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Old August 5, 2012, 07:48 PM   #1
gtmylo
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Best .50 Rifle and Optics

I am looking to purchase my first .50, and as you can imagine I am a bit conflicted, so I am hoping for some input on rifle and optics selection...

RIFLE SELECTION QUESTIONS
While I am certainly no match shooter, I am not one to "trade up" later... I do want the best rifle with the most accuracy at the longest range, and am also concered about quality and reliability. Last, but still important comes price. I prefer to sacrifice a few extra thousand up front to get better quality and performance if needed, rather than try and move up the chain to higher quality later. However, after going back and forth on the trade off for what you get for what price, I think I have been pretty convinced that I do not need to get into the EDM Windrunner/McMillian TAC-50 price range, and after considering the Ferret50, Barret 99, and Serbu, I want to say I have more or less settled on AR-50 and think I can get everything I need out of that, being the best trade off of cost vs. accuracy, quality, etc, etc (and by ALL means, please correct me if anyone thinks otherwise). As an aside, I was also attracted to the idea that the AR-50 may have *slightly* less recoil than some others, if that is true.

So, if we are to accept the above premise (again, input is welcome) I then would like to know what people think between the standard AR-50 vs. the National Match model? Is the extra $1000 for the match chamber and barrel worth the added cost? Again, while I am not a match shooter, I am not a terrible shot, and I want to know the weapon is the most accurate it can be (and be assured that my poor skills are the reason I am not on target). Basically, I would not like the weapon to be the limiting factor should my skills ever advance to the point that I would want to participate in matches, especially if that happened before my budget grew enough to facilitate a higher dollar weapon. A related question... would the match chamber limit my ammo choices to only match ammo? I am not necessarily opposed to that as I do plan to budget for the dies to load my own as well, but I am curious to what kind of impact this choice will have on ammo options.

OPTICS QUESTIONS:
As far as optics, I have more or less decided on the Nightforce 12-42x56mm. I am debating between the benchrest model and the NXS. While I do not want to sacrifice precision, I certainly want rugged durability, leaning me more towards the NXS. That being said, it is unlikely that I will ever be "in the field" with my rifle, outside a SHTF scenario, of course, which I am certainly not coutning out. So, is the NXS worth the added cost (and is there really any sacrifice when it comes to accuracy?), or should I stick with the benchrest model? I also think I like the NP-R1, but any feedback there would also be appreciated.

Thank you in advance for reading, I know I can be a bit longwinded, but with such a high-dollar decision, I want as much help from experts like yourself in ensuring I make the right one

Thanks and all the best!
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Old August 5, 2012, 08:11 PM   #2
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Welcome to the Asylum gtmylo.

Interesting first post.

Cheers,
C
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Old August 5, 2012, 08:54 PM   #3
gtmylo
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Thanks Creeper... hopefully whatever I ultimately decide on will be able to shoot right through these padded walls, no problem
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Old August 6, 2012, 02:46 AM   #4
trg42wraglefragle
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Interesting first post for sure.

Just so you your prepared you are going to get more questions than awnsers, and about 1000 different options to consider than a 50cal.

Sooooo.....

What rifle do you currently shoot?
What range do you currently shoot at?
What range are you hoping to shoot at?
Are you only going to shoot targets?
Whats your price range?
Are you made of money?
Have you considered a .338 Lapua because its basically superior in every practical way?
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Old August 6, 2012, 07:48 AM   #5
gtmylo
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What rifle do you currently shoot? M1A for longer range, AR15 for shorter
What range do you currently shoot at? Local range 200 yds
What range are you hoping to shoot at? Possibly creating my own here on my property, but otherwise, anything here in NH at 1000+
Are you only going to shoot targets? Probably wont hunt game with it, but I do like to be prepared for anything
Whats your price range? Are you made of money? Well, not "made of money" but I have a big chunk coming in where I could, in theory, spend as much as $15K+ but that would be wholly irresponsible and very likely lead to divorce since we have plenty of obligatins, a newborn, etc, so I feel much more comfortabe "around" $5K, again, unless someone convinces me 8-9K is going to give me THAT many more benefits where it becomes "if you are going to spend 5K, you may as well spend 9K to get the full package"
Have you considered a .338 Lapua because its basically superior in every practical way? Not at the moment, already owning the M1A, I decided to go .50 for the next purchase, but I am not discounting the .338 Lapua as the next purchase after that

I appreciate the questions, and look forward to more feedback... thanks!

Last edited by gtmylo; August 6, 2012 at 08:27 AM.
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Old August 6, 2012, 01:43 PM   #6
wncchester
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"Best .50 Rifle and Optics "

Barrett and Nightforce.
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Old August 6, 2012, 03:28 PM   #7
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I believe that if you are going to drop your hard earned money down on a .50 caliber rifle - Barrett is your way to go. They have been in the .50 cal rifle game since 1980 and ever since they have put out great quality and bar raising rifles. If you do some research and reading on them and then compare them with other companies you will soon realize they're superior. With the .50 make sure you come prepared. The ammo is not the only thing that consumes your money. (Only owners of 50's know will know what that means)

I would get a Nightforce NXS 5.5-22x56. Contrary to belief - too much power is not your friend. My advice is to read read and read some more. Do research before you spend your hard earned money. Good Luck
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Old August 6, 2012, 03:48 PM   #8
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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The M99 Barrett, and AR-50 are both great choices. I went through over a year of searching and shooting every 50 Bmg I could before buying mine. I bought a Bushmaster BA50. The reason being I love the left hand bolt idea and shot a carbine model. It had very little recoil. It has the least recoil of any 50 bmg I have shot. I needed this being I have back issues and recoil causes more pain for me than most. The downfall is the weight, it weighs 34lbs. with a full 10 round magazine. The reason I picked the BA50 is I wanted a match chamber and barrel, lower recoil and magazine fed. I wanted a bolt gun and it wa between the Sig Sauer 50, McMillian Tac50 and the Bushmaster BA50. After shooting the Tac50 and Bushmaster side by side I picked the 30" barrel version of the Bushmaster. I have never thought twice about my decision. I was hell bent on buying a Barrett 107A1 until I found out that there are way better shooting 50's out there. They are ment to shoot fast. After a vist to the Outpost Armory and talking with numerous Barret salespeople, the semi auto Barretts are 1.5-3 MOA. I actually had an M95 bought and decided to let my best friend buy in due to higher recoil. But the AR-50,M99,M95,Tac50,Sig50,and Bushmaster are way better shooters than the semi Barrets. This coming from experience and from Barrett sales persons themselves.

Optics.... NightForce is a great option. If you can spring the money USO,Premier, or Schmidt & Bender would be my top picks... If not NightForce,Leupold Mk4 or Bushnell Tactical Elite are the next best. All are built tough enough to handle the 50's recoil(not so much force but the muzzle brake the breaks other scopes). When the gasses pass by the muzzle brake it forces the rifle forward and that is usually what tears the scopes up... I have no experience with the benchrest models.

If I can help answer any questions feel free to shoot me a message... I shoot 50bmgs on a monthly basis at least.


Last edited by CharlieDeltaJuliet; August 6, 2012 at 04:46 PM.
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Old August 6, 2012, 08:29 PM   #9
gtmylo
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I am all for going with the "best in class" and to be honest I was thinking Barret 99 all the way... until I read countless confirmations about its less than accurate reputation. From my research, the AR-50 is very accurate, and comes at one of the better price points. I have not counted the Barrett 99 out fully, but I would need some good reasons other than name recognition to go that route, as I am not a buy and sell later kinda guy, I tend to keep the things I buy.
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Old August 6, 2012, 11:10 PM   #10
trg42wraglefragle
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What sort of M1a have you got? What barrel length?

If I were you I would look at shooting your M1a or AR at longer range before getting a 50cal.
A lot of competitive shooters are shooting those rifles out to 1000yards.

It's going to take you a lot of practice and shooting time to get you from 200yards to 1000+.
And for every shot you are having to fire at 200-800 you could have used a much much cheaper caliber.

If I were you I would look at getting something else that is going to be cheaper to buy, cheaper to feed and a lot lighter, less recoil and less noise.
Even if I was able to shoot at 1000yards I would pick a 338 Lapua over 50cal.
Cheaper gun, cheaper ammo and easily just as capable out to a mile and possibly further.
I don't know what accuracy you can expect from an AR50 or M99, but both the AI ASWM and TRG42 in 338 are known to shoot at around 4" groups at 1000yards, If the 50s aren't reaching that then they are no way at all worth it.

Unless you just want a 50cal and want the bragging rights of owning one and have a wallet deep enough, then by all means get one.
But practically speaking I could list at least 10 calibers off the top of my head that would suit your needs better
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Old August 7, 2012, 08:50 AM   #11
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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While I disagree with trg42wraglefragle, only about the .338 being cheaper to shoot.( I agree that the M1A and AR at a longer range are fun as can be). I own one too, the cost about the same. Standard plinking ammo is $2.25-$2.50 a shot same as my 50. Both eat money fast. But the key with both is reloading. The great thing about the 50 is ammo is everywhere.. The 338 lapua is like a 416 or a 408, the ammo isnt as mass produced. Although match ammo is in plenty. I do have to admit the 50 is more fun to shoot. My .338 is a Remington and will punish me everytime I shoot it. That is the main reason I try to leave it in my safe as much as possible. My suggestion is find Federal American Eagle XM33, my local gunshop sells it for $23.99 a box.. It is accurate for ball ammo and cheap...
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Old August 7, 2012, 09:08 AM   #12
gtmylo
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Thanks to all for the input. I do realize the versatility of many other rifles, but I simply want a .50... not to say I will need the anti-material capability at a mile and a half, but as a former boy scout, i never could seem to get that motto out of my head... be prepared
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Old August 7, 2012, 10:07 AM   #13
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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There ya go. Well enjoy your rifle when you get it. I am telling you, they are a rush to shoot.



Chad
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Old August 7, 2012, 05:28 PM   #14
FrosSsT
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Quote:
I am telling you, they are a rush to shoot.
Yes. Expensive and painful the next day as well lol.
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Old August 7, 2012, 06:19 PM   #15
CharlieDeltaJuliet
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Somewhat expensive, but not painful at all... Mine, since I reload is less than $1.75 a round for ball ammo, and kicks far less than my .308. I wouldn't tarde it for anything...lol
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Old August 8, 2012, 06:21 PM   #16
tobnpr
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Quote:
Even if I was able to shoot at 1000yards I would pick a 338 Lapua over 50cal.
Yup. And at "only" 1000, I'd probably take the .300 Win Mag over the .338.
Plenty for that range...and cheaper to shoot.

But since the OP has his mind made up on the .50...

Do a search over at S.H. on this topic...a ton of information- and opinions....
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Old August 8, 2012, 08:54 PM   #17
brmfan
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Accuracy potential of the 50 bmg round

http://bulletin.accurateshooter.com/...at-1000-yards/
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Old August 9, 2012, 10:29 AM   #18
gtmylo
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I was wondering the consensus on FFP vs. SFP for optics... seems all the Nightforce NXS (except the F1, obviously) are SFP... I think I am now leaning towards the NXS 8-32x as a compromise, but I am wondering if anyone uses FFP optics, and if they consider that a significant advantage over SFP? I am guessing with the long range shots, the size of the reticle markings would obscure too much of the target to make FFP practical for 1000+, but would be interested to hear anyone's thoughts on the subject.
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Old August 9, 2012, 11:00 AM   #19
tobnpr
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You are correct.

FFP reticles can be a disadvantage for precision shooting at long range for the exact reason you mentioned.

The real advantage to FFP scopes is that the subtensions are accurate at any magnification setting. So, if you need to range with your reticle, for either hunting or target applications, this can be beneficial.

If you shoot target at known (long) ranges, an FFP scope is a disadvantage. It's common sense that a more precise poa can be established with a smaller reticle on the target.

Vortex has a good video explaining the difference:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Xgug...layer_embedded

Last edited by tobnpr; August 9, 2012 at 11:06 AM.
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Old August 9, 2012, 11:10 AM   #20
gtmylo
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Thanks tobnpr. Video was great, nice to see it illustrated as well... and that kid loves to smile
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Old August 10, 2012, 02:53 PM   #21
tobnpr
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Let us know what you end up with. I love drooling over other guys' toys...

There always seems to be the same guy with a Bushmaster .50 at the range when we're there, I've only spoken casually with him but FWIW he's definitely happy with his, but I don't know the specifics.

I do know...we keep several benches away when he's shooting

Serbu's are made locally to me, and we see them fairly regularly. Most comments are positive as an "entry level" .50, but from what I've heard you get, what you pay for, in the accuracy dept.
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Old August 10, 2012, 05:46 PM   #22
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I got one of these iver Johnson AMAC single 50's. Little over 3 grand for outfit and 300 rounds ammo. Puts a real big smile on ones face. Cheap $800. scope but has lasted so far.




http://www.50bmgstore.com/50bmgcurrentprices.htm

Last edited by Master Blaster 2; August 10, 2012 at 05:57 PM.
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Old August 11, 2012, 01:55 PM   #23
myshoulderissore
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Dear sweet baby jesus! He shoots 50BMG from a precision steel telephone pole!!!

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Old August 11, 2012, 02:09 PM   #24
tobnpr
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I thought the same thing...cripes, what a barrel...gotta weigh fifty fricking pounds...looks like he made the action, as well.

I noticed the stock looks flat and flared on the bottom...please tell me he doesn't shoot that thing free-recoil...

Homemade, lathe-turned bullets...holy crap.

Some guys, got way toooo much time and money....
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Old August 12, 2012, 05:51 PM   #25
gtmylo
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"precision steel telephone pole" ....lol
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