Russia's .50 Caliber Bullpup

There is a renewed interest in the ASh-12.7, a close-quarters anti-personnel and anti-materiel .50 caliber bullpup.  Having gone into production in 2010, the first few of these rifles entered service in early 2011, and today the gun is without a doubt raising eyebrows.

russian ar15

A similar concept to the .50 Beowulf, the 12.7x55mm cartridge is sure to pack a heftier punch with all that extra powder space; .50 Beowulf is 12.7x42mm, made to fit in magazines for standard AR-15 and M4 lowers.  This rifle is also designed make great big holes at anything inside of 200 yards; the Russian feds don’t want the bullets to be effective at long ranges as this gun’s intended field is urban.

russian gun show
What do you think the chances are that this revolver is also chambered in a 12.7mm cartridge?

rifle ammo on blue table
Left: FMJ, center: brass target, right: AP

So it makes sense to make the gun that shoots it a bullpup.  Anyone who’s shot a .50 Beowulf, or full-power .45-70 will know, these straight-walled cartridges kick.  But if their intended use is indoors, then you absolutely want to cut as much off its overall length.

Another interesting thing about this is the range of bullets it’s designed to fire.  The 12.7x55mm case gets everything from giant 400+ grain bullets, down to lightweight, aluminum/steel bimetal 108-grain hollowpoints.  Honestly, we don’t know how those even stabilize, but hey, the Russians seem to like it.

Because the muzzle velocity of a heavy 12.7mm bullet from an ASh-12.7’s barrel is relatively very low, this gun is also intended to be suppressed.  Time will have to tell if it’s as quiet as a .510 Whisper, but we have to admit: the amount of innovation that’s coming from the current crop of Russian arms manufacturers is pretty amazing.

A silenced sniper variant of the ASh-12.7
A silenced sniper variant of the ASh-12.7

Read More On:

Latest Reviews

  • Four Years Later: IWI Tavor SAR Revisited

    Though IWI's X95, released in 2016, usurps the SAR, my Tavor SAR is still part of the family. For those just now coming across this model, how has it stood up over the years? Let's find out.

    Read More
  • Scope Review: Leupold VX-Freedom FireDot Twilight Hunter

    The budget-friendly line of American-made Leupold VX-Freedom riflescopes found a welcome audience last year, but 2020 sees even more interesting additions to the family, with our hands-down favorite being the illuminated-reticle FireDot line.

    Read More
  • Ruger AR-556: An Outstanding Gateway AR

    It should come as no surprise the Ruger name is synonymous with value, and its’ AR-556 looks to fit this mold as an entry-level AR-15 with a reasonable MSRP. So how does the no-frills Ruger AR-556 perform when put to the test? Read on to find out.

    Read More
  • A Look at the Sig P238, A Year Later

    The Sig Sauer P238 was the first .380 ACP BUG to grace my gun safe, a welcomed addition to the 9mm polymers, .38 SPL revolvers, and .45 ACP 1911s. After more than a year's worth of use, where do I stand on the P238? Let's find out.

    Read More