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I've been thinking about investing some money in something, and instead of going with another stock, bond, or "precious metal" purchase, I'm considering a different kind of "precious metal..." something in the BIG 50.

(I really wish I could search here for ".50 BMG" but that doesn't turn up anything. I've found a little info. by searching for "tripod" and "Barrett.")

 

I don't know much about them, nor do I have any buddies who have one, so I thought I'd inquire here.

 

I know there's various bolt action and semi-auto rifles, and I've discovered there are semi-auto Browning H2 and H3's on the market, too. How cool is that?!  032.gif

 

Anyone here actually own a .50 BMG please let me know the pro's and cons, care and feeding of them. I don't really need any armchair quarterbacks espousing various other calibers for the purposes of this discussion, thank you.  smile.png

No, I don't want/can't afford a full-auto!

 

I do have a pretty good idea what kind of price range this entails as well.

 

ETA: I've decided to help others like myself and make this an "informational" thread, so I'll be asking some extra questions as it evolves to help others who may have the same questions. I'll start adding links as they come up, too.

Edited by Ronin38

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I own a Barrett M99 in .50BMG.  It is a bolt action and has a bipod and Leupold glass on it.  I chose Barrett because I knew I could trust it.  I would say to consider the cost per round and make sure you have a safe place to shoot it (not all ranges can accommodate that caliber and if private property please be responsible enough to know what it takes to shoot safely).  Whenever I go to the range everyone stops what they are doing to watch me when I pull the trigger.  Not only because of the firepower but also because of the concussion wave it puts out hitting anyone\thing around it.  It is a monster to lug around and doesn't take too many shots before I am ready to move to something else.  On top of being very well made I can put pretty good groupings together at distance which is why I enjoy it.  I also shoot .50AE and 454 Casull pistols so I like the larger rounds however make sure it isn't just a novelty to you because it will be expensive up front and in the long run.  Keep an eye out on Gunbroker and you can find a good deal once in a while.  Google around for good deals on ammo as well.  Hope that helps and good luck!  Enjoy!! 

Edited by some idiot
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I've got a Bluegrass Viper single shot bolt action (it's actually a "clone" of the Barrett M-99 made by a former Barrett machinist). Living in Idaho, I have the ranges to shoot the beast, Local club has a 200/300/400/500 yard big-bore range that also has a 36" gong at 1100 yards. Accurate, fun to shoot, but many ranges will not allow the .50 and you should definitely consider that before going $5000+ into a gun and $5 a round to feed it. I've also built up a .510 whisper sub-sonic 50BMG and have an AAC Cyclops suppressor for the Whisper that I have yet to mount on the Viper. For more information, look into the Fifty Caliber Shooting Association, that web site will give you a wealth of information and they sponsor 1000 yard matches all over the country.

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Thanks guys, I'm still gathering info. ;)

 

Funny- one of my local indoor ranges (25 yds.) says their backstop can handle .50 BMG... I'm fairly sure the muzzle blast would shatter the windows along the back wall! :D

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Spider Firearms Ferret50 http://www.ferret50.com is a tack driver that has won many matches. Mine is accurate as hell, and Dave, the designer and owner is also a competitor, as well as a really nice guy.  He built mine exactly the way I wanted. 29" barrel, Shark brake, integral bipod, and a really excellent trigger. This thing is truly a match-grade gun, with a Lothar Walthar match barrel. The brake knocks the recoil down to not much more than a push, and without blowing hot muzzle gasses in my face or into the bell of my scope. Give him a call. He'll fix you up.

 

2013index1-t.jpg

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I did browse the Ferret website... For the uppers that they sell, how much recoil is generated by the .50, and would a mil-spec. adjustable stock hold up to it, or should the lower have a fixed stock? (I have one of each, my Colt HBAR II has a fixed stock.)

 

Or would it just be better all-around to get the full rifle from Ferret?

Edited by Ronin38

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The full rifle is great! I have one, and the trigger is one of the best you'll ever use.

Recoil is nothing to worry about from the Ferret50 upper, with the brake. It won't damage your lower, and a decent true .mil stock will be fine. 

Email them and they can tell you what you need. Plus, if you go with the upper, you can always add the lower later. I did.

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....A word of caution on shooting a 50....

 

DO NOT use Dominican yellow tip 50BMG ammo!!! It is BANNED at FCSA competitions due to improper storage causing high pressure which can destroy your gun.

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Good to know, I haven't researched ammo much yet...

 

What are good sources for .50 BMG ammo?

 

Is .50 reloadable (with the right equipment)? I saw one video that mentioned .50 brass can only be reloaded once?

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50 brass can be reloaded many times. Since you're loading for one gun, just trim and neck size. .mil ammo will need the primer pocket reamed or swaged before reloading.

 

pm incoming.

 

 

You'll need a MUCH better backstop for the 50 as well.

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My M99 never sees the light of day anymore. At $3.50-5.00 a round I can't justify shooting it much. Really think through how much it will cost you (base rifle, nice powerful glass, cost to feed, etc.) before buying. I'm glad I have one but if I were buying as an investment my money would have "made" more if I had bought another full auto. My M99 hasn't lost money but FA has gotten stupid expensive to buy into.

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....A word of caution on shooting a 50....

 

DO NOT use Dominican yellow tip 50BMG ammo!!! It is BANNED at FCSA competitions due to improper storage causing high pressure which can destroy your gun.

A lot of South American surplus is super iffy. A buddy has some (Venezuelan?) AP from the 50's or 60's. He won't put it through anything but an M2. Since nobody we know has an M2 right now, it just sits there in crates.

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....A word of caution on shooting a 50....

 

DO NOT use Dominican yellow tip 50BMG ammo!!! It is BANNED at FCSA competitions due to improper storage causing high pressure which can destroy your gun.

A lot of South American surplus is super iffy. A buddy has some (Venezuelan?) AP from the 50's or 60's. He won't put it through anything but an M2. Since nobody we know has an M2 right now, it just sits there in crates.

 

I'd pull it down for components.

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I've never trucked with ANY mil-surp ammo other than M-33 ball. I have no desire to screw around with AP/incendiary/tracer or other than ball. I've shot some French surplus that was corrosive, but I've shot mostly CBC and American Eagle for plinking and Hunting Shack and handloads for precision.

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Whatever you end up buying RUN AWAY from Hesse, Vulcan, Blackthorne, Velocity, whatever they call themselves next.

 

Their guns are BANNED at ALL FCSA matched due to being poorly manufactured/designed and inherently UNSAFE. Some have EXPLODED upon firing. I have seen one new example that had the action and barrel HOT GLUED into the stock. AMAZING.

 

Wanna die? Shoot one of these guns and you may meet your maker, or worse...you could live through it horribly.

 

A Hesse Arms 50 launched it's bolt rearward at an FCSA-sanctioned match at Reade Range here in PA some years ago.

 

Here's a link to the story: http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?/topic/73860-vulcan-arms/

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....A word of caution on shooting a 50....

 

DO NOT use Dominican yellow tip 50BMG ammo!!! It is BANNED at FCSA competitions due to improper storage causing high pressure which can destroy your gun.

A lot of South American surplus is super iffy. A buddy has some (Venezuelan?) AP from the 50's or 60's. He won't put it through anything but an M2. Since nobody we know has an M2 right now, it just sits there in crates.

 

I'd pull it down for components.

 

Not worth it - unless you can find obscure South American .50 BMG berdan primers, the casings are not readily reused. Sure, you could remove the depriming pin from a set of dies, and re-load the case one time with new powder - but it would seem like a waste of effort. Might as well fire it once in the weapon it's meant for.

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....A word of caution on shooting a 50....

 

DO NOT use Dominican yellow tip 50BMG ammo!!! It is BANNED at FCSA competitions due to improper storage causing high pressure which can destroy your gun.

A lot of South American surplus is super iffy. A buddy has some (Venezuelan?) AP from the 50's or 60's. He won't put it through anything but an M2. Since nobody we know has an M2 right now, it just sits there in crates.

 

I'd pull it down for components.

 

Not worth it - unless you can find obscure South American .50 BMG berdan primers, the casings are not readily reused. Sure, you could remove the depriming pin from a set of dies, and re-load the case one time with new powder - but it would seem like a waste of effort. Might as well fire it once in the weapon it's meant for.

 

The bullets alone are worth saving, at today's prices, and a LOT safer than running iffy ammo through an expensive gun that's inches from your mug.

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That's fair - but the projectiles really aren't that hard to find in my neck of the woods - and I wouldn't want to reuse the powder once I'd dumped it out of a case, even if I could get decent load data. I'd rather just dump it through something that's overbuilt for the round. I would never put that crap through a bolt-action rifle or an M82/M107.

The last guy I knew who had an M2 in the area gave almost no fucks about the quality of ammunition put through it - when he brought it out to a shoot, he'd let you put anything through it that wasn't handloaded - he just asked that you tell him if your ammo might be corrosively primed. He had piles of spare parts for the thing, that probably went with the gun when it was sold. He had several tubs filled with bags of links, at least a dozen spare barrels... If I can find another guy with the same attitude... :P

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 My M99 hasn't lost money but FA has gotten stupid expensive to buy into.

 

Yeah, I don't have that much "stupid money" to play with.  :(

Edited by Ronin38

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FYI - Last time I bought .50BMG ammo Palmetto State Armory had the best deal.   They currently have it (Federal American Eagle .50 BMG 618gr Tactical Tracer 10rds XM17C) on sale at $2.99 a round. 

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Thanks! How many ranges allow tracers, though? Would I have to check with the rifle mfr. to find out if tracer rounds are okay, any barrel warranty issues?

(Probably a dumb question, but I've never used tracers for anything before.)

 

Who knew some idiot could be so helpful?  wink.png

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To the best of my knowledge, tracers do not cause barrel wear. I've never seen a warning in any user manual saying not to use them. An incendiary squib could cause problems - a tracer, I doubt it.

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The concern with tracers is not damage to the gun, it's starting wildfires.  50 BMG tracers are designed for military and aircraft use and trace for 2500 yards.  There's a picture somewhere of a Ma Deuce firing tracers into a berm at 500 yards and they are *SPRAYING* upwards like a fountain and tracing a hundred yards upward and all the way back to the ground. Wildfire is a major issue here in SE Idaho as well as persistent 35 to 45 mph wind and I do not want to have to scramble over a field of lava flows and sagebrush to try and put out a spreading wildfire.

 

This is not the picture I had in mind - but is shows the issue:

640px-HMMWV_Tracer_Fire_dark.JPEG

Edited by blkgunlvr

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Yes, I'm well aware of the fire dangers, I just didn't know if there were any hazards to the firearm. ;)

 

I also recall a video posted here last year, where someone did start a small grass fire with some tracers. (Was that Fitty%?) They put it out quickly. :)

Edited by Ronin38

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Spider Firearms Ferret50 http://www.ferret50.com is a tack driver that has won many matches. Mine is accurate as hell, and Dave, the designer and owner is also a competitor, as well as a really nice guy.  He built mine exactly the way I wanted. 29" barrel, Shark brake, integral bipod, and a really excellent trigger. This thing is truly a match-grade gun, with a Lothar Walthar match barrel. The brake knocks the recoil down to not much more than a push, and without blowing hot muzzle gasses in my face or into the bell of my scope. Give him a call. He'll fix you up.

 

2013index1-t.jpg

 

I am starting to consider this one...  ;)

 

Question for the group- The Lower pictured here is from Ferret50, and is VERY stout, all-steel. I'd say it's worth the money, but is is about $1k as pictured.

 

We can also buy the Upper and mount it on an AR lower.

 

**Considering how many different varieties of receivers, grips and stocks there are (nearly endless!), do you guys think it would be "better" to get the lower shown, or build my own custom lower for this?

 

I know I could build one heckuva lower with $1k!  :)

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Spider Firearms Ferret50 http://www.ferret50.com is a tack driver that has won many matches. Mine is accurate as hell, and Dave, the designer and owner is also a competitor, as well as a really nice guy.  He built mine exactly the way I wanted. 29" barrel, Shark brake, integral bipod, and a really excellent trigger. This thing is truly a match-grade gun, with a Lothar Walthar match barrel. The brake knocks the recoil down to not much more than a push, and without blowing hot muzzle gasses in my face or into the bell of my scope. Give him a call. He'll fix you up.

 

2013index1-t.jpg

 

I am starting to consider this one...  wink.png

 

Question for the group- The Lower pictured here is from Ferret50, and is VERY stout, all-steel. I'd say it's worth the money, but is is about $1k as pictured.

 

We can also buy the Upper and mount it on an AR lower.

 

**Considering how many different varieties of receivers, grips and stocks there are (nearly endless!), do you guys think it would be "better" to get the lower shown, or build my own custom lower for this?

 

I know I could build one heckuva lower with $1k!  smile.png

 

You could get by for a while on an AR lower.  A friend who bought a Safety Harbor upper did this. He said to be sure to use an A2 solid stock, not an M4 adjustable and he gutted and poured lead into a 20 round mag to fill and strengthen the magwell and add some recoil absorbing weight.

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