December 1st, 2018

$8,000,000 More Barrett 50s for U.S. Army

Barrett Firearms .50 BMG 50 Cal M82A1M M107 browning machine gun Dept. defense Army U.S.
M107 on duty in Afghanistan with Company F, 2nd Aviation Assault Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade’s Pathfinders. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Cody Barber, 11th PAD.

Christmas came early for Barrett Firearms Mfg. Inc. — the company was awarded an $8,000,000 U.S. Army contract for .50 BMG rifles, plus a $3.3 million maintenance support contract for M107s in service. Under the $8 million contract, Barrett will deliver new M107A1, M107, and M82A1M, Caliber .50 Cal Long Range Sniper Rifle systems with scopes, suppressors and spare parts kits. The work is expected to be completed by November 26, 2023, the United States Department of Defense reported this week.

Barrett Firearms .50 BMG 50 Cal M82A1M M107 browning machine gun Dept. defense Army U.S.

The M107A1 was made “leaner and meaner” back in 2014, with a six-pound weight savings. That’s important to soldiers charged with carrying the big rig in the field. The M107A1 model comes with Lightweight aluminum upper receiver with integral 23″ (58.4 cm) 27 MOA M1913 optics rail, 20″ (50.8 cm) or 29″ (73.7 cm) barrel with fully chrome-lined chamber and bore, 10-round steel magazine with cartridge witness indicators, and anti-corrosive coating.

M107A1 with Quick Detach Large (QDL) Suppressor
Barrett Firearms .50 BMG 50 Cal M82A1M M107 browning machine gun Dept. defense Army U.S.

$3.3 Million Maintenance Contract for M107s in Service
Barret Firearms Manufacturing, Inc. has also won a $3.3 million maintenance contract for the U.S. Army-issued M107, Caliber .50 Long Range Sniper Rifle system. The 5-year ID/IQ contract was awarded November 27, 2018 and will be available through November 26, 2023. The M107 Rifle System has been fielded by the U.S. Armed Forces for over 15 years.

Barrett Firearms .50 BMG 50 Cal M82A1M M107 browning machine gun Dept. defense Army U.S.

The Official Rifle of Tennessee
Believe it or not, the Barrett Model 82/M107 is Tennessee’s official state rifle. Barrett’s plant and headquarters are situated in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The Barrett rifle is a true Tennessee success story — a rifle born from sketches drawn at a dining room table by 26-year-old Ronnie Barrett, who was born, raised, and educated in Tennessee. Using sketches of his design, Barrett worked in a one-bay garage with a tool-and-die maker to build the first prototype.

Barrett Firearms .50 BMG 50 Cal M82A1M M107 browning machine gun Dept. defense Army U.S.

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

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July 19th, 2018

Wilkinson Dominates in Score at .50 Caliber FCSA Championships

Walter Wilkinson .50 BMG fifty caliber FCSA Raton New Mexico Whittington Center Steyr HS .50

Retired Army Special Forces Sgt. Maj. Walter Wilkinson won two of the four individual 1,000-yard Score titles — for Light Gun and Hunter Classes — at the recent Fifty Caliber Shooters’ Association (FCSA) 2018 World Championships. In addition to his two individual score titles*, Wilkinson was also a member of the winning 4-shooter team.

The FCSA World Championships were held July 5-7, 2018 at the NRA Whittington Center near Raton, New Mexico. There were shooters from Australia, Great Britain, Spain and the USA in attendance. The FCSA 1000-yard matches have four classes: Light Gun, Heavy Gun, Unlimited, and Hunter. In the first three classes, the rifles are normally shot from a machine rest off the bench. Hunter Class requires the shooter to fire from the ground with a bipod. And that’s how Wilkinson shot all his relays…

Steyr HS .50 BMG FCSA

Remarkably, Wilkinson, who shot his near-“box stock” Steyr HS .50 equipped with factory bipod from the ground in the prone position, posted the FCSA Championships’ highest score, beating out shooters in the Light Gun, Heavy Gun, and even Unlimited Classes.

Beating the Benchresters — While Shooting Prone from Bipod
Wilkinson, a Gunsite instructor from Edgewood, NM, shot a two-day total of 290-10X for the Hunter Score, and his Light Gun Score total of 291-7X was the highest of any shooter in any class — most of whom were firing custom-built rifles from mechanical rests atop concrete benches. Wilkinson also placed fourth overall in the 2-Gun Aggregate, which factors both scores and average group sizes from both classes. Wilksonson’s score wins marks his third FCSA victory in the Hunter Class with his Steyr HS .50 since his first win in 2012, and this year he notched his first Light Gun Score World Title.

Walter Wilkinson .50 BMG fifty caliber FCSA Raton New Mexico Whittington Center Steyr HS .50

The Wicked Whittington Range at Raton
Nestled at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Whittington Center’s 1,000-yard range has notoriously tricky winds, especially in the afternoons. On the first day, Wilkinson shot on the afternoon relays. As usual, switching and swirling winds proved to be a formidable foe for all shooters. Wind coming from behind the shooters was switching from 4 O’clock to 8 O’clock and back again, often changing within seconds. Wilkinson was able to very quickly make wind judgments and adjust his hold accordingly. “I couldn’t do anything wrong,” Wilkinson said. “It was like every time the wind changed, I knew exactly where to hold, and the bullets just kept going where I wanted them to.

Walter Wilkinson FCSA .50 BMG fifty caliber

Walter Wilkinson FCSA .50 BMG fifty caliber
Photo courtesy Brett Berger.

Holding Off Right and Left for the Cycling Wind
“The highlights of the day were the last two strings of fire in Hunter Class during Relay 4″, Wilkinson explained. “I shot a 50-2X with a 9.8-inch group and a 49-2X with a 7.9-inch group. The Ten-Ring is right at 1.15 MOA, and when you keep them all in that, it says something about your rifle and your load. During both of those two strings, I changed from holding on the right side of the target to the left side during the string.”

Wilkinson’s .50 Delivered Quarter-MOA Groups During Load Testing
Wilkonson’ Steyr .50-Cal has always been an accurate rig. Back in 2012, when Wilkinson developing loads, the big rig showed outstanding accuracy: “As I was working up a load for the HS.50, I shot groups that amazed me. I was getting groups of 0.214 MOA at 220 yards, and I didn’t know what to think. All the bullets were going in the same hole, and it was like ‘Wow, I’ve really got a rifle that can shoot here’. That stunned Wilkinson: “With my [military] experience with the performance of the same .50 BMG cartridge overseas, I didn’t expect that kind of accuracy out of it.”

FCSA 50 caliber Fifty Cal world championships

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 $6000, maybe even more for a top of the line custom rifle. (Current MSRP for the Steyr H2 .50 is $5910.00). A premium long-range scope will set you back $1500 to $3000. And while excellent commercial ammo is available, it runs $3 to $5 per 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.

*Wilkinson’s FCSA trophies state “Hunter Class Score World Champion” and “Light Class Score World Champion”. NOTE the FCSA also recognizes, for each class, a World Champion for Group size, AND a World Champion for combined Group and Score (Aggregate). Plus there are Championship Trophies for Two-Gun. This gets a little confusing. With other Disciplines there is only ONE World Champion per class, generally the competitor who has the best combination of Group Size and Score.

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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.
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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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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…)

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October 6th, 2012

.50 Caliber Shooters Association Photo Galleries Unveiled

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 fun shoots in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Washington. To access the photos from the Gallery Page, click on the colored tabs which indicate match location and date (such as NV2011-08).

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. It’s worth a visit. 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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