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.50 Alaskan

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.50 Alaskan
TypeRifle, Large game
Place of originUnited States
Production history
DesignerHarold Johnson
Designedearly 1950s
Parent case.348 Winchester
Case typeRimmed
Bullet diameter.510 in (13.0 mm)
Neck diameter.536 in (13.6 mm)
Base diameter.553 in (14.0 mm)
Rim diameter.610 in (15.5 mm)
Rim thickness.070 in (1.8 mm)
Case length2.10 in (53 mm)
Ballistic performance
Bullet mass/type Velocity Energy
450 gr (29 g) BAR FP 1,718 ft/s (524 m/s) 2,950 ft⋅lbf (4,000 J)
500 gr (32 g) JFP 1,674 ft/s (510 m/s) 3,112 ft⋅lbf (4,219 J)
525 gr (34 g) LFN GC 1,694 ft/s (516 m/s) 3,346 ft⋅lbf (4,537 J)
Source(s): Hodgdon[1]

The .50 Alaskan / 13x53mmR is a wildcat cartridge developed by Harold Johnson and Harold Fuller of the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska in the 1950s. Johnson based the cartridge on the .348 Winchester in order to create a rifle capable of handling the large bears in Alaska.


Harold Johnson necked out the .348 Winchester case to accept a .510" diameter bullet,[2] and Harold Fuller developed the barrel, marrying a .50 caliber barrel to an old Winchester Model 1886 rifle.

Harold Johnson made the first 450 Alaskan in 1952, and continued to make them in the 1950s and 60s. The rifle was based on the Winchester Model 71 in .348 caliber. Bill Fuller made the reamers. John Buhmiller made the barrel. Frank Barnes made the bullets. The "50" came later.

Since the rifle was designed for use on Alaska's great bears, Johnson cut 720-grain (47 g) boat-tail .50 BMG bullets in half, seating the 450-grain (29 g) rear half upside down in the fireformed .50-caliber case. It didn't take Johnson long to find out that the truncated-shaped "solid" would shoot through a big brown bear from any direction, claiming in 1988, "I never recovered a slug from a bear or moose, no matter what angle the animal was shot at."[citation needed]


Harold's favorite load in the .50 Alaskan was 51.5 grains (3.34 g) of IMR-4198 with a Barnes 400-grain (26 g) flatnose, jacketed bullet for about 2,100 ft/s (640 m/s) and just under 4,000 ft⋅lbf (5,400 J) of muzzle energy.[citation needed]

The Alaskan is shorter than the .510 Kodiak Express and produces about 10% less energy or 33% less energy than the 50-110, out of a 71 Winchester re-barreled to chamber the 50-110 WCF 6,000 foot-pounds.[3]


Rifles for .50 BMF Bullet are available from some specialty gunsmiths and also conversions from Marlin and Winchester lever-action rifles.[4][5][6] Reloading dies are available from Hornady.[7] Brass is available from Starline Brass.[8] Although it is considered a wildcat cartridge, loaded ammunition is available from Buffalo Bore.[9][10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The .50 Alaskan Built on a Marlin Levergun by Al Anderson
  2. ^ Taffin, John (March 2004). "Big Bore Hunting Rifles". Guns Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  3. ^ McPherson, M.L. (November 2008). "The .510 Kodiak Express the 5,000 foot-pound Marlin". Guns Magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  4. ^ Taylor, Jim. "The Model 71 Winchester and the .348 WCF Cartridge". Leverguns.com. Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  5. ^ "Available conversions". Archived from the original on 14 August 2014. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  6. ^ Cassell, Jay (2009). Shooter's Bible: The World's Bestselling Firearms Reference. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 235. ISBN 9781602398016.
  7. ^ ".50 Alaskan 3 Die set". Archived from the original on 3 August 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  8. ^ "50 Alaskan Brass – Large Rifle – Brass Cases". starlinebrass.com. Retrieved 17 June 2022.
  9. ^ ".50 Alaskan Ammunition". Archived from the original on 29 December 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010.
  10. ^ Taffin, John (March 2004). "Serious ammunition: heavy duty factory loads for the big-bore levergun". Guns Magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2010.

External links[edit]