700 fps loads but these loads also produce milder vibration patterns then the upper end loads.

    Your opinion of the military surplus ammos accuracy potential is right on the money but that is by design. WHen your shooting an M2 browning, you do not want precision, you want all those big projectiles to land in a relatively tight pattern but you want them to cover a decent amount of area at 1000 yards, like the better part of a truck!!! If several hits all over a vehicle, that will do far more damage then several shots in a several inch group on a vehicle.

    We are using the 50 BMG for a much different use then it was designed for, precision shooting. It serves well in this role but you must realize it has to be loaded differently then surplus ammo to reach this level of accuracy.
     
  9. SES50

    SES50 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    268
    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Kirby,

    Thanks alot for the reply on the press and the loading method. That will come in very useful as I have been looking to start reloading for this rifle in the near future now that the smaller calibers are starting to show good results.

    What is the best accuracy you have seen out a factory barrel with good handload? Just trying to figure out what I should expect so I know when I can say I have a good load for this rifle.

    I had heard the samething about the accuracy of the round when fired out of the M2HB. Accuracy to a point but a good tight shotgun group is better in that application.

    Thanks again
    Sherman
     
  10. hemiscrub

    hemiscrub Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2008
    thanks for all the replies. i was also wondering about bullets. what bullets is everyone using? i was looking at the barnes tsx(647grs), bore riders(750&800grs), amaxs(750gr) and then the winchester fmg(650gr ithink) for plinking. anybody have any experiances with these? has anyone ever used there 50 for hunting? thanks in advance

    hs
     
  11. Fiftydriver

    Fiftydriver <strong>Official LRH Sponsor</strong>

    Messages:
    6,848
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2004
    The Barnes 647 is a good moderate range hunting bullet. Decent accuracy most of the time, good velocity and generally pretty good terminally.

    The 750 gr A-Max is the standard for match or hunting with a standard throat design in the BMG. Legal to use in most states for big game hunting because it is an expanding bullet.

    The Barnes Bore riders should be used in a chamber with a bore rider throat. They can be fired in a conventional throat but consistancy and accuracy will generally suffer.

    I have a big shippment of the new Win 650 gr here at the shop I will be testing. I have heard they are capable of sub 1 moa accuracy. If that is true, they will be the most accurate ball type bullet I have used. Will keep you posted.
     
  12. dust

    dust Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    332
    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2009
    Anyone have any comments on the ultralite or other uppers for AR-15 lowers?