Armalite AR-50

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Armalite AR-50
ArmaLite AR50 A1 APA Accessories.jpg
Type Bolt-action rifle
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designed 1997 - 2012
Manufacturer Armalite
Unit cost August, 2016 MSRP $3359.00 for base AR-50A1B
Produced 1999[1] - Present
Weight 34 lb (15.5 kg)
Length 59.5 in (1511 mm)

Cartridge .50 BMG & .416 Barrett
Caliber .500" bore diameter across the lands/.510" bullet diameter for .50 BMG .416 bullet diameter for .416 Barrett
Action Bolt action
Sights Factory-installed dovetailed rail-style scope mount with optional MOA angles available. No provisions for other sight installations.

The ArmaLite AR-50 is a single-shot bolt-action rifle manufactured by Armalite.

AR50A1B with 1 round
AR50A1B accessorized


ArmaLite AR-50, M4 carbine and Beretta 92
fluted muzzle brake

The AR-50 family of rifles (currently produced as the AR-50A1) utilize significant weight and large, fluted muzzle brakes to reduce recoil. When firing "light" loads, the muzzle brake has very little effect on recoil as muzzle gas volume is insufficient to make the brake effective. As power levels are increased, an attentive shooter can feel the muzzle brake become more effective. In the upper ranges of cartridge power, an attentive shooter will notice the rifle is initially pushed rearward immediately upon firing before being stopped in recoil and possibly even pulled forward slightly by the muzzle brake.

Weights for the single-shot, bolt-action AR-50 begin at approximately 34 pounds. The barrel is thick and rigid to decrease flexing, reduce barrel harmonic vibrations, mount and support the massive muzzle brake, and add weight to the rifle. The barrel mass also increases the number of rounds that can be fired before barrel temperatures become excessive, however, increased mass also increases cool-down times. AR-50 rifles have barrel diameters and thicknesses significantly greater than most other .50 BMG rifles. All AR-50 barrels use 1:15 right hand rifling.

The receiver features Armalite's octagonal design for high strength and rigidity. The bottom of the solid steel receiver is precisely machined to fit in a matching channel in the solid aluminum stock. The end result is what could be considered a monolithic rifle design with the stock integral to the receiver rather than simply locating and supporting it. The barrel contacts only the receiver and is therefore considered "free-floated" from the stock, "free floating" barrels are normally found on conventional rifles.

Attached to the rear of the primary aluminum stock is the removable and adjustable shoulder stock assembly. Huge by conventional rifle standards, AR-50 rifles are built for long service life firing the powerful .50 BMG and .416 Barrett cartridges. For example, the bolt assembly alone weighs approximately 4 pounds. While recoil is very manageable and even lighter than from some less powerful rifles, the length and weight make shoulder firing very difficult. AR-50s are typically fired from the prone position and bench rests using bipods or other support devices.

Armalite AR-50 rifles are equipped with Shilen triggers mechanically similar to Remington 700 triggers, and have a factory pull weight of approximately 5 pounds. Scope mounting (Picatinny) rails are factory-installed and are dovetailed to the top of the receiver. A mount with a 15 MOA angle is standard on the AR-50A1 and other mounts are available. Conventional bipods made for smaller rifles and the adapters to fit them to AR-50s are available, in addition to AR-50-specific bipods made by a handful of manufacturers. Various other accessories such as shoulder stock upgrades and hard carry/storage cases are available. Many AR-50 owners make their own accessories.

After several years of production, and in response to some specific owner complaints, the original AR-50 rifle was replaced by the AR-50A1B. Although the Armalite website still uses only "AR-50A1" as the model, the rifles themselves are engraved with the "B" designation in the model name. AR-50A1B rifles feature a smoother action, an improved bolt stop/release that can be depressed by hand and an improved muzzle brake. While similar in design and appearance, muzzle brakes on AR-50A1B rifles are of cast metal construction, while earlier brakes appear to be fabricated from individual steel sections welded together.

Multiple versions of the AR-50A1 are currently produced:

  • AR-50A1 - chambered in .50 BMG with a 30" barrel.
  • AR-50A1L - chambered in .50 BMG with a 30" barrel, left-handed version.
  • AR-50A1 NM or "National Match" - chambered in .50 BMG with a 33" barrel and Armalite's "Skid System" stock assembly for long-range competition shooting.
  • AR-50A1B416 - chambered in .416 Barrett.

The price of the left-handed version of the AR-50 rifle is approximately 10% higher than the right-handed models.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ AR50 Press Release from Internet Archive. Retrieved on November 12, 2007.

Appearances in media[edit]

The Armalite AR-50 Rifle is introduced to Mike Ehrmantraut in the AMC series Better Call Saul, as an assassin-for-hire job tool.


External links[edit]