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Old 05-01-2012, 00:04   #1
bigmoney890
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AR15 Conversion: .338 Lapua vs .50 bmg

I was fantasy shopping earlier this afternoon (as usual) and was browsing around a long range hunting website. I stumbled across a Savage rifle chambered in the .338 Lapua magnum, and I was amazed at the price, just under 1k. I just naturally figured a rifle chambered in such a specific and powerful cartridge would be well over 3k. Then I started to look up .50bmg rifles just for giggles as well. To my amazement again, I found some sites with .50bmg upper conversion for the AR-15 for around $1400. I naturally thought the same thing about the .50bmg, that it would be a very expensive rifle. Also on the same site with the .50 conversion, the upper could also be chambered in .415 Barret, .408 Cheytec, and the and .338 Lapua. I'm not sure why, but im shocked that these rounds have made their way to the AR platform, and i'm glad. Now it's letting guys with normal sized wallets venture into extreme long range hunting/shooting.

Strictly based on performance of the round, which would you guys prefer for out to 1k+ meters and why? Of course cost is a major factor shooting that far, with match grade ammo at several dollars per round, optics, etc., but right now i'm talking strictly projectile performance. Any help is appreciated!

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Old 05-01-2012, 00:13   #2
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Just to let you know .338-06 and .338 lapua magnum are 2 completely different rounds. .338-06 is just a necked up 30-06 cartridge whereas .338 lapua is a necked down .416 rigby case.
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Old 05-01-2012, 00:22   #3
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Just to let you know .338-06 and .338 lapua magnum are 2 completely different rounds. .338-06 is just a necked up 30-06 cartridge whereas .338 lapua is a necked down .416 rigby case.
Thank you sir, I fixed my post. I guess i was a little overwhelmed with the .338 since there are about 6 different names for 6 different rounds that are all .338

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Old 05-01-2012, 00:26   #4
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I know what you mean, there's also a .338 federal which is a .338-08 there is a .338x57 and so on. Confusing as heck.
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Old 05-01-2012, 00:31   #5
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....338 win mag, .338 ultra mag, .338 marlin express. It's ridiculous!
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Old 05-01-2012, 00:56   #6
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50 must be brutal on an AR lower.
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Old 05-01-2012, 01:41   #7
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Projectile performance? What are you shooting at? What are your standards?

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:07   #8
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50 must be brutal on an AR lower.
Not really. The muzzle brake is very efficient. The recoil impulse is no more than shooting an AR-10.

There is nothing else in the gun world that I have found that is more fun than the .50BMG. It is really loud, and blows things apart. It is also fairly cheap to shoot, in comparison to other 'long range calibers' using milsurp components.
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Old 05-01-2012, 06:47   #9
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Same thing with the .50 cal. It comes in many different formats and sizes. Robinson Arms sells an AR platform that you switch out the uppers from 6.5 Grendel to some .50 cal that is not 50 cal bmg.
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:32   #10
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Well just ringing a steel target at a mile plus.

Not damage or impact, just accuracy at that range
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Old 05-01-2012, 12:35   #11
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Not really. The muzzle brake is very efficient. The recoil impulse is no more than shooting an AR-10.

There is nothing else in the gun world that I have found that is more fun than the .50BMG. It is really loud, and blows things apart. It is also fairly cheap to shoot, in comparison to other 'long range calibers' using milsurp components.
The price has me leaning towards that as a "fantasy" gun.
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Old 05-01-2012, 17:18   #12
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Well just ringing a steel target at a mile plus.

Not damage or impact, just accuracy at that range
Shooter skill, quality of rifle, ammo and glass, and a good spotter are all more important. LaRue has supposedly made hits on military poppers at 1750 with a 20" OBR with 168gr SMK.

A decent bolt action in .300 Win Mag or .300WSM would also be capable of it.

Trying to turn an AR lower into something it wasn't designed for isn't the way to go, IMO.
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Old 05-01-2012, 17:24   #13
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With bullet drift and drop-age, wouldn't a round like the .50 and .338 lapua be better for an "in-experienced" shooter? From what i've recentaly read, doesnt the .300win mag and .300wsm have severe drop off and subject to cross winds?

That would suggest that an inexperienced shooter would be better with the .50 and .338 as to not have to worry about as many outside factors and/or calculations. Or am I completely missing something?
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Old 05-01-2012, 17:51   #14
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With bullet drift and drop-age, wouldn't a round like the .50 and .338 lapua be better for an "in-experienced" shooter? From what i've recentaly read, doesnt the .300win mag and .300wsm have severe drop off and subject to cross winds?

That would suggest that an inexperienced shooter would be better with the .50 and .338 as to not have to worry about as many outside factors and/or calculations. Or am I completely missing something?
When ammo in .338 and .50 is generally $5 a shot and up for decent ammo, you're not gonna get much practice in - something pretty critical to long-range shooting. I also doubt those AR uppers have top-quality barrels in them for long-range work, but I could be wrong. Plus, where the devil are you going to shoot to a mile in NC?

I can't speak from personal experience to drift and drop issues with .300 WM, WSM, etc., but I know a couple top-drawer shooters that use it for (medium) long range work. .338 is current king of long range in Afghanistan, but ballistics are quite different at 10,000 feet of altitude than 500 feet.

Unless you have a 1,000+ yard range nearby you can get regular access to (I don't know of one in your area that are open to the public), I wouldn't bother unless you just want a heavy-caliber rifle for blasting away at the range with. Bear in mind, too, that many ranges have caliber limits and will not allow you to shoot .50BMG.
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Old 05-01-2012, 18:02   #15
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When ammo in .338 and .50 is generally $5 a shot and up for decent ammo, you're not gonna get much practice in - something pretty critical to long-range shooting. I also doubt those AR uppers have top-quality barrels in them for long-range work, but I could be wrong. Plus, where the devil are you going to shoot to a mile in NC?

I can't speak from personal experience to drift and drop issues with .300 WM, WSM, etc., but I know a couple top-drawer shooters that use it for (medium) long range work. .338 is current king of long range in Afghanistan, but ballistics are quite different at 10,000 feet of altitude than 500 feet.

Unless you have a 1,000+ yard range nearby you can get regular access to (I don't know of one in your area that are open to the public), I wouldn't bother unless you just want a heavy-caliber rifle for blasting away at the range with. Bear in mind, too, that many ranges have caliber limits and will not allow you to shoot .50BMG.
You make a great point with the practice part. And im not getting either rifle anytime soon. But in two years when I graduate from App State, I will be moving out to Colorado. Im figuring that there should be ample room to shoot out there

And as far as the barrel, the conversion i was looking at had a chromoly barrel manufactured by Lothar-Walther in Germany. Dunno if that's good or not but by the time i get one i'll be learned in all aspects of either the .50 or .338
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Old 05-01-2012, 18:07   #16
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You make a great point with the practice part. And im not getting either rifle anytime soon. But in two years when I graduate from App State, I will be moving out to Colorado. Im figuring that there should be ample room to shoot out there

And as far as the barrel, the conversion i was looking at had a chromoly barrel manufactured by Lothar-Walther in Germany. Dunno if that's good or not but by the time i get one i'll be learned in all aspects of either the .50 or .338
Then save your money for a rifle built for the caliber. Plus, you'll spend far more on optic that you would on either a conversion upper or a new rifle to reach a mile.
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Old 05-01-2012, 18:10   #17
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Then save your money for a rifle built for the caliber. Plus, you'll spend far more on optic that you would on either a conversion upper or a new rifle to reach a mile.
I never realized how expensive optics were until late yesterday when I saw a couple of threads debating on buying a scope that was "on-sale and a good deal" for $2700....
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Old 05-01-2012, 18:14   #18
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I never realized how expensive optics were until late yesterday when I saw a couple of threads debating on buying a scope that was "on-sale and a good deal" for $2700....
Yep. If you want to really reach out there, it's not gonna be cheap.
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Old 05-01-2012, 18:17   #19
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Well good thing my major is going to pay good when/if i graduate within the next decade
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Old 05-01-2012, 18:30   #20
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Do yourself a favor,.....stay away from Bohica.
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Old 05-01-2012, 18:31   #21
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Do yourself a favor,.....stay away from Bohica.
Im pretty sure they are out of business, i've tried looking for them on-line and no one can seems to contact them anymore. Oh well, if there products were actually good then they'd still be around, right?
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:01   #22
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Well just ringing a steel target at a mile plus.

Not damage or impact, just accuracy at that range
I shoot .50bmg and .300WM most often in the longer range calibers, but in this case the .338 Lapua is the better bet of your choices. On a soft target either will be highly effective. On a hard target the .50bmg will be better as far as terminal ballistics goes.

But you are better off worrying about school, graduating and then finding a job if your passion is long range shooting with any of these weapons. None of them are cheap to purchase, equip and shoot.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:35   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmoney890 View Post
With bullet drift and drop-age, wouldn't a round like the .50 and .338 lapua be better for an "in-experienced" shooter? From what i've recentaly read, doesnt the .300win mag and .300wsm have severe drop off and subject to cross winds?

That would suggest that an inexperienced shooter would be better with the .50 and .338 as to not have to worry about as many outside factors and/or calculations. Or am I completely missing something?


A new, or inexperienced shooter, has no buisness buying a gun and shooting at that range, unless he's just looking to burn money.


Yes, it would be easier to make a hit at that range, with a flatter shooting caliber. However, you'd get alot more for your buck learning to shoot 500-1,000 with a 5.56/308/300 and then moving to the big boys.


Jumping right to the big boys, is a good way to learn bad habits, and overcompensate for poor form with ballistic performance.
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Old 05-05-2012, 20:24   #24
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I agree with saving some money and getting a nice bolt gun in 300 Winchester Magnum.

The while big bore AR upper thing is pretty silly IMO.
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Old 10-26-2012, 18:44   #25
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I read an articale on the 50bmg ar upper conversion and the author was impressed with it. But to be fair he expected ZERO from it and was shooting 100 yards. It had a big hulking brake on it that would take the ball cap off his spotter and you had to have a dedicated lower. You had to remover parts from a pin ready lower to use the upper. All in all not a great deal when $250 in lower, $1400 in upper and you get a single shot rifle.

I saw a used Barrett bolt gun no optic for $1250 a couple weeks ago so I would go that route long before I bought a cobbled together unit.
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