Dreams of loading the big 50

Everyday shooting is fun, but some times I just want to experience something extreme- something that few people experience. When it comes to rifle shooting, the big 50 BMG definately falls into this category. What’s so exciting about the 50 BMG? (Doesn’t take much imagination, but I’ll elaborate none the less 🙂 ). The 50 BMG is powerful. If you’re used to loading .223 Remington, you’re used to powder charge weights in the 25.0 grain range. With 50 BMG, you’re looking at charge weights in the 250.0 grain range- yes: 10x the powder as compared to .223 Remington! That sounds like a lot of fun. Then there’s the “reach” of the 50 BMG rifle. Want to shoot out to a mile (1760 yards)? –  the 50 BMG has you covered!

50 BMG dies -vs- .223 Remington dies - Image copyright 2012 Ultimate Reloader

Let’s take a quick look at the dies required for loading 50 BMG. Here we see the basic rifle die sets from Lee Precision for .223 and 50 BMG next to each other. From left to right: .223 Remington sizing/depriming die, 50 BMG sizing/depriming die, 50 BMG seating die, .223 Remington seating die.

The 50 BMG dies are so big, they have larger threads (1 1/4″ x 12 TPI as opposed to the standard 7/8″ x 14 TPI). Some reloading presses have a removable bushing (such as the Lee Classic Cast 50 BMG Single Stage Press Kit) so that you can use either size of dies. Everything related to the 50 BMG is just plain massive!

Let’s look at the 50 BMG cartridge to see just how powerful this class of rifle is.

.223 Remington cartridge (left) and 50 BMG cartridge (right) - Image copyright 2012 Ultimate Reloader

Wow! I haven’t yet had the opportunity to actually shoot a 50 BMG rifle, but I’m sure looking forward to it. Hard to imagine pushing a 700 grain projectile 3000 fps, but that’s just what the 50 BMG can do. There are just a couple of challenges that I need to overcome before I can “get into” 50 BMG. First, I need to find a rifle, and second I need to find a place to shoot the rifle. I’m sure I’ll get that chance, but for now it’s just a dream really. I have a complete 50 BMG reloading kit, and some military ammo, and some ideas. 🙂

I suppose this dream is like a lot of the projects and aspirations that we all contemplate- it takes some patience and time for things to line up, and some times it’s just fun to ponder grandiose ideas and to wait for the right time.

Anyone out there shooting and reloading 50 BMG? What kind of groups are you getting at 1000 yards, and how do your reloads compare to factory ammunition? One day we can compare notes.



7 thoughts on “Dreams of loading the big 50”

  1. LEE dies are 1-1/4×12, not the industry standard 1-1/2×12

    My best group at 1,000 is 7 1/16 for 5 shots at an FCSA event in Quantico VA. I love loading the big 50.

  2. When I was in The Marine Corp, I never bother with a .50 cal.
    didn’t like the rainbow trajectory. I figure if you need a mortar fire a mortar LOL

    I did my business with a modified (bedded and tuned by myself) Weatherby 378 magnum. shoots flatter and hits harder once you pet past 600 meters
    400 meter point-of-aim=point-of-impact
    Groups at 1000 under controlled conditions (at a range with a spotter) with nominal wind were 3 1/8 inch for a 5 shot group.

    CW05 0306 sort of give me an advantage I spose.
    And that MOS designation means I trained scout snipers for the USMC

    Just now getting back into re-loading after a 18 year bad marriage . . . no I didn’t shoot her! LOL

    Great website Gavin!

  3. I reload the .50 BMG on a Hornady50 BMG Press and trim with the Giraud case trimmer.

    I am glad you are going to cover .50 BMG reloading.

  4. I’m still trying ti decide, My wife said that if I finished the basement I could buy a 50. Dang these things are pricey.

  5. It actually doesn’t really break the bank. Sure, the rifles are more expensive, but the prices for single shot bolt action rifles is just over $2,000.00 and are dropping. If you get one of these, you are almost compelled to reload for it, though. Retail prices are about $4.50 per round for factory ammo, but with reloading, your costs can get down to under $1.00 per round. Accuracy goes up significantly too. I have a Serbu BFG-50 and use a Lee .50 BMG system for reloading. Unfortunately, my range only goes out to 300 yards (they have been promising a 1000 yard range for years and have yet to deliver). Even still, the hand loads I make with military brass and FMJ military pull down projectiles are consistently more accurate than factory loads.

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