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Does anyone remember an article on a 50 BMG rifle in the early 1960's

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by George Dickel, Oct 4, 2019.

  1. George Dickel

    George Dickel Member

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    I've tried searching for the article but it is probably too old to have been digitized. I remember in the early 60's reading an article in a gun magazine I can't remember the name of featuring a guy that made a single shot 50 BMG rifle. He used an M2 barrel but turned it down and shortened it to make it a bit lighter and fabricated a single shot bolt action receiver for it. In an effort to reduce felt recoil he designed a stock that utilized a shock absorber contraption that compressed when the rifle was fired. The barrel had no recoil compensator on it so it had quite a bit of recoil. The article had pictures of him shooting the rifle and the last picture was at the end of the recoil movement. The stock was collapsed to the limit and his right shoulder looked like it was dislocated. His face was almost kissing the barrel in front of the receiver. It had to feel like getting hit with the full swing of a 10lb sledge hammer.
    This same masochist had a 45-70 single action revolver built. He shot something like 25 rounds through it and it had worn out the palm of the leather glove he was wearing on his right hand. Seems like this guy specialized in outrageously powerful guns.
     
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  2. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I do not remember such and article but would not be amazed if it was in GUN WORLD...… they did some odd stuff.

    Loved the magazine.

    -kBob
     
  3. dogtown tom

    dogtown tom Member

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    Magnum Research BFR is available in .45-70
     
  4. medalguy

    medalguy Member

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    There were British Boyes .55 cal AT rifles that could be converted to .50 BMG using an aircraft barrel. That sounds a bit like the gun you are describing but it used the original receiver and compensator from the .55 barrel. I had one of these made by a guy from South Carolina. and it shot quite well. The magazine could not be used since the .50 cartridge is longer than the British cartridge and it had to be hand loaded but it was still quite fun to shoot.
     
  5. Merle1

    Merle1 Member

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    I recall something very similar - he used it as a sniper rifle in the Korean War, IIRC.
     
  6. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Sounds like something Kent Lomont would have made, and he had the room to shoot it......
     
  7. PWC

    PWC Member

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    I remember the article, but not where published. It was in one of the gun rags. He made the rifle, just as you said, and it always generated a lot of interest, but it was brutal to shoot. One time, someone offered to make a recoil system, free if he could keep the patent / advertizing rights. Seems to me, that that was the begining of the hydro-coil.
     
  8. total recoil

    total recoil Member

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    I remember one article. I don't recall a picture of the rig, but it was homemade and incorporated a "SCREW BOLT." The gun sat on a tripod. The barrel was an m2 surplus barrel. Home made receiver. The firing pin may have had to be struck by a hammer. The screw bolt had to be the cheapest home made action in the world, but it worked. I thought it funny at the time.
     
  9. hps1

    hps1 Member

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    IIRC there was an article in the American Rifleman about Col. Brophy's 50 BMG sniper rifle in Korea??

    .50 BMG
    Colonel William S. Brophy & Sniping In The Korean War
    June 29, 2018 by Shawn


    C136862B-7C16-44BD-9E81-610E2A9A05DC-e1530311277522-225x300.jpg

    As the Korea war rages in 1952 and A captain in IX Corps Ordnance and veteran of infantry combat during WW2 in the Pacific , William S. Brophy recognized a total lack of US Army sniping equipment and marksmanship compared to its current and future needs. In an effort to reverse some of this and educated units in the field he visited several units to discus with and educate the on sniping equipment and tactics.

    At this time the Army had the scoped m1 rifle as their standard sniping rifle. This system limited the sniper to a range not much greater than 600 yards. To demonstrate what a skilled marksman with proper equipment could do and to hopefully get the Army to pay serious attention, Captain Brophy bought at his own cost a Winchester Model 70 “Bull gun” in ,30-06 and Unertl 10X target optic. The Winchester rifle listed as the “bull gun” was a target gun with heavy target stock and 28 inch heavy barrel.

    9964999_1-300x59.jpg

    Brophy using his rifle and skill developed during a career in competitive shooting was able to register several Chinese communist kills. The reaction to his ability was quick and people began to take note. However it was still the usual position of the Army that the weapon was not durable enough for combat use. Brophy and the selected men who used the rifle to demonstrate what it could do and endure did finally get the Army to seriously consider the Model 70 as a sniping arm.

    2FB57482-8389-4111-9A02-EA516E7F5762-300x225.jpg

    Ultimately it was decided that it was not desirable to inject a special rifle into the supply system with a requirement for match ammo for it. Oddly enough over the coming years in Vietnam match ammo which was earlier labeled too hard to supply to troops in the field was readily available to snipers so much so that not one ever said that concern for having enough match ammo never crossed their minds.

    The Model 70 was not the only effort then Captain Brophy put forth to improve US Army sniper ability. While out sniping with the Model 70, targets appeared beyond the range of even the match .30cal sniper rifle . To remedy this Brophy had the barrel of a Browning .50cal aircraft model machine gun mounted to a Soviet PTRD 14.5mm antitank rifle. A butt pad and bipod were also added as well as a 20x Unertl optic.

    brophy-300x99.jpg

    With this set up, Brophy and his team was able to make several Communists into good communists. Hits with the 50 were recorded at ranges from 1,000 yards to 2,000.

    This rifle went on to inspire several other of its types with different barrel and scope combinations. This attempt at a longer range sniping arm no doubt was one of the predecessors to today’s Barrett M82. Below Brophy demonstrates one of the 50 cal rifles in Korea to higher officers.

    brophy50rifle-300x166.jpg

    The concept of the 50 caliber sniping rifle was further developed by the AMTU and Col. F.B Conway. Later attempts used optics such as the ART scope system and even a Boys Antitank rifle.

    And of course one of the more more famous early 50 cal sniping systems.

    50bmg914-300x238.jpg

    In these early attempts , accuracy of the ammo was the main problem holding back the weapons. Standard service ammo was the only thing available for use at the time.

    Colonel Brophy passed away in 1991 and left behind an amazing record of accomplishment as a shooter, an Army officer who served in WW2, Korea and Vietnam and writer of many definitive books on US small arms.

    http://looserounds.com/tag/50-bmg/

    Regards,
    hps
     
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  10. Merle1

    Merle1 Member

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    Yep, the modified ma deuce in the bottom pic is the one I remember.... :thumbup:
     
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  11. hps1

    hps1 Member

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    Not sure if they had the Unertl mounted ma deuce in Korea or not, but Carlos Hathcock used one in Viet Nam on occasion.

    My favorite Hatcock story was when an outpost was taking random sniper fire from time to time and could not locate from whence it came. They called Hathcock and he located a tunnel mouth at the base of a lone bush in the middle of a couple hundred yard cleared field. He parked a jeep mounted M40 105mm recoilless rifle and bore sighted it on the bush. Told the CO to touch it off the next time they had incoming sniper fire. Kinda gives a new meaning to the old "one shot one kill", don't it? :D

    Regards,
    hps
     
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