.50 BMG story

This is a discussion on .50 BMG story within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Some time before I registered here I saw an article on Fox about banning the .50 BMG. Story here. It's an old story, but I ...

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Thread: .50 BMG story

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Daddy Warcrimes's Avatar
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    .50 BMG story

    Some time before I registered here I saw an article on Fox about banning the .50 BMG.

    Story here.

    It's an old story, but I thought I'd share my with you what I shared with them:

    I first wish to point out that I find the term "Armor Piercing Gun" to be misleading. The term armor piercing generally refers to the ammunition. These rounds are shaped, and composed of materials (such as tungsten or depleted uranium) to resist distortion or "mushrooming" upon impact with their target.

    It is true that the Barrett is capable of firing such projectiles. It is also true that every other firearm can do the same. An arrow shot from a bow could be "armor piercing" if tipped with such metals. Calling any weapon, including the Barrett an "Armor Piercing Gun" is like calling U-Haul trucks "Bomb Carrying Vehicles".

    I wish to make known that like bombs in U-Haul trucks, there are currently federal laws in place that restrict the use of armor piercing ammunition.

    The ability for a rifle to penetrate an aircraft is not unique to the .50-caliber. Aircraft are composed of lightweight materials as a result of their requirement to leave the ground. Such materials offer little resistance to bullets.

    The idea that "15-year-old gang members" would be shooting at police with these weapons, as one of your audience wrote, goes to illustrate a common lack of understanding about this weapon. It is a very expensive weapon that requires years of experience to use effectively. It is heavy and requires more time to set into operation than almost any other weapon available on the civilian market. Due to it's ability to fire accurately at long ranges it does not have the ability to fire accurately at close ranges. Such a rifle has very specific application and is of little use for almost every crime.

    It is true that there are fewer legal restrictions on these weapons then apply to handguns. This fact has no bearing on their availability. In my many visits to firearms vendors I have seen hundreds of handguns but only one .50 caliber BMG rifle. That store sold several handguns daily but had only sold one .50 BMG rifle in several years. The investment of thousands of dollars also deters people from purchasing this weapon of limited application.

    I often hear that the average citizen has no need for a weapon such as this. I completely agree. However, the average citizen also has no need for a baseball glove or a sports car that can drive twice the posted speed limit. It is true these weapons have little value to hunters, but I know no hunter who owns one. The civilian market for these weapons lies almost entirely with long range target shooters. This is a sport, as impractical as baseball or hockey. I know of no pending legislation to ban baseball bats (an object primarily used for recreation, but could be used in a crime).

    The ban is a solution to a problem that doesn't exist. Outside of military operations, I know of no aircraft, rail cars, automobiles, or people that have been fired upon with such a weapon.

    I am a gun owner but not a .50 BMG owner. I do not want to own such a weapon for the same reason I do not own a baseball bat. It would not effect me if the government prevented me from owning one. What I am bothered by is the conspicuous waste by our elected representatives in pursuing legislation that does not promoted the safety and wellbeing of the people.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    Well said!!!
    People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence in their behalf. - George Orwell

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    Member Array Double Naught Spy's Avatar
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    Since the author is pointing out differences between pistols, .50 BMG rifles, and availability, then the following quote is important in that it shows the author has sort of missed some critical information...

    I wish to make known that like bombs in U-Haul trucks, there are currently federal laws in place that restrict the use of armor piercing ammunition.
    For rifles, I can order AP ammo off the 'net or pick it up at any gun show. It isn't restricted, at least not in the sense of AP pistol ammo. The author says its use is restricted as is the use of bombs in U-hauls. That is fine and dandy, but that has nothing to do with availabiltiy. In short, if AP is made in the caliber of your rifle, the federal law isn't going to keep you from getting it legally.

    ----

    This is just plain wrong...
    Due to it's ability to fire accurately at long ranges it does not have the ability to fire accurately at close ranges.
    I am not sure how to account for the notion that a gun inaccurate at close range would somehow be accurate at long range. Anything I can hit at 1000 yards with mine is something I can hit much easier at any closer distance. It doesn't get harder to hit the target the closer the target is to the shooter.

    On top of that, most .50s aren't really that accurate, not in the sense that we think of sub MOA sniper or competition rifles. The 82A1 has about a 2.5 MOA, the M107 1-1.5 MOA. Their real ability is being able to travel really long range and be effective out to 2000 yards and have a less effective impact out to 7500. Out to 1000 yards, anyway, you can do much better for accuracy with a .308. I don't know the specifics of .308 ranging, but have seen the results from various 1000 yard competitions for various platforms including typical military rifles.

    ---------

    Such a rifle has very specific application and is of little use for almost every crime.
    Here is the author falls into the same fallacy where he notes the error of anti-.50 people who make the claim that the gun is an armor piercing gun. Both the author and anti-.50 folks somehow think the gun's design determines applications and that is NOT the case. I don't know what the specific application is that the author is claiming the Barrett or other .50 BMG is limited to as the application will depend on circumstance, ammo, and shooter desires.

    No doubt as Ronnie Barrett has pointed out, the size and weight of the guns makes them less than ideal for many sorts of application such as holding up a liquor store, but this has nothing to do with caliber. It is just tough for guys to walk into a liquor store with a 35 lb Barrett 82A1 under their coat and deploy it, make the threat, grab the cash, and quickly flee with the Barrett and money.

    --------

    There is a lot wrong here as well...
    It is a very expensive weapon that requires years of experience to use effectively.
    It is expensive, but the Barrett 82A1 is not a diffucult gun to shoot. A person familiar with how to shoot and how to use a scope can be shooting close to the rifle's capabilities out to 1000 yards on a calm day with limited instruction on .50 BMG ballistics. The real trick is shooting at such distances on windy days and learning to make the proper corrections to be on target with the first shot. At closer ranges, correcting for the wind isn't as difficult as the wind has less opportunity to affect the bullet's flight.

    In other words, just because it is a .50 BMG or a Barrett does not somehow make it a remarkably different sort of gun to fire or to learn to use.

    --------

    In my many visits to firearms vendors I have seen hundreds of handguns but only one .50 caliber BMG rifle. That store sold several handguns daily but had only sold one .50 BMG rifle in several years. The investment of thousands of dollars also deters people from purchasing this weapon of limited application.
    This depends on the market of the store in question. I made a similar inquiry to a popular gunshop in Dallas and they sell between 50 and 70 per year, primarily Barretts and Armalites. Barrett does not survive on military contracts alone, but because of military efforts, they are not expanding. Prior to the current war, Barrett was not surviving on military contracts and could not remain in business based solely on those contracts.

    --------
    Outside of military operations, I know of no aircraft, rail cars, automobiles, or people that have been fired upon with such a weapon.
    There have been a few instances, but not many in the US.

    --------------------------------------

    The author is right in that the guns have been mischaracterized. It isn't likely somebody with a Barrett or other semi-auto or single shot .50 BMG could shoot down an airplane. Trained military gunners had a lot of trouble doing the same thing with quad mount Ma Deuces all firing full auto. The odds are simply against a shooter firing a single shot or semi auto to be able to perfectly time a single round to impact an airplane in flight. Keep in mind that a shooter might get off one round every 3/4 of a second versus each Ma Deuce in a quad mount putting out about 9 rounds a second each with each of the 4 guns having a slightly different point of aim and hence covering a larger portion of the sky with lead.

    While the guns have been mischaracterized by those who oppose them, there is no reason to fall into the same fallacy and mischaracterize the guns in the other direction. Ronnie Barrett certainly has had not problem with detailing specifically what his guns can and cannot do, putting them into proper perspective.

  5. #4
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    As one that has built .50 BMGs and currently own one, also at one time owning the Barrett .50 BMG that is used as an example, I'd like to make a few comments.

    I am not sure how to account for the notion that a gun inaccurate at close range would somehow be accurate at long range. Anything I can hit at 1000 yards with mine is something I can hit much easier at any closer distance. It doesn't get harder to hit the target the closer the target is to the shooter.
    That depends. Many of the .50 BMG scope mounts have tapered bases. This allows the maximum adjustment of the scope at longer ranges. For instance, If the scope is zeroed at 600 yards, you are going to have to hold way, way low to hit a target at 100 yards.

    If you have the scope zeroed at 100 with straight bases, you may run out of adjustment in the scope, some around 700 yards, others around 8-850.

    Hitting a close target with tapered bases with a scope that is zeroed far off can be a real challenge. This is the norm for shooters that shoot from 600 yards out. Therefore, I could see where that statement is accurate.

    As for accuracy of the .50, that is entirely subjective to the gun and the shooter. Ive have shot semi autos Barretts that had a hard time holding a two inch group at 100 yards. Others have no problems laying in an inch an a quarter group. The single shot that I built has no problem putting 5 rounds into the same ragged hole at 100 yards..when I shoot it. Some people anticpate the recoil so much ,that shooting my gun will be luckly to hit an 8x10 sheet of paper at 100 yards.


    It is a very expensive weapon that requires years of experience to use effectively.
    Actually, with a little practice in ballistics, basics of shooting and a bit of instruction they can be effectivley used and used well. Several years ago my 14 year old son slapped a 9 inch diameter gong at 600 yards until he got bored with it. Granted, the gun was already set up, but he was on target on the second shot. With a bit of coaching, he could consistently ring the gong withw every shot.

    First time shooting it. Maximum time from never shooting one, to slapping 9 inch target...with consistency...10 minutes. On the other hand...to be "effective" as in "sniper grade" effective,is going to take much longer...but that is true with any rifle, not just the .50.

    While the guns have been mischaracterized by those who oppose them, there is no reason to fall into the same fallacy and mischaracterize the guns in the other direction.
    True statement. Knowing a bit about 50's myself, it cracks me up to hear statements made on both sides of the argument that are pure B.S to. anyone that has a clue.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  6. #5
    Senior Member Array Daddy Warcrimes's Avatar
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    Thank you for the critique.

    My main point with the U-haul was that there are lawful and unlawful applications for each. I probably could have presented that better.

    For the accuracy, I should have worded it differently. I meant that large heavy rifles with high power scopes are more difficult to manuever to engage targets at close ranges than something like a handgun, carbine, or knife. This is especially true for moving targets.
    Again, this was a truely poor explination on my part.

    "Less than ideal" is a more accurate way to describe the weapon in common crimes. Noted for future use.

    requires years of experience to use effectively.
    Another poor choice. My point here was that 15 year olds don't just pick one up and start shooting down planes. While the experience need not be specific to the weapon, a good deal is generally required to be accurate at long ranges (since one cannot always expect favorable weather and stationary targets). A soldier who has never handled a weapon before does not become a sniper after a 15 minute block of instruction.

    As to the availability, this was based upon my personal experience. My point is that these weapons are not flooding the streets and are far less common than others.

    For it's use outside of the military, again, personal experience. I still have not heard of any specific events (I have heard they exist) but I am interested if you have a reference.

    Again, thanks for the critique. I will strive to do better next time.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

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  7. #6
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    Daddy Warcrimes...

    Did you write that article ?

    Its not a bad article. per say. I think you got the point aross that something should not be banned for what it could do.

    In the case of the .50 BMG, there is no case history to justify a ban on it, so as a result the anti's want to ban it because of its potential, which in my limited logic, could be applied to virtually anything.




    I have the tools to be a rapist or a murderer, but I have never participated in ethier. Using the logic of the ANTI, perhaps I should castrate myself or sell all of my guns because I mightgo crazy someday.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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  8. #7
    Senior Member Array Daddy Warcrimes's Avatar
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    Oops, once again I was unclear.

    The quoted text was my e-mail to Fox in response to their piece in the above link.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

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    Member Array Double Naught Spy's Avatar
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    That depends. Many of the .50 BMG scope mounts have tapered bases. This allows the maximum adjustment of the scope at longer ranges. For instance, If the scope is zeroed at 600 yards, you are going to have to hold way, way low to hit a target at 100 yards.

    If you have the scope zeroed at 100 with straight bases, you may run out of adjustment in the scope, some around 700 yards, others around 8-850.

    Hitting a close target with tapered bases with a scope that is zeroed far off can be a real challenge. This is the norm for shooters that shoot from 600 yards out. Therefore, I could see where that statement is accurate.
    No sir, the statement is not accurate. The Barrett, any Barrett, is not less accurate because of scope issues. That is a sight issue and NOT an accuracy issue. A gun may be extremely accurate, but the sights and bore not properly aligned such that POI is not in line with POA, but that does NOT mean the gun is inaccurate.

    Also, the 82A1 has iron sights and does not have to be fired with a scope. Additionally, you can zero where you want. If you have a problem with running out of adjustment because you want a wide range of adjustment from 50 - 2000 yards, it is an equipment issue that is resolved with a proper scope and rings. Me, mine is zero'd at 200 yards with a high set zero and I can back it down to 50 yards or up to 1000...proper scope. That is more than sufficient for urban situations. I still have quite a bit of adjustment left and no doubt could be able to shoot further, but I don't have access to rifle ranges over 1000 yards.

    With a 100 yard zero, you need 33.50 minutes of adjustment for a 1000 yard shot, 134.50 minutes for a 2000 yard shot, firing 661 gr. projectile @ 2710 fps, 59 degrees, @ sea level.

    As for accuracy of the .50, that is entirely subjective to the gun and the shooter.
    No sir. Here you are confusing accuracy and marksmanship. Both do have to work in tandem for a proper shot, but the gun will retain the same accuracy regardless of the skill of the shooter. The accuracy does not change with the shooter for a given gun, but the marksmanship does.

    Ive have shot semi autos Barretts that had a hard time holding a two inch group at 100 yards.
    If that was an 82A1, you were in spec for the gun.

    Others have no problems laying in an inch an a quarter group.
    Cool, if with the 82A1, it still falls within its factory specs, not outside.

    The single shot that I built has no problem putting 5 rounds into the same ragged hole at 100 yards..when I shoot it. Some people anticpate the recoil so much ,that shooting my gun will be luckly to hit an 8x10 sheet of paper at 100 yards.
    So the gun is more accurate and with the right marksman who can shoot the gun close to, or at its capabilities (YOU) then the melding of accuracy and marksmanship are equal. When the shooter is a poor marksman, the accuracy and marksmanship are not equal and the default is to the poorer performer, in this case, the shooter, hence the poor patterning at the target. Once again, this is a shooter issue, not a gun issue as described by you and so the accuracy of the gun is fine, but it requires a proper operator.

    Accuracy is a mechanical and physical function of the gun and ammo used. Marksmanship is a behavioral function in operating a gun in putting rounds on target. Changing the shooter does not change the accuracy of the gun, just the marksmanship. Changing the gun or ammo does not change the marksmanship, but potentially changes the accuracy (assuming each gun and ammo combo has a different level of accuracy).

  10. #9
    Member Array Agencyman's Avatar
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    All I can say is that Clint E. and Jeff Bridges used what I vaguely remember, IIRC, as a .50, and effectively at close range robbing a bank. Geo Kennedy and Gary Busey were in it too.

    An early lesson in point-shooting.

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    They used a 20mm cannon in that movie, didn't they?

    But back to topic, most cars will go 50 to 100 mph over the max speed limit on the highways here in the US. Why allow that?

    I also get a kick out of the thought of using a 50BMG in a crime. Can you imagine the recoil and muzzle blast if someone lit one off while holding it in a robbery or from the interior of a car in a drive by?!?

  12. #11
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    Hey Double Naught...
    I pretty much agree with what you said, most of the time I dont get into that kind of detail in a discussion with folks that make not even care.Now tell me something I dont know.

    BTW, the some of the earlier Barretts did not have iron sights. That was a result of the Navy contract that specifed iron sights. I know of two rifles that do not have them.

    In respects to the shooter of a particular weapon, if a guy cant hit what he is shooting at, then no matter how accurate the rifle is, he'll be convinced that its a piece of junk. I've bought several rifles over the years that were thought to be trash...and with a bit of tinkering or ammo devolopment they shot just fine. So in this case,it is subjective.
    One shooter hits the target with an accurate rifle. The next shooter picks it up and cant hit diddly and badmouths it.
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Member Array DirksterG30's Avatar
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    I first wish to point out that I find the term "Armor Piercing Gun" to be misleading. The term armor piercing generally refers to the ammunition. These rounds are shaped, and composed of materials (such as tungsten or depleted uranium) to resist distortion or "mushrooming" upon impact with their target.
    I think the purpose behind using a dense substance like DU or tungsten in AP projectiles is to concentrate as much force (kinetic energy) on a given area (the AP projectile striking the armor) as possible. Kinetic energy if a function of mass & velocity. The DU or tungsten supplies the mass. Consider the armor-piercing "darts" that tanks fire. Lots of mass with a small frontal area driven at high velocity.

    While a .50cal AP round isn't constructed the same as a 120mm AP round, the principle is still the same.

    http://www.answers.com/topic/kinetic-energy-penetrator
    http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/m829a1.htm

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array Daddy Warcrimes's Avatar
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    The hardness (I may be making up words today) is an important property of the metal. Lead is very dense, but soft. When lead strikes armor, it flattens. DU and tungsten retain their shape. DU also sharpens itself as it penetrates.
    "and suddenly I can not hold back my sword hand's anger"

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