50 BMG Ammunition
History of .50 Browning Machine Gun Ammunition
Developed in the first part of the 20th century, .50 BMG is still widely used to this day. It was developed by John Moses Browning, who took the .30-06 cartridge and scaled it up to a much larger size. It has been used as a vehicle-mounted weapon cartridge, including fighter aircraft during World War II, and still sees use today in helicopters and on ground vehicles. Sniper rifles use the cartridge as well. It is rarely used for hunting, but it could easily be used to kill any living creature on the planet.
A standard military load is a 647 grain bullet at just over 3000 feet per second, but heavier projectiles, including 800 grain bullets at 2900 feet per second, have been used. These numbers are achieved with the 45 inch barrel of an M2 heavy machine gun. Many sniper rifles have shorter barrels, with correspondingly lower muzzle velocities.
The most famous weapon chambered for .50 BMG is the M2HB machine gun, but it has also been chambered in the similar M3 machine gun, as well as the Barrett M82/M107 family of sniper rifles, the MacMillan TAC-50, and numerous other precision and anti-materiel rifles.
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