(This is excerpted from my new book, Prepper Guns.

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Nothing says, “Go away and leave me alone” quite like the .50 BMG.


There is something almost religious about turning loose more than 14,000 foot pounds of energy from a rifle you fire from your shoulder. When you consider that’s about three times the energy produced by most rifles for used for hunting elephants, it all kind of comes into perspective. The .50 BMG is a special kind of rifle and shooting it is a vastly addicting experience.

The .50 Browning Machine Gun cartridge was developed by John Browning for the Browning 50-caliber machine gun and was adopted by the military in 1921. It was initially to be used as an anti-aircraft round, but it proved useful for a lot of warfare, including sniper work.

The .50 BMG is simply a scaled-up .30-06 cartridge. It’s a NATO cartridge, so ammo should be available for it after TSHTF.

It is the big boy of long range cartridges. The .50 BMG has no shoulder-fired equal when it comes to breaking things at any range. It can fire a 750 grain bullet at nearly 3,000 ft/s muzzle velocity. Where a .308 Winchester has about 2,600 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle, the .50 BMG has almost 14,500 foot-pounds of muzzle energy and the big, heavy, high B.C. bullet carries well out to ultra-long range. Size matters with bullets and this is as big as it gets in a shoulder fired rifle. The .50 BMG has no peers when you want to smash stuff and end problems.


The guns are heavy, the recoil stout and the muzzle blast is fearsome, but when you absolutely, positively must get the job done, there is nothing you can legally own and fire from the shoulder that even comes close to the .50 BMG.

For stopping vehicles or punching through barriers, the .50 BMG stands alone. If you have a property to defend, it is highly recommended that you have one of these guns.

Nothing says, “Go away and leave me alone” quite like the .50 BMG.

The .50 BMG might be a beast, but for the job at hand, nothing else can compare. There is a huge selection of guns on the market, ranging from uppers you can put on an AR-15 lower to full-blown, high-dollar precision rifles. The only limit is your budget.


Recently I have been shooting an Accuracy International AX50 rifle on loan from EuroOptic for a feature article in NRA’s Shooting Illustrated magazine. This is a battle proven gun that may well be the apex of bolt action, magazine fed .50 BMG rifles. It has a 27-inch barrel and weighs 24.6 pounds. If you want the best of the best in a .50 BMG this is your gun.

Their web site says that “This Accuracy International 50 caliber is designed for military use as an anti-material weapon system.” That means it’s a good choice for breaking stuff that needs breaking.

The gun has a flat bottomed, steel action that is bolted to a full length aluminum chassis. The two stage trigger is the best I trigger I have seen on a .50 BMG and it breaks at 4-pounds, 6-ounces. However, the first stage is 3-pounds, 3-ounces, so the effective trigger pull is only 1-pound, 3-ounces. This is a big asset in precision long range shooting.


The double chamber muzzle brake is both screwed on and tension clamped which should tell you something about what happens, at the end of a .50 BMG barrel. They advertise that it effectively reduces recoil, muzzle flash and dust eruption. (All of which a .50 BMG is very good at generating.) The barrel can be changed in less than ten minutes using the barrel change kit, but if you shoot it out, you are a better man than me!

This gun is the most accurate .50 BMG I have tried. We are getting sub MOA easily with factory loads.  With handloads I have no doubt we could probably cut that by close to half.

.50 BMG cartridges with .223 Remington.

.50 BMG cartridges with .223 Remington.

I believe that there is no better choice than this rifle for defending your property, family and life from a fixed position. Particularly if you expect the need to break things and disable vehicles. It’s not a cheap gun, but it’s probably priced lower than you might expect. EuroOptic sells the Accuracy International 6800B AX50 for $11,082.00. It’s a serious investment. But if you live in a place where you will need a rifle like this, it’s an investment that may well keep you alive.