What is the proper way to fire a .50 cal rifle?

While engaging in one of our favorite topics of conversation,guns, It came out that none of my friends or myself have ever fired a .50 cal before. I know its an extremely powerful gun and I would think that the recoil would be massive. Is there a proper way to fire something that big or is there something in the gun that reduces the kick?

.50 cal maching gun is typically mounted on a vehicle, it doesn’t recoil into your shoulder. As far as I know, only Sylvester or Arnold can fire a .50 cal from the hip.

I was thinking more along the lines of a bolt action rifle, not an automatic. As far as I know a civilian can buy one of those but I would think law enforcement officials would frown upon mounting it on a car.

I think the OP is referring to something like the Barret.

And the answer: with the stock firmly in your shoulder and the bipod firmly on a stable surface, preferably the ground. It’s too heavy (heavier than an M-240/FN-MAG/GPMG), and its recoild is too massive, for it to be used in any other way.

Barret .50 cal have compensators and the little two legs on the front.

You can fire those at my local gun range; the muzzle blast alone is like getting slapped in the face.

You can fire the M82 from the shoulder if you had to - I’ve seen it done a few times. The muzzle brake is extremely efficient and reduces the recoil to something like a 12 gauge with magnum slugs - quite hefty, but you’re not going to dislocate your shoulder.

I’d classify the muzzle blast as being harsher than getting slapped in the face - it rattles the air cavities in your body. I once got caught without hearing protection (my fault) next to one and I had a headache for literally days.

They’re very distinct - you could be in a warzone where hundreds of small arms were firing thousands of rounds per minute and it was total aural chaos and you’d distinctly hear every round fired from it.

Hey thanks so much. Know that I know this, I forgot something else.

I have a bolt-action 50 BMG rifle. Due to its weight (around 26 lbs), the only practical position is prone. But I’ve shot it offhand on a couple of occasions, just for fun. Have never shot it from the hip.

The muzzle blast is the coolest thing about the 50 BMG.

In the winter it’s a hoot. The snow below the muzzle brake is blasted away due to the gas exiting the muzzle. It’s quite a sight.

When my wife bought me some trigger time with the BMG at the rifle range in our my old hometown, the muzzle shockwave literally knocked the plywood baffle down seperating my firing lane from the one next to me.


Eh, I’ve shot .50 caliber rifles standing. The blast isn’t that bad nor is the recoil all that punishing.

Like this one :smiley:

I’ve shot a .50 cal muzzle loader rifle standing. It wasn’t much different from firing a 12 gauge shotgun.

I’m pretty sure black powder guns are much less powerful than an equal bore modern gun.

Like a snow angel turned to evil. :wink:

I’ve fired a .50BMG rifle (with a muzzle brake) from a standing position before. As others have reported, the recoil is about on par with a 3.5" magnum 12 gauge slug. The muzzle blast, on the other hand, will cause your eyes to bounce around in their sockets.


The correct way to fire a .50 Cal rifle is to have the long thin bit, with the half inch hole in the end, pointing away from you.

No experience with a .50 cal rifle, but I have fired the .50 cal Desert Eagle handgun. The only proper way to fire that monster is to hold on tight and pray.

I’ll say this-- the moment I fired one of those, I knew forever after that any time I saw an actor in Hollywood or a character in a video game fire a Desert Eagle one-handed, it was as fictional a depiction as the Wizard of Oz.

Last year I shot a S&W 500.

It packed a wallop.

Marine Corps Instruction Video

I’ve heard of .50 cals being fired at a range with a simple roof over the shooting benches, something like wood framework and tin. The roof was actually damaged by the gasses from the muzzle. They make a big boom. :smiley: