The new AR-50A1 is chambered in .416 Barrett, a cartridge descended from the .50 BMG, and not subject to laws prohibiting the ownership of .50 caliber rifles. It exchanges some power at the muzzle for superior ballistics, and retains more energy at greater distances than .50 BMG. Capable of producing over 9,000 foot-pounds of force at the muzzle, nobody would call it watered-down.
It’s otherwise completely unchanged from the AR-50A1 .50 BMG. It has a 30-inch barrel with a 1-in-12-inch twist which is capped with a massive 4-port muzzle brake. The .416 AR-50 uses the same V-Lock Bedding Wedge and V-Block Stock for utmost precision and repeatable accuracy. It has a Schilen single-stage trigger and a 15 MOA sight base.
The .416 Barrett AR-50 weighs a little more than the .50 BMG, due to its smaller bore and relatively heavier barrel. At 34.7 pounds, with that muzzle brake, we expect this to be a very manageable shooter.
And while this new AR-50 is definitely going to win in the big gun big bore department, the new AR-30A1s are sure to be a hit with a larger segment of the shooting population.
These new rifles look like scaled-down versions of the AR-50, chambered for the somewhat more accessible .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum cartridges. They use the same block and bedding system as the AR-50A1 and have almost no parts compatibility with ArmaLite’s previous AR-30 bolt-action rifles, which they replace. From the press release:
“On the surface, the AR-30A1 bears a family resemblance to its predecessor, the AR-30. But, every individual component of the AR-30 was scrutinized in the AR-30A1. As a result, only the pistol grip, buttpad, trigger, and a few small components from the AR-30 passed muster for the AR-30A1. All other components are new and/or improved. The result is a firearm that maintains its predecessor’s outstanding accuracy, light weight, and soft recoil while dramatically improving its ergonomics, adaptability, versatility, reliability and ease of use.”
The AR-30A1 will be offered in a tactical model and a standard one. The tactical Target model costs a little more and has a few extra features, like an extended, 18-inch long 20 MOA Picatinny rail for optics and other 12-o’clock accessories, with a pair of smaller rail sections up front at 3- and 9- o’clock hanging off it. The tactical version also has a fully-adjustable buttstock. The Standard has multiple sling points for both slings and bipods.
The Standard model has a weight advantage, though, with about two pounds less rail to lug around. Depending on caliber and configuration, the new AR-30A1s weigh between 12.8 and 15.3 pounds. Both the Standard and Target models will be offered in both calibers. Rifles chambered in .338 Lapua will have 26-inch barrels and .300 Win Mag 24.
Of course, if you want to acquire one of these fine precision rifles, be prepared to cut a pretty big check. Prices range between $3,265 and $3,600, but if you intend to own one, you save money by reloading, don’t you?