March 16th, 2019

A Beauty of a Beast — .50 BMG Falling Block Rifle (Amazing)

.50 BMG J.T. 50-caliber Smith breech block falling block custom rifle
.50 BMG J.T. 50-caliber Smith breech block falling block custom rifle

This is one amazing .50-caliber rifle. Along with the lever-actuated falling block, it has a massive swing-out breech block like you’d find on a field artillery piece. The action is so wide that the sights and scope are offset. You’ve heard of the “Beauty and the Beast”? Well here the Beast IS a Beauty….

View looking down at the action from above. Note the hinged Breech-Block.
.50 BMG J.T. 50-caliber Smith breech block falling block custom rifle

This extraordinary example of gunsmithing art was crafted by the late J.T. (Jack) Smith of Sudbury, Massachusetts. This unique .50-caliber rifle features an aircraft machine gun barrel cut down to 38-1/4″, and turned octagon to round (in the style of Schuetzen rifles). The round portion of the barrel is tapered with a heavy boss at the muzzle. The barrel is inlaid in gold on both left and right side top flats. Custom scope bases are fitted to the receiver and to the top of the barrel. These hold an externally adjusting Unertl 15X target scope in offset scope mounts.

.50 BMG J.T. 50-caliber Smith breech block falling block custom rifle

Huge Falling Block Receiver
The massive receiver (8″ long x 2-3/4″ wide x 3″ deep) is remarkable in design and construction. Machined from solid steel, the action incorporates several unique features. Note the hinged Howitzer-style breech block which swings to the right and mortises into the back of the receiver in the loading slot, providing a back-up for the falling block. We’ve never seen anything like that on any rifle. The one-piece floorplate/lever incorporates a Ruger No. 1-style latch which locks into the bottom of the trigger guard. The entire floorplate and lever retract downward. Firing is accomplished by means of a striker mounted in the hinged (swing-out) breech block. This is manually cocked with another lever on top of the breech block. Dropping the falling block activates the extractor which removes the spent case.

Offset Sights
This rifle features a custom-built, windage-adjustable offset front sight plus a custom-built vernier tang sight with aperture offset to the left side. The sights are offset to the left for a right-handed shooter, to correct for the extreme width of the receiver, allowing a more comfortable head position.

.50 BMG J.T. 50-caliber Smith breech block falling block custom rifle

(more…)

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
February 19th, 2019

Got Fifty? Add a .50 BMG to Your Collection for $2149.00

.50 Browning Machine Gun 50 BMG Noreen Rifle

No personal rifle collection is complete without a .50 BMG — the big boy. The single-shot, bolt-action Noreen is one of the most affordable Fifties. This 32-pound beast boasts a 34″ barrel with a massive muzzle brake. Simple and bomb proof, what more could you need? The .50 BMG Noreen Ultra Long Range (ULR) rifle features a single shot bolt action, 34″ barrel with 1:15″ twist, Noreen collapsible stock, A2 pistol grip, timney adjustable trigger, and Noreen muzzle brake with 1.25-12 thread. NOTE: The photo above shows one version with a custom camo paint job. You’ll have to do that yourself. The gun is available from EuroOptic.com at this $2149.00 price only with a matte black finish.

.50 Browning Machine Gun 50 BMG Noreen Rifle

The Noreen’s bolt is stout, sporting a large diameter bolt body. This jumbo-sized rifle comes with Timney trigger and AR-type pistol grip (which can be exchanged by purchaser). The wide bipod is included with the rifle. EuroOptic now offers the Noreen .50 BMG in Matte Black for $2149.00 price. Heck you could pay that much for a puny little .22 LR Anschutz. So go BIG instead — be the first on your block with a .50 BMG! You can also purchase this rig directly from Noreen Firearms, with a choice of four calibers: .338 Lapua Magnum, .408 CheyTac, .416 Barrett, and .50 BMG.

About the .50 BMG Cartridge

The .50 Browning Machine Gun (.50 BMG, aka 12.7×99mm NATO or 50 Browning) is a cartridge developed for the Browning .50 caliber machine gun in the late 1910s, entering official service in 1921. Under STANAG 4383, it is a standard cartridge for NATO forces as well as many non-NATO countries. John Browning had the idea for this round during World War I in response to a need for an anti-aircraft weapon, based on a scaled-up .30-06 Springfield design, used in a machine gun based on a scaled-up M1919/M1917 design that Browning had initially developed around 1900. According to the American Rifleman: “The Browning .50 originated in the Great War. American interest in an armor-piercing cartridge was influenced by the marginal French 11 mm design, prompting U.S. Army Ordnance officers to consult Browning. They wanted a heavy projectile at 2700 FPS, but the ammunition did not exist. Browning pondered the situation and, according to his son John, replied, ‘Well, the cartridge sounds pretty good to start. You make up some cartridges and we’ll do some shooting’.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tactical No Comments »
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:

Permalink - Videos, News, Tactical 1 Comment »
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.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition 1 Comment »
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 »
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 »
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 2 Comments »
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.
Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »