B4Ctom1 thirdgen camaro and 50 cal bmg rifle page
In order to write this, I figured there is just no way to discuss
50 BMG without beginning with a discussion of its massive ammunition.
I initially even considered writing it as a complete article, but
including 50 BMG rifles and 50 BMG ammunition together was just too
much. I separated them mainly out of fear of making it too tl;dr. I
gave it a little thought, and decided that they should be two
separate articles. The problem is that the thing that makes 50 BMG so
interesting is the massive ammunition, and there is much
information, at least for me, to exclude.
The 50 BMG round is
~5.45 inches overall length. Its casing will hold ~290 grains of
water. The bullet is .510 inches diameter traveling down a barrel
which is only .500 inches diameter. The common military projectiles
for which even non military bullets are based on range in weight from
647 grains to 705 grains and travel with a muzzle velocity right
around 3000 feet per second. This gives it a muzzle energy in the
13,000 to 14,000 foot pound range. Most military 50 BMG rounds have
various cores with a copper jacket drawn over the core. The jacket is
usually sealed base which is either a small lead plug or a swaging of
the copper jacket at the base. This is done to prevent combustion
gases from separating the jacket from the core during firing.
military loadings are:
Ball: Identified by its plain finish, it is generally the
lightest bullet in the group. 50 BMG ball rounds range from 647
grains to 690 grains depending on the year, model, and country of
origin. Instead of a lead core in ball ammo, 50 BMG ball generally
uses a soft mild steel core covered with a copper jacket and having a
small lead gas plug at the base. This is a boat tailed
Armor Piercing: Identified by a black tip, this general
purpose armor piercing bullet uses a core of very dense, hardened
tungsten steel. Contrary to common belief, it is not the “best”
armor piercing 50 BMG round, but it is the best general purpose armor
piercing round. Bullet weights are in the 690 grain to 705 grain
range depending on year, model, and country of origin. Covered in a
copper jacket, this round can be found with either a lead plug base
or with the jacked swagged at its base for the gas seal. This is a
boat tailed projectile.
Tracer: Usually identified by a brownish or burgundy tip
(sometimes mistaken for the black armor piercing tip). There have
been models of 50 BMG tracer with red and orange tips but they are
not as common. The tracer weights vary but are usually in the same
range as ball ammo. The tracer is a longer bullet with a flat base.
It is composed of an shortened mild steel core and a longer copper
jacket squared off at its base to allow it to carry the tracing
compound, an igniter compound, and a base enclosure disk to protect
the compounds from reacting with the powder until ignition. For more
accurate tracer needs, the most recent production tracers are made by
actually drilling boat tailed ball projectiles and inserting the
tracing compound at the rear.
Armor Piercing Incendiary: Identified with a silver or
“aluminum” colored tip (not to be confused with the
pointy Hornady AMAX match round which uses a real aluminum tip). This
is generally the best common armor piercing round. Used where fear of
secondary ignition effect after piercing is wanted or not a problem.
The round is similar to the armor piercing round in that it has a
dense hardened tungsten steel core but slightly shorter, allowing a
incendiary compound to be enclosed in front of it under the boat
tailed copper jacket sealed with a lead gas plug at the
This incendiary compound known as “IM 11” is purportedly
made from equal parts Barium Nitrate and Magnesium Aluminum
Alloy. There is no fuze for ignition; instead it is based on the
compression of impact. This “IM 11” compound when
compressively combined with the copper ahead of it in the jacket, the
sloughed off iron based metal plating from impact, and the
compression force of the dense tungsten core behind it creates a
“plasmatic” cutting force similar to that seen in shaped
charge cutting warheads. This extends its armor piercing capability
by allowing the tungsten penetrator to cut more cleanly and deeper
than is possible with just plain armor piercing projectiles.
have seen this effect in person on mild and hardened steel in
thickness from 1 inch to just less than 2 inches. Whereas a plain AP
round impacts steel like a droplet of water breaking the surface
tension of a puddle with a small splash that is frozen into a flowery
hole with the petals not made of the copper jacket, but of the steel
API round makes a clean burned hole with discolored molten metal
around the entry perimeter that resembles a hole cut with a
round is also available as a tracer version known as “Armor
Piercing Incendiary Tracer” with the addition of a small amount
of tracing compound inserted at the rear.
Incendiary: This round is identified with a blue colored
tip. This round consists of a boat tailed jacket drawn over a small
steel tube shaped core or a steel capsule completely containing the
IM 11 or IM 35 incendiary compound and sealed at the rear. This is
likely the most explosive military loaded round that will be commonly
common military loadings are:
Mk 211 Mod 0: AKA the “Raufoss” round. The name
comes from a factory in Norway where the projectiles are made. This
round is identified by a green over white, or green over silver
coloring. Variations as seen on the Nammo Raufoss website show an all
green tip and also a green over red tip tracer version (aka Mk 300
Mod 0). Army Manual TM 43-0001-27 lists it only as having a green tip
as well. A small dense hardened steel penetrator is surrounded by a
mix of two incendiary compounds and backed by an explosive charge
with a boat tailed copper or brass jacket. There is no fusing of this
round although early test models had impact fuses. Testing showed
that the fuses were superfluous as impact was sufficient to fully
detonate the round. These rounds are purportedly loaded to match
tolerances. This round even with the addition of explosives is still
considered an Armor Piercing Incendiary round.
my personal experience, every picture or live round of this
ammunition I have seen has a lot serial number on the case itself.
These cases also have a cleaner, shinier finish to them than most of
the bulk ammo rolling out of factories. Last I had heard the only
heard stamps you could find with this ammo were FN, WRA, and WCC.
With the war in Iraq in past its 5th year who knows what flies
Your chances of getting your hands on one these rounds
are about nil unless you join the Special Forces or at least some
elite fighting unit. Before the start of the 2003 war I saw these
rounds occasionally for sale, selling in the $100 per round range.
The problem is that without an x-ray of the round, you can’t
even be sure you aren’t being duped into buying a repainted API
round. Even if it was provided with an x-ray, you don’t know if
the x-ray is of the round you purchased!
SLAP: Sabot Light Armor Piercing rounds. This is a
extremely high velocity round utilizing a sabot over a dense
sub-caliber hardened tungsten steel penetrator. This round as far as
I know is the best at penetrating armor plate thickness which the
other rounds can not. Deathy McDeath reminded me to mention that
there is a SLAP-T or "tracer" version of the SLAP. Also
Editing this piture below because my original was something that I
grabbed off google which was a homemade SLAP. This new picture is
Armor-Piercing-Explosive-Incendiary, APEI-169 or M 02 A new
exploding round from FN produced for aircraft variations of its new
high round per minute M3P machinegun which is intended to replace the
M2 upon its retirement. This round is identified by a gray over
M48A1: Marker Spotter This round is identified by a yellow
red tip. This round uses a very long and heavy bullet which was taken
from the shortened case version of the 50 BMG used in a
marking/spotting binary gun for recoilless rifles. Pre-dating laser
range finders and modern guidance equipment this shortened round was
used to indicate where the recoilless round would hit if fired.
Basically you fired the quiet round and if it hit the target you
fired the noisy round. These shortened case rounds were torn down and
the bullets reloaded by Places like Talon for public consumption. The
round utilizes a primer in the tip to set off a flash and smoke
compound. The rear of the bullet is full of tracing compound. There
is only a small center plug core of metal between the two compounds
with a copper jacket drawn over the whole mess with the primer in a
recessed opening in the tip.
Depleted Uranium: This is an urban legend. Anyone who
argues they existed has no proof. The premier 50 BMG cartridge
collectors will tell you that if there ever were any specimens
produced, it was a test, done in secret, and they were all either
destroyed or expended during testing because none exists. This would
be the biggest secret ever because even examples and pictures exist
of some of the rarest 50 BMG test ammo ever tested.
50 BMG rounds generate the same
chamber pressures found in other smaller rounds. The powder used in
military ammo is WC 860 or IMR 5010. This is an extremely slow
burning powder. It is along the same lines as those used for muzzle
loading rifles. Here is a chart from fastest to slowest of 199
current and obsolete gunpowder types.
that WC 860 is #194 and that the Hodgdon H-5010 modern civilian 50
BMG reloading powder is #198.
On page 38 of the 7th edition
(2007) of the Hornady reload book you will see a list of 131 powders
from fastest to slowest. The last powder, #131 is Vihtavuori 20N29
which is another common 50 BMG reloading powder, the Hodgdon H-5010
modern civilian 50 BMG reloading powder is #129, and Hodgdon H50BMG
specifically made for 50 BMG and magnum case reloading is #126.
impulse of this chamber pressure is a very slow lazy spike, as
opposed to the fast ignition spike of small rifle calibers like the
22-250 or 5.56 NATO.
Fancy rounds and YOU!!:
these rounds may not be legal where you live to own, possess let
alone fire. Many of the places that have them won’t ship to
plenty of states.
Some states/locales it is because of
baseless bans on “scary” AP ammo. This sucks, because
with its 700 grain weight, it is ideal for, and was once “back
in the day” the regular round, for 50 BMG 1000 yard
Others states/locales ban tracer or incendiary
effect ammo with good cause; dumb assholes keep trying to burn the
fucking state down! Finding some prime private land, setting a large
target out at 1000 yards to a mile is a fucking blast with good
friends, and tracer rounds.
Lastly some states/locales now
have baseless bans on 50 BMG all together. Soccer moms just don’t
feel safe with you having big scary rifles. To me this would be like
banning whales. They are big and scary, and certainly have the
potential to cause harm, but all the harm they ever caused is so
minuscule, that it makes about as much sense as banning
Ranges 50 BMG and you:
Consider if your
range would even let you shoot 50 BMG milsurp ammo. It is ALL
magnetic, some is AP, some is tracer/incendiary, and all of it is
irritatingly loud. Many ranges have a “no 50 BMG” rule
because they are afraid one of your rounds will travel 20 miles
beyond their backstop, or through their backstop, through a schoolbus
of nuns and start a fire at the local orphanage, etc. Lastly some
have insurance companies that after surveying have decided that 50
BMG is “not appropriate” based on the outlandish
capability figures supplied to them by Tom Diaz of the Violence
Some asshole 50 BMG owners further exacerbate
this “gun owners/ranges that are anti-50 BMG” mind set
with their behavior. For example, they shoot a target stand to bits.
Big deal, people can do that with a smaller caliber, “you don’t
impress anyone with that kind of behavior big guy”.
example, the blast from your muzzle brake is blowing the shit off the
bench next to you. Handloady McFireformerson didn’t spend 6
hours yesterday fine tuning his competition high caliber bench rifle
and ammunition for the match next weekend so you can blow his custom
made Lapua 6.5mm wildcat bench brass all over the fucking firing line
with your ego booster/penis extension. Give these shooters a break,
go to the end of the line away from other shooters, preferably where
there is no overhead protection. Trust me, if these want to see they
can come down. If you have to be near someone, talk to them. Don’t
be the asshole blasting away giving everyone a headache. Let them
know what is going to happen when you pull the trigger, you are an
ambassador for your sport.
If you don’t know body will.
Keep it up and one night when the range has its monthly meetings,
Handloady McFireformerson and the rest of the long range bench team
will be there making an argument for, then motions, and finally
voting on, banning the 50 BMG.
.510 DTC EUROP:
those of you in 50 BMG banned areas, you can have lots of the same
rifles in “.510 DTC EUROP”. This new ban free round uses
the same bullets, and uses a 50 BMG case trimmed down, resized, and
then fire formed in a rifle designed to shoot that caliber. These
rifles cannot chamber 50 BMG and are legal in places that have 50 BMG
What to shoot:
Most 50 BMG rifle manufacturers have a
rule “only modern 50 BMG ammo” some go further
specifically stating “No surplus other than 1987 and newer US
production”. Some simply say “No military surplus ammo”,
while others say “no 50 BMG surplus older than 10 years
Some of this is due to inconsistencies of 50 BMG
military ammo loading factory equipment. Other reasons are that “war
era” ammo, that is to say ammo produced during a conflict
before the first gulf war (WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, etc) may
actually be loaded hot. It was intended to go into M2 machineguns and
they are forgiving of things like that. The people operating them
belong to Uncle Sam, and operate that equipment with some
understanding of the dangers. Also powder degrades with age. 50 BMG
powder is made of large extruded tubular pellets. Expose these
pellets to a certain type of long term handling, transport or storage
and they begin to break into smaller parts, or even oxidize. When
that happens it speeds the burn rate. In such a large cartridge this
can be an issue.
Additionally if that ammo was not made in the
US there are these as well as a few other factors to consider. This
is not a “hurr brown people make bad ammo” situation.
This is a storage, handling, and component supplier situation. For
example, I offer the Dominican Republic 50 BMG. A few large lots of
50 BMG Armor Piercing came into the US from the Dominican Republic
for public sale. This ammo is identified with a yellow tip.
a few mishaps from hot loaded rounds in the US, some of the ammo was
inspected. The powder was found to have heavily degraded into smaller
granules. Through investigation it was found that poor storage
techniques in the hot steamy Dominican Republic caused the ammo, even
the newer ammo, to get surface oxidization. The ammo was rusting away
in its crates. To combat this they tumbled complete loaded rounds,
which to remove the oxidization, repainted the tips and packaged it
in better cans.
Many people who had large quantities of this
ammo in the US broke down the ammo into components to try to salvage
them with US surplus powder. Upon inspection many of the projectiles
had no gas seal at the bullet base in the jackets. A poor attempt to
swage them had been made, but some of the bullets jackets weren’t
even long enough to swage.
It will be up to each shooter as
to what they think is best for them. I don’t recommend that
anyone put a WWII round into a rifle. I have an example round of
50 BMG from 1943 that since I have owned, has been shaken by every
one who has ever held it. They always say “wow you can hear the
powder in it, there is a lot of it too…” I have owned it
since before I owned a rifle that shot the ammo. I cringe to think
what would happen if I were to fire that round, its large powder
granules now turned nearly to the consistency of sand would detonate
at a burn rate that is scary to contemplate.
That said I have
some WWII production AP ammunition that I have fired a few rounds
without ill effect. It would be downright careless for me to suggest
you do the same in any rifle.
this year and the end of last year ammunition and components for 50
BMG rifles really started to dry up and prices skyrocketed. Part of
this was due to the closure of Talon. Much of it has to do with the
effect of a law passed many years ago not only banning the sale of
most 50 BMG ammo from US military contract factories, but also of a
ban on the more exotic components and ammo from being imported as
The war on two fronts was also eating into what was
available with Brazilian and Korean 50 BMG brass being found in lots
collected from US military bases indicating that the US was actually
outsourcing for some of its needs.
Some it also was coming
from demand of shooters. With so many companies producing weapons
that fire this round the end users were fueling the shortage as well.
Then there are the people who buy it up fearing that changes in
administration and law could affect price and availability.
prices started to stabilize. For a while it was hitting around $5 a
round having stabilized now at just under $2 a round.
sudden influx of ammo:
This hourly updated user supported ticker of the lowest 50 BMG prices are brought to you free of charge
click inside box to go to these deals
various vendors like Hunting Shack, Magtech, Barrett, Doubletap, even
Extreme Shock, etc, sell ammo ranging from hunting to match purpose
ammo at increased cost.
Reloading has always
been a great cheap way to shoot, and 50 BMG is no different. A way to
make nice, safe, and accurate ammunition for your 50 BMG. Components
just like the ammo started to go up in price due to reduced
availability, but are available again.
bullets, even primed brass are all available, ranging from match
quality to military quality. Even surplus powder is available for the
moment. A few of my
lets not forget google can help us a lot here
lets not forget google can help us a lot here
http://www.google.com/search?q=50 bmg primers&tbs=shop:1
lets not forget google can help us a lot here
http://www.google.com/search?q=50 bmg powder&tbs=shop:1
lets not forget google can help us a lot here
http://www.google.com/search?q=50 bmg bullets&tbs=shop:1
also dont forget to check gunbroker with a quick search for bullets, primers, brass, or powder
Lee, not a very strong or powerful press, is just fine for reloading ammo
out of brass you have fired from a rifle or new brass. Just remember you will not be able to resize lots of machinegun brass with its neck blown out. I
suggest to avoid it unless you will never be using milsurp once
Ammomaster, I haven't had a chance to play with one yet, but I am
told it has a lot more “umph” for those more stubborn
makes a copy of the RCBS for more
Then we have the mother of all reloading kits. The Dillon BFR:
There are also a variety of tools that are found
in other forms of reloading made just for prepping 50 BMG
This is an important link to find or for
you to help others find, deals on 50 BMG ammo
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