.50 BMG

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.50 BMG Gun Stats

.50 BMG

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The 50 Browning Machine Gun, sometimes known as the 50 BMG, is a 50 in (12.7 mm) caliber cartridge that was created for the M2 Browning heavy machine gun in the late 1910s and entered formal service in 1921. The machine gun was initially produced during World War I, and despite being cumbersome, the tank began to find its place on the battlefield—it was also resistant to most rifle and artillery shots. The 50 BMG cartridge has a 290-gram capacity (19 g). The round is a scaled-up version of the 30-06 Springfield, but it has a case wall with a long taper to make feeding and extraction easier in different guns. This cartridge's rifling twist rate is 1 in 15 in (380 mm), with eight lands and grooves. The 50 Browning Machine Gun is employed in anti-materiel rifles in addition to the M2 Browning heavy machine gun. There is a wide range of ammunition available, and match grade ammunition has boosted the use of 50 caliber rifles by allowing for more precise firing than lesser quality rounds. During WWII, the 50 BMG was principally utilized for anti-aircraft duties in the M2 Browning machine gun, both in its "light barrel" aircraft mount form and the "heavy barrel" (HB) version on ground vehicles. Depending on the powder and bullet type, as well as the weapon from which it is shot, the 50 BMG round may create between 10,000 and 15,000 foot-pounds force (14,000 and 20,000 J). The 50 BMG's trajectory suffers less "drift" from cross-winds than smaller and lighter calibers due to the high ballistic coefficient of the bullet, making it an excellent option for high-powered sniper rifles.

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.50 BMG Specs

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The .50 BMG was developed during World War 1 in response for the need of an anti aircraft weapon. It was officially adopted in 1921 for use in the Browning M1921 Browning machine gun, which was developed into the M2 HB Browning. 

.50 BMG History


.50 BMG Usage

The .50 BMG is a standard NATO cartridge used for heavy machine guns and chambered in anti material sniper rifles. It has been adopted by several other militaries as well. It has found some popularity in civilian long range shooting competitions as well.

The M2HB Browning machine gun is still in use today with the US military. Carlos Hathcock, famed Vietnam War sniper, used an M2 machine gun for the longest confirmed kill at 2290 yards in 1967. In Afghanistan, the record for longest confirmed kill was broken by a Canadian sniper at 3870 yards. 

.50 BMG Trivia


.50 BMG Design

The .50 BMG is a rimless, bottleneck cartridge with an overall length of 5.45” and a case capacity of 292.8 grains (H2O). It fires a .510” diameter bullet using a #35 Arsenal primer with a maximum pressure of 60, 481 EPVAT. 

There are several ammunition options for the .50 BMG including full metal jacket (Ball), incendiary, tracer, sabot, armor piercing, armor piercing incendiary, match, and combinations of each with weights ranging from 600 grains to 800 grains. 

.50 BMG Types


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