Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login

Page Armory » 50 Cal
Site Notices
Posted: 9/18/2009 5:20:21 AM EST
Are .50 BMG rifles any harder on scopes than any other caliber / rifle combination? I ask because as a newbie .50 owner and shooter, I'll be purchasing glass for my new rifle in the weeks to come. I own dozens of rifles, and have been handloading for them since 1971. Please correct me if I'm wrong but from where I sit I don't see it. Because of the .50's weight, along with the excellent muzzle brakes most are equipped with, I would guess they would be less harsh than say a belted Magnum, lightweight sporter.

Now blast and concussion are an altogether different story. Has anyone ever had a scope on a .50 go south? If so, what type of failure did you experience? I know Nightforce and the higher magnification Leupolds seem to be the scope of choice for most .50 BMG shooters, but I can't help but wonder if some of the up and coming brands won't work just as well. Bill T.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:03:44 AM EST
Originally Posted By btill:
Are .50 BMG rifles any harder on scopes than any other caliber / rifle combination?...


Yes, they are brutal on them.
I've seen all kinds of things fail on all brands.
It seems they will all fail eventually.
Sometimes you get a "lucky" scope that will last for 10,000 rounds
but most won't make it that far.
I've personally had my Nightforce, Leupold, Springfield, and Super-sniper fail.
Some cheap, some expensive, they all will eventually go it seems.
The best thing I can say is the better it is mounted, the longer it will last.

I like WIDE rings like D.D. Ross steel ones:



They give lots of support if you can find them
(the above picture is not my gun)

Lap the rings (with a ring lapping kit) to ensure even contact.
A bit if powdered rosin isn't a bad idea at the scope/ring interface.

This will allow the maximum life out of what you're running scope-wise.

If my life depended on it, I'd have a spare scope or BUIS.

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:35:08 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 6:35:30 AM EST by dlf9281]
Check out this video of the scope and base flexing from the recoil...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5pVya7eask

ETA: Made the link hot
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:35:35 AM EST
Originally Posted By btill:
Are .50 BMG rifles any harder on scopes than any other caliber / rifle combination? I ask because as a newbie .50 owner and shooter, I'll be purchasing glass for my new rifle in the weeks to come. I own dozens of rifles, and have been handloading for them since 1971. Please correct me if I'm wrong but from where I sit I don't see it. Because of the .50's weight, along with the excellent muzzle brakes most are equipped with, I would guess they would be less harsh than say a belted Magnum, lightweight sporter.

Now blast and concussion are an altogether different story. Has anyone ever had a scope on a .50 go south? If so, what type of failure did you experience? I know Nightforce and the higher magnification Leupolds seem to be the scope of choice for most .50 BMG shooters, but I can't help but wonder if some of the up and coming brands won't work just as well. Bill T.


The highly efficient muzzlebrakes are EXACTLY why 50 BMG rifles are so hard on scopes. A Muzzlebrake arrests recoil before you can feel most of it. HOWEVER, the scope "feels" the instantaneous shock.

In round numbers:
When the rifle fires, it builds up recoil, expressed as G (Gravitational acceleration), this is about 500-600 G in a typical 50. Rifle and scope are moving backwards

When the bullet passes into the muzzlebrake and closes the bullet port, the gases are turned around to arrest recoil, resulting in 400 to 500 G the OTHER DIRECTION.

As a flexible human, you only feel the difference between acceleration of recoil and the muzzlebrake's acceleration.

HOWEVER, the scope "feels" all of the recoil, and in two directions. Essentially, your scope "feels" 1000 G or so due to the reverse. It's kinda like the scope is riding on the end of a bullwhip when it reverses direction and CRACKS.

That's why 50 BMG recoil is so hard on a scope. And that's why most wire-reticle scopes won't hold up long on a 50 BMG. Etched-glass reticles predominate.

-David
Edgewood, NM
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:50:59 AM EST
That's interesting, I thought it was only air rifles that produced this "reverse recoil". It almost seems it's a waste of money putting a $1,000.00+ scope on a .50 if it is going to tear it up regardless. Are the Super Sniper scopes of the glass etched variety? Bill T.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 6:51:02 AM EST
Aside from the inline acceleration that David discusses, there's also a shockwave that is
spreading radially from the chamber (and the barrel) as the pressure wave builds and moves
through. The scope is closely coupled to the point of the maximum shock from that too, with
more moment arm than the receiver has.

Link Posted: 9/18/2009 7:55:03 AM EST
the first .50 i shot was a BGA viper. the guy had a Leupold mk4 scope on it and within 50-60 rounds it had lost its zero and shot all over the place.
i put a Super Sniper on my AR50 and i have maybe 100 rounds or so through it. first 15-20 shots i threw an el cheapo NcStar 4x scope on it, while waiting for the SS to arrive, and they are both still ok (considering what the NcStar was to begin with).
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 7:58:46 AM EST
It seems Super Sniper is looking better and better from a cost to performance ratio. Bill T.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 8:06:32 AM EST
Originally Posted By dlf9281:
Check out this video of the scope and base flexing from the recoil...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5pVya7eask

ETA: Made the link hot


I've seen that one. Needs another screw in the back of the scope base and the base should not
have a gap in the back where it is not making contact with the reciever. Does not look like a good design.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 8:10:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 8:11:55 AM EST by HK-USP]
Originally Posted By btill:
That's interesting, I thought it was only air rifles that produced this "reverse recoil". It almost seems it's a waste of money putting a $1,000.00+ scope on a .50 if it is going to tear it up regardless. Are the Super Sniper scopes of the glass etched variety? Bill T.


I have a Super Sniper on my AR50 with Burris Xtreme Tactical rings. I think they have an etched glass reticle. Way I see it I can go through
3 of these before spending over $1000.
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 8:29:29 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 8:30:42 AM EST by nmmi9100]
Originally Posted By btill:
It seems Super Sniper is looking better and better from a cost to performance ratio. Bill T.


The glass on a Supersniper sucks. Sucks bad. But they will generally hold up.

I've got about 800 rounds through 2 guns with my 5.5-22 Nightforce and never a problem.

Sure, a 50 BMG rifle may destroy a Nightforce or a Leupold but both companies have AWESOME warranty service so if one does take a poop on you, it'll be fixed in no time. NF has quicker service than Leupold. NF turnaround is often less than a week.

They did a reticle swap for me in a 2 day turnaround.

-David
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 8:40:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/18/2009 8:41:55 AM EST by RDTCU]
Originally Posted By PugglePod9000:
Originally Posted By btill:
Are .50 BMG rifles any harder on scopes than any other caliber / rifle combination?...


Yes, they are brutal on them.
I've seen all kinds of things fail on all brands.
It seems they will all fail eventually.
Sometimes you get a "lucky" scope that will last for 10,000 rounds
but most won't make it that far.
I've personally had my Nightforce, Leupold, Springfield, and Super-sniper fail.
Some cheap, some expensive, they all will eventually go it seems.
The best thing I can say is the better it is mounted, the longer it will last.

I like WIDE rings like D.D. Ross steel ones:

http:// http://www.swfa.com/images/ss/ss1.jpg

They give lots of support if you can find them
(the above picture is not my gun)

Lap the rings (with a ring lapping kit) to ensure even contact.
A bit if powdered rosin isn't a bad idea at the scope/ring interface.

This will allow the maximum life out of what you're running scope-wise.

If my life depended on it, I'd have a spare scope or BUIS.



If your life depends on a .50 BMG, you probably have bigger problems...
And that scope in the video is on a cantelever mount so the flex is much more apparent. Looks like an AK firing (wet noodle)...
Link Posted: 9/18/2009 2:54:18 PM EST
Originally Posted By nmmi9100:
Originally Posted By btill:
Are .50 BMG rifles any harder on scopes than any other caliber / rifle combination? I ask because as a newbie .50 owner and shooter, I'll be purchasing glass for my new rifle in the weeks to come. I own dozens of rifles, and have been handloading for them since 1971. Please correct me if I'm wrong but from where I sit I don't see it. Because of the .50's weight, along with the excellent muzzle brakes most are equipped with, I would guess they would be less harsh than say a belted Magnum, lightweight sporter.

Now blast and concussion are an altogether different story. Has anyone ever had a scope on a .50 go south? If so, what type of failure did you experience? I know Nightforce and the higher magnification Leupolds seem to be the scope of choice for most .50 BMG shooters, but I can't help but wonder if some of the up and coming brands won't work just as well. Bill T.


The highly efficient muzzlebrakes are EXACTLY why 50 BMG rifles are so hard on scopes. A Muzzlebrake arrests recoil before you can feel most of it. HOWEVER, the scope "feels" the instantaneous shock.

In round numbers:
When the rifle fires, it builds up recoil, expressed as G (Gravitational acceleration), this is about 500-600 G in a typical 50. Rifle and scope are moving backwards

When the bullet passes into the muzzlebrake and closes the bullet port, the gases are turned around to arrest recoil, resulting in 400 to 500 G the OTHER DIRECTION.

As a flexible human, you only feel the difference between acceleration of recoil and the muzzlebrake's acceleration.

HOWEVER, the scope "feels" all of the recoil, and in two directions. Essentially, your scope "feels" 1000 G or so due to the reverse. It's kinda like the scope is riding on the end of a bullwhip when it reverses direction and CRACKS.

That's why 50 BMG recoil is so hard on a scope. And that's why most wire-reticle scopes won't hold up long on a 50 BMG. Etched-glass reticles predominate.

-David
Edgewood, NM


I always wondered why .50s were so hard on scopes when the felt recoil was on par with a magnum hunting rifle etc. Thanks for clearing that up, I'm sure I'm not alone.
Page Armory » 50 Cal
Top Top