Thinking of getting a Barrett, is it really worth it?


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ckone
October 10, 2008, 11:17 AM
so i've been thinking of getting rid of most of my handguns in order to start the fund for a Barrett, most likely the Model 99 because of price... wondering if anybody has any good advice on getting into shooting these beasts? like should i go .50 cal or .416 (based on price/performance)? where the hell am i going to shoot it, can i take it to a "normal" rifle range, or where will i need to go to shoot long distance? would it be a better idea to save for the mag fed models since they're all expensive anyhow? ...these are things that there just isn't very much info out there about.
also, they have a new .338 model coming out called the 98Bravo, does anyone have any experience with .338's? should i wait long enough to see what the feedback on this new one is like? i can't find any pricing info on this model, so i'm not even sure it would be even a more economical proposition...? does anyone know of anywhere you can rent/try one? and finally, after all is said and done, is the high cost of these monsters really worth it, it sure seems like lots and lots o' fun...? thanks for any help.

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gvnwst
October 10, 2008, 11:23 AM
where do you live? if you only have a 1000yd range, buying a 2,500yd gun is stupid. if you can reload it, i would go with the .416, as the 50 may be banned in all of the states as has allready happeneed in CA.....

if you want a powerful and past 1,000yd cartridge, but don't want a 2,500dy one, look at the .338 lapua mag. very accurate, and factory ammo. if you go with a propritary cartridge, the ammo may just dissipear. i dout it will with the lapua.
:)

ckone
October 10, 2008, 11:28 AM
hmmm... very interesting... sounds like i should maybe do some more research on the 98Bravo model (.338 as you described). it'll take a little time to get the resources together so i guess i've got some homework to do. thanks.

Marcus L.
October 10, 2008, 11:36 AM
Unless you are planning for some sort of conflict and ranges well beyond 1000m, I think your money might be better served on other things. You're talking about one expensive investment that you will likely not be able to use very often. If you are wanting a powerful rifle for long ranged shooting, the .338 is gaining more and more traction in the US military and militaries abroad. The .50cal is simply too heavy for most sniping needs and the .338 is a good middle ground between the 7.62 NATO and .50cal. This means that you will have more ammunition and platform options in the future. For me, that is still far more rifle than I will ever practically need and my money would be better served in other things. For me, a .308 Winchester offers plenty of power and is capable of taking any game in the Americas.

Acera
October 10, 2008, 11:37 AM
What do you want to do with it? Shoot it at targets, use it as an investment against a possible ban, hunt with it, collect it, or some other reason.

If it is to be just an investment hedge against a 50 cal. ban, and owning something the majority of the public cannot get you need to look into you crystal ball to figure out if: Will the more expensive options double my money faster or slower than having a bunch of less expensive rifles. I personally feel that it will be easier to sell 5 $2K uppers for $4K than to sell one $10K Barret for $20K.

You can get the upper receivers that fit on an AR platform for a lot less money. There are plenty of forums on them here, just do a search.

What state do you live in? You know California does not allow new .50 BMG's.

.50 BMG's are able to fed by military surplus ammo, cheaper than most of your listed alternatives. (except maybe the .338's) I've bought it for less than $2 a round, which compares favorably to just about any medium sized rifle round.

For most shooting situations an average fellow is to encounter, I think the performance difference between the 50 and the 416 is marginal.

Plus check with your local range about the big guns, some allow it. I can even shoot one at an indoor 25 yard range here in Houston if I want (and have enough ear protection). So even a modest 100 yard outdoor range could be used for practice.

kasTX
October 10, 2008, 11:55 AM
Acera,

Where in Houston can you shoot a 50 cal indoors?? Also, are you aware of any outdoor ranges around Houston where you can shoot a 50 cal?

Thanks,

Acera
October 10, 2008, 12:15 PM
kasTX,

Indoor, Pasadena Shooting Center off 225 allows it.

Outdoors, Thunder Range off 1314, between the Woodlands and Porter, American Shooting Center off Westheimer, I think Texas City's public range is ok with em', I don't remember about Baileys though.

Funderb
October 10, 2008, 12:19 PM
I vote lapua.
A lot of ranges ban .50 cal because it is a magic bullet
that turns corners and seeks people targets.
Not really, they just say it is pretty hard on the berms.

ckone
October 10, 2008, 12:45 PM
well i'm not planning for a conflict, so don't worry... and it's not an investment either, i don't believe guns ever are unless it's some vintage/relic piece, it's for recreation, my main goal would be to do some long range hikes/climbs setting up long distance targets, hiking to a firing position, ...shooting/camping trips.

Acera
October 10, 2008, 12:50 PM
Funderb, that is a myth about them being hard on the berms. They don't do that much significant damage from the reports I have read.

Here is a link to a test if you are interested.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2w2JEIgkbE


Part of the "cool factor" of the .50 is all the legends and myths that are out there. Listen to what people have to say that have never shot one, and you will be amazed about all the ninja things that round supposedly does.




Wow ckone, you must be a stud if you want to backpack a .50 in for casual shooting. Have you seen how much these things weigh?

gvnwst
October 10, 2008, 12:54 PM
well i'm not planning for a conflict, so don't worry... and it's not an investment either, i don't believe guns ever are unless it's some vintage/relic piece, it's for recreation, my main goal would be to do some long range hikes/climbs setting up long distance targets, hiking to a firing position, ...shooting/camping trips.


then get a lapua. with just "plinking" it will be cheaper, have less raciol, and be cheaper. accurate to a good 1,800yd with 300gr SMKs.

taliv
October 10, 2008, 01:30 PM
acera, my friends and i shoot at steel targets a lot. most of the calibers incl 338 LM do nothing more than ring the steel and chip the paint off. super-fast calibers will pit the steel. but i have several plates with 50 cal projectiles stuck halfway through the plate.

ckone, the barrett is awesome. however, you wouldn't want to hike anywhere with one.

Acera
October 10, 2008, 02:15 PM
taliv, I know it is hard on steel. But the question was about berms.

taliv
October 10, 2008, 02:28 PM
maybe i'm not following you. we're talking about indoor backstops, right?

Acera
October 10, 2008, 02:43 PM
I never mentioned steel. The indoor range I spoke of is in an old movie theater, and has a dirt berm, with some other sort of backing. I haven't walked down there since I was a kid, when that was how you replaced targets, but I think is has a lot of dirt, then metal, then stone behind that.

Acera
October 10, 2008, 02:55 PM
ckone, you might also want to check out the prices of the .338's vs. the .50BMG

Here are the Midway pages for each:
http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=3&categoryId=9522&categoryString=653***690***

http://www.midwayusa.com/browse/BrowseProducts.aspx?pageNum=1&tabId=3&categoryId=8958&categoryString=653***690***

http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ItemListing.aspx?catid=589



Just something else to consider. The .338 should be a lot easier to carry long distances on you back.

JTW Jr.
October 10, 2008, 03:15 PM
A friend has a M99 , we put about 40-50 rounds thru it right after he bought it , we haven't shot it since.

To really get the most out of it , you need to reload , and you need glass , darn good glass to be able to see the target you are shooting at.

Amazing how flex there is in recoil of the semi-auto 50 , http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=s5pVya7eask .
Looks like a scope torture test :)

Just curious , what your experience is with long range shooting.
If you haven't shot LR before , and plan on shooting at 2K+ meters , you have many more variables to contend with than you do at 200-300 meters.

taliv
October 10, 2008, 03:49 PM
acera, i don't think i've ever seen an indoor range with a dirt berm. interesting.

more interesting would be the convergence of muzzle retort and movie theater accoustics :what::eek:

ANDROTAZ
October 10, 2008, 10:00 PM
acera, i don't think i've ever seen an indoor range with a dirt berm. interesting.

more interesting would be the convergence of muzzle retort and movie theater accoustics

I could be wrong, but it sounds like he may mean an old drive-in outdoor theater...that would make a little more sense lol

taliv
October 10, 2008, 10:28 PM
post #5 said indoor

artherd
October 11, 2008, 07:04 AM
I bought my M-82 simply because they were about to be banned.

I was surprised in that it has become THE MOST FUN firearm I have ever owned!

You need at least 500 yds and some steel to enjoy it, at 100yds it's a waste.

JTW Jr.
October 11, 2008, 12:17 PM
Under 1,000 yards , why even bother with a 50 ? Just get a .308 and save yourself a heap of $$$ on ammo.

I couldn't ever see shooting a 50 indoors , at 25 yards. 50 cal handgun PERHAPS , but a 50 cal rifle ? What they have for a backstop on that range ? 10 inches of M500 ?

Dienekes
October 11, 2008, 04:40 PM
I've thought about it, and looked some over. My son (who of course is totally objective on the subject--yeah) thinks I should get one. We do have the space out here. And I would really love to have either it or a semiauto Ma Deuce mounted on the ATV.

But other than the brag factor I think it would be a tall order to keep it fed and get the full potential out of it.

That kind of money will buy an awful lot of components for what I already have and use.

But if one got left on the doorstep I suspect I would take it in and find a place to put it.

ckone
October 20, 2008, 01:04 PM
seems like the overall cost and how infrequently i'll be able to shoot it have put me off getting a .50... i'm going to look into the 98bravo model and i'll end up with a .338 lapua or maybe a .308 of some sort.
guess if i can't shoot it that much, what's the point? and besides, good optics are pricier than i first thought...

theken206
October 20, 2008, 01:49 PM
.338 lapua IMHO

http://www.snipercentral.com/338.htm

atlanticfire
October 20, 2008, 03:01 PM
I vote lapua.
I second this. Have been looking at the armalite and thinking Im going to get it.

Reid73
October 20, 2008, 03:04 PM
it's for recreation, my main goal would be to do some long range hikes/climbs setting up long distance targets, hiking to a firing position, ...shooting/camping trips.

"Is it worth it?" Well, how long is a piece of string? Since your only use will be recreational shooting, it's an inherently subjective question, with no right or wrong answer.

FWIW, I am a reasonably experienced hiker. I don't know about you but my hiking enjoyment tends to be inversely proportional to the weight I have to carry. Most any .30 calibre hunting or varmint-style rifle would be a lot lighter and handier than a Barrett, while still possessing sufficient accuracy for reasonable long-range casual target practice.

If you're seriously planning to bring along the rifle on camping trips, your enjoyment of same might be reduced by constant concern that the Barrett might be stolen while you're not looking. Something to think about.

It's unnecessary to have the biggest, baddest, most expensive toy to have a lot of fun. For casual plinking, a high-quality scoped .22 firing at ranges of up to 300 yards will provide plenty of enjoyment at a fraction of the cost. For that matter, you can have essentially the same experience in your own backyard with a precision air rifle: see "Minisniping" (http://www.minisniping.org/articles_petercapstick.html).

texas chase
October 20, 2008, 03:19 PM
My father got an AR-30 in .338 Lapua and I got a chance to shoot it this weekend. It was my dad, me, and one other guy zero'ing his deer rifle. My dad shot the AR and the other guy and I looked at each other... the concussion is pretty strong. It has power to say the least. However, the most impressive thing about it was that when I shot it, it felt almost no different that shooting an .223 AR. The muzzle brake is that good - its amazing!

The weekend before last he sighted it in at 200 yards... and then at 400 yds... and then 600... and finally at 800 yrds before he ran out of room. He was getting 6 - 8 inch groups at that distance. And he's still working on an optimal load for it.

General Geoff
October 20, 2008, 03:55 PM
I promise you all that the days of legal 50 caliber civilian rifles are ending SOON.

With attitudes like this, we don't even need enemies.

danefraz
October 21, 2008, 04:24 PM
All,

I don't want to get into how high can I scratch the post vs. how high you can, etc. that's not my concern.

I want to offer a subjective point or two. (any reference to equated numbers are approximate, not exacts - I don't want to get into that either - just waxing a thought or two).

I have the Rem 700 in 338 Rem Ultra Mag with a stainless 24" bbl. Call it a 'average man's long range cannon.' It's an inexpensive way to get in the door and learn to handle big, heavy hitting calibers. Ballistically it's capable of doing many things out of the box with small tweaks. It doesn't have to have a custom, hand lapped barrel although that'd be certainly nice, and it doesn't have to have a fancy polished firing pin and heavier springs to enhance locktime. A good trigger is a must and some fine-tuned ammo is very helpful. Probably best suited for someone that's reloading because you can only go so far with over-the-counter stuff. But it will do on a budget and in a pinch - and for minor costs, you can 'upgrade' it.

Now, my bolt action doesn't have any fancy stuff, just a standard laminate stock and 'good' consumer grade 4x12 optics. It's not the 'Sendero', just a 3rnd BDL off the showroom floor.

If I were to change anything, I'd probably add a 30" lilja stainless bbl to it, and may be a jewell trigger, but probably not in that order. I might then entertain optics to test the capabilities of the lilja barrel with NightForce 12x42 NXS optics. But if wishes were water, the desert would be green.

I have it loaded right now wiht 225g SP over about 86g of I4831. This pushes it pretty fast - 2850 or so, guessing. this is a warm load, but still has room to spare (I think I could hop it up to about 3,000 fps).
currently, w/ 300yd zero, -33" at 500, -109" at 700, -349" at 1000... That's about 1660ftlbs at 500yds and 650ftlbs at 1000yds of impact energy. Plenty of poop to knock most things over.

It shoots ok right now, not as good as I want - it's not MOA right now, but it is definately 'hunting worthy' - but range time, and the punishing recoil keep me to 'every so often' as I noodle through the 100rnds or so I have right now.

I have the estimated recoil at around 45ftlbs. You squeeze it off and it's like someone whalloped you with a 3lb hammer from 10ft away. (as a note, a 30-06 springfield / Garand have about 12lbs of recoil energy and the 223 has an estimated 6 to 8 ftlbs of recoil). The chicken fairies come out after about 6 rounds with the 338RUM.

I'm currently working loads for it in 300 Sierra MK over RL25. At max / redline it's 2750fps in the book. That's nearly 60ftlbs of recoil. You definately don't want to lean back against a tree when it goes boom.

For costs:
50 - 300g Sierra MK $35 to $40
1lb RL 25 $22 to $30 (note, at 86g loads, you only get about 80 rounds / lb)
1000 Win Mag Primers $25 to $35

Do the math, and it's about $125 per 100 rounds of 'home grown' which afford you control over many variables.

At $1.50 a pop (factoring in brass life @ 8 reloads to end-of-life), you not only will feel the recoil, but your wallet will ache after a bit, especially if you're like me and have to drive 30mi each way to the range in a truck that takes 5 gallons to go and come back.

Using some ballistic magical software I should get aproximately the following (for my conditions, 250ft at 50% at 70deg):
300yd zero, it looks like I should be 28" low at 500, 85" low at 700, and 239 (~20ft) low at 1000. At 1500yds it's still supersonic (1300+ fps) but the elevation is 750" low (that's 62.5ft for most of us). Impact energy at 1500 should be about 1150 ftlbs.

When was the last time you aimed at a 18" target and elevated your rifle 30inches high let alone 62 ft? This isn't 'daylight the top of the horns' for a lung shot kind of thing.

Not only do you need a handy cannon to 'reach out and touch the target' (and may be knock it over) but you need specialized glass that have adjustable target/mil turrets. You need to know how to use it too. You also need something that can take the abuse - standard glass from the average consumer makers probably won't do, or won't last. Looking at "NightForce" optics for example, for 12x42 glass, you're looking from $1000 to $2300 for glass just so you can see your target and know that it won't crumble when you pull the trigger, repeatedly. Handy elevation and windage dials sure beat my kentucky windage methods.

Now, my average consumer 4x12 glass won't cut it much past about 700 (or my eyes can't), and the temperature and wind are probably guaranteed different over in the next county - could be raining and I'd be hard pressed to see it... and I'm not going to go out soon and spend 2x or 3x the cost of my rifle on glass to see to the man on the moon, not just yet...

Without a spotter, a lot of experience, a lot of reload time and bench rest time to find a reload that minimizes the harmonic vibration for that one particular gun, a cheat sheet for MOA elevations at various distances (or computer) I think it would be hard for many folks to hit a milk jug at 500yds consistently, let alone a small 'dorm refridgerator' at 1500. That assumes that they are shooting on a clear blue-bird day with no wind and mild temps...

Why would I want a spotter? Well if you can recover in a half of a second and see thru the smoke from 60lbs of recoil, to see that 1000yd shot hit in 1 and a half seconds, you're much bigger, stronger and faster than my 200lb frame can muster. I'm still seeing chickens when I'm lining up for my second shot with a spotter. By the the end of a 12 shot string, I'm 'batman' and definately need a snickers bar.

I really don't think most folks can make the leap from 'plinking' with a 22 or even a full day of 223 shooting hundreds of rounds out of their favorite toy, to be able to consistently hold and squeeze repeatedly, into groups that these things are capable of... combine that with the costs that way exceed available 223 ammo and equipment (also good for out to 500+ as well), and it takes a very special desire to:
1) invest in the equipment
2) learn to manage the recoil and still pull the trigger consistently
3) invest in the time to spend at the range
4) invest in the ammo
5) learn to manage the recoil, and still pull the trigger consistently
6) did I mention, learn to manage the recoil and have trigger control?

As my final thought - I don't want to discourage anyone from learning to hold a cannon and manage it's recoil (hmmm).

I think we'd all like to have a lot more knowlegeable folks out there if we could get a few more on board... but don't have expectations that you can grab it out of the box, run to Big-5 and grab some ammo, run down to the nearest rice field, setup a ladder climb to the top and shoot to the other end of the county and hit a silver dollar 7 times in a row...

btw: have you tried finding 338Lapua or the others locally? It's hard to come by in my neighborhood. that's part of why I have the Rem Ultra... and it's $60/20 when you can...

rondog
October 21, 2008, 04:47 PM
I fired three AP rounds through an AR-50, and it was a tremendous hoot! I believe I hit the 1"x18"x18" steel plate at 600 yards too, there was three holes in it anyway. Great fun, but not what I'd consider practical. I'll stick with my 1943 M1 and a couple cans of surplus M2 ball, thank you.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
October 21, 2008, 05:55 PM
Good questions all - my lowly .02 of opinions:


so i've been thinking of getting rid of most of my handguns in order to start the fund for a Barrett, most likely the Model 99 because of price... wondering if anybody has any good advice on getting into shooting these beasts? like should i go .50 cal or .416 (based on price/performance)?

Caliber: Either but personally I'd go .50 BMG, not .416 - if you're going that big, may as well go all the way to a .500 rifle. Unless you live in MA, MD, HI, IL, or some other socialist state who is likely to follow Calif's lead and ban .50s at some point - in that case, get the .416.

where the hell am i going to shoot it,

Find the gun club with the longest range in your area, and join it. 600 is better than 400. 1000 is better than 600 (for *really* stretching its legs).


can i take it to a "normal" rifle range,

That depends. You just have to take it on a range-by-range basis and call and inquire as to whether .50 BMG is allowed. *Most* ranges do allow .50 BMG, at least around here, even the ones that do NOT allow full-auto.


or where will i need to go to shoot long distance?

As mentioned, a club with a long range, or if you live in the remote desert area of Nevada, Utah, etc., you can find places to shoot in the wilderness that won't harm anyone. Just please pick up your litter and be a good gun citizen.

would it be a better idea to save for the mag fed models since they're all expensive anyhow?

My opinion, no way, no how. Now I'm pretty imaginative and a bit paranoid on zombie and red dawn scenarios, and I cannot imagine that you'd EVER need a follow up shot faster than you could reload manually for any realistic used even in a societal meltdown situation with a .50 BMG, cripessake.


...these are things that there just isn't very much info out there about.
also, they have a new .338 model coming out called the 98Bravo, does anyone have any experience with .338's? s

Have no idea, other than to say that a .338 lapua is an intermediate step with a bit lighter rifle to lug around and a little cheaper to shoot, if you don't want to go all the way to .416 or .50.


is the high cost of these monsters really worth it,

I can't say for sure, because I don't have one, but my view is yes having a .50 is marginally worth it if you can afford to feed it, for the fun factor. BUT, having a *Barrett* in particular in my view is NOT worth it - great guns, but for $3K you can get an Armalite AR50 or several others that shoot quite well - how is a $6-$10K Barrett *that* much better? It's better, but not $3-$7K additional marginal cost better, in my book.

Tarvis
October 21, 2008, 07:48 PM
http://www.snipercentral.com/338.htm
338 Lapua for 1000 yards? You guys are smoking crack. Get a 260 Remington if you're shooting 1000 yards, you don't need a frickin' 338 Lapua for that. Shooting 1500 yards? Step up to a 300 Win Mag. 338 Lapua is effective out to 1 mile, so this 1000 yard stuff is a little more than half the effective range.

I say get a 50 before they are banned, and because they would be just as fun shooting 1000 yards as they would be 2500. I can't tell you much on the subject of "which one" but I have heard some say a bull pup is a bad idea as it put's your ears closer to the muzzle. Even with headphones on my braked 300 win mag rings my bell. My personal choice is an AR-50. You could get a 416 Barrett, but they are similar in performance and the 416 was designed to defeat the 50 cal ban. I'd get a 408 cheytac before I invested in a 416.

When it comes down to it, you have to ask yourself if you really need one. If the answer is yes, now is the time to buy one as we may not have the opportunity in the future. If it is a maybe, hold the thought for election day.

Also, remember this rifle needs a good scope as well. No point in having a rifle designed for a certain job without the proper scope that makes it possible.

gvnwst
October 21, 2008, 07:53 PM
Step up to a 300 Win Mag.

will this stay supersonic to 1500? maybe with 240 SMKs, but i don't think so. A 30-378 Wby would though.

416 was designed to defeat the 50 cal ban

not really. Ron Barrett has said many a time that the .416 was developed to improve the range and accuracy compared to the fifty, without having so much recoil.
:)

Zundfolge
October 21, 2008, 11:31 PM
The new Barrett 98B is just dead sexy.

http://www.98bravo.com/images/sleek/Barrett-98B-28.jpg
http://www.98bravo.com/


And for hitting paper waaaaaaaaay out there its going to be every bit as much fun as .50BMG but without the price tag (and fear of bans).

Of course it's $4500 naked ... the BORS (http://www.barrettrifles.com/optics_bors.aspx) equipped Leupold is another $2700 (but probably worth it). But I figure if you're even considering any Barrett you're not going to be spooked by the price.

gvnwst
October 22, 2008, 09:52 AM
the model 99 costs $3,990.... But thats .50...
ckone: we need input of what you think of the suggestions please.
:)

mickman
November 1, 2008, 05:25 AM
big 50's really are fun. reaching out and knocking the wholly:evil: out of a steel target has a cool factor of indescribeable magnitude. :D:D:D
p.s. also love my .308

woodybrighton
November 1, 2008, 07:57 AM
hitting out plus 1500yds takes an immense amount of skill and practice and kit .338 and .50 might be fun to shot on a short range up to you if you can justify the cash for that.
hiking with a barrett perfectly enjoyable activity right up there with finding a damp
hedge to hole up in for a week :evil:

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