Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>

Best .50 BMG Rifles & Ammo of 2023

You want a big caliber? We got a big caliber. We take a look at the .50 BMG round, giving you the best .50 BMG rifles and ammunition.

The .50 Browning Machine Gun cartridge, commonly called the .50 BMG, is one of the most iconic rounds ever designed.

This mammoth cartridge saw extensive use by Western militaries and captured the hearts and minds of firearms and video game enthusiasts the world over.

The Barrett M82A1 is my happy place.

Today, we wanted to take a minute to talk about this legendary round, including some of its history.

We’ll teach you everything you need to know about it in the modern era, including where to buy the very best .50 BMG rifles and ammo and how to get started reloading it as well.

.50 BMG
A .50 BMG round with a quarter for size reference.

By the end, you’ll be all spun up on the .50 BMG.

So, let’s dive in.

Summary of Our Top Picks

  1. Editor's Pick

    Barrett M82A1

    The M82A1 is the definitive, classic .50 BMG rifle.

  2. Best .50 BMG Rifle

    Accuracy International AX50

    Like most of Accuracy International's products, the AX50 is at the top of mountain compared to most of its peers.

  3. Best Budget .50 BMG Rifle

    Serbu BFG-50

    The BFG-50 is one of the cheapest ways to get into a dedicated .50 BMG rifle.

  4. Best .50 BMG Ammo

    Hornady Match .50 BMG 750 GR A-MAX

    These bullets strike a great balance between price and performance.

  5. Best .50 BMG bullets

    Hornady A-MAX .50 Caliber Bullets

    Hornady has a great reputation for making quality bullets for reloaders that are regularly available.

Table of Contents


How Did We Get .50 BMG?

During WWI, the Godfather of modern American firearms design, John Moses Browning, began developing an anti-aircraft round based on the .30-06 Springfield.

The .30-06, while excellent, just wasn’t big enough.

.30-06 Springfield
.30-06 Springfield…not quite big enough.

After some tinkering, he hit on the final design of the .50 Browning Machine Gun cartridge. Subsequently, the Browning M2 machine gun helped cement the cartridge’s legacy during WWII.

Since then, the .50 BMG has been used by American and allied militaries in almost every major conflict worldwide.

.50 BMG Today

Today, the .50 BMG is still used by the military as a heavy machine gun and anti-material round.

Basically, if the US government wants to put a large but precisely placed hole in something, this is the go-to round.

It’s also the largest common cartridge you can buy a rifle for here in the US without getting a destructive device tax stamp.

This makes it popular with everyone from YouTubers to long-range shooting enthusiasts that like to reach out to a mile and beyond.

Of course, just given the sheer size and the limited commercial demand, ammo is expensive.

Something Of a Poor

It can get downright ridiculous when you start looking into match-grade ammunition instead of standard “machine gun grade” stuff.

And that’s not even taking into account the vast number of specialty projectiles that are designed to penetrate armor in some way — in some cases via fiery explosion.

Best .50 BMG Rifles

Modern .50 BMG rifles aren’t cheap, so it’s a good idea to head into your shopping experience with a good idea of what you want.

If you’re just looking for a fun range gun, then any .50 BMG rifle is probably fine. There are several affordable single-shot .50 cals out there.

M82A1 Pair
Pair of Barretts just hanging out. (Photo: Barrett)

Then again, if you’re looking to do some serious long-range shooting, something a little pricier is probably in order.

There are plenty of match-grade rifles out there as well…you just have to be prepared to pay for them.

So, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best .50 BMG rifles out there.

1. Barrett M82A1

This is the classic .50 caliber sniper rifle you probably picture when thinking about the .50 BMG.

If you’ve ever played a modern first-person shooter, you’re probably at least passingly familiar with this one. And the good news is, you can buy one!

Barrett M82A1
The Barrett M82A1 is my happy place.

The M82A1 is the manufacturer designation for what the US military calls the M107A1.

It is available in either a 20 or 29-inch fluted barrel, and this semi-auto M82A1 weighs in around 29-32 pounds with a 10-round mag.

You can have one of your very own for the low, low price of $9,500 to $10,000.

at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Just make sure that you have a very robust backstop behind whatever you’re shooting.

Have you tried the M82A1? Rate it below!

Readers' Ratings

5.00/5 (670)

Your Rating?

2. ArmaLite AR-50A1

If you’re looking for something a little bit more affordable and don’t mind a single-shot bolt-action, then the ArmaLite AR-50A1 is an excellent choice.

This rifle runs around $3,500-$4500 and is surprisingly accurate to anyone familiar with .50 BMG rifles.

ArmaLite AR-50A1

Featuring a 30-inch barrel, the AR-50 measures 49.8 inches collapsed (58.5 inches expanded) and weighs 34.1 pounds.

With the right ammo and scope, you can do some seriously precise shooting with this one. So, if you’re looking to really step up your plinking game, this is a great option.

The hefty muzzle brake tames much of the .50 cal’s stout recoil. Even without the M82A1’s gas system and buffer to absorb recoil, it’s still very manageable.

at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. Accuracy International AX50

Of course, if you want to do true precision shooting with a .50 BMG, then the Accuracy International AX50 is possibly the best option civilians can get their hands on.

This modern take on the .50 BMG bolt action has the same precision shooting capability as AI’s other sniper rifles.

Accuracy International AX50 (Photo: Small Arms Defense Journal)

It offers a 27-inch barrel with a 26.5-pound weight. Features include a tactical muzzle break, quick-adjust stock and cheekpiece.

Though it is costly, it certainly won’t let you down when you want to put a very large hole in a very particular place from very far away.

It’s a very competent precision rifle; it just happens to shoot bullets the size of your thumb.

And yes, I know it sucks in Warzone. Don’t hold that against the real version.

Best .50 BMG Rifle
at EuroOptic

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. Serbu Firearms BFG-50

On the complete opposite end, we have the Serbu Firearms BFG-50.

It’s one of the most affordable .50 BMG rifles on the market at just $2,520.

The bolt-action, single-shot BFG-50 delivers a 51.5-inch overall length for the standard model and 56.75 inches for the 36-inch barrel variant.

Weight is around 18 pounds for the standard model and 26 pounds for the 36-inch model.

Serbu 50 BMG
Serbu BFG-50

While it isn’t the most accurate rifle on this list, it’s perfectly serviceable for plinking and target shooting — especially if you just want a fun .50 to impress/annoy your friends at the range.

And make no mistake; it is well made.

Thankfully for all of us, Serbu isn’t too committed to the “serious” side of firearms and is totally fine with making guns just because they’re cool.

Best Budget .50 BMG Rifle
at Serbu Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

And for those who have heard these blow up, they don’t unless you buy Bubba’s .50 BMG SLAP rounds he hand loaded while drinking Bud Light and watching NASCAR.

5. Safety Harbor SHTF 50

The Safety Harbor SHTF 50 is another affordable way to send .50 BMG rounds downrange.

It’s an AR-15 upper conversion that turns an AR into a mag-fed, bolt-action .50 BMG. So, it slots right in just like any other upper.

How’s that for AR-15 modularity? (Photo: u/chipperjatl)

Suddenly, you have an anti-material rifle!

The SHTF 50 comes in three models — an 18-inch, 22-inch, and 29-inch.

SHTF50 Uppers
A stack of SHTF-50 receivers. (Photo: Safety Harbor Firearms)

While it is marketed as a military item, anyone in the US (and not in a restricted state) can own it and have an emergency .50 cal on hand at any time.

And, of course, it’s still a perfectly good .50 BMG bolt-action. It doesn’t have to be just for use during the apocalypse though it doesn’t hurt.

at Safety Harbor

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

6. Barrett M95

Moving back into the world of military rifles available to Joe and Jane Civilian, the Barrett M95 is another very accurate bolt-action rifle chambered for the .50 BMG.

This one is also designed for anti-material work. While it wasn’t adopted by the US military (Barrett’s M82 won the contract instead), it is currently used by 15 militaries around the world.

Barrett M95SP
Barrett M95SP (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

These include the armed forces of Denmark, Italy, India, Portugal, and Thailand.

The M95 brings an overall length of 45 inches to the table with a weight of 23.5 pounds. This bolt gun features a 29-inch barrel and a 5-round capacity.

at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Best .50 BMG Ammo

Next, let’s talk about what you can feed those .50 BMG rifles.

Best Match Grade .50 BMG Ammo

Hornady is one of the biggest names in ammo, with a reputation for both quality and availability.

That second thing is beneficial in this case since .50 BMG is hard enough to track down as it is.

Hornady 50 BMG 750 gr A-MAX Match is Hornady’s only ammunition for .50 BMG, but the Match line is one of the company’s best. The A-Max FMJ bullet features a low-drag tip and a boattail for optimal performance.

Best .50 BMG Ammo
at Gunprime

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Another good match grade option is PMC Ammunition X-TAC Match .50 BMG 740 Grain FMJ-BT.

This round uses in-house designed and manufactured solid brass bullets that are slightly lighter than the Hornady ones and have slightly higher muzzle velocity.

at Natchez

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Best .50 BMG Ammo for Plinking

.50 BMG ammo is expensive, so you probably don’t want to shell out for match-grade ammo every time you shoot. For just recreational shooting, you can go with something that’s (relatively) more affordable.

Our recommendation for plinking ammo is another round from PMC, this time from the less expensive Bronze line.

PMC Ammunition Bronze .50 BMG 660 Grain FMJ-BT is only about half the price of the X-TAC match, but it still delivers accurate and reliable enough performance that it won’t leave long-distance shooters frustrated.

at GrabAGun

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Best .50 BMG Bullets for Reloading

If you’re looking to save money, reloading is another great option. For the unfamiliar, reloading refers to assembling your ammunition yourself.

It does require an initial investment to get the necessary tools and supplies, but you’ll definitely save money per round over time just by assembling the round yourself.

Pew Pew Tactical Founder and Editor, Eric Hung’s Reloading Station
You’ll need some specialty tools to get started in reloading.

The savings kick in when you reuse brass, though. The same cartridge can be used three to five times as long as it stays in good condition, so you’re not paying for new brass for every single shot.

Reloading ammo also allows you to customize your rounds, which is another considerable advantage since .50 BMG isn’t as widely available in a huge assortment of products as other calibers are.

Pew Pew Tactical Reloading Supplies
An assortment of reloading supplies.

If you haven’t tried reloading before but are interested in learning more, our Beginner’s Guide to Reloading Ammo is a great place to start.

If you’re sold on reloading, we have a few different recs.

Hornady A-MAX 50 Caliber Bullets are the same bullets used in the Hornady 50 BMG 750-grain A-MAX Match above.

Best .50 BMG bullets
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Barnes Bullets TAC-X .50 BMG Bullets come in at a similar price point to the A-MAX bullets but have an all-copper design.

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

As for casing to go with whichever bullet you go with, you can start by collecting your spent brass when you shoot pre-assembled rounds.

For fresh casing, though, we like Hornady 50 BMG Brass Cartridge Cases.

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Final Thoughts

The .50 BMG cartridge isn’t the most practical everyday cartridge. Both the guns and ammo are expensive at the best of times. And you can’t hunt anything with it unless you’ve got a tag for a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

But it is a cartridge with a lot of history and even more cool factor behind it. It’s a fun cartridge for civilians to shoot, and the THOOM of it going off will never get old, that we can promise.

AA 50 Beowulf and Berrett M82A1 50 BMG

If you’re looking to add some .50 BMG to your life, you should now have all the info you need. Now get out there, have some fun, and then tag us on Instagram with your cool guns so we can live vicariously through you.

What’s your fave .50 BMG setup? Let us know below. For more big bangs (that you can actually hunt with), check out our guide to the Best Big Bore Hunting Rifles.

The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

18 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    J. D. Ray

    If a repeater (magazine fed) is not a requirement, the Barrett single shot M99 is a great option. Paired with a Lee 50BMG press, shooting the .50BMG is not only fun, but reloading brings it into the affordable range. Bullets are readily available, but you have to do some searching to find primers (CCI #35, ~$1.00 each). Don't get discouraged, because they're out there. With careful shopping, you can reload for almost half the price of buying factory.

    April 13, 2023 11:14 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    not even a mention of the true economy option, the RAVEN 50 upper. Its a upper that goes right on your AR lower and is sub 2k in price

    April 13, 2023 7:20 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Regardless of preferences, every firearm here is more competent and accurate than any but the best shooters ( I do not include myself in that group BTW). Even budget rifles are usually better at what they do than most shooters. What's your use case.. or purpose. If you know it, and can practice it, AND the weapon you choose does what you want every time... it's all good. Just pick and practice... If you can actually shoot enough to wear a gun out then it may be worth your time to get a better one . Personally a DVD size to paper plate circle at 600 yrds is good enough for me, and I can do that with .308. to .50. Anti material has an edge of course.. if you need that edge.

    July 23, 2022 12:54 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Noreen Firearms has a very nice .50 bmg single shot bolt action rifle for about $2395-$2595.00 USD and customizable to your liking.

    January 30, 2022 8:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dave Anderson

    I have a an older SERBU single shot, bolt action and love it. I have modified the gun with a bench rest type fore stock that bolts on where the bipods go and get 1.5MOA.

    April 28, 2021 1:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Luis Pacheco

    What about the other Serbu that looks like the Barret. It looks very similar to the Barret 107 and offers great advantages like better recoil and less weight, it also runs around the $6 to $7K price point which is substantially less than its main competitor. I think it would be the best choice by far but you failed to mention it.

    April 21, 2021 9:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Harrison K Millard

    So was this article an ad for Barrett. About all I am seeing. You don't mention to of the Deadliest most accurate .50 BMG Rifles in the World. Especially since the McMillan TAC50 Holds the Worlds Record for the Longest Kill Shot by the Canadian Sniper Team. Robar RC 50 and 50F Father to the McMillan TAC50. These will run circles around anything you mentioned in your article.

    April 21, 2021 8:36 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      Obviously, you have to learn a few more things about firearms. Obviously the McMillan is more accurate but it's a bolt closed weapon system. The Barret is semi auto and you can get rounds on target much fast than anyone running a bolt with that draw size could ever dream. A true 1 shot scenario I will take the McMillan 100/100 times. In a firefight or mounted on a moving vehicle with unknown distances etc. what would you prefer? Duh...

      June 30, 2022 6:31 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I'll take any .50 caliber and test out various ranges with moving lib-targets.

      June 30, 2022 6:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Sounds like we got a bunch of picky Democrats making comments. There is nothing wrong with this article since it is only a brief of some guns on the market.

    April 21, 2021 7:38 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    M82A1 is not the same as the M107A1 though. Its much more than just a difference in manufacturer designation.

    April 21, 2021 6:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Another Ed

    Serbu Firearms of Tampa, Florida manufactures three types of 50 BMG rifle. My personal favorite is the magazine fed, semi-automatic BFG-50A.

    April 20, 2021 11:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    ELR Anthony

    Megan, this is a sad attempt at an article. Did you google .50 bmg and this is what came back?

    I honestly feel like unsubbing from pewpewtactical because of this trash article.

    April 20, 2021 9:27 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Yea google

      April 20, 2021 11:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Eugene D. Clough

      I am not familiar with the .50 caliber BMG other than I have read about the Barrett and know that various guns in .50 caliber have established very long distance kills in the Middle East. Consequently, I found the article to be very informative. Perhaps the title should have read something like "An Introduction to the .50 cal. BMG and a Look at Some of the Rifles Currently Available in This Caliber." I think some of the comments are vulgar and overreaching. On the other hand, I am glad to learn about other makers just as a point of information.

      April 21, 2021 3:46 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    No mention of the Desert Tech HTI? It would be on my A-list.

    April 20, 2021 8:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      ELR Anthony

      Exfugginxactly!!!! I mean what a clown shoes review with no mention of the deserttech HTI.

      DT mustve told pew pew to go pound sand when they asked for kick back money to shill their products.

      April 20, 2021 9:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    How can we have a purported “ultimate” list of the “best” .50 BMG rifles (Serbu and Safety Harbor, seriously? And the less said about the Cobb/Bushmaster/Remington, the better) without even so much as a nod to the McMillan TAC-50? I understand that it’s relatively obscure, but it’s held the world’s record for longest confirmed kill twice in the last couple decades alone.

    Come on PewPew. You’re better than this. I believe in you.

    April 20, 2021 2:36 pm
Join the community! Log in
Please provide a valid email address.
Password is required.
Please provide a valid display name.
Please provide a valid email address.
The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
Please accept in order to continue.
Trouble logging in?
Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
Please provide a valid email.
Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
Field is required.
Account already exists
We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
Field is required.
Account already exists
We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

Account in Pew Pew Meter means more

Check what do you get by creating an account
Check and save your reviews!
Bookmark and compare your favorite firearms
Manage your newsletter subscription
pew pew tactical logo

new here?

Personalize your experience.
Select what level shooter you are!

pew pew tactical logo

level up your gun knowledge

Thanks! We'll send you the latest guides and training tips geared towards your level.

pew pew tactical logo


You'll now receive newsletters of our best articles on techniques, guns & gear.

$47 value

yours free!

targets targets

practice targets

printer icon printable

our 9 favorite targets and drills


practice targets

printer icon printable

enter your email to download

We'll only use the information provided according to our privacy policy.

success icon

Ready to Download

Click below to begin your download

download pdf