These are our picks for rifles chambered in .50 BMG.
One of the most iconic rifle rounds in the world is .50 Browning Machine Gun, or as it is more simply known, .50 BMG. The general idea behind this round was first developed by the legendary John Browning, but it fully fleshed out by Winchester Repeating Arms. That was during World War II, when the round saw extensive use in .50 caliber M2 Browning Machine Guns. It is probably safe to say the round helped turn the tide of the Great War.
That gun and round were so reliable that they are still in use with armed forces around the world today. It was not until the early 80s that the idea of a modern rifle in 50 BMG first gained traction with Ronnie Barrett's now iconic M82 anti-material rifle. With these types of rifles, a .50 BMG can fire rounds at a blistering 2,700-3,000 feet per second and hit with nearly 15,000 foot pounds of energy depending on the type of round used.
Today, the market for 50 BMG rifles is mostly United States military and law enforcement, but there are rifles that civilians can own. The market is rather niche, probably because practical uses are limited and the ammo is insanely expensive. However, for the average citizen who wants to own one of the largest rifles out there, options exist on the market. Today we will have a look at some of them, their features and let you know what they will cost you.
Barrett Model 82
As we already mentioned, Ronnie Barrett was one of the first to see the potential in a shoulder-fired .50 caliber rifle. and this gun was originally designed in his garage! Today, the Barrett 82A1 is the civilian version of a rifle that has seen action in nearly every major conflict since both as an anti-tank and vehicle round and as a sniper rifle.
The M82 is a semi-automatic, short recoil-operated rotating bolt design. It cycles by using the tremendous recoil to move the barrel back and cycle in the next round. The lower receiver and other parts are made mostly of heavy sheet metal, which helps contribute to the whopping 33-pound weight. Barrett offers this rifle in a variety of finishes. It has a 20 or 29-inch fluted barrel with a 1:15 or 1:12 rate of twist. It also comes fitted with a choice of two styles of muzzle brake to help tame this rifle's awesome recoil.
This rifle has an overall length of 57 inches and comes fitted with a bipod to help you steady it for long-range shots. The Barrett M82A1 has been used by trained snipers to make shots at over 3,000 yards, and yes, it is perfectly legal for civilians to own. However, double check your bank statements before you go to make the purchase. This rifle costs anywhere from $6,000-$10,000, even used.
Barrett Model M107A1
This rifle may look nearly identical to the M82A1 to the untrained eye, but this is the slightly updated version of the classic Barrett. The biggest difference in the aluminum receiver and frame that shaves the weight down to 28.7 pounds, which is why this gun earned the nickname "The Light Fifty." That weight difference may not seem like much because it is still a very heavy gun, but you will notice it if you pick up a M82A1 and then a M107A1 for comparison side-by-side.
Barrett also cut weight in other areas like the detachable bipod, which is made from titanium for this semi auto rifle. Barrett claims that through precision engineering, the M107A1 is more accurate than the M82. This gun also has a 29-inch barrel length standard, but there is also an option for a shorter 20-inch barrel. Both come with a 1:15 twist rate. That shorter barrel also cuts the overall length down to 48 inches.
This rifle features a totally redesigned muzzle brake that also helps cut down the recoil from such a large round. Like the M82A1, this gun takes 10-round magazines and comes in a variety of Cerakote finishes. This is the most expensive Barrett on the market with an MSRP of $12,281. They can usually be found for less than that with a little shopping, but you are probably going to have difficulty finding a new one from under $10k.
This rifle is essentially an updated version of the Bushmaster BA50. It is even comparable in size with the Barrett and Bushmaster thanks to a 57-inch overall length. This is bolt action rifle. The design is rather unique because Remington decided to place the bolt on the left side so it can be operated without having to lift your head to cycle a round.
The 30-inch barrel has a manganese phosphate finish and is free floating. The end is fitted with an AAC muzzle brake and is suppressor ready. Like the Barretts, it takes 10-round magazines. The receiver disassembles in the same style as an AR-sporting rifle to make cleaning quick and easy. Speaking of the receiver, it is machined from aluminum, which should help keep the weight down. The MIL-STD 1913 picatinny rail allows you to mount a serious optic for long distance shots.
Remington has not released the specs on the weight of this newer offering, but it is probably in the 30-pound range because that is what the Bushmaster weighs. The MSRP is $4,559, which means this rifle costs half as much as a Barrett. Remington also sweetens the deal a little by including two magazines, hearing and eye protection and a custom Pelican hard case. No need to buy anything extra. Head to the range and shoot!
Some companies have realized that more people would like to own and shoot a .50 BMG, but those gigantic price tags are scaring them away. Serbu's BFG-50 starts at $2,395 as a base price, making this rifle much more affordable for everyday shooting enthusiasts. This is a single-shot rifle fitted with either a standard 29.5-inch match grade barrel, a carbine 22-inch barrel or a 36-inch heavy barrel. It comes fitted with a "shark brake" system to reduce the recoil and sound.
While the way Serbu was able to cut the costs was impressive, the same can be said for the weight. You may have already noticed how much slimmer this gun is compared to other rifles. The heaviest model with the 36-inch barrel comes in at just 26.75 pounds. The carbine model only weighs 15.25 pounds, which makes it a lightweight for guns in this caliber.
The entire rifle features a parkerized manganese phosphate finish. The standard scope mount is a picatinny rail, but Serbu will add a 30MOA base for an extra $50. Online reviewers praise these rifles for their simplicity of use and incredible accuracy in a package that costs infinitely less than other offerings on the market.
Sure, you know about ArmaLite's AR-15 sporting rifles, but did you know they make a .50 BMG? It is true. The AR-50 is a bolt-action, single shot rifle that packs a lot of punch. We have seen this rifle bashed a little online for being "ugly." We admit, it is a little blocky-looking, but this is a case where function trumps form.
This rifle has a 30-inch barrel with a 1:15 rate of twist and a large muzzle brake to tame the recoil. It is one of the largest .50 cals on the market at 59.5 inches in length and 33 pounds. So, it is not exactly something you will be taking on a backcountry hunt in the mountains. While this rifle is not portable, it is adjustable. The cheek plate and buttstock can both be adjusted to your frame.
The ArmaLite AR-50 is also a highly accurate rifle out to 1,000 yards. As far as .50 BMG rifles go, this one is about the middle of the pack when it comes to price with an MSR: of $3,359.
This rifle has gained one heck of a reputation in the last 20 years for its legendary military service. A Canadian sniper used the Tac-50 to record the longest confirmed sniper kill ever in Iraq in 2007 at 3,870 yards. Like other .50 BMGs, this rifle is a true beast at 57 inches long and 26 pounds. It has a 29-inch match grade and fluted barrel which McMillian says allows the rifle to shoot sub-MOA groups.
This rifle is a bolt action design and is fed via five-round magazines. Since the originals, McMillan has constantly worked on improving the design. One of the latest is the Tac-50C, which cuts the weight down to just 24 pounds while keeping a 29-inch match grade, fluted barrel with a 1:15 rate of twist. The company cut the overall length down to a slightly more manageable 51.8 inches.
McMillan also added three 1913 MIL-STD rail sections for the addition of accessories. The Tac-50C has other nice features including an adjustable buttstock, cheekpiece, and a slightly smaller pistol grip made to make it more ergonomic for a variety of shooters. As you might have guessed, a rifle like this is not cheap. You are looking at a little over $11,000 MSRP for one. However, the company does back it with a lifetime warranty, which is a nice touch for such a large investment.