few questions abpout the .50 beowulf


February 23, 2010, 01:16 AM
1 - What was/is the intended use for this caliber?

2 - Looks like the standard mag capacity is 10 (same size as milspec 30 rd 5.56 stanag). Do they make a different style of mag to accomodate more, such as a drum or cmag?

3 - How do the bullets feed, in general?

4 - Good choice for personal/self/home defense? I'm guessing no given the capacity specs but maybe there's products out there to address that. 15-20 rds is about as low as I'd want to go in a "battle rifle", personally. (cue Garand enthusiasts :D)

Also, I've never shot one. Not sure if it's meant as a long range engagement or cqb type thing or both, shoulder-fired or intended for use with bipod/fixed position. I'm a bigger guy, so I'm not terribly concerned with the recoil aspect as long as it's controllable. Obviously one wouldn't use a .338 Winchester in a repeating cqb/defensive aspect.

Just trying to put the round into perspective.

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February 23, 2010, 01:49 AM
ASN - I wouldn't worry about how it holds up as a battle rifle when it comes to round count and HD/SD. Battle rifles are designed to engage more than a few targets rapidly. They are used in conjunction with heavier hitting weapons, etc. HD/SD ... If you need another 10-20 rounds faster than you can change your magazine... you are already dead. Your home doesn't provide the cover that battle grounds will.

The 10 round count should be fine, just practice your mag changes. As to the round... haven't got a clue. I don't even own a EBR. Shoot, my only black rifle, is also my only synthetic stocked rife, is a single shot muzzle loader/ centerfire combo :)

- Garand Enthusiast

February 23, 2010, 02:23 AM
From what I've read about the .50 beowulf, it's performace and ballistics are very similar to a .500S&W, slightly more powerful depending on projectile weight. My best guess is that it was created to put .50 caliber bullet in an AR platform.

Hopefully someone with some who owns one, and even better reloads for it will chime in. I'd like to know more myself...

February 23, 2010, 08:46 AM
I think it was designed to be a loud toy out at the range and turn money into bangs and smoke.:D

I guess you could use it for some sort of hunting.

February 23, 2010, 09:22 AM
It's been reported that some LE agencies use it.
Primary purpose is to disable vehicles (ie. shoot engine), such as boats, without destroying the vehicle/damaging the crew.

Standard magazine capacity is 7 rounds (in a 20 round AR magazine) and 10 rounds (in a 30 round AR magazine).
However, some people have modified the MWS 5.56x45mm 90 round drum to hold 34 rounds of .50Beowulf (see pic).


February 23, 2010, 09:41 AM
I fired one some years back. My recollection is that it had about the same recoil as a 20 ga. slug, or maybe a stout 12 ga. shot load. (i.e.: not enough to worry about)

Good for home defense? Well, sure. But too expensive to practice with all that much (which is important to me) and certainly quite a bit more power than you need for the job. Knowing that other, lighter, cheaper calibers will do that job well, and allow me to make faster follow up shots, I don't think I'd choose a .50 Beowulf for my primary HD gun.

It would make a pretty cool close-range hunting gun for things like hogs or black bears. More than you need for deer, but it's not like you can make them "too dead."

I as well have heard that they were marketed toward some military and LE groups (it was the Coast Guard in the story I head) for disabling vehicle engines and such anti-material uses. No idea if that was really true or if any agencies ever purchased and fielded them.


February 23, 2010, 10:19 AM
A friend has one that we use for hog hunting (messes them up more than any other round I have ever seen, one hit kills everytime). As for home defense, I think it is overkill but to each his own. I don't know this for a fact but I am sure with the cartridges' power you would have to worry about over-penetration. IMO, I think the round was created to stop vehicle engines, punch through objects, and for large game. But as I said, from my experience on hogs it is devastating, one hog it almost tore him in half. The placed shot was dead center just below the spine.

February 23, 2010, 10:24 AM
I use mine primarily for pig hunting, although it shoots deer pretty well also. For me it's a 100-125 yard hunting gun, beyond that it takes too much figuring on drop and you need to get your range estimation down pretty well.

As for home defense the round will certainly get the job done, but for me it's way too much to be shooting indoors. It also has quite a lot more kick than I want in an HD gun.

February 23, 2010, 03:36 PM
And then there's the man logic.....sometimes we just buy ***** because it's cool. I've been looking at the SOCOM .458. Do I need it...NO. But what's that got to do with it. My wife has a closet full of shoes that I'm pretty sure she doesn't need, but I'm not going tell her not to buy them. She works. I've got a whole house full of crap I don't need, so why should my gun collection be any different. You don't have to justify it, if you want one because it's just cool to own, then F it, get one. My 2 cents.

February 23, 2010, 04:16 PM
When they say similar to .500 S&W and maybe more powerful, are they comparing to the .500 pistol vs the Beowulf from a rifle? or both of them from a rifle? I've heard the .500s gain a good bit of velocity in the Handi rifles, pump guns, and lever actions.

"Buffalo Bore offers three loads for the .500 and they have always been known for offering full-house loads. Two of these are a 400-grain jacketed flatnose at 2,035 fps and a 440-grain LFNGC at 1,925 fps. "

That was their testing, the same round from the pistol though only claims 1625fps.

February 23, 2010, 04:52 PM
1) A sledgehammer. Used by law enforcement/military to stop vehicles or whatever else needs stopping.

2) 20 round 5.56 mags hold 7, 30 round 5.56 mags hold 11, WMP has a mag that is modified to hold 14 rounds and there are the drums like posted above. Magazines are basically the same except the little ears at the front top of each side of the mag have to be filed back to feed the 1/2" casing.

3) Depends on the bullet and rifle. My Wulf has minor trouble with 500gr Hodgdon FP's (not a round offered by AA), but has done fine with everything else.

4) IMHO probably not, but if you want to....very loud, kicks like a 12GA, huge fireball out end of barrel (yes I've shot mine at dusk before), rounds carry substantial energy so you have to be very careful what is behind your target....


1) Helluva lot of fun to shoot! The Beowulf is a wrecking ball!
2) Within 100-150yds more than ample stopping power. Ballistics are similar to 45-70.
3) Relatively accurate. Mine will shoot ~1.20" at 100 yds with one of my hand loads. Keep in mind the Beowulf fires dump trucks, so this isn't too bad.
4) See 1)


1) Ammo is difficult to find and so is brass if you reload. You just have to stay ahead if you plan on shooting it much.

February 23, 2010, 05:34 PM
Used by law enforcement/military to stop vehicles or whatever else needs stopping.

I've heard this, too. Unfortunately, I've never found any direct evidense that it has been actually adopted by any official agencies. Can you give some links on that?



February 23, 2010, 05:36 PM
A pump action .50 Beowulf? What company makes those?

February 23, 2010, 05:41 PM
1 - What was/is the intended use for this caliber?

The intended use was as an entry weapon to be marketed to the US military. The soldier could swap out the upper on his M4 prior to a mission, and it could be used to breach doors and enter the building without having to switch between M4 and shotgun. The military didn't buy the idea, so they started marketing it as the ultimate hog and brush gun.

I unfortunately have never had the pleasure of shooting one. IMHO, from what I have seen and read, the .458 SOCOM has a slight edge for its intended use.

February 23, 2010, 06:22 PM
Former DEA procurement agent told me they had a few for hard-target interdiction. Can't provide any evidence to back that up, but I have no reason to doubt him. Only one I've ever shot was his (personally owned.)

Bolt velocities are very similar to .223, meaning it won't beat an AR lower up too bad. Recoil is very managable (but I'm a big guy.)

February 23, 2010, 08:36 PM
Sam - Sorry no link. I got the info watching a Modern Weapons show on the tube.

Essayons21 - Thanks for the clarification.

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