So I've finally scraped enough money together behind the wife's back to be able to order my ALS upper in the next few weeks (shhhhh.....) I am wondering which chamber to choose, milspec or match.
As much as I'd like to meticulously load 50BMG, and probably will at some point, I am wondering if milspec is the way to go simply to be able to use milsurp ammo. I'd like MOA or better, of course, but I know better than to expect that from milsurp (right?).
If I could get match grade ammo loaded in my garage for cheap, I suppose I'd go with the match chamber, but will it absolutely not load and fire milsurp, or will the milsurp ammo just perform poorly?
Will a milsurp chamber shoot match and vice-versa?
I don't think I'll be competing with this rifle, but I would like to drag it out to a few of the 1000-yard ranges in the area, and shoot at steel plate in the desert as far away as I can manage to get.
Which would you choose and why?
I'm pretty sure it's a very bad idea to shoot mil surp ammo out of a match chamber.....if it'll even work. If you get a match chamber, you should only shoot match ammo out of it. As far as accuracy loss between using a mil surp chamber and match ammo, I'm not sure. To my understanding a match chamber has tighter specs which improve the accuracy, but this isn't something I know for sure. If you plan on doing alot of plinking, I'd go with the mil surp chamber. If you're gonna be handloading and competing, get the match chamber. Just my .02 cents, I'm new to the .50 as well, so don't rely only on my opinion.
If by "match" chamber you mean "tight neck" chamber (0.554"), you will really need to plan on only shooting ammo with turned necks (approx. 0.020" wall thickness). While most surplus ammo will chamber, the clearances "could" be so close as to be dangerous. The main reason for going with a tight neck are to reduce the work hardening on your carefully prepared match brass, thus extending it's life. It requires more work, though, turning all of those case necks.
A milspec throat (0.562") can safely shoot just about any ammo out there, and the gun will have the potential to shoot every bit as accurately as one with a tight neck chamber with carefully prepared match grade ammo.
The greatest accuracy potential is from a borerider chamber. This is a specially cut (shorter) chamber designed to shoot bullets specifically designed for it. The throat can be either tight or milspec, but is more commonly tight. The front portion (roughly half) of the bullet has a diameter of .500", matching the bore diameter, with two drive bands of .510, equal to the groove diameter, creating the gas seal. This forces the bullet to remain centered in the bore so that there is no (or at least minimal) wobble when it exits the muzzle. Borerider bullets are all turned solids and run $1.10-1.85 each. It can get pricey.
Another option, and the one I went with, is the semi-borerider chamber. I'm not exactly sure how this one is different than a borerider chamber but it allows you to shoot either borerider or standard bullets if they are seated to the proper depth, which would be deeper than with a standard chamber. These seem to be popular among match shooters. You should be able to shoot surplus (or remanufactured) ammo in a semi-borerider chamber if you can seat the bullet a little more. A Lee press and bullet seater could be had at minimal expense and you could buy the rest of the required loading gear later.
Don't rely on this as the last word as I am fairly new to this myself, but I have been doing a lot of research over the past two years putting together a top-of-the-line match package. I have a lot of money invested in custom gun parts, loading equipment, components, rest, etc. and am still waiting for the gun to be put together (hopefully in the next month or so). I've lost interest in the meantime and am about ready to sell out to buy a full auto lower if I can get 95% of my money out of it. I have everything but the scope. Anyone interested?