Eve Flanigan 11.19.20
Not way back, I advised AllOutdoor readers about my introduction to the .50 caliber guns of Big Horn Armory. Since then, I’ve been in contact with Greg Buchel (pronounced Buckle), BHA’s founder/proprietor. He crammed me in on the inspiration and design course of for the 500 Auto Max cartridge, in addition to the backstory on his semiauto weapons chambered in 500 Auto Max. Whereas the cartridge and weapons are primarily based on present fashions (as within the 50 S&W cartridge and Stoner and lever platform rifles), there was an creative course of behind every. Inasmuch as I discover gun innovations fascinating and certainly I’m not alone, it appears worthwhile to share.
This interview focuses on cartridge growth in addition to the 2 semiautos made by Big Horn Armory. Right here, from Buchel himself, is how they got here to be.
ALLOUTDOOR: What got here first, the thought for a 50 S&W-type semiauto, or the cartridge itself?
Buchel: There was a sample amongst my prospects; most are guys of their 50s or 60s, like me. I needed to attract a youthful buyer base, and that meant going the path of the AR. Finally, the cartridge was accomplished first. We tried sticking the 500 S&W in a field journal, utter failure. The answer was fairly easy. As soon as I decided that the rim was completely sized to lock solidly within the the extractor groove, the rim needed to go. Cartridge design was full. Tooling for loading the cartridge was easy. Normal 500 S&W dies and shell holders labored completely. The one setup change was adjusting the crimp die to offer a taper crimp as an alternative of the standard roll crimp.
ALLOUTDOOR: Did you patent the cartridge?
Buchel: No patents, emblems or copyrights on the 500 Auto Max. It’s utterly public area. That’s on function to make it simpler for ammo corporations to load the cartridge. Additionally, to let gun producers copy it, in the event that they so select.
I grew up within the software program world of the 70’s & 80’s. With only a few exceptions, the businesses that thrived put few restrictions on their merchandise, until that they had large promoting and R&D budgets.
As soon as the cartridge was full, I enlisted Tim Sundles from Buffalo Bore to load manufacturing unit ammo and Robert Hayden from Starline to make the brass. They have been very passionate about this since they’re each huge bore guys.
ALLOUTDOOR: Now there’s a load, however what concerning the rifle to fireplace it?
Buchel: The rifle was a can of worms, comparatively talking. We knew we needed to maintain the rim measurement as huge as attainable to simplify dependable extraction. This made the AR10 platform a necessity. The following subject was the journal. We began with AR10 – SR25 mags. They labored okay in double stack because the case diameter was much like the 308 Win. We needed to redesign the follower to suit and create a filler insert for the entrance of the journal to combine with the follower and kind a ramp to maneuver the two.250″ cartridge up right into a feeding place together with the discharge from the feed lips.
These two adjustments required about $100,000 in tooling prices for plastic injection molded elements. This was not within the price range. I noticed that the AR15 was practically ideally suited for the 500 Auto Max. 2.250″ OAL vs 2.290″ OAL for the 5.56 NATO. No want for fillers and we acquired an easier single stack. The seek for sturdy magazines that will not enable the feed lips to unfold and alter the discharge level. Solely metal AR15 magazines labored and just a few producers made thick sufficient sidewalls to be sturdy.
AR15 magazines in an AR10 platform required an insert within the magazine effectively and an integral ramp for feeding. We designed this into the decrease receiver. The higher receiver required solely minor aid within the ejection port to permit the big case mouths to eject cleanly. The final two modifications have been opening up the bolt face to permit our case rim to suit and modifying the extractor to mate with the 500 Auto Max rim for strong extraction.
The remaining was discovering a buffer and spring mixture that labored with the hundreds, pressures and recoil impulse. Principally trial and error with empirical testing.
Large Horn Armory AR pistol chambered in 500 Auto Max
One could surprise why anybody would wish a semiauto that fires a half-inch bullet. It’s not a foul query. Buchel understands the significance of certain, humane kills on massive African recreation animals, which might be notoriously powerful to penetrate. There’s rather a lot to be stated for making an entry wound that’s as massive as many different huge recreation bullets at full, terminal enlargement. And as with another very massive calibers, the 50 Auto Max and its mum or dad cartridge, the 50 S&W, persistently present a shocking impact on massive recreation that permits for closing distance and/or a ending shot, if crucial. After which there’s the easy proven fact that it’s simply plain enjoyable to shoot the biggest out there chamberings in an AR or lever gun.
As I skilled when testing Large Horn Armory’s weapons at a gun writers’ convention, except the AR pistol, recoil is surprisingly manageable. That places these weapons within the realm of curiosity for all kinds of shooters, not solely in age however in stature.