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Old February 2, 2013, 07:42 PM   #1
SC4006
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What is shooting a .50 BMG rifle like?

Just what is it like to shoot a .50 BMG rifle? How loud are they generally, as loud as a mosin nagant M44 or louder? Also how bad is the recoil generally, I know any rifle chambered for the .50 is going to be pretty heavy but does it throw you around still? (I say generally because I am not referring to a specific model for my previous questions). Also, just for kicks, would it be difficult to shoulder fire say an AR50?
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:00 PM   #2
jason_iowa
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Shooting a Barrett semi auto was like shooting 3 1/2 mags out of a 12 gauge. They are so heavy and have nice brakes so recoil is just not that bad. They are loud and you don't want to be beside them when someone is shooting.

They are not hard to fire them from the shoulder from a recoil perspective but they are a bit unwieldy.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:06 PM   #3
allaroundhunter
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I shot an M82 about a year ago, and it was a very fun rifle to shoot. The recoil was not bad at all, a little more than my .308 Win. Muzzle blast was much larger than a Mosin Nagant.

The only other .50 BMG that I have shot a friend's and I do not remember the make or model. It was a bolt action gun, and it did recoil more than the Barrett. However, recoil still was not that bad.

The worst place to be when a .50 is being shot is not being on the trigger, it is being next to the guy who is on the trigger. The muzzle brakes push the gasses (muzzle blast) backwards and to the left and right of the shooter.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:14 PM   #4
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I've shot the M82 Barrett and an Iver Johnson 50, and I'd agree that the recoil is about equal to a full 12-gauge slug; as a bystander, though, you definitely get a strong "slap" from the muzzle blast. All of these rifles are heavy enough that you wouldn't be able to aim them offhand for more than 5 or 10 seconds, at least with any degree ofaccuracy.
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Old February 2, 2013, 08:35 PM   #5
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My favorite two are the Bushmaster BA50 and Armalite AR50. Both have light recoils. My Bushmaster has less felt recoil than my .308 Rem 700. The downfall is it is heavy and the pressure will clear your sinuses.

I have shot a majority of the 50's on the market. The two I mentioned are the lightest recoiling rifles I have found.
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Old February 2, 2013, 09:23 PM   #6
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The one I have shot gave you a good solid push, about like a shotgun but slower and far less painful. The blast from the brake will blow a full 20 ounce cold drink off the bench.
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Old February 3, 2013, 09:21 AM   #7
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A Barrett 82A1 really isn't so bad. I have shot nearly 200 rounds out of it in a day without too much discomfort which is more than I can say for a stock 870 shooting skeet. I have shot a couple bolt action .50 bmgs that even with the muzzle brakes were a bit of a kick in the pants that started in the shoulder.

As in the old Super Chicken cartoons where Super Chicken was always just off center from the explosion and got blasted but the lion sidekick at the center of the explosion was unharmed, being directly behind the rifle is the quietest place to be, most peaceful as well. You don't want to be a spotter 3 feet to the side of the shooter with a .50 BMG and proper muzzle brake. It is not a pleasant place to be.
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Old February 3, 2013, 01:07 PM   #8
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I've never had the privilege yet of being behind one.

Next to one, all the time. There's almost always at least one, and sometimes several, at the 1000 yard range we go to on the weekend.

Well, let's clarify..."next to", as in, usually staying at least a couple of benches away. If I end up near one, I always double up on my hearing protection (plugs and muffs) as they're louder to the nearby shooters than the guy driving the rifle like any rifle with a brake.

They're always courteous enough to call their shots ("fire in the hole") so you don't hit the roof if you're not expecting it.

Anyway, yeah they're loud as you'd expect. But what makes them really different (you can easily tell a .50 from the parking lot) is the concussion. They go "boom"... not "bang"...
You feel it clear through your chest, like you just shot ten pounds of tannerite in front of you.
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Old February 3, 2013, 02:41 PM   #9
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Cool, thanks everyone, answered my question perfectly. Closest I've come is only being able to see a Barrett M82 and an AR50, both of which were for sale at my local gun shop for a good amount. Partly the reason I was asking about .50 BMG rifles is because MAYBE someday I'd like to own one. The AR50 seems like a good choice because it's fairly cheap compared to others, and I wouldn't want to spend too much on just a novelty gun. What do you guys think?
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Old February 3, 2013, 03:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
The AR50 seems like a good choice because it's fairly cheap compared to others, and I wouldn't want to spend too much on just a novelty gun. What do you guys think?
If you have the money to do it, and have a range nearby that you can stretch its legs (like, 1,000 yds +), then go for it! They are, IMO, a very fun rifle to shoot (and someday I will own one as well).
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Old February 3, 2013, 04:26 PM   #11
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FYI, a little birdie told me Armalite is revamping the AR50 to be magazine fed. They recently did this with the AR30. Trust me on this, the Barrett 82 and 107 are both awesome rifles, but the accuarcy will not rival the AR50, BA50, McMillian Tac50..etc.. The Bolt Barrett's are much better for accuracy, the M99 & M95..
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Old February 3, 2013, 09:00 PM   #12
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I let my ar50 go, not because of accuracy or recoil. armalites' muzzle break works awesome. the escaping gases will clear the bench of your staple gun, binoculars or scope caps lol.
....the biggest problem you will have is to find a club that allows their use at extended range. after shooting it at 100 or 200 yards it becomes mundane. you need at least 500 yards plus to really enjoy its capabilities. fwiw, bobn
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Old February 4, 2013, 03:48 AM   #13
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Agreed. I've shot a friend's at our 400yd range and even at that range it seemed pointless. It's truly a 1000yd rifle.
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Old February 4, 2013, 05:24 PM   #14
SC4006
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Quote:
FYI, a little birdie told me Armalite is revamping the AR50 to be magazine fed.
That's great, that was one of the things I didn't originally like about the AR50, being a single shot. Its not that big of a deal but i'd still prefer a magazine fed .50 over a single shot.

As for a range to bring it to if I get an AR50 someday, there are no 1000 yard ranges around here, but I know of one that is 500 yards and it is pretty close to where I live.
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Old February 5, 2013, 12:21 AM   #15
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As for a range to bring it to if I get an AR50 someday, there are no 1000 yard ranges around here, but I know of one that is 500 yards and it is pretty close to where I live.
IMO, it wouldn't be worth it.... 500 yards is not really "pushing" the .50 BMG. For shooting at 500 yards, there are 6mm and 6.5mm rounds that would be more fun to shoot. You could shoot more of them, and you could make yourself a very nice custom rifle for the price of a .50 BMG.
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Old February 5, 2013, 07:47 AM   #16
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.50 bmg

ar-50 muzzle brake is the best in my opinion. had the pleasure of shooting 2 different brands before and after brake change. i was genuinely amazed at the difference
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Old February 5, 2013, 08:41 AM   #17
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BR

I was invited to shoot one while at the range sometime ago. I didn't ask what brand it was. The gun was modular - the owner assembled it at his bench. Quite a heavy barrel and a brake as big as a grapefruit. It was on a return to battery rest and mounted a very nice scope. The bullets used were lathe turned and each piece of brass indexed to the breech.
I do not recall the recoil as anything out of the ordinary. What I do remember is thinking that my shotgun had more felt recoil.
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Old February 5, 2013, 04:37 PM   #18
chris in va
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I liken it to your 6'4" 250# best friend giving you a "you're full of it" shove to the shoulder.
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Old February 5, 2013, 05:27 PM   #19
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Never noticed the recoil, I was to busy looking at the hole in the 200 yard berm where a clay pigeon had been. Before that I had been shooting my brothers 7MM Rem mag and my 300 Wby Mag and there was no way the 50 was anywhere close to those two rifles. I will say that the owner of this particular gun had it zeroed in right nicely.
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Old February 6, 2013, 08:25 PM   #20
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Recoil wise? Like a 7Rem mag without a brake. Noise wise? Like standing beside a DEFTEC going off.
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Old February 6, 2013, 10:54 PM   #21
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As far as recoil goes, I've had a few pre-teens shoot my Windrunner w/o any affect beyond a HUGE grin. It all depends on the brake and gun weight. It's all cool if you're not in the blast zone of the particular brake. I can shoot w/o my shoulder touching the butt pad, but I wouldn't try that with some rifles out there. FWIW, I try to always have some 'blaster' ammo with me so interested parties can shoot my gun. I let young kids keep their brass for a souvenir.
Fifties are addictive in a big way.
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Old February 7, 2013, 12:11 AM   #22
KO3422
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It's loud. Just ask a guy who just had the cheap foam plugs at the time. Recoil wasn't tough and brutal either. Gun was heavy as hell though.
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Old February 7, 2013, 07:31 AM   #23
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I always enjoy the large fountain of dirt that gets hurled into the air when the round impacts the berm!
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Old February 7, 2013, 08:46 AM   #24
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The serbu I shot was easy enough to shoot from the kneeling position. The first one I lit off, I flinched. I admit it. It's a .50! However, after that, I realized that rifle that heavy is a pussycat. I've fired .45-70s that kicked WAY worse.
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Old February 7, 2013, 06:14 PM   #25
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A friend (gun shop owner) let another guy shoot his and the guy didn't have hearing protection on. He COULD NOT HEAR for two days afterward! Wear hearing protection!
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