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.50 BMG Ammo: Overview

The .50 Browning Machine Gun (BMG) round is one of the most widely used service bullets to date. It was developed in the second decade of the 20th century and adopted as a service round in 1921. It is also known as the .50 Browning and is used across the globe today. There are at least 30 countries that list this as military ammunition.

The rimless, bottleneck shape of the .50 BMG shell was derived from an expanded .30-06 case. It measures .735 inches in diameter at the shoulders and .804 inches in diameter at the base. Shells with a diameter of 3.91 inches are fired with jacketed lead bullets measuring .510 inches.

Types Of .50 BMG Ammo:

There are a number of different types of cartridges in the .50 BMG series. Some of the most common are as follows:

  • Bullet: This type of bullet consists of a lead bullet enclosed in a hard metal jacket, typically made of copper.
  • Armor-piercing (AP): Made from pure tungsten, iron, or steel alloys, these bullets penetrate ship armor. The ammunition in this category is commonly used in anti-tank warfare operations.
  • Tracer: Tracer ammo, also called pyrotechnic ammo, consists of a pyrotechnic charge on the projectile that lights up when fired, causing the projectile to travel in a very bright and visible path.
  • Saboted sub-caliber: This type of ammunition uses a special mechanism to hold a smaller round in the barrel so that it can fly the best while being fired.
  • Incendiary: These are cartridges that were originally made with phosphorus, catching fire and burning quickly. These cartridges can even penetrate the fuel tanks of bomber aircraft.

Uses of the .50 BMG in the military:

The .50 BMG and its corresponding machine guns developed at the end of World War I, were used by all branches of the armed forces, including the US Navy, the US Army, the US Marine Corps, and the US Air Force.

While the weapon was adapted in a variety of ways, two of the most common models were the lighter-barreled aircraft version (M2) and the heavy-barreled ground version (M2HB).

This ammunition is powerful enough to penetrate most brick walls in commercial buildings and can blow through concrete cinder blocks. When fired, this ammunition can completely disable the engine of a vehicle.

.50 BMG Ammunition for Civilian Use:

In addition to being used by the United States Armed Forces, the .50 Browning is also employed by the United States Coast Guard, the New York Police Department, and the Pittsburgh Police.

There is a growing interest in competition shooting with the .50 BMG among the general public. An organization called the fifty caliber shooters Association (FCSA) holds annual events within a 1,000-yard range (1,000 yards equal .568 miles).

When shooters take five shots at 1,000 yards, they can achieve groupings of six inches with a good aim. There is a possibility that the bullets can hit a 55-gallon barrel from a mile away in conditions of rare and mild winds.

.50 BMG Rifle Ammo: Frequently Asked Questions

What are .50 BMG rounds?

BMGs are large-bore, long-distance sniper rounds used by the U.S. armed forces as well as the armed forces of at least 30 other countries. The cartridge comes with a full metal jacket projectile that measures .510 inches in diameter and sits in a casing that measures about four inches long. Overall, the round measures approximately 5.45 inches long.

When it comes to the 50 BMG, what is its effective range?

There are several rounds in the .50 BMG series, all of which are long-range rounds. The range is generally thought of as being about 1,800 yards (1.1 miles) and even further on some sniper rifles used by the military.

Is it possible to hunt with .50 BMG ammunition?

The use of the .50 BMG cartridge during hunting is not considered efficient. Despite being powerful enough to harvest any game, this high-powered round is overkill, even for elephants. If you really want to take down the game with the BMG, you should consider using a different piece of ammunition with a slightly lower velocity and energy to prevent complete devastation.

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