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Ammo Long Guns

Going the Distance

by J. Guthrie   |  January 4th, 2011 7

The .50 BMG is not the world’s ultimate big-bore long-range cartridge, but the .416 Barrett very well could be.

The Barrett Mk. I VLD was designed from the start to be as efficient as possible, remaining supersonic past 2,150 yards. It has a ballistic coefficient of .730.

The .50 BMG is an impressive long-range cartridge, especially when paired with a high-quality bolt-action or semiautomatic rifle and a good optic. The ability to hit distant targets is only limited by the man behind the trigger and his spotter’s ability to read conditions. Hits on two-legged predators with this cartridge in excess of 2,000 meters have been recorded in our latest conflicts. That’s an obscene distance well beyond the capabilities of most of the world’s riflemen.

In 2002, Canadian sniper Rob Furlong put his McMillan Tac-50 to work against a Taliban weapons team in Afghanistan. He picked out an RPK gunner and let fly. According to reports, his first round missed, a second round struck the militant’s backpack, and the final round was a torso hit. The range was 2,657 yards. Furlong was at 9,000 feet, and the thin air certainly helped, but man, what an amazing shot!

But to say that the .50 BMG is the world’s ultimate long-range cartridge is pure hogwash. It is an awesome antimaterial round and the choice of our military, but the best precision, long-range cartridge it is not. There are myriad factors that lead to the adoption of a rifle or cartridge; in the case of our military, economy, commonality, and expediency far outweigh ballistic coefficient and muzzle velocity. Just like the 7.62x51mm, the .50 BMG was adopted as our big-bore sniper round because it is what we had–lots of it in fact–and not because it was the best cartridge for the job.

Barrett Firearms did not invent the material-destroying, long-range, big-bore sniping rifle, but it was the company that allowed the U.S. military to put a practical rifle in the hands of infantry companies and special operatons forces. It also made big-bore rifles accessible and practical for civilian shooters. As is often the case, innovative companies never quit innovating, and Barrett soon began developing a purpose-built cartridge that could rightly wear the crown of the world’s best big-bore, long-range precision round.

From Concept To Reality
Chris Barrett, son of Barrett Firearms founder Ronnie Barrett, grew up in the firearms business and has worked as a gun designer at the Tennessee-based company since 1996. He was tasked with turning an idea into something that went bang.

“The California legislation (banning .50-caliber rifles) prompted us to get the cartridge done, but we saw the handwriting on the wall long before the law that there were military groups and civilian shooters that wanted to hit man-sized targets at 2,000 meters and beyond,” Barrett said. “The cartridge was designed from the start for long-range accuracy. Everything centered around this principle.”

The new cartridge would also have to fit into a man-portable rifle in the same class as the current Model 99 or Model 82A1. It turns out that was an easy bill to fill because the cartridge got smaller instead of bigger. Taking a cue from decades of development by benchrest and long-range competitors, Barrett knew he needed an efficient cartridge and bullet, not just a good bullet with more propellant behind it. The new cartridge would go far beyond just necking down a .50 BMG case.

One of the keys to long-range accuracy is a bullet’s ability to stay supersonic. When a bullet starts to slow down to transonic speed–an area of aerodynamic purgatory of sorts–strange things start to happen to the airflow. The air moves faster in some places, slower in others–remember Bernoulli’s Principle from high school physics–and the bullet becomes less stable. Barrett’s bullet would have to be as aerodynamic as possible and have an extremely high ballistic coefficient. That would be the result of the right combination of diameter, length, shape, and weight. There are quite a few very low drag (VLD) bullets in production, and the Barrett bullet borrowed from them heavily.

The .416 Barrett has the same case head dimensions as the .50 BMG, so with the exception of the barrel, almost every part of the rifle is the same.

“Most cartridges, like the 5.56mm, start out with light bullets and get heavier as the ranges get longer,” Barrett said. “We started out with a VLD bullet.”

Choosing a caliber was easy since the length/weight/shape relationship can be changed to accommodate any caliber. Barrett settled on .416 and started computer modeling different projectiles.

“The caliber already existed, but our barrel makers had never made .416 barrels before,” Barrett said. “We wanted a bullet around 400 grains that would fly, and that’s the caliber that got us there. The bullet looked good–properly proportioned–and it sounds cool.”

Machinists took the drawings and started CNC machining projectiles from a 360 brass alloy, which provided the right amount of mass for the projectile’s length and diameter. The final projectile weighed 395 grains. When launched at 3,300 fps, the Barrett VLD Mk. I bullet has a ballistic coefficient of .730 and remains supersonic out to 2,150 yards. Other startling statistics include 9,517 ft-lbs of energy at the muzzle and 3,710 ft-lbs of juice at 1,000 yards. With a full-value, 10-mph crosswind at 1,000 yards, the bullet drifts just 42 inches and is only 124 inches low at that range with a 500-yard zero.

“There are other solid, turned projectiles; we weren’t the first,” Barrett said. “Ease of manufacture and accuracy were the two most important factors behind this manufacturing method. With a CNC machine, you can have any bullet you want in five minutes, and the projectiles are very consistent, have the same center of gravity, and are very concentric. They are as close to perfect as you can get.”

While less expensive and more conventional jacketed bullets are in the works, no current .416-caliber bullets beside the VLD Mk. I will work in the .416 Barrett. They just can’t handle the velocity.

Another key design parameter for the cartridge was one that applies to every Barrett product: absolute reliability.

“Our philosophy is and has been reliability first,” Barrett said. “Sure we want an accurate rifle, but that is secondary to reliability. It has to send the bullet every time since our rifles our going to serious men who use them in seri
ous situations.”

That meant the bullet would need a cannelure, an uncommon feature on VLD bullets. In heavy-recoiling, magazine-fed rifles, bullets can move around in the case neck causing accuracy, pressure, and feeding problems. Barrett said the addition, while unusual, had a negligible effect on the bullet’s ability to slip the wind.

The .50 BMG was an obvious starting point for cases. If case head and diameter dimensions remained the same, Barrett could avoid the tedious process of redesigning rifles around the new cartridge. All that would change in current models is the size of the hole in the barrel. The cartridge used a relatively small 204-grain charge of WC 869 powder to achieve the desired muzzle velocity, and that left a lot of unnecessary space in a necked-down .50 BMG case.

“It just didn’t make sense to carry all that cartridge around for no reason–who wants to carry a bunch of air?” Barrett said. “We didn’t need all that capacity to achieve the velocity we wanted, and we ended up with a cartridge 5/8 inch shorter than the .50 BMG

Unlike the 7.62x51mm (left) and the .50 BMG (right), the .416 Barrett (center) was designed from the start as a long-range, precision round and outperforms nearly every cartridge in its class.

“And there is still room to grow in the shortened case,” Barrett added. While the .416 bullets are moving right along, pressures are not maxed out. The current load generates 57,000 psi, and the cartridge has a maximum operating pressure of around 60,000 psi. The case still enjoys a .50 BMG-like taper for reliable feeding and extraction and a sharper shoulder for improved head spacing.

“We didn’t want a cartridge that is on the fringe of pressures,” Barrett said. “At the end of the day, it just reduces barrel life and reliability.”

The new cartridge was first chambered in Barrett’s single-shot bolt-action, the Model 99, and has been well received. Currently, the shop is experimenting with a semiautomatic Model 82A1 chambered for the .416 cartridge but has yet to offer barrels to the public. Barrett would not or could not say if the new cartridge was under consideration for adoption by the U.S. military or government agencies. The downside to this success is producing enough ammo to satiate shooters. Barrett currently produces the stuff in-house–it costs $4.69 a shot–but is working on avenues for mass production.

“We are manufacturing the .416 cartridge in-house currently,” Barrett said. “It’s practically benchrest ammo, every neck is I.D. reamed and chamfered. Some of these processes are not the most cost effective, but they are worth the trouble because the stuff really shoots.”

Handloaders can rejoice. Reloading components, namely the VLD Mk. I bullets, are available. Twenty will cost just under $40. The case uses a CCI No. 35 primer and either WC 869 or Hodgdon US 869 will work for propellant. Since pressures are not excessive, case life should be pretty good.

The .416 is fun to shoot and lives up to its extreme long-range potential. The gains in energy, flattened trajectory, and an uncanny ability to slip the wind are simply unmatched by other long-range stalwarts like the .338 Lapua and .50 BMG. The only other cartridge that comes close is the .408 CheyTac, which is even more expensive to shoot.

The .416 At the Range
Currently, the only rifle chambered for the new .416 Barrett cartridge is the single-shot Barrett Model 99. And the rifle is remarkably simple.

A massive aluminum extrusion forms the receiver, and a 32-inch barrel is press fit into place, then locked into the receiver with a barrel nut. A short, 15-lug bolt locks into the barrel extension and sits even with the trigger group when closed, so the overall length is just 50 inches. A long section of steel M1913 rail runs along the top of the receiver for mounting optics. The trigger group is held in place with three pins and can be removed in seconds. The rifle weighs 25 pounds sans optic and has a retail price of $4,130.

To test the cartridge and rifle, I enlisted the help of Banks Behling and Jim Davidoff, both longtime rifle competitors. Banks has shot competitively for 20 years in Palma, high-power, benchrest, and tactical matches, and he has won several class championships and a state championship. None of us had ever fired a .416 Barrett, but we had some experience with .50 BMG-chambered rifles. The Model 99 was equipped with a Leupold Mark 4 4-14X 50mm scope and the Barrett BORS system.

The .416 Barrett uses a 204-grain charge of proprietary propellant. Reloaders can use Hodgdon US 869 or WC 869 to closely mimic factory specs.

Conditions were typical for a summer morning in Georgia–hot with variable winds up to 15 mph. We zeroed the rifle, per instructions, at 100 yards and then moved out to 500 yards. Ignoring the wind, Behling dialed up 500 yards and sent three quick rounds downrange into an 8-inch group to make sure the BORS was feeding the correct flight-path data to the scope. It was, so we backed up to 810 yards–the longest shot available to us–and settled in for some serious shooting. Behling shot the best three-shot group of the morning; it measured just 5.5 inches center to center. Davidoff’s best measured around 8 inches and change. I managed to ignore the advice of a champion shooter watching the mirage and flags and shot my last round into a full-value wind, which stretched my group out to 10.625 inches. Even though we shot Behling’s zero, no one put a round off the silhouette target. We all had really just started to settle in with the rifle when our limited ammo supply ran out.

Admittedly, we only scratched the surface of both the round and the rifle’s accuracy potential, but we were impressed with what we saw at 800-plus yards. Recoil was a nonfactor, being far less than the .50 BMG. All of our shooting was from the prone position, and finer bipod adjustments would have been nice. Future shoots will probably utilize a rear bag instead of the provided monopod. The trigger broke at an average 5 pounds, 11 ounces, but it was very smooth and manageable.

“For extreme long-range accuracy, the system is just awesome,” Behling said. “The rifle is accurate, the round is extremely flat-shooting, and the BORS system was right on the money.”

With dies and more bullets on the way, it is now just a matter of finding a 2,000-yard stretch of ground without houses or cows to start a more thorough examination of this high-performance rifle/round combo.

Pros & Cons
Suppose for a minute you are in the “sand box” a
nd have the job of hitting little targets at extreme distances with one round launched from a shoulder-fired rifle. Which cartridge would you choose? Here are the pros and cons of each in a war zone.

After 10 days of watching from a hide filled with scorpions, a tall terrorist attached to a dialysis machine appears outside his cave to catch some rays–the range is extreme. Dial in the range on your BORS and squeeze. Here the .416 Barrett’s higher ballistic coefficient and ability to stay supersonic past 2,150 yards makes it inherently more accurate and increases your chances of making the shot of the century.

Rookie spotter? Sniping at any range is a skill that is taught, but it’s honed to a razor’s edge by experience. The much flatter trajectory and superior wind-slipping ability give it the edge over the .50 BMG if your spotter happens to miss the call by a few clicks. Your miss, though still a miss, will come much closer with the .416.

However, if you run out of ammo with the .50 BMG, simply walk up to the nearest tank or armored vehicle and kindly ask the gunner if you can borrow a couple feet of his .50-caliber ammo. By no means would it be match grade, but after you delink, you are in business.

Champion shooter Banks Behling settles in behind the Model 99 on the 800-yard line. He found the rifle/cartridge/optic to be a very accurate and effective combination.

Shooting a .416? Better hope you have Barrett on speed dial and FedEx delivers to Bagdad because Barrett is currently the only manufacturer of .416 ammo.

Need to shoot a tank? While the .416’s monolithic solid bullet is probably one heck of a penetrator, nothing says hello like a specialty round from an M-107. The Mk 211 Raufoss and SLAP rounds are proven fightstoppers, even when your opposition is a BMP.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for the .416 Barrett. The company could possibly create a new class of long-range rifles based on the cartridge. As more and more rifles and rounds find their way into shooters hands and they experiment to wring out every possible iota of accuracy, it seems the sky is the limit for this new cartridge.

  • rapbando

    Can’t read dimensions, very bad picture…

  • Frank Sleeper

    I’ve the .338 Lapua from desert tactical. Insane gun, but the specs on the .416 are mind boggling and even more amazing considering the kick is even less Thanks to Barretts awesome muzzle break. Damn cost for the semi model is the only pain…

  • DhauHaffenerMaus

    If you’re going to try to belittle use of the 50BMG use one that is more a fair comparison ;)

    Your article states:

    416 Barrett
    395gr @ 3330 .730 BC
    supersonic to 2150
    9517 FPE @ muzzle
    3710 FPE @1000
    10-mph wind @ 1000, drift 42 inches
    124 inches low @1000 with a 500yd zero

    808gr Lehigh solid @ 2875 1.128 BC
    supersonic to 2800
    14856 FPE @ muzzle
    7809 FPE @ 1000 14 MOA drop
    3734 FPE @ 2000 54 MOA drop
    2008 FPE @ 3000 124 MOA drop
    10-mph wind @ 1000, drift 37 inches
    141 inches low @ 1000 with 500yd zero

    At 2000yds the 50 still retains the same amount of energy that the 416 has at 1000yds

    At 3000yds the 50 retains the energy of a 454 Casull point blank

    Not sure what the 416 creates, but I’ll venture that it doesn’t come close energy wise. Flatter shooting? Yes a little bit but the energy you can put extreme downrange doesn’t even compare. What the hell’s the good of shooting ‘Going the distance’ if you cant deliver energy at those ranges, better ballistic arc or not?

  • bob

    I am not sure other than on a custom platform with a 45 inch barrel, and even then it is unlikely unless you are really pushing your case pressures, that you are going to get a 800 grain bullet going 2875 fps in a 50bmg. In a 416 the improvement from the 32 inch barrel used as the norm to a 45 inch barrel would be even more radical than the 50 as you have a smaller bore. I have read that from 30 to 45 inches on a 50bmg you gain about 150 fps per inch, that number would probably be closer to 200 fps in a 416 Barrett.

    • DhauHaffenerMaus

      Actually the 3330 FPS noted below, for the 416 Barrett, is 180 FPS MORE generous than what the Barrett website claims for that same bullet. Both this article and their website agrees with 32″ barrel figure

      —–As far as 50 BMG velocities posted below…?—–
      I’m not being unfair. 2875 FPS is actually from a 33″ barrel, certainly not 45″ lol. 150 FPS per inch is insanely generous even with the an over-bored caliber like a 30-378 Weatherby. This 50BMG is no screamer round, rather an overgrown 30-06

      —–Ok so how do we keep pressure down?—–

      Keep that 2.68″ bullet is seated waaay out to just .002″ off lands, on top of a gently compressed load of VV 20N29. Long OAL allows for same pressures, using more powder, within the now ‘larger’ case. No pressure signs and easy extraction. Pretty hot summer day chronograph in use was 15′ from muzzle. ~4000 ASL

      The only reason I even posted here is because it’s annoying that all these mystical long range chamberings/companies push the figures and it’s accepted like doctrine. these figures come from their absolute best BC projectiles; CNC solid brass or copper etc or alloys. Everyone in the firearms community will quickly take it as 100% truth. People are told these new fangled small/light chamberings will outperform the old machine gun round, and that’s the end of it. Their mind is made up!!! That’s all it takes. Gun shop Joe would be the first to tell you “The 50BMG is inferior beyond 1000 yds compared to the 416 Barrett because I read it in Shooting Times. I heard the 408 Cheytac has more energy than a 50BMG because that Future Weapons show said so” I’d ask him what .510” projectile the company compared to theirs when they fabricated these claims…would he know? Likely not

      “Our special calibers, firing our bullet, from our gun, will be flatter shooting, with less time of flight less wind drift etc etc than anyone elses” Oh yeah? let’s examine that claim shall we?
      The Barrett website has an animation showing the apparently slower TOF (a few tenths of a second) and a dramatic arc of the 50BMG vs their .416 to 1500yds. How laughably convenient it is that they use a ball M33 661gr FPS @ 2750 (0.62 BC) against their 416 Barrett 396gr @ 3150 FPS (0.72 BC) That is a CNC modern designed projectile vs some decades-old 633gr M33 ball with terrible ogive, a half-arsed boat tail, and a meplat as aerodynamically discrete as a 9mm FMJ

      Barrett’s comparison is very true: the 416 is flatter shooting and faster than any M33 ball. But no shit. Let’s make it fair, let’s compare their super dooper 416 398gr solid (0.72 BC) to the 50 solids and even then the more ‘standard’ 750gr AMAX (1.050 BC). Thata ought to closes this embarassing gap, especially once both bullet reach/surpass 2000yds.

      When the 416 becomes subsonic; running out of breath at 2100 YDS, the AMAX is good to go for another 500yds of flight before it thinks about becoming subsonic. Obviously Barrett doesn’t want the average Joe armed with these facts when he’s eyeing two rifles in different calibers. They simply want to sell guns, they don’t give a shite about actual numbers or figures. And you know what? Nor does the layman. If it’s newer, faster, sleeker, higher-speed or tacticool he’s probably already sold. So Barrett conveniently compares their bullet to their M33 ball that they load, and firearms community quietly accepts the 416 as superior

      —–Isn’t it unfair you compared their bullet to some of the top 50 BMG 808 solid handloads vs factory 416 offerings?—–

      Ok let’s talk commercially loaded then, you can get 750 grain AMAX’s for $1 cheaper than the 416 rounds, all day long

      –750gr AMAX, 2820FPS 24″ BBL (33″ would be more like 2910, but we’ll run these figures even with the 24″ velocity of 2820)

      –398gr Barrett Solid Brass, 3330fps 32″ BBL (this articles +180FPS very generous stated figure)

      Compared at 3000 yds (Sea level, 59F, 10mph crosswind)
      416 154 MOA drop, 20 MOA drift, 870 FPS, 670 FPE, 6.2 TOF
      50BMG 137 MOA drop, 18 MOA drift, 1000 FPS, 1668 FPE, 5.8 TOF

      The 416 will drop and deflect, 44′ and 4.5′ more than the 50 respectively. Remember that’s velocity with a 24″ (9″ shorter) BMG barrel and a +180FPs in the 416’s favor. That’s a 500 FPS head start in the 416’s favor. Any way you cut it, even unfairly favoring the 416, it just can not compete. It’s asinine to suggest otherwise. The proof is in the numbers

      —–Energy visualized?—–
      At 3000yds the AMAX will arrive with well more power than a 5.56 round at the muzzle. 416 will arrive with the power of a single 357 Mag round at the muzzle. I really don’t care what happens inside of 1000yds: trajectory time of flight. Whoop de do. It’s already known that these smaller caliber, lighter bullets, are going faster and are flatter. The same can be said of a 204 Ruger (32gr @ 4225FPS) vs a 308 Win (175gr @ 2720 FPS) INSIDE of 300yds. That same round will NOT get to 1000yds with a flatter arc or more energy than it’s slower and heavier counterpart

      —In Summary—
      The 50BMG can push 808grs (1.84 ounces) of mass to near mach 2.5. There’s no free lunch and if you wanna play you’re gotta pay: that’s double the weight of the 416 bullet (398gr solid). The 50 uses 20-30% more powder, but remember that you’re essentially chucking TWO 416 bullets simultaneously downrange at 91% their normal velocity. That’s insane to think about. A 12GA 3.5″ shotgun throws 820grs of shot ~400yds or so with 35 grains of powder. A 50bmg throw a 808gr chunk of metal to a maximum distance of over 9000yds burning 230grs of powder. That’s pretty efficient use of powder. Bigger is better, and 50 BMG is king. King of the extreme long range. 375 CT, 408 CT, 416 Barrett are all pretenders. They all become members of the subsonic club at 2100-2300 yds when the 50 flying hard to nearly 2600-2800 yds before it goes subsonic. Beyond 1000yds it will do everything the cute little fast boutique calibers do and so much more, provided it’s feed a decent-assed 50 BMG projectile, designed within the past century. In civilian chamberings, nothing will get more energy up to and beyond 2000yds, faster therefore flatter and less deflected, or cheaper than a 50BMG. Period

  • bob

    contacted a manufacturer of 800 gr 50 cal bullets and what I said is correct, long barrel+ high pressures. as to the fps that is going to depend on the powder, my 300 rum gains around 75 per inch on h870 and around 62 on h1000, and as for pressures I hate to tell you but you put enough powder in to a 50 case it does not matter what the temp outside is nor how far from the landings the bullet is set. as for the 1.128 bc that you sited on the 50 I can find no 50 cal. bullet that has that kind of b.c. There are a lot of variables involved in long rang shooting and ballistics all I was pointing out is that your “fair comparison” is more stacked in the 50’s favor, Also the 416 may not have the ME of the 50 but that does not mean that it can not perform as well or better ballistically, want a mind blower look at the 460 Steyr that should really get you going

    • DhauHaffenerMaus

      Oh boy, hope you wanted a response, because here it is

      Bore pressure and velocity loss:
      Yeah no doubt. I do believe your numbers for RUM posted. 65K PSI is highest magnum pressure outside of various wildcats or the Lazzeroni chamberings IIRC. I do not believe or, nor have I expierenced, nearly as dramatic a loss in varying length of 50 barrels. Is is not a linear loss correlated simply to operating pressure alone. You must consider bore size too. The 50 is not overbored nor a magnum rifle operating pressure round (300 Rum @ 65k, 50BMG @ 54.8k PSI) Even if they were actual equal pressures @65k the 50 will have much more bore real estate to burn powder and is therefore less barrel length velocity sensitive. Powders are actually relatively close in burn speed. Now when you factor in the real life higher operating pressure of the RUM the velocity loss per inch does become much more dramatic compared to the 50

      Velocity with 800grs:
      No offense, but I do believe chronographs and my own eyesight more than whoever you talked to. 808’s can be pushed to 2875 in a 34″ tube all day. These are boreriding projectiles and prefer being pushed fast, and can do so with much less pressure as they have a comparitevly small bearing surface. The particulars are not my business. The exact OAL is extremely long, and the guy who loads them doesnt like sharing exacts. I gleaned, from an entire day at the range, only the type of bullet, powder, and how far off lands works in his rifle. Didnt notice headstamp but he could be using robust TZZ with a slightly hotter charge and throwing it away after one firing who knows lol. Frankly me, you, or this bullet chief you called are unaware of anything beyond particulars listed. Shooter did mention a very specific throat/leade distance was put onto his rifle. But who cares. It can be done. It doesnt really matter and thats not the point. He may be wrong, the chrongraph broke, or maybe I’m delusion or lying (to what end or motivation thereof, I know not)

      My point is that this article is misleading on several accounts.

      First it gives the 416 180FPS more than what the manufacturer claims. Ok well who cares honest mistake. We’ll look past that. That is why I ran both figures, in prior posting, to give the 416 a fair shake.

      Secondly and what is really miff worthy, to those who dig around like I do, is that they compare the articles headlining star to a much inferior bullet that will obviously make it look better. It’s illusory jornalism/advertising at best and downright asinine at worst. People believe this writing at face value, fair or otherwise, and that bothers me. So I will say something

      On fairness:
      I did tip the scales and compare a flagship 50 projectile to the 416 and it fell short on its ass. This was only after the very unfair argument presented by the article. Now just because I do that it’s somehow unfair though according to you..? Ok maybe you’re right: perhaps my comparison is not entirely fair in using some hand-loaded 808gr. BUT that is why I dialed it down and ALSO offered info for the standard factory-loaded 750gr Amax…
      Or did you not read that far into my last response?

      Ballistic coefficients:
      I can list you a half-dozen companies who make .510″ projectiles, with a BC over 1.00. Barnes, Cutting Edge Bullets, Hornady, Lapua, Lehigh, and Woodleigh. Research for yourself, then believe it. It’s spooky just how many bullets are over 1.00. However factory loads do not use many of these bullets. The factory loaded Amax 750’s will do better, velocity and energywise, further extreme downrange. They will do it for less $$$. The Amax has a BC of 1.050. They have been airborne well before most of these other calibers were even conceived.

      Before somebody cries about accuracy:
      Theres a well-established proliferation of high grade of 50BMG bolt actions that will equal or surpass any Barrett or Cheytac. I don’t see the world record conglamorate 1000yd groups held be any caliber starting with ‘4’, do you? These record holding heavy-arsed bench/sled guns are chambered in the ‘obsolete and innacurate’ 50 Browning Machine Gun

      Ok so what about this 460 Steyr? Who cares. It’s another necked down try hard, and I found little projectile or velocity info to even compare fairly. It’s even more obscure than anything else mentioned in any of my posts. As far as I’m concerned it can crawl back into the dark and lonely hole from whence it came. Good luck finding/feeding your gun that .458″ specialty fodder. The fact remains that the 50BMG will put more energy downrange sometimes double the energy figures of the 416 Barrett. Again same story with 460 Steyr, although yeah it may be a little more powerful. Performing “ballistically as well or better” requires equal mass and velocity. Mass is impossible to match so it had better be going faster. A whole hell of a lot faster. That is the appeal and claim these smaller rounds make, correct? Well I’d venture a guess and say the Steyr has ess than the 50BMG velocity remaining at 2500yds.
      Do you remain convinced the 460 Steyr has any chance against a 50BMG with a 1.00 BC projectile, up to and especially beyond 2500yds? Ok good. Kindly post the projectile info: BC, weight, and muzzle velocity, and I’ll happily grind the numbers for you

      In summary:
      As presented, the argument of this article is wholly as vacuous as arguing the long range virtues of the 243 or a 7mm-08 against their parent case. Anyone knows that the 308 Win, with a 175 SMK, will shoot circles around the other two at 1000yds. Starting velocity means nothing if you can’t retain energy/velocity downrange

      In the USA, the 50 BMG is the best extreme long range caliber out there nothing will hit harder faster and with more energy at 3000yds. You can neck down .4xx calibers ad infinitum. Nothing is a substitute for the half inch frontal area and mass which that affords you. Any velocity you gain initially is lost very quickly without mass. No neck down variant will surpass it’s 50BMG parent case. 50 is king and it’s here to stay. Prove me wrong. I want cold hard numbers: energy, velocites, drops drifts, and time of flight to 3000yds. At this time, no civilian/domestic chambering can hold a candle to the 50…until shoulder fired rail guns or lasers come along…

      Until then, cheers

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