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Page Armory » 50 Cal
Posted: 12/19/2005 1:35:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 12/19/2005 1:40:14 PM EDT by Scollins]
Well, I'm considering getting one of these big boys for some mid-range shooting. I've shot the Barrett M82, which is a hoot, but out of my price range. I've also found the accuracy to be below my expectations. It is probably a combination of rifle and surplus imported ammo. Anyway, I'm leaning towards the bolt guns for three reasons:
1.) Accuracy
2.) Cost
3.) I'm a lefty when it comes to rifles

I'm also partial to repeaters as opposed to single shots. But there aren't a lot of options in my price range for repeaters (about $3,000 tops minus glass.) The Barrett M95 or McBros aren't out of reach, just more than I really want to spend. I also don't think the M95 is lefty friendly at all.

Intended use: There is a monthly 50BMG match near me that I would participate in. The range is 550 yards, and 15 rounds are fired total for the match. Due to the cost of the ammo, I'm very likely to reload for it. It probably won't save any money over the SA surplus I see all the time, but I'll get match ammo out of it instead for the same price.

With those factors in mind, I've narrowed the choices down to the following:

1.) Barrett M99 variant.
Considerations:
a.) Prefer the M99-1 for the slightly shorter barrel, but the 32" would be OK too.
b.) I checked the cheek weld on this weapon for a lefty, and it seemed OK. Any feedback?
c.) Ronnie Barrett is one hell of a guy! That is almost reason enough there to get the M99.
d.) Cost is quite a bit higher than the alternatives. Local shop has one for $4,300 (tan color, Bushnell scope and 80 rounds of ammo included.) I can probably get a bare bones version for around $3,000, or buy a used one for $2,600+.
e.) Not magazine fed (somewhat of a bummer.)
f.) Not very "customizable" in terms of stocks (LOP, drop, cheek rise, etc.)

2.) Blue Grass Armory Viper
Considerations:
a.) Looks very similar to a Barrett M99 to me.
b.) Available as a lefty model (bonus)
c.) Same customizing issues as the Barrett M99.
d.) $2,900 price tag isn't too bad. I've got a dealer friend, so I can probably get a better price still.
e.) Still not magazine fed

3.) State Arms Shorty with the wood stock.
Considerations:
a.) Nice looking rifle! I like the look of the laminated stock, but don't really care for the tactical stock. I know that wood stocks, even laminated ones, have some environmental issues with regards to accuracy. I'm OK with that.
b.) Price is attractive at $2,300
c.) Not magazine fed
d.) Shell holder design I believe. Is this a drawback? I thought some people were "poo-pooing" the shell holder designs.
e.) Lefty version available for $100 more

4.) Safety Harbor UltraMag 50
Considerations:
a.) Magazine fed! 3 or 5 rounds fed from the left side.
b.) Drops onto an AR lower receiver. Allows for customization of stock and grips. I'd probably use the new Magpul PRS stock for this application.
c.) Looks to be quite usable for a lefty
d.) Price is attractive at $1,850 for the 22" version, or $2,100 for the 29" version.
e.) Cost is misleading. Need to add cost of a lower ($90), LPK ($50) and a stock ($255 for the PRS.) That adds $400 to the cost of the weapon. 29" version now on par with the others.
f.)

5.) Ferret50 AR15 conversion upper
a.) AR conversion again, so I like the available options
b.) Not magazine fed
c.) About the same price as the UltraMag 50
d.) Lefty version available.

So those are about it. I eliminated the Serbu BFG-50 based on the appearance that it would not be very comfortable for lefty (bad cheek placement.) The McBros and Barrett M95 are outside my comfort zone in terms of cost. The Barrett M82, while an amazing weapon and fun to shoot, is far beyond my budget. Same thing goes for the EDM Windrunner (which I love!) but again, far too much capital needed.

Of these choices, I'm leaning the most towards the UltraMag-50. It seems the price/value/features relationship is almost exactly what I'm looking for. It is in my budget, is a repeater, and allows for customization of the stock and grips based on the AR lower receiver being used.

Purchase timing isn't until after SHOT show in February. I'm hoping many of these companies will be there, and I can check them out first hand. Plus, you never know when someone is going to unveil something for SHOT!

Last question could be a topic all unto itself, barrel length. How much velocity is given up with a 22" barrel vs. the 29"? Is the muzzle blast and noise from the shorter barrels a major hindrance? I was thinking the UltraMag-50 with the 22" barrel would make for a more portable package. But if too much long range capability is given up because of 7" of barrel, I'll get the longer version.

So, any comments or suggestions? Did I miss a major choice that meets the general criteria? Anyone local to Seattle with any of these that wouldn't mind a "show and tell?" Don't necessarily need to shoot it, but get some hands on the product.

Thanks.
Scott
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 2:16:43 PM EDT
The Armalite AR-50 is available in a left-handed version too! Very comfortable to shoot from the bench.
Armalite AR-50

There's also the Anzio Ironworks mag-fed. Similar to the Serbu design, but magazine fed from the bottom, so the bolt is well forward of where your cheek would be.
Anzio Ironworks

I happen to own one of the early UltraMags, (22") and found that load velocity was reduced about 200fps compared to my full-sized Serbu BFG-50.
Walter now sells a complete rifle as well as the upper conversions.
Safety Harbor Firearms

UltraMag-50 Range Report
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 2:17:21 PM EDT
More questions then a barrel of monkey's.

First, unless you really want a mag fed rifle I would pass. You could shoot a single shot .50 faster then a mag fed, while the person with a mag is changing it, the single shot would gain and pass him. Plus with less material on the receiver it wouldn't be as rigid and would flex more giving up some accuracy.

It's gonna come down to YOU and which rifle you like the most. All of them will be accurate, the BGA Viper, Barrett or SA probable more so then the others. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a shellholder, there was a big agruement on Biggerhammer about it a week or so ago. You can get the shorty for $1,800 from SA/East Ridge, call and talk to Larry the owner. There's also the ALS upper, the owner won first place two years ago at the FCSA nationals in Raton for the Hunter class. Don't rule out the AR-50 also, they do make one for lefty's.

As far as velocity goes, you lose about 25-30 fps per inch. So between the two you would lose about 175-210 fps, this would show up at longer ranges as the shorter barrel would run out first. Most of the muzzle blast goes around the shooter, it's the bystanders that get to eat it.

You already said that you know of the .50 shoots in WA, get with Bruce, he's a good guy to deal with. I think he turned the shoots over to a couple other guys in the group but he'll help ya out the best he can. You could also go to one of the shoots to try out a few .50's, most guys will let you try theirs out.

Make sure you shop around, .50's are always on the market. Guys buy them, take one shot and then decide it's to much and sell it. Check places like Guns America, Gunbroker, Biggerhammer, Subguns and here on arfcom.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 2:23:23 PM EDT
My list would include the Barrett M99, Bluegrass Armory Viper, and Armalite AR50 for full on rifles.

Wish I had enough to have gotten one of those above complete rifles while there was still time in California.

What I did end up going with was an ALS 50 upper which is damn accurate, heavy as hell but certainly was a good deal for getting into the 50BMG game.
Link Posted: 12/22/2005 10:36:23 AM EDT
check out the ligamec corp. they have a goodlooking upper starts out at 1350$.they also just introduced a semi auto starting out at 4000$. www.ultralite50.com they dont have the semi auto up on their site yet but the bolt upper is there
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:44:38 PM EDT
I did you a favor and posted your question on the member-side of the FSCA website. Here is what they said up to this point. Merry Christmas!

Scott:

I don't have what you're asking for as far as a recommendation, but others who have shot and own these rifles will certainly offer up their input. I can say you have done your homework, that's for sure.

I want to pitch that you will be in a great position to talk to all these rifle manufacturers at the shot show, and that is a big thing in letting them know about the strength of the market. I assume most of them are familiar and even close to the FCSA, but having people shop them to buy, not just look, is good for all of us.

You all know that the FCI and FCSA will have tables at the Show, and make sure to stop by. I'm really looking forward to this, and we are building up quite a head of steam about making this a great year.

eggman

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Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:47:39 PM EDT
Next::

I agree with Eggman--you have definitely done your homework. The only thing that jumps out at my in your quest for a left-handed gun that would suite you is the repeating option. You see, I have and EDM M96 with the 5 shot magazine etc... paid $2000 more for that option which in hind sight isnt even remotely useful when shooting at the bench/on the ground in competition. I have found line officers dont really like to see a magazine in the gun (even if its empty) when you are only supposed to have 5 shells on the bench ect. On the other hand you only shoot 1 round at a time in competition and have more than enough time to eject and load the next round before the target is on its way up. "I," like you wanted the repeating option and if you want it I say BUY it.... well thats "my" pholoshopy. Oh I should mention I like loading my EDM from the bottom. instead of through the port. Without the magazine it is easy to do and you dont really have to move around much to get another shell in the chamber.

Okay so what am I getting at? If you really want it -- get the repeater. BUT, if you dont have 1st rate reloading equipment geared for the big 50, maybe some homework in that arena should be considered. For instance: Looking back, I would have been better off getting the EDM single shot and purchasing $2K of reloading equipment up front. I do have everything I need to reload now, but looking back that would have made more sense. So far I havent needed the repeater option. But hey, I do like to say I have it. That is a hard thing to consider... I feel for you. hahaa

Oh one more gun you might want to consider that sounds like it is in your range would be the Advanced Long Range Shooting system. I think they sell in the area of $2800 or so last time I checked. I could be off on the price just a little but that is close to where you are at. I handload for both the EDM and ALS gun and I have to admit it WILL SHOOT!! It would be a definite contender in my book if you are looking for a gun in a "Hunter Class" and later possibly shoot it off the bench (which you can do with the ALS) and not very easily with an EDM and a few others mentioned. One more important point you mentioned was the short barrel for easy mobility. The ALS breaks like an AR-15 so you put it in the case in 2 pieces. In other words you dont have to have a case that is extra long to package and contain it.

Anyway, there is my 2 cents. I probably didnt help much but its nice to throw in another monkey wrench.... Good luck!!

--ddrodge76
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 3:49:28 PM EDT
And furthermore...

Another 2 cents- I see you haven't considered Armalites AR50. Not a repeater, and many will say accuracy is not top-notch without a custom barrel, but they are now made in Lefty model, and not too pricey. Buttstock removes easily for transport. Very efficient brake. If serious compettition isn't your mission, perhaps this is an option. Sure enjoy mine.

dmay
Link Posted: 12/23/2005 4:26:02 PM EDT
Thanks a ton GeneStoner! I checked out the FCSA, and I'm going to send in my membership dues next week. Sounds like there is a ton of information available there. I've been browsing biggerhammer.net too.

Thanks to ARFCOM member RyJones, I was able to get "hands on" to a UltraMag 50 locally. I wasn't able to shoot it, but I was able to check it out. It was the 18" barrel version. Fairly nice setup. But I think I'm going to skip the box magazine option on my particular build. Besides, the 5 round magazines are HUGE, and expensive at $110 or $120 each.

Also, after some consideration, I think I'll just go with a standard right hand action instead of a lefty. If I ever happen to sell it, I will have a larger market to sell it to. Also, all my current bolt guns are right hand models, and I've become adept and accustomed to operating them in that manner. So long as the cheek weld isn't affected by an ejection port, I should be fine. Plus, I'll be able to see the port as I load it.

So here is what I'm thinking of as my current "front runner."
a.) Ultralite 50 AR conversion upper with the 24" barrel (although the 29" is a consideration as well.)
b.) DPMS Stainless Steel AR lower in black. (I'm thinking the additional weight and the fact it is steel will be beneficial. Even if the aluminum receivers are fine, this should be "more fine!") Any other quality lower in steel is a consideration as well.
c.) Magpul PRS stock
d.) Super Sniper 16x42mm mil dot scope
e.) 50 BMG rings (jury still out on these, DD Ross, Badger, others?)

That should put me right about $2,400....
Link Posted: 12/25/2005 6:14:48 AM EDT
The only thing I will add is the shell holder seems to be the opposite direction from where you are headed with the magazine theory. My Ferret has no problem with reloading and followup shots. While a magazine may be a second or so faster, I cant see a marked advantage. Someone said frame flex, I never thought about it.

I personally like the AR uppers, despite any laws created by the looney left, if its not on a lower, its just some bathroom plumbing, a worthless metal pipe. And barrels are important. I got the Walther Lothar barrel, which at the time I was reading up, had a lot of favorable press.

The one place Barret shines is customer service. That would be a drawback on Armalite to me, knowing how they are on the AR-10 side.


I would say read, read, read......Biggerhammer is a great resource, FCSA is another. Take your time to make sure you get what you want, as the .50 is not just another small purchase.

And just wait till you get to shop for glass.......






Link Posted: 1/1/2006 10:21:03 AM EDT
Here's another one for you Scott From "Windage":

I saw a lefty AR 50 for under 2 large new at the Knob Creek Machine Gun shoot this fall, private sale. Dollar late and a day short??? (that doesn't sound right....)
My opinion, (that's what you are soliciting here, right?), study the Ferret a bit more, check out Dave's website, the number of Ferrets starting to place in comps, the informative posts he places here, and the number of Ferrets in the under $4000 gun polls. Good barrels, good machining, good support from a builder / shooter right in the thick of it. Companies come and go with "market fads" but a company built on passion for the product (affordable accuracy) gets my attention. Spyder Arms seems to be in the right spot at the right time in this market. I mean to take nothing away from other builders of rifles who are FCSA members and supporters
I noticed that the Desert Toys Rebel is not on your list, doesn't meet the mag requirements, and it's a bolt carrier design, but uses a good barrel.
I too was thinking mag repeater when I first started looking at .50s last winter, but after joining FCSA (best money I ever spent with my clothes on) and reading MANY posts for several months, I came to the conclusion that for my bugdet (under 4 large for rifle) and I wanted to shoot in competitions (meaning accuracy over other criteria) that for the bucks, meant single shot bolt gun. My search lead me to Dave Moore. May your search be as fulfilling.
How tight are the groups winning this 550 yd shoot of yours? How serious are the other shooters at their reloading? Do you plan to shoot 1000 yd in FCSA events? All that would play into rifle choice. Good Luck!

Disclaimer: this is not a advertisement for anyone, just my opinion; like a nose, everybody has one. Happy New Year!
Link Posted: 1/2/2006 9:37:31 PM EDT
Hardly anyone ever mentions the AMAC 5100 on this forum. Why is that? I owned one back in the 90's and it was an excellent shooter.
Kent Lamont isn't a bad fella to deal with,either.
Link Posted: 1/8/2006 9:30:11 PM EDT
Why do you not think the ultralite50 is an option?

WOndering as I am considering one.
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 4:29:22 PM EDT
If your price range is 3,000 you should look at other rifles from state arms. Like someone has already stated the shorty is more like 1800. You can get a Big Bertha for 2750. It has a really nice barrel on it (target match). Contact Larry at state arms, and he will probably be able to give you some lefty options. My pick would be between that and the Viper. LIke others have said do your research
Link Posted: 1/15/2006 4:37:06 PM EDT
Serbu and good glass would be a good option. Just a $3000 thought
Link Posted: 1/27/2006 6:21:09 PM EDT
I decided a long time ago that if I ever bought a .50 it would be a Barrett, because of everything he's done to support the 2nd amendment. And they are just plain good guns too.
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