This is from the Armed Forces Journal International's article on the "2002 Shootout", which I gather is some sort of place to show off your new weapons systems for various buyers. The whole article is pretty interesting.www.afji.com/AFJI/Mags/2002/August/shootout.html
I'm just posting this part because I'm getting one of these bad boys. It also takes .50 Beowulf ammo.
READY ON THE RIGHT
As mentioned earlier, one of the basic purposes of AFJI's annual Shoot-out is to put "better ideas" from the small-arms industry into the hands of US forces. From that perspective, the Leitner-Wise LW15.499 "Mini-.50" was an overwhelming success when the firing line went hot on Saturday morning.
Officially designated as the Multi-Level Threat Response System(tm) (MLTRS) by Alexandria, VA-based Leitner-Wise Rifle Company, the new system mounts a top-end conversion kit, a new upper receiver bolt, and a few other goodies on an AR-15, M-16, or M-4, essentially turning those tried-and-true designs into .50-caliber-firing weapons. The conversion kits can be purchased alone to adapt on-hand weapons; alternatively, Leitner-Wise furnishes complete systems.
The MLTRS is a refinement of Eugene Stoner's AR-15/M-16 weapons design that fires 12.5x42mm cartridges based on .50 Action Express (AE) handgun ammo. The cartridge case was redesigned without the AE's sharp shoulder to facilitate feeding, and is slightly tapered to aid extraction and somewhat reduce recoil. The Mini-.50 has a 16.1-inch barrel that fires 325- or 400-grain bullets (2,000 feet-per-second and 1,980 fps, respectively) in various "flavors," and work is under way on several types of less-lethal rounds.
(A weapon system based on the Mini-.50's original design is being marketed by Radford, VA-based Alexander Arms LLC, whose principals are former employees of a Leitner-Wise subsidiary. The two entities went their separate ways about 2 1/2 years ago, and it's no exaggeration to say that each is now the other's only, and fiercest, competitor-with their own designs-in this new weapon-design niche. Alexander Arms' weapon is called the .50 Beowulf.)
The Mini-.50 has a lot going for it, not the least of which is its parts commonality with M-16s and M-4s. Then, too, with profiles similar to M-16s, Mini-.50s could be carried inconspicuously by military forces. This consideration comes into play more often than many persons realize: The US Navy, for instance, is sometimes compelled by host-nation sensitivities to limit the types of firearms carried by vessel-security forces during port calls in some overseas locales. Most importantly, the Mini-.50 would put substantial stopping power into users' hands. Just weeks after the Shoot-out, a multi-service gathering witnessed the .499's ability to fire rounds capable of penetrating Level IIA body armor at 25 yards, disintegrating cinder blocks, and ripping into vehicle engines. Unlike the M-16's anemic .223 round, the .499 delivers tremendous terminal ballistics and is accurate out to about 250 yards.
In short, when you know what you're looking at, the Mini-.50 is a very imposing weapon. And it would be expected to pack quite a kick-not only on the receiving end. That's generally how members of the AFJI evaluation team sized up the weapon before firing it, and these are typical of their post-firing assessments:
"Wow. Monday morning I'll be talking to our purchasers. Hard to put into words the quality and functioning of this weapon. With the addition of [an] automatic [mode] and different types of bullets, this will be unbeatable."
"The perfect weapon!! My command will be ordering some ASAP. Perfect for small-boat ops or vehicles running gates. Perfect for our missions [in the US and] overseas."
"Very interesting variation on the AR-15/M-16 design. Fills a need for close-in, extreme penetration with a heavy bullet (i.e., a vehicle-stopper). We are interested also in non-lethal ammo variants; great potential in this idea."
"Love this gun! I'm buying one for myself! The only problem I can see would be smaller-framed people shooting this as it does have a helluva kick."
"Fills the gap between 7.62 and Browning BMG .50 cal."
"Healthy recoil; lots of muzzle flash, but the flash can be corrected."
The Leitner-Wise team is already addressing muzzle flash and recoil with a ported muzzle brake, a company representative told AFJI after the Shoot-out. And a pair of automatic prototypes (three-shot and fully auto) have already undergone an initial round of testing, he added.
Couple of questions...
(1) Does it use AR15 mags?
(2) What is the cost of an upper?
(3) Who can you get them from?
I got mine Friday, it uses what appears to be an AR15 mag, it cost me $650 and I ordered direct from the manufacturer. Appears to be very well made and as soon as I can get to a range I will post a report.
I believe it does. I think a 20 round mag holds 10 .499 rounds.
Like hipfired said, direct from the manufacturer. I've had telephone and email conversations with Paul Leitner-Wise and he seems like a good guy.
Hipfiredgun - did you just get the upper for $650? Any idea on what the complete rifle costs?
It has a mag that looks like a 30 rounder and holds 10 rounds, you cannot get it to feed standard 223 ammo. I think the complete rifle is just short of $1,000 or there abouts.