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.50 BMG vs .338 Lapua

This is a discussion on .50 BMG vs .338 Lapua within the Bolt Action forums, part of the Gun Forum category; I have been looking around at a very long range rifle. I had always thought the .50 would be the go to cartridge for this, ...


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Old May 25th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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.50 BMG vs .338 Lapua

I have been looking around at a very long range rifle. I had always thought the .50 would be the go to cartridge for this, but the more I look around I like the .338. I was looking for something with good penetration >1000 yds.

How do you think these two compare?

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Old May 25th, 2009, 09:37 PM   #2
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The 338 is not too bad economically, if you reload. If you don't, the cost is about the same. The 338 can stay supersonic for about a mile, the bmg about 1.5 miles.

Energy is no contest at any range, the bmg is going to win that. The 338 is a sniper cartridge, the 50 is not. The 50 is intended for light armor/aircraft.

A 50 bmg rifle will weigh at least double what a 338 lapua will.

You might take a look at the 375 and 408 Cheytac rounds. They can exceed the bmg in supersonic range, cost is a little ugly though.

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Old May 26th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #3
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Barrett is also developing a .418 that is touted to be awesome.

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Old May 26th, 2009, 07:55 AM   #4
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I was considering the Lapua because of cost, seems like you can get the rifles for a good bit cheaper. Also, it looks like ammo is generally cheaper too.

I liked the .50 for the extra power at all ranges, and, honestly, just the cool factor of having a 50 cal rifle.

Btw, for ultra long range shooting how do the big bolt actions compare to semi-autos? I would lean toward the semi-auto, but if I am getting something for long range hits a bolt might be a better choice.

I think in reality I just need to get both. Damnit, I need more money. How do you think the wife would react to me coming in and saying I need $15k for a couple rifles and another $4k for ammo?

"But honey, Obama is going to make it so I cannot buy these ever again so of course a loan is a good idea. Think of these guns as an investment [I would never sell]."

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Old May 26th, 2009, 05:40 PM   #5
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Deadreb: The 416 barrett is already available, I forgot about that one. Better range than the 50.

The BMG will allow you to use surplus, which can be had for a little under $4 a round. Match ammo runs around $7 a round. The 338 starts around $4 a round, but is really more in line with the $7 bmg stuff. Either way, ouch.

For accuracy, generally bolt actions are the way to go. I don't know anything about the accuracy of the Barrett m82, but generally speaking bolt guns are more accurate. I've seen the single shot Barretts for just over $3k, the Armalite for a bit under. The Bushmaster is intresting, but I don't think I could ever get used to that left hand bolt. The world-record confirmed kill was made with a Mcmillan TAC-50.

As for the wife factor, I'm sure your two new rifles would look great sitting in your new apartment

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Old May 26th, 2009, 08:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for the correction Micheal I kick numbers all the time.

Brain is slowly rotting!

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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:13 AM   #7
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How do the single shot Barretts and Armalites compare to each other?

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Old May 27th, 2009, 09:26 PM   #8
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Very similar rifles. I'd lean towards the Barrett myself, the ar-50 is just not as appealing to me. Armalite claims the felt recoil is about the same as a 243win, which is pretty remarkable if true.

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Old May 27th, 2009, 10:24 PM   #9
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Barrett has more meat on it too. Heavier everything in my book is more reliable.

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Old May 29th, 2009, 04:29 AM   #10
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The .416 barrett is still a proprietary round and very expensive. The .50cal and .338 lapua are in service with various countries which gives them longevity with some cost savings. At 1000 meters or less, both the .50cal and .338 will more than do the job on someone unless you plan on shooting thru walls etc. The .50cal is much more common of the 3 and may hopefully give you the potential at some point for surplus ammo although it will be more expensive up front. In this area, .338 lapua ammo runs in the $60+ a box range.

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Old May 29th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #11
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Might want to check out.....

http://www.accuracyinternational.com/


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Old May 29th, 2009, 10:39 AM   #12
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Talking

As a side note, they just had the top 10 rated sniper rifles on the Military channel, and will probably again, so if you scan that chacost, weightnnel over the next couple of weeks you can watch it. They covered everything talked about here, including several others, and broke it down to cost, weight, accuracy, distance, penetration and overall use. It was a great show. It was listed as "Sniper weapons".

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Old May 29th, 2009, 10:41 AM   #13
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Sorry about the type-o, but I meant to type if you scan the guide on the military channel a few days in advance, you'll probably get to see it again.

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Old May 29th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #14
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I will definitely have to check out that show about the sniper rifles. I will have to see if youtube has this show yet...

Yeah, I did stumble upon the Accuracy Intl and the McMillan. I really like the McMillan TAC-50.

I am going to a gun show tomorrow. I am sure they will have virtually nothing in the 50 cal, but it is always fun to look and see.

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Old May 29th, 2009, 04:27 PM   #15
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My vote would go to the Lapua for ammo cost and overall package portability(friend of mine and I co own a Mac 50 bolt gun and it is HEAVY +)Plan on at least $1000.00 on a good piece of glass with whatever caliber you buy. 1000yrds is a l...o...n...g way off and just because somebody shot his grand dads '06 with a 2 X250Tasco and knocked off a groundhog that far away doesn't mean it can be repeated. Try to go somewhere and actually shoot the 1000 with someone. Very enlightning; it'll give you a whole new level of respect for the guys who can hit on demand at that range.

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