October 31st, 2017

Halloween Pumpkin Blasting — Don’t Try This at Home

Halloween Wallpaper explosion pumpkin
Image from WallpapersBuzz.

Today is October 31st, Halloween (originally “All Hallows Eve”). That means it’s pumpkin time. Just how much fun can you have with pumpkins? Watch these two videos and find out. In the first video, the RatedRR team sends a few orange gourds to pumpkin heaven using Det Cord, C4, and binary explosives. The sequence starting at the 2:00 minute mark in the first video is truly amazing. WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

Watch Pumpkin Blasting with Explosives

In the next video, a pumpkin carved as a Death Star serves as the target for a .50 caliber rifle (looks like a Barrett M82 .50 BMG). As you may guess, the pumpkin Death Star suffers the same fate as the Hollywood version in Star Wars. NOTE: At the 0:42 mark in the video, a graphic displays “30,000 FPS”. That’s the high-speed camera’s frame-per-second rate, NOT the projectile velocity in feet-per-second.

Watch .50 BMG Rifle vs. Death Star Pumpkin

Warning: These demonstrations were carried out on closed ranges by experienced professionals certified to use explosives. Possession of C4 and Det Cord may be a violation of various Federal, State, and local laws. Detonating cord and C4 are classified as high explosives and are regulated by the BATFE. Don’t even think about trying to repeat these stunts on your own.

Permalink - Videos No Comments »
September 12th, 2017

Care and Feeding of .50 BMGs — What You Need to Know

fifty caliber shooting association

A while back we published an Introduction to .50-Caliber Shooting authored by James Patterson. James has written a companion piece for Sinclair’s Reloading Press that covers the “care and feeding” of the big .50 Cal match rifles.

50 BMG FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Owning and Feeding ‘The Big Bore’

Is The Challenge Of Big Bore Extreme Range Shooting And Hunting Right For You?
By James Patterson

Handling a 50 BMG
Is a 50 BMG caliber rifle difficult to shoot? Not at all. The relatively heavy weight of a standard rifle at 30 pounds or more combined with a very efficient muzzle brake makes it a pleasure to shoot. The typical recoil can be compared to a .243 rifle or a 12 gauge trap load. On the other hand, the burning of a typical load of 230 grains of powder combined with that muzzle brake makes the muzzle blast experience exhilarating. A first time shooter will fire, pause for a moment in awe at the muzzle blast, and then break out into what has become known as “The 50 caliber Grin”, almost impossible to wipe from ones face. My daughter started competing with the 50 BMG at 18 (115 lbs of tall skinny girl) and happily shoots 100+ rounds in the course of a match, her grin on the last round is as wide as on the first! Many members and competitors in the FCSA are women and many have distinguished themselves as excellent marksman having set world records on numerous occasions.

50 BMG Fifty Caliber Shooting Association

Fifty 50 Caliber shooting Association

Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $7000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A good scope will set you back $500 to $1500. And while excellent commercial ammo is available it runs from $3 to $5 a round. Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo. I recently compared the cost of my hobby — owning, shooting, and competing with the 50 BMG — with a friend whose hobby is snowmobiling. Factoring in the cost of equipment, licensing, gasoline, clothing, etc. it was soon obvious that my hobby was significantly less expensive than his.

50 BMG FCSA Fifty Caliber

50 BMG FCSA fifty Caliber

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Getting Started
FCSA 50 BMG Fifty Caliber Shooting AssociationSo how does one get started? You could do as I did, purchase a rifle not knowing what you were really getting into; or you could come out to a FCSA-sponsored event, shoot a number of different rifles, rub shoulders with those who have already taken the plunge, and see if this sport is right for you. While membership in the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FSCA) is required to compete at a FSCA event, membership is not required to come and experience first hand what is going on. If you have any inclination that you are interested in the extreme sport of long rang, big bore shooting then a year’s membership in the FCSA is only $60 ($20 for active duty military) a significant bargain if it helps you make just one well-informed equipment choice. In addition one of the primary functions of the FCSA is helping to identify active members near you who can help you understand just what is involved and help you ‘get your feet wet’ in this challenging sport.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Photos courtesy FCSA Photo Gallery.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gunsmithing No Comments »
June 4th, 2017

Ammo Special: Cartridge Cutaways from Fog Ammunition

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

Here’s something you don’t see every day — the inside of loaded cartridges, sliced halfway through. This lets you see how bullet core, jacket, cartridge case, powder, and primer all fit together. Give credit to the folks at FOG Ammunition for creating this interesting series of cut-through ammo images. We show four cartridges here: the .308 Winchester, 9mm Luger, 300 BLK, and .50 BMG. You’ll find two more (the .223 Remington and .45 ACP) at www.FogAmmo.com.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

This .308 Winchester model took on a different approach by only cutting the brass case and displaying the full bullet, primer and powder load. A spec amount of powder was used to create the model powder form. An estimated 10% volume was added during the forming process, along with an undetermined amount of air pockets.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

This bisection is a 9mm Jacketed Hollow Point round with flake powder held together with super glue. After this self-defense round was cut by a trained professional the round was polished by hand. This might look like stick powder, but those are in fact flakes stacked up in cross-section. Designed in 1901 by Georg Luger, this popular cartridge is used by civilians, military, and law enforcement.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

For this model of the .300 AAC Blackout (aka 300 BLK), a Dremel tool was used to create a pie cut within the bullet and brass case. A measured amount of power, roughly 65% of spec charge, was placed inside the case with super glue. This cartridge was originally optimized for subsonic use with a suppressor, so the amount of powder used is small relative to the nominal case capacity. That leaves more room for the relatively large .30-caliber bullet.

sliced cutaway ammo ammunition FOG diagram

Last but definitely not least is the .50 Caliber BMG round (aka .50 Browning Machine Gun). Famed for its wartime use in the M2 Machine gun, the .50 BMG round is also used in civilian Long Range competitions. A typical .50 BMG cartridge holds over 225 grains of powder. That’s almost ten times the amount in a 5.56×45 NATO Round!

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
May 2nd, 2017

Supersized BAT Sighted at Bruno Shooters Supply

BAT 50 BMG Action

BAT .50 BMG Model EX– Now That’s an Action!, by GAS
A while back, I stopped into Bruno Shooters Supply for a jug of powder and looked into the display case where the new actions are kept. Amid the usual array of BAT Machine, Kelbly and other actions, there was something unlike any action I’d seen before — all I can call it is the BIG BAT (It’s officially the BAT Model EX 2.5). I wasn’t too surprised at the weight (a beefy 13.7 lbs.), but until you lift it it’s hard to appreciate how solid, chunky, hefty, massive (pick your favorite adjective) this thing really is. The action is a 2.5″-diameter, 12″-long BAT for the .50 BMG cartridge. It is simply the biggest, slickest custom action on the planet. In order to give you some sense of scale, I photographed the action alongside a conventional BAT action for short-range Benchrest shooting and I put a .220 Russian case and a .30-06 case into the picture. I’ve handled and fired other .50 BMG actions/rifles before, but this BAT puts them all to shame, as far as fit and finish go.

BAT 50 BMG Action

The action is actually quite conventional in design and execution. The bolt is fluted and has two front lugs with a conventional, although super-sized, firing pin assembly. Any Remington-style trigger will mount by way of a normal trigger hanger, allowing for simplified maintenance or replacement in the field. The loading port is 5.5″ long and the barrel threads are 1.5″ x 16 tpi — nothing about this beast is small! There is a conventional rocker-type bolt release on the left side of the receiver body and a recoil lug is built into the bottom of the receiver. In reality, the action is very similar to any other BAT except for the size and it adheres to all of BAT’s high standards for quality of design, manufacture, fit, finish and just plain good looks. Slide that bolt back and it feels as tight as a small Benchrest action!

BAT 50 BMG Action

Given the BIG BAT’s $3,125.00 sticker price (before options), not many of us will ever have the opportunity to own or shoot one of these beauties (I certainly won’t). However, it is nice to know they exist and can be bought and enjoyed in many places. CLICK HERE for BAT EX configuration options.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
April 6th, 2017

Going Big (.338 and Beyond) — Big Bore Basics with Bryan Litz

Big Bore Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics .416 Barrett .376 CheyTac .408 CheyTac .50 BMG BC Solid Bullets

In this video Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics offers tips on Big Bore shooting (i.e. .338 caliber and above). Bryan offers advice on bullet selection and he explains the challenge of handling the blast, noise, concussion, and recoil of big boomers such as the .416 Barrett and .50 BMG.

Bryan goes big … very big, shooting a monster .50 BMG bullpup.
Watch the recoil pulse shove Bryan backwards at 1:40 time-mark:

Big Bore Basics — Tips for Shooting Big Boomers by Bryan Litz
There are some unique things to consider with big-bore shooting. One is bullet design. For long-range shooting you want high-BC bullets. You get high BC from heavy bullets and bullets that have low drag. The interesting trade-off in big calibers is that there are a lot more lathe-turned solid bullets in copper and brass available than there are in the smaller calibers. You’ve got bullets that have slightly lower drag profiles but they are made of materials that are slightly less dense (than lead) so they are relatively light for their caliber. With that trade-off, the BCs might not be as high as you think for big calibers, although the bullets are heavy enough that they carry a lot of energy.

Energy really has a lot to do with shooting these big-caliber rifles. As with any kind of shooting, the fundamentals of marksmanship are the most important thing. However, it can be hard to maintain good fundamentals (e.g. trigger control and sight alignment) when you’re burning 100 grains of powder. There’s a lot of concussion (you want a muzzle brake no matter what your cartridge is above .338). It certainly can be challenging with all the muzzle blast and all the energy coming out of the barrel.

For long-range shooting with big bore rifles, you are still looking for the same things that you want with smaller-caliber rigs. You want a high-performance bullet, you want consistent ammunition, and you want a good fire solution to be able to center your group at long range. Basically you’re just dealing with the challenges that the high energy brings, and being smart about your bullet selection.

Big Bore Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics .416 Barrett .376 CheyTac .408 CheyTac .50 BMG BC Solid Bullets

In the video above, Bryan is shooting the DesertTech HTI bullpup. This rifle can shoot four (4) big bore chamberings, with barrel conversion kits for: .375 CheyTac, .408 CheyTac, .416 Barrett, and .50 BMG. These can be quickly swapped in the HTI chassis, which employs an internal barrel-clamp system.

Big Bore Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics .416 Barrett .376 CheyTac .408 CheyTac .50 BMG BC Solid Bullets

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
April 1st, 2017

.17 Incinerator — Ultimate Varmint Cartridge with Mach 5 Speed

.17 Caliber Incinerator Wildcat Varmint cartridge

In the world of varmint cartridges, it’s all about speed. Higher velocity delivers flatter trajectories, and more dramatic impacts on critters. To achieve higher speeds, handloaders have experimented with many extreme wildcats — big cases necked down to a smaller calibers. Here we present what may be the most extreme wildcat cartridge of all, the .17 Incinerator — a .50 BMG necked down to .17 caliber. Created by Ammo-One, a custom cartridge company, the .17 Incinerator offers blistering performance. The special lathe-turned 33gr projectiles* exit the barrel at 5883 Feet Per Second — that’s over Mach 5, five times the speed of sound.

Mach 5 is 3836.35 mph at sea level, which equates to 5626.64 Feet Per Second (FPS). The remarkable .17 Incinerator achieves this stunning velocity by burning over 230 grains of powder in a highly modified .50 BMG case. The velocity of this cartridge (still well over Mach 5 at 100 yards) delivers an incredible amount of energy on target. A hit literally vaporizes a varmint, as you can see from the image below.

.17 Caliber Incinerator Wildcat Varmint cartridge
For more dramatic varmint images, visit www.FogAmmo.com.

It takes a special barrel to shoot the .17 Incinerator. Kent Wilson of Ammo-One, who helped develop this extreme wildcat, explains: “The speeds are so great we had to use a custom 3-groove, polygonal-rifling 1:20″-twist barrel to keep the bullets from disintegrating on launch. The polygonal land/groove geometry reduces bullet engraving, which also helps keep the bullets in one piece. Also we must use solids — regular jacketed bullets can’t handle these speeds”.

Even More Speed — the .17 Incinerator Improved
While the .17 Incinerator is commercially available, there is an even more extreme “Improved” version of this case, with a radical 50-degree shoulder that yields even greater case capacity. The .17 Incinerator Improved (17 IN-IMP), shown below, can hold 20 grains more powder, promising velocities approaching Mach 5.5 or 6189.3 FPS. Now that’s really cookin’!

Incinerator .17 Caliber varmint wildcat cartridge

*Because of the ultra-high velocity generated by the .17 Incinerator, solid bullets must be used. Conventional jacketed projectiles would disintegrate before they reached the target.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting 18 Comments »
December 10th, 2016

Beast in the Works — New ELR Stock from McMillan

Kelly McMillan ELR fiberglass stock gunstock KO2M 50 BMG Cheytac
Kelly McMillan with his lastest creation — the “ELR Beast”.

The design team at McMillan Fiberglass Stocks is working on a new heavy-duty stock for the Extreme Long Range (ELR) game. This beefy gunstock is designed to handle the heavy torque and recoil of big-caliber cartridges such as the .408 Cheytac and .50 BMG. The stock is also designed to balance the ultra-long barrels favored by ELR shooters and King of 2 Mile competitors. Shown above is the boss-man himself, Kelly McMillan, with the new ELR stock prototype. Kelly calls this “the ELR Beast”. Note how the cheekpiece is slotted to allow unimpeded movement of the extra-long bolt.

Kelly McMillan ELR fiberglass stock gunstock KO2M 50 BMG Cheytac

Kelly tells us: “Making headway on the ELR Beast. Using Paul Phillips’s barrel and action we have been able to make some progress in both the design and the cosmetics of the stock. I am pleased with where we are at this time. As is, this set up weighs 46 pounds, I suspect we can get this stock to weigh between 8 and 9 pounds maximum, and maybe 5 pounds minimum.”

Kelly McMillan ELR fiberglass stock gunstock KO2M 50 BMG Cheytac

Permalink New Product, Tactical 4 Comments »
December 9th, 2016

.50-Caliber Christmas — Busting Xmas Ornaments with a Barrett

This 50 Cal Days of Christmas video features some fantastic slow-motion footage of a Barrett .50 Caliber M82. This bad boy pumps out some serious muzzle flash. Watch carefully at the 1:05 mark and you can see the .50-caliber projectile exit the muzzle brake and spin through the ball of smoke and flame. For best viewing, you may want to change your video settings to 720p or 1080p High Definition and view full-screen (using the video controls).

50 Caliber Barrett slow motion Christmas

The video carries “overkill” to the max, as the shooter uses his big Barrett to blast Christmas ornaments and a snow-globe. To top things off, at the 2:50 mark, the shooter fires the .50 cal at a pyro-equipped gingerbread house. (The gingerbread shot is taken from a standing hold no less!) The results (at 3:22) are impressive — gingerbread house becomes flaming gingerbread pudding.

50 Caliber Barrett slow motion Christmas

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo No Comments »
October 27th, 2016

Jerry Miculek Carves a Pumpkin with a Barrett .50 BMG

Last October, the legendary Jerry Miculek won the Trijicon Shooting Challenge at the Rockcastle Shooting Center. That impressive victory earned Jerry big bucks — a $50,000 grand prize. By any measure, that’s some serious cash — mucho dinero.

To celebrate his Trijicon Challenge victory last October, Jerry Miculek decided to do some pumpkin carving — with a .50 BMG Barrett rifle.

Shooting the 30-lb rifle off-hand, Jerry blasted some serious holes in Mr. Pumpkin. Needless to say, the results were dramatic, if somewhat messy. Advancing the science of terminal ballistics, Jerry (not surprisingly) confirmed that “the 663-grain bullet did manage to penetrate the pumpkin all the way.”

Jerry Miculek earned $50,000 as the winner of the 2015 Trijicon Challenge.
Trijicon Challenge Miculek

Permalink - Videos, News No Comments »
September 10th, 2016

Photogenic Fifties — FCSA Photo Galleries

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

Are you a died-in-the-wool .50 BMG fan? Got a hankerin’ for heavy artillery? Then visit the FCSA Photo Gallery page. There you’ll find hundreds of photos from Fifty Caliber Shooting Association (FCSA) matches and 50 Cal fun shoots in eleven states plus Australia, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. To access the photos from the Gallery Page, start by selecting a state/country and then click on the colored buttons for the event date (e.g. 2015-04).

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

Photo sets go all the way back to 2002, so you can see the evolution of the hardware over the years. Sample multiple archives to see the differences in terrain from one range to another — from Raton’s alpine setting to the hot, dry Nevada desert. This Gallery is really a treasure-trove of .50-Cal history. Here are a few sample images.

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

FCSA 50 Caliber Photo Gallery

Story Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
May 6th, 2016

Firepower Friday — Gau-19/B .50-Cal Gatling Gun

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamics

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamicsHey it’s the end of the work week, so we thought you guys might enjoy a little display of honest-to-goodness American .50-Cal firepower. Today’s video features the General Dynamics GAU-19/B Gatling, shown in a vehicle mount (Part 1) and helicopter side-mount (Part 2). The HumVee-mounted version of this bad boy delivers 1300 rounds per minute of .50 BMG ammo. The effect is awesome to behold. We wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of a GAU. The original GAU-19/A had a selectable rate of fire — either 1,000 or 2,000 rounds per minute. The GAU-19/B, introduced in 2012, provides the same firepower in a much lighter platform, weighing 106 pounds (not counting ammo storage systems).

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamics

Gau-19/B 19/A .50 50 Caliber Gatling gun general dynamics

Permalink - Videos, News 4 Comments »
December 24th, 2015

Crazy Days of Christmas — Having Fun with a .50 BMG

50 Caliber Barrett slow motion Christmas
50 Caliber Barrett slow motion Christmas

What could be more fun than decorating a Christmas tree? Well how about busting Xmas ornaments with a .50 BMG. Boys will be boys, right? This 50 Cal Days of Christmas video features some fantastic slow-motion footage of a Barrett .50 Caliber M82. This bad boy pumps out some serious muzzle flash. Watch carefully at the 1:05 mark and you can see the .50-caliber projectile exit the muzzle brake and spin through the ball of smoke and flame.

The video carries “overkill” to the max, as the shooter uses his big Barrett to blast Christmas ornaments and a snow-globe. To top things off, at the 2:50 mark, the shooter fires the .50 cal at a pyro-equipped gingerbread house. (The gingerbread shot is taken from a standing hold no less!) The results (at 3:22) are impressive — gingerbread house becomes flaming gingerbread pudding.

Permalink - Videos, Tactical 1 Comment »
September 2nd, 2015

Miculek Shoots Six .50 BMG Rounds, Offhand, in Under 1 Second!

Jerry Miculek 50 BMG offshand speed shooting record

Legendary shooter Jerry Miculek holds multiple world records, and has amassed over 80 major championship titles. He is considered “one of the fastest trigger fingers” on the planet. In this video, Jerry puts his skills to the test, using a Barrett m82A1 .50 BMG in a timed speed run. Watch the video, starting at the 1:20 mark, to see this amazing speed run.

Watch Miculek Shoot .50 BMG Offhand. Action Starts at 1:20:

Jerry shoots six (6) .50 BMG rounds in under one second (0.98 to be precise). And Jerry did that standing (offhand) without a rest. What can you say… the man is a beast.

If you look carefully, in this frame you can see a .50-Cal bullet in flight forward of the muzzle brake.
Jerry Miculek 50 BMG offshand speed shooting record

Jerry was a bit apprehensive at first: “This is by far the most horsepower I’ve had in my hands ever in my life. So the learning curve is going to be kind of really abrupt.” But as he shoulders the big Barrett and gets ready to punch six rounds on the clock, Jerry gets enthusiastic: “This is going to be fun guys … six rounds .50 BMG … Time to rock and roll!”

After filming this video, Jerry did more drills with the Barrett and he actually brought down his split times. Jerry reports: “I managed to get it down to 0.16 splits and I outran the bolt a few times. You can actually see that in the closing slow-motion footage. You just can’t expect such a massive gun to cycle as quick as a 1911 or your M&P/ Glock type pistols unfortunately.”

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills 3 Comments »
August 6th, 2015

Long and Strong — The New McMillan Super 50 BR Stock

super 50 BR stock McMillan

McMillan Stocks has released an updated version of its .50-Cal benchrest stock. The new Super 50 BR features an extended-length “wheelbase” with machined aluminum lower surfaces for stiffness and improved tracking. In the video below, Kelly McMillan reviews the features of the new Super 50 BR:

The notable features of the new Super 50 benchrest stock are machined aluminum shoes on the bottom of the forearm and buttstock. These are machined true to each other for perfect alignment in the bags. The removable forearm shoe is available in either a 3.5” or 5” width. This is significant. Kelly McMillan explains: “You’ll be able to shoot this same stock in different classes just by changing the forearm shoe, and that’s something you can do in a match if you want.”

McMillan Super 50 Benchrest stock

Engineered to be Super-Strong with Minimal Flex
With the interlocking design of the foreand (with 90° blocks that interlock with the aluminum shoe), this is a very rigid stock. In fact, Kelly says: “We’ve molded several 90° angles [into the fiberglass section] that actually increases the stiffness in addition to the stiffness that the aluminum offers. We think this is probably the stiffest fore-end on any stock that we’ve ever made.”

This Super 50 BR stock is approximately 44” long and has a forearm about 20.75” long from the front of the action. And if that’s not long enough, the forward “shoe” can be machined up to 6″ longer to extend the “wheelbase” even further. This stock has a minimum weight of about 9 pounds in Light Gun configuration and a max weight of about 18 pounds (for the stock itself) as a Heavy Gun stock. The Super 50 BR is an ambidextrous design that may be inletted and used both right and left-handed.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
June 8th, 2015

Introduction to the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA)

50 BMG cartridge FCSA

30th Annual FCSA Championship Coming Soon
The 30th Annual FCSA 1000/600 Yard World Championship will be held July 3 through 5, 2015 at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. CLICK HERE to REGISTER.

By James Patterson
This article first appeared in Sinclair International’s Reloading Press Blog

For a number of years I drooled over every .50 BMG caliber rifle that I came across, I read every article I could find and determined that ‘Someday’ I was going to have one. Well I finally took the plunge and in 2002 I purchased my first ‘Big 50’. Almost immediately I joined the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) and I have since come to immensely enjoy shooting this challenging cartridge and associating with some of the best people on earth.

(more…)

Permalink - Articles, Competition 1 Comment »
May 19th, 2015

King of Two Miles Event in New Mexico

Long Range 2500 yards Whittington King of Two Miles

Long Range 2500 yards Whittington King of Two Miles1000 yards? Heck, for these KO2M guys, that’s just a warm-up — they plan to shoot out to 2500 yards and beyond. A new ultra-long-range event will be held this summer in New Mexico at the NRA Whittington Center. The King of Two Miles (KO2M) match will be held on July 1-2, 2015, right before the Fifty Caliber Shooters Assocation (FCSA) 1000-yard World Championships. If you like hurling big projectiles at very long ranges, Whittington is the place to be in July. The KO2M event is “wide-open” — any caliber is allowed and rifle size/weight is limited only by the shooter’s ability to lift the gun himself. Rifles will be shot prone with bipod.

Two Miles (Well Not Quite)
The name of the event is a bit of a misnomer, as the max range will be roughly 2500 yards. That’s WAY less than a full two miles (3520 yards). KO2M organizers do plan to go all the way out to two miles in the future, but they say their target and spotting technology isn’t up to that yet. Accordingly, the 2015 course of fire will include steel and electronic targets placed at known distances from 1000 to roughly 2500 yards. Next year, hopefully, the max range will be extended to over two miles, but, for now: “Current optical systems do not allow that.”

(more…)

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
May 11th, 2015

Gun TECH: DARPA Unveils Guided EXACTO .50 Caliber Projectiles

DARPA exactor guided bullet .50 fifty caliber sniper rifle

In the not-too-distant future, U.S. military snipers may be able to steer bullets right to the target, thanks to DARPA, the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency. Believe it or not, DARPA has developed a guided .50-caliber projectile fired from a conventional rifle action. DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and steer the projectile to the target. Inside EXACTO bullets are optical guidance systems, aero-actuation controls, and multiple sensors. The top-secret technology permits the trajectory of the bullet to be altered in flight, allowing the bullet to move left or right, or even fly in an arc around an obstacle.

DARPA exactor guided bullet .50 fifty caliber sniper rifle

EXACTO VIDEO AFTER READ MORE LINK!

(more…)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
April 16th, 2015

Monster .950 JDJ Cartridge with 3600gr Bullet Dwarfs a .50 BMG

Are you bored with your “whimpy” .50 BMG? Looking for something with a little more punch? Well J.D. Jones and his team at SSK Industries have created a truly big boomer — the .950 JDJ. As its name implies, rifles chambered for the cartridge have a bore diameter of 0.950″ (24.13 mm). This would normally make such rifles “destructive devices” under the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA). However, SSK obtained a “Sporting Use” exemption allowing the rifles to be sold without special restrictions as destructive devices. CLICK HERE to watch .950 JDJ being fired.

.950 JDJ Specifications
Rifle Cost: $8000.00
Ammunition Cost: $40.00 per round
Projectile Weight: 3,600 grains (more than half a pound)
Rifle Weight: Between 80 and 120 pounds
Muzzle Energy: 38,685 ft/lbs (52,450 Joules)
Momentum: 154.1 Newton-seconds

As crafted by SSK Industries, .950 JDJ rifles use McMillan stocks and very large-diameter Krieger barrels fitted with a massive 18.2-lb muzzle brakes. The ammo produced by SSK features solid 3,600 grain bullets and CNC-machined cartridge brass. It is also possible (through a lot of work), to use a 20mm cannon casing shortened and necked-down.The primer pocket is swaged out to accept a .50 cal machine gun primer. That 3,600 grain bullet is just massive — it weighs more than half a pound. The cartridge propels its 3,600 grain bullet at approximately 2,200 fps. This yields a muzzle energy of 38,685 ft-lbs and a momentum of 154.1 Newton-seconds. The energy on target (knock-down power) is comparable to WWI-era tank rounds.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 5 Comments »
October 20th, 2014

Care and Feeding of the 50 BMG — A Look at Big Bore Shooting

A while back we published an Introduction to .50-Caliber Shooting authored by James Patterson. James has written a companion piece for Sinclair’s Reloading Press that covers the “care and feeding” of the big .50 Cal match rifles.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Owning and Feeding ‘The Big Bore’

Is The Challenge Of Big Bore Extreme Range Shooting And Hunting Right For You?
By James Patterson

Handling a 50 BMG
Is a 50 BMG caliber rifle difficult to shoot? Not at all. The relatively heavy weight of a standard rifle at 30 pounds or more combined with a very efficient muzzle brake makes it a pleasure to shoot. The typical recoil can be compared to a .243 rifle or a 12 gauge trap load. On the other hand, the burning of a typical load of 230 grains of powder combined with that muzzle brake makes the muzzle blast experience exhilarating. A first time shooter will fire, pause for a moment in awe at the muzzle blast, and then break out into what has become known as “The 50 caliber Grin”, almost impossible to wipe from ones face. My daughter started competing with the 50 BMG at 18 (115 lbs of tall skinny girl) and happily shoots 100+ rounds in the course of a match, her grin on the last round is as wide as on the first! Many members and competitors in the FCSA are women and many have distinguished themselves as excellent marksman having set world records on numerous occasions.

50 BMG

Cost of Big-Bore Shooting
Is owning and shooting a 50 BMG caliber rifle expensive? Relatively speaking yes, but one must put it into perspective. Rifles may run from $2500 to $7000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. A good scope will set you back $500 to $1500. And while excellent commercial ammo is available it runs from $3 to $5 a round. Most serious shooters start reloading for the rifle as soon as practical, not only for the economics of reloading but also for the ability to fine tune custom ammo for their specific rifle. It’s a very rare match that is won shooting commercial ammo. I recently compared the cost of my hobby — owning, shooting, and competing with the 50 BMG — with a friend whose hobby is snowmobiling. Factoring in the cost of equipment, licensing, gasoline, clothing, etc. it was soon obvious that my hobby was significantly less expensive than his.

50 BMG

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Getting Started
FCSA 50 BMG Fifty Caliber Shooting AssociationSo how does one get started? You could do as I did, purchase a rifle not knowing what you were really getting into; or you could come out to a FCSA-sponsored event, shoot a number of different rifles, rub shoulders with those who have already taken the plunge, and see if this sport is right for you. While membership in the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FSCA) is required to compete at a FSCA event, membership is not required to come and experience first hand what is going on. If you have any inclination that you are interested in the extreme sport of long rang, big bore shooting then a year’s membership in the FCSA is only $60 ($20 for active duty military) a significant bargain if it helps you make just one well-informed equipment choice. In addition one of the primary functions of the FCSA is helping to identify active members near you who can help you understand just what is involved and help you ‘get your feet wet’ in this challenging sport.

FCSA 50 Caliber 50 BMG

Photos courtesy FCSA Photo Gallery.
Permalink - Articles, Competition 14 Comments »
July 22nd, 2014

DARPA Demonstrates First-Ever Guided .50-Caliber Rifle Bullets

DARPA Exacto .50 Caliber guided bulletImagine if you could “steer” your bullet to the target, after the projectile leaves the muzzle. That has been a dream of marksmen ever since the first rifle was invented. Well that dream is now one step closer to reality, thanks to America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

DARPA has developed a manueverable .50-caliber rifle bullet. DARPA’s Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) program recently conducted the first successful live-fire tests demonstrating in-flight guidance of .50-caliber bullets. Inside EXACTO bullets are optical guidance systems, aero-actuation controls, and multiple sensors. The top-secret technology permits the trajectory of the bullet to be altered in flight, allowing the bullet to move left or right, or even fly in an arc around an obstacle.

DARPA has released a video showing EXACTO 50-caliber bullets in flight. Watch carefully and you will see the tracked trajectory appear to bend off in one direction in the last segment of the bullet’s flight. Here is the DARPA Video:

According to DARPA: “This video shows EXACTO rounds maneuvering in flight to hit targets that are offset from where the sniper rifle is initially aimed. EXACTO’s specially-designed ammunition and real-time optical guidance system help track and direct projectiles to their targets by compensating for weather, wind, target movement, and other factors that could impede successful aim.”

DARPA Exacto .50 Caliber guided bullet

DARPA states: “For military snipers, acquiring moving targets in unfavorable conditions, such as high winds and dusty terrain commonly found in Afghanistan, is extremely challenging with current technology. It is critical that snipers be able to engage targets faster, and with better accuracy, since any shot that doesn’t hit a target also risks the safety of troops by indicating their presence and potentially exposing their location.”

The Extreme Accuracy Tasked Ordnance (EXACTO) system seeks to improve sniper effectiveness and enhance troop safety by allowing greater shooter standoff range and reduction in target engagement timelines. The objective of the EXACTO program is to revolutionize rifle accuracy and range by developing the first ever guided small-caliber bullet. The EXACTO 50-caliber round and optical sighting technology expects to greatly extend the day and nighttime range over current state-of-the-art sniper systems. The system combines a maneuverable bullet and a real-time guidance system to track and deliver the projectile to the target, allowing the bullet to change path during flight to compensate for any unexpected factors that may drive it off course.

Technology development in Phase II included the design, integration and demonstration of aero-actuation controls, power sources, optical guidance systems, and sensors. The program’s next phase includes a system-level live-fire test and technology refinement[.]

Permalink New Product, News 4 Comments »