Barrett .50 BMG

A Brief Historical look at a Rifle that strikes Fear into the minds of the Adversary

The Barret .50 BMG Rifle was developed in the 1980’s by a man known as Ronnie Barrett. Barret M82 was completed in 1982 and was the first working version to be released. The .50 BMG is a powerful cartridge that has been used since the 1920’s. It is capable of destroying explosive ordnances and vehicles and is best used for long-range shooting. Typically, it is used for shooting from distances of over 300 yards.

The first use of the .50 BMG cartridge was in the Browning M2HB machine gun. Because of its power, the cartridge was used in the Second World War by militaries around the world. Ronnie Barrett developed the Barret .50 BMG in an attempt to create a semi-automatic rifle chambered for the .50 BMG cartridge.

The first sale of the Barret .50 BMG was made to the Swedish army in 1989. In the US military, the Barret .50 BMG is referred to as the Special Applications Scoped Rifle (SASR). It was used in Kuwait and Iraq during the operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. In the US military, the Barrett M82A1M is recognized as a long range sniper rifle and is referred to as the M107A1.

The rifle is preferred because of its capacity to fire aircraft, vehicles, and buildings, including enemies hiding behind barriers. The M82A2 was developed in 1987 and is used in firing moving objects such as aircraft. To do this, you have to place it on your shoulder and point at your target.

The Barret .50 BMG rifle is about 5 feet long and is close to 30 lbs. in weight. Most .50 BMG rifles weight over 20 lbs. With this particular rifle, the cartridges are fed from a steel magazine, which is detachable and double-columned.

The rifle is used to destroy objects from over 1500 meters. Typically, the best shots are taken from a distance of about 900 meters. In modern days, the rifle is used in militaries when the intention is to attack the enemies from a remote location. Other war weapons such as LAWs are only effective when used in within 600 yards, and this is very close to the enemy. Some people have been able to take accurate shots at distances of up to 2,500 meters. This weapon is not among the longest range rifles, but great shooters have been able to use it from very far distances.

A notable example is Brian Kremer, an American sniper who made a shot from 2,300 meters in Iraq. Nicholas Ranstad also made a long-distance kill in Afghanistan in 2008. He took the shot from a distance of 2,092 meters. It can be used to target people behind far away buildings, but the weapon was not developed for use on human targets because the results are extreme. Concrete is easily destroyed with this rifle. That said, it is great for engaging enemies at a safe distance.

Presently, the rifle is used in more than 60 countries around the world. It is not just used by militaries; even law enforcement personnel make use of the rifle to carry out their duties. Barret M107 is now used as standard equipment in the Marine and the EOD personnel. These were among the earliest people to adapt the rifle in their operations. The Marines use the M82A3, which is their own designation of the M82A1M. Officially, this is referred to as the Special Applications Scoped Rifle (SASR). In 2004, the rifle was used by the Marine Corps sniper Steve Reichert to make a kill from a distance of 1,614 meters. This was during the war in Afghanistan.

A unique quality of this rifle is its recoil reduction mechanism. The muzzle break is made to absorb 70 percent of the recoil, and this reduces the force on the internal mechanism of the rifle and the user. It also uses recoiling barrels and bolt assemblies that act against the spring and buffer assemblies, therefore, reducing the sharp recoil of a single shot. This was a great advancement in the technology, considering all previous .50 BMG rifles had issues with recoil, regardless of how heavy they were made to be. This is because the cartridge fires 650 to 750-gr projectiles at velocities of up to 2700 f.p.s. Developing a weapon that can handle the recoil was not an easy job and shooters had to deal with the recoils for decades before the Barrett M82 was created.

The Barret .50 BMG Rifle comes with a folding carrying handle and a bipod. Both of these can be detached from the rifle. The weapon can be carried with a sling, although the length and weight can make it very uncomfortable in the field. Alternatively, it can be carried in a soft or hard case. This is how most users prefer to carry the rifle around.

For a more thorough read but not a definitive history of Snipers go here.

Sources: Wikipedia, J Hines
Photo by Terry Moore – GettyImages

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July 6th, 2017 by