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Every fired a fiddy? It’s a hoot. Finding somewhere to do so can be something of a challenge, though; the round doesn’t really stretch its legs until 500 to 1000 yards. Finding the money to feed it can also be a bit difficult; flags Federal American Eagle 50 Browning Machine Gun (BMG) 660 Grain Full Metal Jacket 10 Round Box at $31.99 for 10 rounds. Finding a full-auto fiddy is also a chore. The cost of feeding that bad boy is insane. Unless, of course, the U.S. taxpayer’s footing the bill. So if that’s what floats your boat . . . join the Marines! Or if you’re an OFWG whose membership card in the billionaire boys club got lost in the mail, sit back, crank up the volume and go vicarious. Oo-rah!

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    • Yeah, I remember them days, take a couple day range trips and the company would just burn through 10s of 1000s of rounds like nothing. Shooting the .50 is probably the thing I miss most about the army.

  1. I’m curious as to what the trigger pull is on the sniper grade of the 50 calibers, like the ones that have made kills over 1 mile

    • JimR and Gunr,
      Standing invite to folks to come and join me for some 1,000 yard plinking with mine.
      It’s a hoot!

      • Thanks for the offer, I appreciate it, however I have some medical issues that would prevent me from accepting.

  2. Ma Deuce rocks. For damn near a century, nothing quite says open for business like Ma Deuce.

    Of course it also says “we’re not interested go away” pretty well too…

    • Exactly. I only wish a whole lot more of my tax dollars were spent on things like this, and less on…well…you know.

  3. $32 for 10 rounds is cheap. First time I met a .50 BMG in the mid-90’s, surplus ball was running about $4/round.

    If you look at reloading components for the .50, prices go up – sometimes way up. Match brass can be $4/piece, match bullets $2.50/per (and up). Powder will run you about $27/pound, and you’ll get 18 to 20 rounds reloaded per pound (200 to 250gr of powder to load a 50 BMG).

    So add it up:

    Case: $4
    Pill: $2.50
    Powder: $1.35 (and up)
    Primer: $0.35 (and up) per.

    So you’re looking at $8/round for match grade ammo. Subtract the cost of the case to get your reloading cost under $4/round.

    Best solution would be to buy cheap ball ammo, shoot it, then prep the brass for your purposes, then start reloading.

  4. talk about fun , in my training each Marine got to shoot over 1 million rounds ammo, and lots stuff 3.5 rockets, TNT, C4, machine guns , 30 cal and 50 cal. if you like shooting the Marines is the place to go… and Uncle Sam pays it all…. HA. HA…

    • TNT? The military hasn’t used that since before WW2…. was replaced by comp B then c4…

        • TNT and C4 were never used at the same time. TNT was used from the Civil War till just after WW1, then Comp B became preferred. C4 then replaced Comp B in the 1950s, and was in full use by Vietnam.

        • my dad told me stories of how in WW2 he would use dynamite to blow holes in the frozen ground for latrines. 🙂

        • Well, I guess I could be mistaken about that, I thought the military did away with TNT along time ago, but this guys statement about each soldier getting to shoot over million rounds of ammo is complete bullshit. The way he types about it just screams stolen valor to me.

        • that was a Marine publication on training put out in 1964 and yes ,we used M1’s for 8 weeks combat training , we also used all other WW2 , recoilless rifles also.. that also counts machine ammo fired over head for hours non stop as everyone went prone under barred wire , for a hundred plus meters etc…

        • We used 1/4 pound TNT charges, about the size of the old Donald Duck orange juice cans, for training. Far as I know TNT was dropped as a primary explosive in munitions during the 1950s. More powerful and more stable explosives had come along mainly in the 1920s-30s, although in the 50s there was a lot of development in explosives. Can’t remember the dates on the cases, cuz I was blowing sh*t up and sporting a woodie!

          And yea, 1 million rds(holding pinkie up to corner of mouth as I type that!) seems a bit out there. I worked in Service Battery in a Field Artillery battalion and we had to do ammo transport for the Basic Training and Artillery School units at Ft Sill, so I have an idea what 1 million(pinkie again) rds looks like. Most likely he is just exaggerating not outright lying.

        • @JohnE I saw guys blowing grease trap pits with C4, and I helped string detcord to clear heavy brush for an LZ one time. Like detcord, its fun and you can get creative with it.

        • I guess I stand corrected. Wow, I really didn’t think TNT had been used for so long.

    • Million rds for the Corps in a fiscal year of training I can see. Combat expenditures I don’t believe were included in the training tally. Between 1964 and 1974 the combat expenditures were probably well in excess of 1 million rds per month, the training count would have held fairly steady, only increasing with a large intake of trainees.

      • my training time was the longest ever given and we used tons of left over WW2 stuff, given to the corps as Army and Navy surplus , after Viet Nam hit the training was cut in half and by 1967 it was cut to 1/4 what I got, that is what I was saying about when I was in NAM getting ready to leave the green new guys did not even know how to use the new M16’s and we gave them a 1 day M16 training,,, and also all the surplus M1’s and M1 carbines and AMMO started going to the ARVN. (south Viet Nam)…I have pictures of the ARVN with the M1 and M1 carbine….that I took myself………

        • Two of my uncles were in country early and had to deal with the switch over in combat. Neither one gave up his M 14 until rotated CONUS. The halcyon days of ammo to burn are remembered by a lot of guys in your service period, while the skin flint and stingy days of the 70s and 80s sucked.

  5. Forget the 50, I want to shoot the LAWS, fire and forget system, I use to work on them. On the shoulder then bang, man o man what a deal.

  6. “Ever fired a fiddy? It’s a hoot.”

    Yes, yes it is! 🙂

    Friend let me try his Ma Deuce at a machine-gun-shoot several years back.

    :::sigh::: Wish I could ‘fford one.

  7. One of the only regrets I have is not joining the Marines. I had to choose between service and college athletics, and I chose athletics. Needless to say, I feel as though I took the poorer option.

  8. Never fired one, but have been close to a few (tank mounted) when they were being fired. It’s impressive to say the least. Though less so once the tanks started firing their 120mms.

  9. iron sighting, single shot thumbing the butterfly and pinking dumpsters at 1800 yards. Enjoyed my time behind one.

  10. Warning: when shooting the M2 for the first time you may experience arousal. If your erection lasts for more than 4 hours, take a break from the firing line.

  11. Coast Guard. Not exactly a combat service, but we spent plenty of time behind the 50s shooting at floating targets.

    I’ll never forget that sound. Chunk chunk chunk. I saved a bunch of brass. I used to sweep it overboard.

  12. Nothing but love for the fellow Marines, but it’s important to remember that these guys are all POGs who are basically just helping their battalion burn through their ammo allotment so they don’t get their budget reduced the following year.

    You talk to some real 0331s, and they’re putting rounds on target a lot faster, and getting some nice talking gun action in the mix.

    I’ve always found shooting 50’s to be kind of overrated. They’re fun to shoot, but I always had a lot more fun shooting the Mark 19. (automatic 40mm grenade launcher)

    To the guy who along with every other Marine who shot “millions” of rounds of everything, I’m calling BS.
    The USMC is a great place to shoot guns, but as a former grunt, I can tell you that nobody I ever knew ever shot anywhere near that amount of ammo. Assuming for a moment, that 2m rounds was the baseline since “millions” is what he said, over a four year enlistment that would be over 1300 rounds fired per day.

    In the Marines you get a lot of training, but the vast majority of it is doing stupid crap like yelling “DIE M’F’ER DIE” (which is used to simulate approximate correct time to pull the trigger for a MG burst) or else doing squad rushes saying inane things like “I’m up, he sees me, I’m down.”

    The vast, VAST majority of training in the USMC is done without live rounds.
    OK, on to the worst part about ranges like this.
    It is no exaggeration for me to say that if this range was on a Monday, those poor guys were cleaning those guns for six hours a day until Friday afternoon.

    • I always wondered if the Army guys had to say “press press” in training because they couldn’t afford blanks.

      • When I was in from 07-11 we never had to do anything like that. In some training we’d do when we “couldn’t” use live round or blanks, like in training outside the company area, we would just make gun sounds with our mouths like kids playing war. But what he said above about going to the range on Monday, being there till Friday, and cleaning up brass for 6 hours of it is a great statement, it sure is fun shooting the .50- but the Army certainly has a way of taking a fun day and ruining it.

    • Hey! I could save those guys a lot of trouble if what you say is true. Just open the gate! When I just cannot shoot any more I’ll pack 1000 or so rounds in my car and carry ’em off to Tom in Oregon. Why should those boys suffer so?

  13. When I first went active, I was assigned A 113. I was the radio repairman for an armor unit and every time we had an alert, I had to hump the ma deuce down to the motor pool along with all my gear. I was a string bean back then, and that pile of gear out weighed me even with out the MG. I HATED IT with a passion until the day we finally got some range time. We mechanics were a neglected lot. The tanks at that time had M-85s, and they use a different link. By the time I got to fire, I had been in the unit over a year, and the DATs had been to every range twice.
    Well, I was the newbie, and most of the old timers didn’t want to spend a huge amount of time on the trigger. I got to shoot off about 20 sardine cans of ammo. 440 rounds to the belt iirc. After that, I was sold.
    After a trip to Europe, I switched to MPs. At the time a three man MP team had a pig, 2 16s, and a 203. I was heart broke to learn we didn’t get M-2s.

  14. Oh, yea, chunkachunkachunkachunka. Love me some fiddy, though I have to agree with Bdub, I always stuck a hand up for the Pig. Its a bitch to carry, and does tend to attract attention once she starts bangin’, its still an effective means of making targets dig ditches with their noses.

    Young troops have told me the 240 is excellent, and with the hard mounted optics scarily accurate. Have not gotten to run one, did get to fire the original Mini in .30. Them low country gunsmiths make some damned fine weapons.

    And now for criticism! That first guy on the M2 in the vid is doing it wrong. Got to get a solid body weld on the piece, as with any weapon, and with the tripod that means putting your feet on the crossbar. Otherwise that front leg is gonna hobby horse on you and you will hit nothing but sky. Barring that you sandbag that front leg, one in back and one in front and a bag on top of each back leg. Range NCOICs tend to frown on you digging pods in on their firing line, as you would in actual combat, so bagging it is the way to go when you have a lot of troops taking turns firing. If not bagged then feet on crossbar!

  15. Only time I ever got to shoot one, it was two, 100 rounds each, mounted in the front of a training aircraft. Still, it was impressive how the airplane shook, and you could smell the gunsmoke at 450 mph. That was 43 years ago, and I haven’t forgotten yet! Almost never got to see the rounds hit, however, only downside.

  16. uncle sam does NOT pay $3 per round for .50 bmg ball. they pay more like $0.75– that’s WITH a decimal point. (i might be wrong on the price, but i know it’s way less than $3)
    bear in mind uncle sam pays wholesale and is literally the biggest customer. Also, with a big, dependable, multi-year contract, ‘acme ammo’ doesn’t need much profit. on top of that, it can be manufactured in the same way on nearly the same equipment as smaller rounds. nor is ‘acme’ paying for marketing, distribution or customer service.

    and the civilian market for .50 bmg is very, very small. that is why we have to pay so much more.
    P.S. RF, i expect you to do this research before you publish.

  17. 50 is fun but nothing beats a MK19.

    Full auto, belt fed 40mm HE rounds are a great way to turn that frown upside down.

  18. I am an 0331 machine gunner by trade, and these POGs are an embarrassment around my guns. Lets get some real gunners up there.

    • Gots to agree! Hell, I spent most my time as a 13B and some of these troops performance on the piece makes me cringe.

  19. It’s a good idea to join the Marines, it will make you a cultured man:
    “Travel to exotic places, Meet new people. Then kill them.” 🙂


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