With roots in Kennesaw, Georgia, the Bushmaster BA50 has an interesting backstory that provides familiar AR-15 styling in a .50-caliber BMG rifle.
In early 2003, Georgia-based Cobb Manufacturing teased the market with a rifle, dubbed the Model 50A1, that used an AR-15 type gas operating system to shoot the 50 BMG round. By that Fall, the gun had morphed to a bolt-action as the Cobb FA50(T) that kept many AR-style features.
Put into limited production, the final version of the gun produced by Cobb was the $7,000 BA50 which, as noted by the company in early 2007, was on the cover of tactical mags and in service with both law enforcement customers and “U.S. allies overseas.”
In August 2007, Bushmaster purchased Cobb and moved the company’s plant from Georgia to Maine and two years later the company put the upgraded BA50 into their catalog in both a rifle and carbine variant.
Using a Lothar Walther free-floating barrel with 1-in-15-inch rifling, the standard Bushmaster BA50 rifle carried a 30-inch example while the shorter carbine went just 22-inches. This 8-inch difference in barrel length trimmed 3-pounds from the 30-pound rifle when in the carbine configuration. Both models used an M1913 Picatinny top rail for optics and came standard with a 10-round magazine and bipod. The bolt is left-handed in operation but ejected to the right, allowing the user to keep their right hand on the pistol grip during the cycling process.
Like the AR-15, the BA-50 features an upper and lower receiver that opens on a forward pivot pin and includes a modified bolt carrier group while using a familiar AR-style safety with a manual thumb lever on the left side. The easy takedown also allowed the gun to be carried in two smaller components.
While Bushmaster still makes the BA50 rifle, the carbine version was only produced for three years, going out of production in 2011. That makes the shorter BMG-chambered example shown above something of a collector’s item for less than a third of what a Barrett M107 semi-auto .50 will set you back.