Thursday, November 21, 2019

Tinkering Thusday - Tank Fighting AR

So, some of y'all know that I want a .50 BMG platform of some such. Pudge did too. He just took a rather interesting path to one....

SHTF 50: A ‘Budget’ 50
Well everyone, I did something. Again, I have Mack to thank for his wise words. (Something tells me I call Mack because I know he will agree that it’s a good idea. And if he doesn’t agree then I know I went off the rails…this pretty much never happens!)[I have talked him down once -Ed] I bought a Safety Harbor Firearms SHTF 50 BMG single shot upper with 29” barrel. Why did I buy this you ask? That’s a very good question and the only answer I have is, well, because.

While perusing the finest junk pocketknives and beef jerky at a recent gun show I came upon this behemoth of a 50 BMG upper and knew I wanted it. To be fair, I have been looking at this exact upper for over 2 years now but had never seen one in person. After a quick call to Mack to tell me yes and make sure the price was decent and a call to tell Red that I love her[Red is gonna kill me one day -Ed] I shook the man’s hand and toted a giant hunk of steel home that would’ve fit right at home with my gym set.

I had an extra Anderson lower (Of course it's the Poverty Pony -Ed) sitting at home just waiting to be outfitted with this new upper. After some digging through the old parts bin and a couple of gracious birthday gifts (perfect timing) I had everything I needed to complete my ‘budget’ 50 BMG. I know budget and 50 don’t really go together, but for what this gun is I think they fit nicely especially considering I have less than $1,600 total spent on this project.

I wasn’t quite sure at first what to expect once I got everything put together but I was excited. The upper comes with a heavier hammer and stronger hammer spring. It is even easier to install than setting up a standard AR. You do not need to install the bolt catch, the disconnector, or the buffer retainer. Everything else goes together like normal. Instead of just buying the parts I needed I went ahead and got a full LPK so I can easily convert this to another caliber later if I so choose.

Starting off I knew that I wanted a fixed buttstock and needed a decent scope on it. The stock was an easy decision as I had a readily available solid A2 buttstock. The sight was not quite so easy. Lots of research later I decided on a Burris Fullfield II 4.5-14 power. So far so good on this thing. The eye relief was my biggest concern but it is a non-issue here, this thing gave me plenty of standoff so I didn’t have to worry about scope bite. I haven’t shot it a ton but the sight is holding up well.

Speaking of holding up to recoil, I was pleasantly surprised with the recoil on this gun. With the weight of the gun and the muzzle brake I would equate the recoil to just a hair more than a 12 gauge 3 ½ inch slug. Not something you want to shoot all day but definitely not as intimidating as it first appeared. Luckily, my first shot was on target and I was able to get zeroed in only 4 rounds. (My checkbook appreciated this fact as well. However, I’ve only been spending $2-$3 per round so also not as bad as most people make it out to be.) After getting sighted in I decided to see what a 660 gr round would do to a cinder block and I was not disappointed. One shot dead center absolutely obliterated the cinder block and sent a 1.5lb piece flying almost 10 foot in the air and the same distance away. I’m thinking I should take a poll on what to try and destroy next.

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to really stretch out the legs on this gun and see what it (and me) are capable of at distance. I’ll make sure to keep everyone updated on how the gun, the sight, and my shoulder hold up after some more rounds downrange.


  1. Hey Pudge;

    Thanks for the article on the budget .50, can you imagine the surprise when the "Cowabunga" moment comes up and the .50 goes through the armor of whatever suburban they are using. You know that Mack might trade one of his prized glocks for that, LOL

    1. Mr. Garabaldi,

      I wanted to make sure that everyone knew it is possible for the average(ish) guy to have his very own .50. And I've never believed in such a thing as overkill so I figure this would be perfect for such an occasion that you mentioned and more. I think if I tell Mack there is a fifty club he just might do that, even though it's not "Perfection."

  2. Be very careful to check the pins holding the upper and lower together. They will hog out in a hurry, due to the recoil!!!

    1. Old NFO,

      I feel like these might be sage words from experience. With something like this I do a very thorough examination pre and post range time. Hopefully this combo will last a decent amount of time.

  3. Yeah, saw one basically fall apart at the range a couple of years ago. The guy never did PMs on the weapon. Sigh... And aluminum doesn't have the strength of steel to handle multiple heavy recoils, sorry to say.

    1. But the upper itself is steel? I suppose in that case a tinkerer/machinist type might cobble together a special purpose lower out of steel to hold up better if it was going to be shot more often.

    2. Old NFO,

      I figure this is one of those you should definitely check prior to blasting away with. I’m glad you mentioned the aluminum wearing out though. I’ll specifically measuure around the pins to see how it wears

    3. Steffen,

      The upper is steel. They do make dedicated lowers for uppers like these. I’d really like to get one but for the time being i’m very happy cobling this together with extra parts i had around. I agree a dedicated steel lower would be better though.


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