50 BMG stands for “50 Browning Machine Gun”. It is a large caliber cartridge designed for use in heavy machine guns, anti-material rifles, and long-range target rifles. The cartridge was developed by John Browning in the early 20th century and is still used by military and civilian shooters today due to its long-range accuracy and stopping power.
History of the 50 BMG
The 50 BMG was developed in the early 1900s by John Browning. Its original purpose was to be used as an anti-aircraft weapon, but it was later adapted for use in ground warfare. The cartridge was first introduced in 1921 and has since become a popular choice for long-range shooting.
The 50 BMG gained popularity during World War II when it was used in heavy machine guns such as the Browning M2. It was used primarily as an anti-materiel weapon, capable of penetrating light armor and taking out vehicles and structures. The cartridge’s long range and high accuracy also made it useful for sniping and long-range shooting.
After the war, the 50 BMG continued to be used by military forces around the world. It was also adopted by civilian shooters, particularly those interested in long-range shooting and big game hunting. Today, the 50 BMG remains a popular cartridge for both military and civilian use.
Technical Specifications of the 50 BMG
When it comes to technical specifications, the 50 BMG is a force to be reckoned with. Here are some of the key details:
- Caliber: .50
- Length: 5.45 in (138.4 mm)
- Case length: 3.91 in (99 mm)
- Overall length: 5.45 in (138.4 mm)
- Maximum pressure: 60,481 psi (417 MPa)
- Muzzle velocity: 2,900 ft/s (880 m/s) for M33 ball ammunition
- Muzzle energy: 13,241 ft⋅lbf (17,966 J) for M33 ball ammunition
The 50 BMG is known for its incredible power and range. It’s capable of hitting targets at distances of up to 2,000 yards (1,800 meters) and can penetrate through armor up to 1 inch (25 mm) thick.
One of the key features of the 50 BMG cartridge is its ability to be fired from a variety of platforms, including bolt-action rifles, semi-automatic rifles, and even machine guns. This versatility has made it a popular choice among military and law enforcement agencies around the world.
Overall, the 50 BMG is an impressive cartridge that offers unparalleled power and range. Its technical specifications make it a formidable force on the battlefield and a favorite among long-range shooters.
Uses of the 50 BMG
The 50 BMG is a powerful round that has a variety of uses. Here are some of the most common:
- Anti-Material: The 50 BMG is often used in anti-material rifles to take out vehicles, aircraft, and other heavy equipment. The round’s ability to penetrate armor makes it an effective tool for disabling or destroying these targets.
- Long-Range Shooting: The 50 BMG is also used in long-range shooting competitions. The round’s high velocity and ballistic coefficient make it a popular choice for marksmen looking to hit targets at extreme distances.
- Hunting: While not a common hunting round due to its power and expense, the 50 BMG can be used to take down large game such as elk and moose.
- Military: The 50 BMG is used by various military forces around the world for a variety of purposes, including sniping, anti-material, and even as a secondary armament on some armored vehicles.
Overall, the 50 BMG is a versatile round that can be used in a variety of situations. However, due to its power and expense, it is not a practical choice for most civilian shooters.
Controversies Surrounding the 50 BMG
The 50 BMG has been a subject of controversy since its inception. One of the main issues with the 50 BMG is its potential use in long-range sniper rifles, which has led to concerns about its use in criminal activities and terrorism.
Another controversy surrounding the 50 BMG is its use in anti-materiel rifles, which are designed to destroy or disable enemy equipment, such as vehicles and aircraft. Some have argued that the use of such weapons is unethical and violates the laws of war.
Additionally, there have been concerns about the safety of shooting the 50 BMG. Due to its high velocity and energy, the 50 BMG can cause significant damage to both the shooter and bystanders if proper safety procedures are not followed.
Despite these controversies, the 50 BMG remains a popular caliber for long-range shooting and is used by military and law enforcement agencies around the world.
1. What is the size of a 50 BMG cartridge?
Answer: The 50 BMG cartridge has a bullet diameter of .510 inches (12.95 mm) and an overall length of 5.45 inches (138.43 mm).
2. What is the effective range of a 50 BMG rifle?
Answer: The effective range of a 50 BMG rifle depends on several factors, including the type of rifle, ammunition, and shooter skill level. Generally, a 50 BMG rifle can accurately engage targets up to 1,500-2,000 yards away.
3. Is a 50 BMG rifle legal to own in the United States?
Answer: Yes, it is legal to own a 50 BMG rifle in most states in the US, although some states have restrictions on their use for hunting or other purposes.
4. What is the recoil of a 50 BMG rifle like?
Answer: The recoil of a 50 BMG rifle is very powerful and can be challenging for some shooters to handle. Most 50 BMG rifles are equipped with recoil-reducing features such as muzzle brakes, recoil pads, and heavy barrels to help manage the recoil.
5. Can a 50 BMG rifle be used for hunting?
Answer: Yes, a 50 BMG rifle can be used for hunting certain types of game, although it is primarily used for long-range target shooting and anti-material purposes. The use of 50 BMG rifles for hunting is restricted in some states.
6. What is the maximum effective range of a 50 BMG machine gun?
Answer: The maximum effective range of a 50 BMG machine gun depends on several factors, including the type of machine gun, ammunition, and shooter skill level. Typically, a 50 BMG machine gun can engage targets at ranges up to 1,800-2,000 meters.
7. What are some common uses for 50 BMG rifles?
Answer: 50 BMG rifles are commonly used for long-range target shooting, anti-material purposes, and in military applications. They are also used by some hunters and in certain shooting competitions.
8. What is the weight of a typical 50 BMG rifle?
Answer: The weight of a typical 50 BMG rifle varies depending on the model and configuration. Most 50 BMG rifles weigh between 20-30 pounds, although some heavier models can weigh up to 50 pounds or more.
9. What is the cost of a 50 BMG rifle?
Answer: The cost of a 50 BMG rifle varies widely depending on the brand, model, and features. Some basic models can be purchased for around $2,000, while high-end models can cost upwards of $10,000 or more.
10. Is it legal to shoot 50 BMG ammunition in a regular rifle?
Answer: No, it is not legal to shoot 50 BMG ammunition in a regular rifle. The 50 BMG cartridge is specifically designed for use in heavy machine guns, anti-material rifles, and long-range target rifles. Using it in a regular rifle can be dangerous and is illegal in many countries.
After researching and writing about the 50 BMG cartridge, we have gained a deeper understanding of its history, design, and uses. We now know that the 50 BMG stands for “Browning Machine Gun” and was designed by John Browning in the early 1900s.
We have also learned that the 50 BMG cartridge is one of the most powerful and versatile cartridges in the world, capable of taking down a wide variety of targets at long distances. Its use in military and law enforcement applications has made it a popular choice for snipers and other precision shooters.
While the 50 BMG cartridge is not for everyone, it is a valuable tool for those who need its power and range. Whether you are a hunter, a competitive shooter, or a member of the military or law enforcement, the 50 BMG cartridge is a reliable and effective choice.
Shelly Jark Drakny is a retired SF weapons sergeant (E-5 or above) with a military occupational specialty (MOS) code 18B. He served 24 years in the military, including assignments in SF, Infantry, and Special Forces.