History of the 50 BMG cartridge

The 50 BMG cartridge was one of the many designs of the most prolific designers of firearms of the last century, John Browning. Its overall proportion is very similar to a scaled-up version of ' 30-06. It was created near the end of World War 1 and remains in production today for the US Military and other NATO forces worldwide.

The .50 Browning Machine Gun cartridge (.50 BMG) was first created in response to the use of German anti-tank rifles in WW1 and whilst the rapid increase in amour capabilities on battle tanks rapidly outpaced the ability of handheld weaponry to penetrate, it has still been successful on lighter targets .

Its development culminated with John Browning designing a fully automatic heavy machine gun, that has served with military force right up to the present, and has over more recent times it has found a following in the civilian market, where specialist manufactures have developed sophisticated target rifles.

Companies such as Barret offer civilian models in both Repeater bolt action and Semi Automatic rifle configurations as a result of their military experience.

Bullet weights typically range from about 630 grains to 800 gains and muzzle velocity can be as high as 2900 fps with longer barrels. The brass is roughly 3.9 inches long and overall loaded length is around 5.7 inches.

Companies such as Hornady and Barnes have over the past decade or so, have responded to the rapidly growing civilian market and have offered a range of projectiles for enthusiasts to load their own ammunition.

Nearly all target or benchrest shooters now use sophisticated muzzle brakes to displace most of the recoil generated by this impressive caliber, thus allowing its use in lighter rifles than those typically used in military applications.

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