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Barrett vs Armalite for 50 BMG

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Franco, Aug 28, 2011.

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  1. Franco

    Franco Well-Known Member

    I apologize in advance if there's already a thread on this, please direct me to it if you like. I'm in the market for a 50bmg, happy to have a single shot so the Barrett M99 or Armalite AR-50a1 seem to be the most popular choices. I understand that the Armalite is a LOT heavier than the Barrett but that's about all I know. I tend to think the Barrett is better quality but have no real proof of that. Any experienced owners out there who can provide some objective feedback?
  2. helotaxi

    helotaxi Well-Known Member

    I haven't shot either, but I've handled both. Take that for what it's worth.

    I was looking for a .338 Lapua rifle and those were two I was considering. The LGS owner had an Armalite and swore by it but after handling it, I couldn't bring myself to buy it even though it was cheaper and in stock. It looked to me like it had been whittled out of a log. Normally I'm all about function, and don't care so much about form but I couldn't overlook how rough the Armalite looked.

    The Barret on the other hand was in a totally different class with regard to fit and finish. Of those two, it would be my choice hands down even though it cost a good bit more. .50BMG isn't cheap. If cost is the determining factor, you might want to look at some other caliber.
  3. Franco

    Franco Well-Known Member

    Thanks. I've handled the Armalite and agree with the fit/finish. Cost is not the determining factor but simply one of the factors. I've heard the Armalite has better accuracy than the Barrett but, to be honest, I won't be shooting past 1000 yds with it. Just looking for a cannon as I have most other calibers up to and including 338.
  4. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

  5. Faret

    Faret Active Member

    Also check out statearms.com
  6. OldmanFCSA

    OldmanFCSA Well-Known Member


    Please visit the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association website at www.fcsa.org.
    Try the Visitors Forum.
    Review all the pages and links.

    There will be a FCSA Match Shoot at Quantico Labor Day weekend.
    FCSA members are trying to get into Williamsport rifle range and recently had a sample shoot there.

    By becoming a member, you will also have access to the VHP - Very High Power magazine, and more importantly, the FCSA Member Forum.

    I will be unavailable for the next 2 weeks as I am attending the Alliance Nebraska 1000 yard FCSA Match over Labor Day and then onto Wyoming to look for prairrie dogs.

    As an ArmaLite AR-50 owner, I am biased to it because I have shot a 5-shot group at 1000 yards under 5 inches center-to-center. I also own a State Arms Shorty rifle and am working up loads for it .

    Rumor is Barret's aren't made just for accuracy - and I haven't seen one shoot very well either. You pay for the NAME.

    PM me if you need more info - I will be leaving Wednesday evening to help setup the Alliance Match as I have Assistant Match Director duties.

    Check out the State Arms series of rifles - you might like that better. I am building a custom with a State Arms action, Feddersen Chrome-moly barrel, Armalite AR-50 muzzle brake, Manners Carbon Fiber stock, and Leupold 8.5X25X50 Mark IV scope.

    NightForce scopes are good too - but I'm a Leupold man.
  7. OldmanFCSA

    OldmanFCSA Well-Known Member

    You beat me to it - State Arms.
    They are a good rifle!

    You must reload the 50 to get the best accuracy out of it.
    I can help you get started by pointing you in the right direction.
    I will try to save you the years it took me to learn all the tricks, and I am still learning.
    Contact Dave Fricke in PA for his Lehigh Bullets - I use them for all my target loads.
    Say HI for me!
  8. OldmanFCSA

    OldmanFCSA Well-Known Member

  9. Franco

    Franco Well-Known Member

    Thanks all, I'll check out the state arms' versions and the FCSA. As for reloading, I've been reloading a dozen other calibers for years so I'm sure I'll be fine with it.
  10. Strongbad

    Strongbad Well-Known Member

    +1 on State Arms
  11. sansone

    sansone Well-Known Member

    on armalite's AR10's they give an accuracy gaurantee and shooters are reporting the actual shots fired are doing better than their gaurantee. Armalite takes their accuracy promise very seriously. The bores of their new unfired rifles are beautiful, if not the outside of the gun.
  12. 50 Shooter

    50 Shooter member

    I would have to say as an owner of an AR-50 I'm biased also and agree with Oldman that by buying the Barrett you're paying for the name. The AR-50 will shoot just as good if not better then the M-99 with match ammo. Plus the trigger can be swapped out on the AR-50 for a match grade one, something the Barret's can't do.

    Plenty of other aftermarket accessories for the AR-50... bipods, monopods, bases with extra MOA (15,30,50)...

    You can see they're popular.

    Looking down range at a 2000 yard target.
  13. OldmanFCSA

    OldmanFCSA Well-Known Member

    As I did - I reload about 34 different calibers.

    The 50 is a whole new ballgame !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  14. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Staff Member

    I have shot those two (owned one of them). I would strongly recommend the AR-50. It is more shootable and the recoil is much less.
  15. henschman

    henschman Well-Known Member

    Is it going to be a hobby gun that you will only ever shoot off a bench, or do you think you might actually ever hump it into the field? If the former, the Armalite is cheaper and the weight isn't an issue (it actually helps dampen recoil). For a field rifle, the much lighter Barret would be tempting. But then the Anzio Ironworks 50 and the Serbu BFG-50 are both as light or lighter, and cost a lot less to boot. Those are the top 2 I'm considering for my own .50 purchase, since I want to be able to carry it on my back if I have to.
  16. 10mmGlock

    10mmGlock Member

    Another happy AR50 owner here. The AR50 is very heavy but that weight in conjunction with the massive muzzle brake equates to relatively minor recoil and pleasant days at the range.
  17. taliv

    taliv Moderator

    i've owned the barrett and shot a couple armalites too.

    my view is i would want to do one of two things with a 50bmg:

    1. shoot Armor-Piercing Incendiary Tracer (APIT) rounds at junker cars full of tannerite, etc
    2. competitive benchrest or Extreme Long Range matches

    The Barrett is perfect for the first, plus they are easier to resell when you get tired of it. Neither are adequate for the second. I'd want a custom gun built for precision. So imho, that leaves the armalite in some no-mans-land where yes it's probably more accurate than the barrett, but it's not accurate enough to be competitive and it's too expensive to shoot regularly (especially match ammo), and 50bmg is way too hard on steel targets anywhere under 1000 yrds, and shooting paper is boring... etc etc .... so why would i want one?

    I'm not saying the AR-50 isn't a quality gun... i just don't know what people do with them.

    my barrett mostly got shot by new shooters that i took to the range. it's a better conversation piece than the armalite too.

    the "fit/finish" isn't anything to write home about on either of them
  18. animator

    animator Well-Known Member

    I've shot both the barret m82 and the armalite ar-50 many times (couple hundred rounds at least) and I've been more impressed with the armalite as far as repeatable accuracy at 800+ yards. The trigger was much improved over the m82, and the rifle just felt more comfortable to be behind. Both rifles are great in recoil management and ergonomics, in my opinion.

    They both have things I like and dislike, but as far as which one would I buy personally?? I'd go with the AR-50.
  19. Franco

    Franco Well-Known Member

    Thanks again everyone. I don't intend to shoot competitively off the bench. I want a 50 for three reasons: (a) I love guns and own almost every caliber (any excuse to get a new gun will work for me); (b) I think it would be a blast (so to speak) to pick off woodchucks and possibly whitetails from my folks' hay loft at extended ranges (500+yds); (c) if the day ever comes where I need a full range arsenal for personal reasons, then I want the full range, literally. So, portability may be necessary and accuracy, although important, is not the driving factor -- I've also found that accuracy in non-competition shooting has more to do with the shooter than the weapon. I'm no wealthy guy, but the difference in price of $1000 or so isn't that material. So, I just bought the Barrett M99 with the 32" heavy barrel. It came with a cheapy Bushnell 10x scope but I'm replacing that with a 5.5-22 nightforce. I'll let you know how it shoots. I looked at the Armalite and, frankly, I wasn't impressed with the fit/finish and it's heavy as hell. I'm sure it's a great gun, but it just didn't do it for me compared to the Barrett. The local shops didn't carry the other brands touted on here and when I went to some of their websites, they just didn't turn me on too much -- more for the competitive shooter. I think if I was competitive shooting only, I would not have chosen the Barrett. However, given my needs (probably not the right word) the Barrett fit the bill. Thanks again. This site has been uber helpful over the years with everything from gun choices to reloading issues.
  20. Gossettc68

    Gossettc68 Member

    Looks like I need to get out and shoot an AR-50. Been on Barrett's all my life but from what I am reading I may need to switch it up.
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