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50 BMG

50_BMG

Designed by JM Browning and co-introduced with his famous machinegun in 1918, the 50 Browning Machine Gun (BMG) round has been in continuous service in the U. S. Military since 1921. The original load launched a 647-grain bullet from a long barrel at about 2700 fps using about 50,000 psi and the best propellant then available. Subsequently, advancements in propellant have allowed for significant performance improvement with loads falling within the 54,000-psi pressure limit established by CIP. Results are even more impressive with loads at the 60,500-psi pressure limit adopted by NATO.

Target shooters tend to load the 50 BMG to pressures I will not even discuss — it is what it is but that does not make it safe. Most manufacturers keep this firmly in mind when building their 50 BMG-chambered sporting rifles.


As such, the best of these guns are phenomenally strong but exceptions exist. If you intend to load the 50 BMG as most long-range target shooters load it, I cannot too-strongly caution you to make sure the gun you buy is among the strongest possible. Doing otherwise could result in your death and the death or serious injury of bystanders. This has almost happened.

Just because they sell it does not mean it is safe! In an infamous well-documented event, the gun failed and the shooter came close to death when pieces of the receiver penetrated his body and narrowly missed severing arteries, which would have gotten the job done.

The shooter blamed the ammunition but, trust me, he has no way to know why the gun failed; more importantly, had he been using one of the appropriately strong guns available, it would not have failed catastrophically and he almost certainly would have escaped any serious injury, which is all that matters.


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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91898

The Lee Deluxe Automatic Processing Press gives you the same priming convenience found only on expensive progressive reloading presses.

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