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

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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

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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.
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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

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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.

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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!

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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.
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June 9th, 2014

‘Big Boomer’ Galleries on Updated FCSA Website

50 Caliber Shooters AssociationFans of Heavy Artillery should head over to the updated and enhanced Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) Image Gallery website (see Gallery samples below). There you’ll find videos, photo collections, and animated slide-shows. There are also a series of articles covering FCSA competition along with the “care and feeding” of the big 50-caliber rifles.

The FCSA will host its 1000/600 Yard World Championship July 3 through 5, 2014 at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. CLICK HERE to REGISTER.

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

Fifty 50 Caliber Shooters Association FCSA

About the FCSA
Founded in 1985, the FCSA is an international organization with members in 22 countries. Headquartered in Monroe, Utah, the FCSA has a membership of approximately 4000. While the FCSA provides a service to military and law enforcement with research and instruction as well as an active liaison in both communities, the primary charter of the FCSA is the promotion of the sporting use of the 50 BMG cartridge and its wildcat derivatives. The FCSA and its members have lead the way in refining .50-caliber cartridges, rifles, and 1000-yard plus shooting know-how. Members enjoy a quarterly magazine, a suppliers directory, a very active website, and access to literally the best repository of 50 BMG information on the planet. If you are interested in Mr. John Browning’s big 50, you should seriously consider joining the FCSA.

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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November 12th, 2013

Hornady Announces ‘Match Grade’ .50 BMG Brass — ETA Unknown

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match gradeHornady plans to start producing .50 BMG ‘Match Grade’ Cartridge Brass. MSRP is $131.99 for twenty (20) cases (Item #8772). Hornady claims the new brass will have very uniform case wall thickness, and very consistent case weight and internal capacity. Hornady has not stated when its .50 BMG brass will start shipping. When the Hornady .50 BMG brass (Item #8772) does hit the market, we expect it will be in high demand. Our friends at the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) tell us that it is “getting harder and harder to get your hands on good .50 Cal brass these days.”

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match grade

Grafs.com lists the new Hornady .50 BMG brass in its catalog at $101.99 for 20 cases, but inventory (Item HRN8772) is not yet in stock. CLICK HERE to check for updates.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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January 25th, 2013

Taming the Beast: McMillan’s Hydraulic 50 BMG Recoil Reducer

McMillan Recoil Reduction

At MEDIA Day 2013, we checked out McMillan’s interesting hydraulic recoil mitigation system for the TAC-50 tactical rifle. Named the TAC-50 A1-R2, this shock-absorbing device reduces the peak recoil from the 50 BMG cartridge by approximately 90 percent (90%). Additional recoil reduction is provided by the proprietary muzzle brake offered on the TAC-50 A1-R2.

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

The heart of the new TAC-50 A1-R2 recoil mitigation system is a proprietary hydraulic piston in the buttstock. As the rifle is fired, the piston compresses, softening the recoil by lowering the peak recoil force and spreading out the recoil over several milliseconds. The sensation for the shooter is that of a long push, rather than a violent punch.

Without the R2 recoil mitigation system, the peak recoil from a 50 BMG cartridge is approximately 7,500 lbs. of force. From start to finish, the recoil lasts 1 millisecond in a machine rest. With the R2 system, the peak recoil is only approximately 520 lbs. of force. What’s more, the force is spread out over 6 milliseconds. While the total recoil energy is roughly the same, the hydraulic piston lowers the perception of recoil dramatically for a shooter by lowering the peak force and spreading the recoil out over time.

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

McMillan developed the new R2 system in partnership with customers using the TAC-50 weapons system. Extensive testing with electronic load sensors and high speed photography documented the recoil mitigation. The result is a 50-Caliber rifle that is significantly more comfortable to shoot.

McMillan hydraulic recoil reducer

Story Tip by Ed LongRange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 7 Comments »
May 14th, 2012

Specialized Products for 50 BMG Shooters

Alliant 50 BMG PowderAlliant’s Powder for 50-Caliber Applications
In 2009 Alliant unveiled Reloder 50, a new powder designed for long-range, 50-caliber rifle shooters. According to Alliant, the burn rate is “a little slower than Winchester 860″ and the powder is showing excellent lot-to-lot consistency. Load density is optimized for the 50 BMG and similar cases. Like Reloder 17, Reloder 50 employs a process which penetrates the kernels with the burn-rate-controlling chemical. This should allow a longer, flatter pressure curve, yielding more velocity than conventional powders can deliver. Alliant says that Reloder 50 offers “superior velocity and the ability to burn cleaner (with less residue).” Reloder 50 comes in both 1-lb (#150527) and 8-lb (#150528) containers.

Giraud 50 BMG Case/Bullet Comparator
Giraud Tool makes a comparator for 50-Cal cartridges. The double-ended comparator is quite versatile. In one orientation you can measure base-to-ogive bullet length and also measure cartridge OAL from rim to bullet ogive. When reversed, you can use the comparator to measure cartridge headspace. The $30.00 Giraud 50 BMG Comparator gauge is constructed of 303 stainless and fits most any vernier, dial, or digital caliper. CLICK HERE for more info.

Giraud Tools 50 BMG comparator gauge

Lyman 50 BMG AccuTrimmer and Forster 50 BMG Trimmer
50 BMG enthusiasts asked for a reasonably-priced 50 BMG case trimmer and Lyman responded with an Accutrimmer designed specifically for that cartridge. Easy-to-use course and fine cut-length adjusters are positioned on the right side (by the handle). The shell head fits into a special holder which centers the case. The unit comes complete the 50-Caliber neck pilot. This case trimmer, including pilot, costs $59.99 at MidwayUSA.com.

Lyman 50 BMG AccuTrimmer

Forster Products also makes a dedicated 50 BMG trimmer. Forster’s cutter tip is much sharper than the cutter on the Lyman AccuTrimmer. However, with the Forster tool you will pay more for that superior cutting ability — Forster’s 50 BMG trimmer costs $92.95 at Sinclair International.

Forster 50 BMG case Trimmer

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October 23rd, 2009

Winchester 50 Cal FMJ Bullets at Bargain Prices

Here’s a good deal for 50-Caliber shooters. Right now MidwayUSA has 650gr (0.510 diam.) Winchester FMJ bullets on sale. You can get a bulk pack of 420 bullets for just $308.90 (roughly $.74/bullet). That’s $91.09 off the regular $399.99 price, making this a real bargain. NOTE: These are new production overrun bullets that would otherwise be loaded in U.S. military M33 ammunition. The 650-grain full metal boat tail design features a copper jacket with cannelure over a steel insert and lead core. Limited quantities are available so you may want to act soon.

50 Cal FMJ bullets

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July 26th, 2009

Rasmussen Shoots 1.9557" group at 1000 yards, and sets Four 50-Caliber World Records

Fifty Caliber Shooting Association FSCAIn a remarkable display of long-range marksmanship, legendary 50-Caliber shooter Lee Rasmussen set four (4) new 1000-yard world records at the recent Fifty Caliber Shooters Assn. (FCSA) Championships, held at the NRA Whittington Center over the 4th of July weekend. First, Lee shot an amazing 1.9557″ 5-shot group in Heavy Gun Class, breaking Skip Talbot’s 2.600″ single-group record set in 1999. Lee’s sub-2″ group works out to .1868 MOA. That’s darn good at 100, and Lee did it at 1000!

Rasmussen Also Breaks Agg Records
In addition to the sub-2″ group, Lee set three new six-target Aggregate 50-Caliber records. In Heavy Gun, Lee shot a 298-19X score to shatter Scott Nye’s 7-year old 297-11X SCORE record. Those six targets also produced a new Heavy Gun GROUP record of 6.39X”. Finally, in Unlimited Class, Rasmussen put together a stunning 5.667″ six-target Group Agg. That is the smallest Group Agg ever shot in 50-Cal competition — in any class. Wow… including the 1.9557″ group, that’s four world records in one match. Lee told us: “It was amazing. I was deeper ‘in the groove’ than I’ve ever been before.” Lee was shooting IMI (Israeli) 50BMG brass, with home-made, lathe-turned bullets fired by Vihtavuori 20N29 powder and RWS 50-cal primers.

Lee Rasmussen FCSA 1000 yard record

While Lee was pleased with his individual performance, he feels the match results are more noteworthy because they show the potential of the 50 BMG for superior long-range accuracy. Lee explained: “My goal has always been to show the rest of the shooting world what this cartridge can do. We want to get the 50-caliber game to where the other shooting sports are, and then take it a little further. Of course a variety of smaller cartridges can do great at 1000. But the difference is what the 50 BMG can do in high winds.” Mark added that, with the ultra-high BCs of the lathe-turned, solid 50-caliber bullets, the 50s can repeatably produce impressive 1000-yard groups even in strong winds.

Forum member Lynn Dragoman observed: “A sub-2-inch group with a standard 50 BMG is simply outstanding. Lee could use a modified case but chooses to stick with the original case to keep the sport [faithful] to its guidelines of promoting the 50 BMG.” Lee Rasmussen is widely respected as one of the most skilled and dedicated 50-caliber shooters, and one of the guys who has always “given back to the sport”.

Consider this, there are 17 possible records in 50-caliber competition and Lee now holds ten of them (plus his wife, Sheri, holds three more). Lee actually held eleven records until the last target at the Nationals, when Lee’s LG Six-Target Group Agg Record was broken by fellow 50-Cal Shooter Mark Avakian. So Lee’s FCSA World Record total stands at ten (10), counting his new HG Small Group Record.

Lee Rasmussen 50 caliber 1000 yard record

Avakian Set New Aggregate Record
Mark Avakian set a new Light Gun multi-target group size record at the FCSA Nationals. Mark shot a masterful Six-Target 5.823″ LG Aggregate to break one of the FCSA records previously held by Lee Rasmussen. We congratulate Mark for his very consistent shooting over two days to set the record. While the winds were pretty consistent on Day 1, the winds were very inconsistent on Day 2 both in terms of direction AND velocity, according to Rasmussen. Mark agreed, but he said he “was lucky to have better than average conditions for his Light Gun relay”. When asked the secret of his success, Mark said: “The Light Gun has been shooting very well, and I’ve been using a new 808gr bullet from Dave at Lehigh Bullets. The 808s are shooting great.” (See photo below for other Lehigh custom bullets).

Mark Avakian 50 Caliber world record

LeHigh 50 Caliber world record bullets

For more information on 50-Caliber competition, visit the FCSA website or contact the FCSA at P.O. Box 111, Monroe, UT 84754-0111, phone: (435) 527-9245.

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