.50 cal Barrett tactical sniper rifle


Welcome to LRH.

I believe what you'll find with the "tactical" style rifles is that they are built for durability and precision, a melding of these two requirements. For shooting 1,500 yards and beyond at .5 MOA or better precision the tactical rifles will fall behind the dedicated bench style heavy guns in precision.

There have been rumors and perhaps a few posts about hunting with the 50BMG but generally it's not done. For extended distance folks seem to opt for the large case 378 Weatherby variants, 416 Rigby case variants and the 338 Lapua and variants.

There are a group of hunters shooting at the distances you ask but I believe they're posting at the Wildcat forums... perhaps someone will know exactly and give the link. You'd be looking for Darryl Cassel or Boyd Heaton as a good start.

Barretts are not noted for match accuracty. Primarily for engaging vehicles.

Second you may find that 50 cal centerfires are not legal in many states to hunt with. Check your game laws.

For the ultra long range, you probably want a 338 Lapua Ack Improved or the 338/416 Rigby variat. Both with 34" barrels will put a 300 gr bullet out there at 3000-3200 FPS.

Loading for 50 cal is very expensive $5-10 per round and all different presses dies etc.

The above cartridges can be loaded on standard equip. Gun can be built for either for roughly $3000 depending on components versus $5000 for match grade 50 cal. Big part is scope that has enough elevation and accurate lr rangefinders like the Barrs and Stroud or Wilde that go 16 miles.

Go to Dan Liljas website www.liljarifles.com and read his articles on lr hunting with these type guns, rangefinders, dropcharts etc before you go any further.


[ 05-03-2004: Message edited by: BountyHunter ]
Hi guys(& gals?),
I'm new to the group and to LRH. Why is that the US Military uses .50 cal for long range snipers. Has anybody tried hunting with them? I'm hunting a 13 section South Texas trophy whitetail lease. Have taken several FINE deer, but have seen some 190 to 200+ B&C class bucks at 1,000 to 2,500 yards. That's as close as anyone has been to them. I looked up the Barrett website and they have .50 cal match rifles at a reasonable, (for Trump maybe), price. I thought about building a blind, (bunker?) on a large bluff where I can see about three miles in any direction. Has anyone tried tactical rifles?
Miler, I hear ya on the bucks being far, far away, I have the same problem with several 70+" bull moose, for the past 4 years we keep seeing these giant antlered beasts way the heck out there, no amount of taunting/calling will bring them in and going after them is not practical due to the terrain.. they'll be long gone before you get anywhere within range.

I have considered the .50 cal AR50 to drop the bigger of the two bulls, mentioning the idea to anyone just draws laughter and lotsa B.S., ('cause I already hunt with a 7.82 Warbird, a big bad .30 cal.) one of these days I'll show them. (the rack that is)-- The Punks....

I still get my bull every season usually a "satellite" bull responding to our calls.
Nailed several okay bulls in the area 62.5", 57", 55.5" 52.5".
I say **** the torpedoes and go for it, I support your idea fully, I'm thinking hard about it myself!!!!
Good luck and safe hunting..
Sorry for posting twice in a row (I'm a new guy here and all that)
Anyway I just wanted Miler to check up on the .30 Talbot (.50 BMG necked down to .30 Cal.) ---
If I remember correctly that was the name of the cartridge if it still exists..
Bounty Hunter is right the Barrett is used primarily for Hard Target Interdiction(shooting light vehicles, comunications gear, and such) but EOD uses it for ordnance disruption. Nothing like hitting submuntions at 4-500 meters. So even the semiauto M82 is pretty accurate 1 MOA or so. But that all comes with tremendous recoil. I have seen that rifle literally slide a prone shooter back. I wouldn't use it on whitetails when you got to the animal it would be dressed and quartered already. At 1400 meters military ball with a 661grn bullet is still supersonic that is alot of energy. IMO go with one of the .338's. Very impressive ballistics and only half the recoil of the .50

Just my 2 cents

Miler,I apologize for giving you the wrong info, I meant the ".338 Talbot" not .30, I somehow got the .30 Cody Express (necked down .416 Rigby) mixed up.
The other fella is right, the big .338's would be a good choice, .338 Lapua is one of the best for long range work.. Brass life is much, much, much better than the Lazzeroni 8.59 (.338)Titan, or any of the Lazzeroni brass for that matter..
I think the .338 Lapua would be your best bet too. Just make sure you have lotsa' ammo on hand for those 1,000 yard shots!

If you're not familiar with the .338 Lapua, here's a comparison - .308, 300Win.Mag. .338 Lapua.



BTW - I've seen the .50 Barratt Semi Auto repeater fired by kneeling troops from the shoulder behind a barricade and they had NO problems controlling it under what I would call rapid fire. The muzzle brakes on these rifles are very effective, but will rock you if you're beside the weapon when it's fired!

Bounty Hunter is correct about the intended use of the .50 cal Rifle. We were told it can only be used to destroy enemy equipment. So, our points of aim are the helmet, webgear, beltbuckle, packs, and canteens.
Dispelling a few myths about the 50 BMG is in order here.The current unlimited world record holder is Paula Dierks a lady shooter.The most popular barrel used in competition is the K-P out of Raton,New Mexico and both Ken and "Peggy Johnson" are regular competitors and she is a very typical lady shooter.Skip Talbot is about 5'7" tall and must weigh 140 pounds with all his keys for those that no him.Recoil seems to not be an issue as long as you use the K-P muzzlebrake.
The cost of reloading is more but a RCBS or Hornady press with dies runs around $375 complete.Nothing mentioned on this board comes remotely close to it ballisticly.The 800 gr borerider bullets with a 1.090 BC at 2800 + fps have no equal for trajectory or downrange energy.The 2 main reasons for its lack of popularity are cost and many states now have rifle weight limits for hunting which also does away with most longrange set-ups.Here are a couple websites for you to look at were hunting with the 50 are more common.8 pounds of powder only loads around 225 rounds and primers cost $90 for 500 with good brass running $1 a piece.Good hunting bullets can be bought from Lynn McMurdo. www.biggerhammer.net www.fcsa.org
here is a suppliers site www.aaa-ammo.com

There are alot of myths out there about the 50 BMG ranging the gamat from costing $5-$10 per round to kicking the hell out of you with recoil and finally being able to hit any target one choose out to say 2000 yards.

All of the above could not be farther from the truth.

Let me tell you what I have experienced shooting the big 50 as well as many other of my fellow Fifty Caliber Shooters Assc. members.

One comment I would agree with is that the Barrett rifles are utility rifles designed for military purposes. That means they are designed to fire military quality ammunition which is seldom know for moa accuray at any range.

THeir chambers are designed as such as well as their throats and they will accept a wide variaty of surplus ammo and function.

That said, they can be chambered for the "match" quality projectiles which are generally much longer with a much sharper nose profile. THis often prevents them from fitting in the Barretts magazine. If you get one of their single shots this is not a problem.

To make hits at 1000 yards, you need everything to be basically perfect. Even more so in the big 50 then more conventional rounds. It seems the scaling up of everything concerned with the fifty also scales up variations as well.

I own an LAR Grizzly with a Match chamber and a 36" hevy barrel. This rifle is a single shot and from shooting it along two different Barrett 82's the Grizzly will shoot circles around the much pricier rifles.

My load uses the 750 gr A-Max which I coat and load over 220 gr H-50 BMG and lit with a CCI-35 primer. My cases are full match prepped PMC or IMI. THis load will produce right at 2700 fps at the muzzle and has a best 1000 yard group of 5.74" ctc for three rounds.

This is not the norm though. On average, with typical light and wind conditions, I would say averaging 1 moa at 1000 yards would be extremely impressive. In fact if you could shoot 1 moa groups all the time, you would win nearly all of the FCSA 1000 yard matches.

The 50 is not a wonder round. It is difficult to load match grade ammo for since there are fewer match quality componants.

One myth that I would like to debunk is the cost of ammo. Even if you buy match grade ammo you will pay $6 per round. Far from $10.

If you load your own, you can get those costs down to $4 per round pretty easy. If you look at the price of 30-378 Wby, 338 LM, 338-378 Wby ammo, you will easily pay the same amount.

Bullet wise, the 50 is a little spendier them top premium conventional bullets.

Cost of brass will run about $2 per case for virgin stuff. If you like you can get pulled, new surplus brass for around .50 cents each if you want to clean them up.

Powder is pricy compared to other rounds but you can not get away from that.

As far as recoil, yes the 50's will push you back slowly under recoil but there is nothing violent about its kick.

THe Barrett rifles are about as soft a kicking rifle as there is, feeling little more then a 30-06 in a 8-9 lb rifle. This is because of the gas operation sysytem eating up alot of the recoil energy.

To be honest, if you are seeing monster whitetails at 2500 yards and you want to shoo them with a 50 BMG, even a top bench quality rifle like a McMillan HBR. You better take about a 1500 yrd hike to get into good range for a shot.

Even at a full 1000 yards in typical whitetail hunting light, you will be taking a very tricky shot at best.

Another myth is that the 50's flat explode their targets on impact. This is again false.

There are quick expanding bullets on the market for the 50 but anyone that would use them on game should have their head examined.

Arizona Ammo offeres several big game hunting bullets from a 570 gr Soft Point flat base to a 600 gr X BT and up to the great 750 gr A-Max.

For whitetail or any deer, the 750 gr A-Max is about the best bullet on the market for hunting at extreme range.

It is suprising how little damage the 50 BMG actually inflicts on game animals when hit correctly.

I shoot rock chucks with mine all the time and unless the chuck is sitting with a rock hard against its off side, the 50 will just punch a hole through them and thats it.

If there is a rock behind them, the big bullet splattering will literally pop a chuck.

Game the size of whitetails do not offer enough resistance to the big A-Max bullets to cause them to fully expand which is good. They just drill a .5 to .75" hole through them and are very effective killers.

On game such as elk, the A-Max can often open up and if that happens, you may loose the back half of your elk.

For heavier game the X bullet would be a better choice.

Yardage measurements is far more critical with the 50 them with fsater conventional rounds at least to 1000 yards. They are not real flat shooting, at least not what most think they are. Better have good ranging optics and be a very good shooter.

Just a few thoughts on the 50 BMG.

Good Shooting!!!

40+ years of hunting pipeline right aways out of 25' eye level stands in south Texas (Laredo & Cotulla area) taught me that you just have to try to pattern a big deer and then move closer to try and set up for a shot. All the factors have to be right to even make this happen as the old B&C bucks did not get that way by being stupid. I have personally been involved with 4 such set ups in those 40yrs for book deer. I hunted the largest of the 4 myself(would have gone close to 200 typical) for 4 yrs with out a single shot being fired because I would just not take a chance unless I was 100% sure of the results. I was constantly trying for a better position on this deer but he would always seem to know just where I was. Yea, I could have hit him with say a 50cal and taken a chance but I would rather hunt for him not for buzzards 2 days later!
I guess until a hunter has found a book deer on his own and tried to figure out a plan on him and did not just sign a big enough check for a "guareented" shot at him, I am not saying this is your case, then
the average hunter would think I was crazy for not just sticking a bullet in him and wondering if I would ever see him again alive or eaten up by the buzzards and coyotes. Its the total respect for these big deer that kept me trying to out smart them. If I was keeping score, it would have been BUCKS 3 HUNTER 1, I let my brother in law have the shot on one that went 171 net
typical. I was just as happy for him as if
I would have done it myself.
After all this rambling, my advice to you would be to figure out a plan to just get closer and then be sure you have a good shot and enough gun to dispatch him cleanly.
I am retired from big deer hunting now as
my hunting partners (Father who is close to 80 and Son who is career Navy) are not able to share it with me any more, but no matter what, I will always have memory's hopefully until the day I die. Good luck on what ever you decide and let us know if you get it
done. Thanks GEG
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