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416 Barrett

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Introduced about 2005, Chris Barrett and my friend, Pete Forras, designed the 416 Barrett using a shortened version of the 50 BMG case to achieve significant ballistics with a round that is, power-wise, about midway between the 338 Lapua and the 50 BMG. Pressure is relatively high by any standard, at about 63,800 psi according to CIP.

To take full advantage of what this unusually large case has to offer, only the slowest available propellants will work well and the gun should have a barrel of at least 36-inch length.

Even when loaded with the slowest propellant routinely available to handloaders, VihtaVuori 20N29, case-filling is significantly less than 100% with any feasible long-range bullet. This is less than ideal for ballistic uniformity and accuracy.

Despite this, the 416 Barrett can give spectacular accuracy and deliver tremendous energy to targets at extreme distance. The 416 Barrett can be chambered in a gun that is significantly lighter than a gun in which the 50 BMG can be used without generating punishing recoil.

As with any similarly powerful chambering, the use of an effective muzzle brake is mandatory to prevent permanent injury to the shooter. With a gun weighing about 25-pounds fitted with an effective clamshell-style brake, recoil discomfort resembles firing a 308 Winchester in a typical hunting rifle without any muzzle brake installed. The 416 Barrett pushes the shooter back much farther but the rate of the shove is similar to the 308 and that is what matters when it comes to recoil causing extreme shooter discomfort or injury.

The text associated with the cartridge description reflects opinions and conclusions of the author, M.L. (Mic) McPherson. Lee Precision and its employees do not necessarily either agree or disagree with any of his comments. We present these with due deference to his recognized expertise in the firearms field. His acumen extends to handloading and all aspects of ballistics - internal, external, and terminal.
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