Thursday, June 9, 2011


Well, the .50 goes bang.

I finally got the headspacing set on the new barrel extension/chamber piece I made. This took a few days as I have been pretty busy with family stuff. However, I got it machined although it still needs some fine sanding and cleanup. The loaded rounds chamber fine, and the rifle locks up reeeeeaaaaalll tight. There is actually a bit of force needed to rotate the bolt and lock in a round of ammunition. I am fine with this. I managed to get the firing pin transfer bar finished, and threaded some holes in the bolt head so I could affix it to the bolt body. The finished product looks good and works great, at least on the bench.......

I didn't want to try to take the rifle to the range only to find out it didn't go bang for one reason or another, so I figured I would take some of the .50 BMG rounds I had here, take the bullets and powder out, and try dry firing the primers in the assembled rifle. This was not a bad idea, except for one thing.
Military surplus rounds often have REALLY HARD primers, and my poor little AR15 hammer spring just could.not.get.the.job.done.the.first.time. Or the second. Or the third, etc.
At first, I did have a problem with the firing pin not protruding far enough into the primer to light the round off. A few trips back and forth to the lathe fixed this, and of course, the first time it actually went bang, I had just finished filming and had neglected to turn the camera back on before pulling the trigger a 4th or 5th time. I was actually surprised it went bang the first time, it scared me silly. I looked around and said, "What the hell was that?!!!" before I realized that it was my rifle actually working.
D'oh. *Headdesk*

I was pretty happy that it had worked, so I went and retrieved another live cartridge to test with. I pulled the bullet and dumped the powder then put the case in the rifle Dammit.
By now, I knew I had plenty of firing pin protrusion, so I figured that the problem had to be the milsurp primers. Sure enough, I went and got my stepson to come out to the garage and hold the camera while I worked the bolt and trigger, and after about four clicks (and resetting the hammer each time with the bolt), I got a nice loud BANG out of the rifle. Unfortunately, my stepson was laughing so hard at each failed attempt of the hammer dropping he had quit filming, and when it actually went bang, he didn't have the camera running.


Okay, round number 3. Pull the bullet, dump the powder, and chamber the round, this time with the camera (my iphone, actually) running, I cycle the bolt, pull the trigger, wait a couple seconds in case of a hangfire, then repeat. After about 5 tries, I finally decided if I couldn't get anything out of it the next time I pulled the trigger, I would hang it up for the day. I pressed the record button on the camera, aaaaand......


I'm going to go to my local merchant of death (A.K.A gun shop) and buy a box of commercial ammunition for the rifle. Hopefully I won't have any issues with primers not lighting off with some American Eagle ammo. Once I have those in hand, it's off to the range to put a couple rounds through the gun, albeit with a loooooong string attached and me standing several feet back. So, the next post about this rifle should be a report on the gun successfully going BANG and sending lead downrange, or a report on how it failed miserably and sent steel gun parts downrange.
Either way, it's gonna be LOUD.

And I'll probably be smiling, either because I now own an inexpensive, functional .50 BMG rifle, or because I just created the most expensive noise maker ever and have to start building a new one.


  1. Woo Hoo!! Congratulations Redneck. I can't wait for the range report. I'm wondering if the .308 or .458 AR variants have heavier springs.


  2. Thanks, Six. Lord willing, I'll be heading to the range on Monday to test things out.
    Supposedly, the AR10 rifles have a heavier hammer and hammer spring, but after doing a bit of research, I found that most .50 uppers for AR lowers have to have a more powerful spring, and apparently replacing the standard AR spring with a Wolff spring will fix the problem. I ordered one from the good people at Brownells, and it should be here in a couple days.