Matt from Demolition Ranch decided to test the urban legend that the shockwave from a .50 BMG is so powerful enough that even a near miss can kill you.
The massive .50 Browning Machine Gun round, better known as the .50 BMG, is one of the most powerful rifle cartridges ever developed. After all, it was originally designed to shoot down airplanes and has also performed admirably as a heavy machine gun and sniper round in the armed forces of many different countries, including the United States, since the early 20th century.
Pushing a bullet weighing around 700 grains (or more) at velocities approaching 3,000 fps, there's no denying that the .50 BMG really packs a punch. However, many people have also claimed that the cartridge is so powerful that the shockwave from a .50 BMG is strong enough to kill or seriously injure a person, even if the bullet itself misses.
Is that really true? Well, Matt from Demolition Ranch decided to test out the theory. He did this by taking .50 BMG rifle and shooting it in close proximity to a flying quadrocopter, by shooting a red plastic cup with several other cups stacked around it, and by shooting a bullet into a house of cards.
What do you think will happen? Watch the video to find out.
As you saw, the bullet shockwave wasn't nearly as powerful as some people would lead you to believe. The bullet had basically no impact on the flying drone, the red solo cup, and the house of cards.
So, while a direct hit from one of those bullets would cause a lot of damage, I think we can safely say that no, the shockwave from a .50 BMG near miss won't kill you (or suck the eyes out of the head of a deer).
Like Matt said in the video, similar to most other bullets, the .50 BMG uses a pretty aerodynamic bullet that's specifically designed to slice through the air with minimal resistance. While it produces a much larger shockwave than smaller bullets like the .223 Remington or the .30-06 Springfield, it's still nowhere near powerful enough to even knock over a red solo cup or a house of cards.
Keep all that in mind the next time someone tells you about the legendary power of the .50 BMG.
Yes, it can shoot down an airplane, punch through a really thick barrier, or kill a terrorist over 1,500 meters away, but the shockwave from a near miss won't kill you.