Does anyone have any experiance in reloading the 50 BMG? Any suggestions or hints would be appreciated.
I am an experianced reloader, however I have never reloaded the 50 BMG. I recently got into the big 50 with an Armalite AR-50. I also have a Barrett M99-1 on order. Up till now, I have been shooting Yugo 88, 97, & 98 M33. Not too bad accuracy with about 1.2 to 1.9 MOA. But, I am looking on doing better with reloads.
Currently I am looking to use the Hornady 750gr AMAX with H50BMG powder & CCI primers. I was planning on using my spent Yugo brass. Also I will probably load some API's.
Does anyone have any loads they know is good with this combo? In either of the above mentioned rifles? Is the Yugo brass good enough to use or is there a better recommendation?
Any comments or recommendations would be appreciated.
I too have been reloading for years and have 2 50's that need ammo. I got the rcbs 50 bmg kit and am just acquiring components to load it now. It loads just like any other rifle round just bigger.. :)
When I start cranking the 50's out I'll let you know of any problems that I run into. And as a side note be aware that that yugo stuff is mildly corrosive and clean those barrels well after shooting it.
The Yugo brass will work, I've used it for some AP that I loaded. IMI, PMC (PSD) or WCC (CAL50) brass is better if your going to load up some match stuff. Save the surplus brass for plinking stuff.
The hardest part of loading for the AR-50 is trying to find the lands. The chamber is about as deep as the Grand Canyon. I have loaded some AMAX out to 5.90" OAL trying to find the lands. So you'll just have to experiment with different lengths. As for powder charges, try around 215-220grs for the AMAX. Make sure to trim all your brass to 3.90". For the API's, try starting around 210-215grs.
Remember, use all this at YOUR OWN RISK.
Thanks for the info, much appreciated.
I suspected that the Yugo brass may not be the best bet for match loads. I have noticed that the cases vary my as much as 17 grains (for a given year lot). I planned on sorting them. Where is a good place to get IMI, PMC, or WCC brass? I have heard that PMC hasn't made any 50 brass lately and it is therefor scarce.
Thanks for the note about the AR-50 freebore. I was planning on measuring it this weekend. Do you know what the Barrett M99-1 freebore is like?
For the AMAX bullets, I was planning on starting around 205gr and working up from there. Hodgdon lists the max load at 233gr but Hornady lists it at about 215gr. Barnes matches Hodgdon's max. I figure that the discrepancy is due to case and freebore. So, I planned to work up slowly.
I know how to look for signs of high pressure in magnum rifle cartridges, but am not so sure that they apply to the 50BMG. The case head is obviously thicker as is the primer cup. Do you have any suggestions on what to look for in determining top pressure?
For IMI brass try Widener's www.wideners.com for PMC try Thunderbird Cart. Co., www.Tbirdammo.com and for CAL 50 (WCC) try The Hunting Shack, www.thehuntingshack.com. You'll probably have to call The Hunting Shack as I think they don't post it on their site but do sell it. Arizona Ammunition and AAA Ammo might carry IMI or WCC also, www.azammo.com and www.aaa-ammo.com
Don't know what the freebore is on the 99-1 but I'm sure it's alot less then the AR-50. Brownell's sells some stuff that you can do a chamber cast with but I can't think of the name of it right now.
Most of the guys that are reloading seem to think that AMAX is working good around 215-220grs. I've heard (magic word) that when AMAX is kept between 2600-2700fps it acts like a borerider. I've heard this from a couple other people but you might check with Hornady on that as it might be an Urban Legend.
Flattened or blown primers are one indication for over pressure and if you see a ring about 3/4" up from the base is another. A friend had his dies move and it set his shoulders back, the pressure almost blew the base off. There was a ring that was almost all the way thru the brass all they way around it. Also check when extracting brass, if you have to beat your bolt open, your loads might be a little hot.