Monday, June 13, 2011

The Bill Holmes .50 BMG range report

Well, folks, the .50 went to the range today for the first time.
Can you guess what the results were?


I strapped the rifle to an old Chinese ammo crate I had laying around, and used a ratchet strap to hold it down and hold it forward on the crate. Of course, this did not keep the crate and the rifle from levitating when the rifle was fired.

Every time I fired it, I had to strike the primer several times before it would go off, as I did not have my new Wolff hammer spring in yet, (it came in the mail as soon as I got back from the range), but aside from that, everything went okay and worked very smoothly.

Here's the rifle/noisemaker, cleaned up and ready to hit the range.

We got the rifle secured to an old ammo crate using ratchet straps, and used another ratchet strap to actuate the trigger.
Here's the first time she got test fired,

We did that four more times. Some rounds went off on the third or fourth pull, one took over ten pulls.
However, after five rounds, I figured it was safe enough to try firing from the shoulder.
Here's the first shot from the shoulder. My stepson was filming this, and wasn't prepared for the round to go off yet, so he didn't get the camera on the rifle.
You can, however, hear the beginning of my initial reaction at the end of the video.

Here's the second and final round I fired for the day.

I was bracing myself for the impact, and it still just about knocked me on my butt. My stepson did not know any better, and was within range of the blast wave leaving the muzzle brake. The blast made his t shirt flap and pushed him back a step or two.

Now, my initial impression?
I like it. I don't have scope mounts on it yet, but I wanted to make sure it passed the blow-up test before I did any more work to it or mounted an expensive scope to it.
Recoil is certainly there, as seen in the video, but it's more like being shoved HARD backwards than being kicked by a mule. It's not really all that unpleasant. The shock wave from the muzzle blast is the cool part, you feel that in your chest for minutes afterwards.

So, what's my final build tally, aside from optics?

225 dollars for the barrel from a good seller on Gunbroker
~50 dollars for the AR fire control group
~25 dollars for the receiver tube
~15 dollars for the aluminum needed to build the buttstock and grip area
~5 dollars for the AR pistol grip
~10 dollars for the 4130 used to build the muzzle brake
~10 dollars for the 4140 prehard metal used to build the bolt head and barrel extension/receiver
~10 dollars for the main bolt body
~10 dollars for miscellaneous bolts, screws, etc.
~25 bucks for miscellaneous metals for the bipod and other things

For a final build tally of ~385 dollars.
Now, there was quite a few parts that were machined and scrapped, either from bad design or just my unhappiness with their appearance. If I were to add up the materials used in the original bolt, two scrapped receivers, striker firing pin system, original buttstock, and other small parts I did not manage to get quite right, you could rightly add another 75 dollars to the price tag.
If you included the lathe I bought, you could tack another 1000 to the price tag, but I honestly don't consider that an expense of this rifle as the lathe gets used on many more things.
So, I guess if you include my mistakes, I'm still out 460 dollars for a completed .50 BMG rifle, not including optics.

I will post up more pictures of the rifle as I finish it up and add some Duracoat.

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