The world of .50 caliber shooting is still sort of uncharted waters for me. I have fired some “custom” bolt actions that almost tore my shoulder off and I have shot John Browning’s invention, the M2 .50 caliber machine gun (“Ma Deuce”). I have also spent some time reloading those big .50 BMG cartridges when I worked at an ammo factory, but beyond that, I have only read about the legendary .50 caliber M82 Barrett Sniper Rifles. I have felt the muzzle blast of that big fella when spotting for a friend. Let me tell you, shooting the Barrett in the hot and dry Nevada dessert kicked up as much dust as a Rodeo!

Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, Inc. is located in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. The company was founded by Ronnie Barrett. It’s pretty amazing that everyone from young kids to adults know just what you’re talking about when you say Barrett. The now legendary .50 caliber Barrett rifle can be seen in everything from video games to the latest Hollywood Blockbuster.

Ronnie Barrett was born and raised in the same part of Tennessee that he currently runs his business from. He grew up shooting .22 rifles and pistols and his love and interest for firearms continues to this day. The first .50 caliber rifle that he every fired was his own prototype! It was around 1983 when he sold his first .50 cal rifle. Ronnie brought a prototype to a gun show and took orders for the first rifles there. He sold them for $2,300, but it took about $8,000 to build each one! Man would I like to have one of those first 30 hand built weapons!

I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Ronnie a couple different times at the SHOT Show and he seemed liked an extremely intelligent Southern Gentleman that is a straight shooter. I think this quote in regard to politics in California says it all, “The state of California is violating the Constitution, and I will not do business with them. I cannot sell to lawbreakers”! Barrett Firearms Manufacturing was established by selling to the civilian market and Ronnie credits his success to that fact.

In 1989, Barrett secured their first Military contract when Sweden purchased 100 rifles to be used for Explosive Ordinance Disposal. The next big orders came from the United States, Britain and France during Operation Desert Storm. Today, thousands of Barrett firearms are deployed all across the globe.

All of the branches of our Military here in the United States use the Barrett rifle for various missions and special purposes. The Marine’s Explosive Ordinance Disposal Units have been using the Barrett since the late 1980s to “dispose” of things from a far! Marine snipers also utilize the Barrett .50 caliber rifles for various hard and soft targets. The Navy and the SEAL Teams deploy with the Barrett rifles. The distance that the rifles will shoot can be handy when trying to stop a vessel or keep pirates at bay. Speaking of vessels and pirates, the U.S. Coast Guard has put the Barrett to use protecting our shores. The .50 caliber rifle can be a real asset when you need to disable a fast approaching motor boat or stop a bomb toting terrorist. Of course we can’t forget about one of Barrett’s best customers, the U.S. Army. The Army have been using Barrett rifles to blow-up stuff for decades!

War fighting techniques have changed over the years. During the Cold War, we went after larger strategic targets like military bases, shipyards, factories, communications, etc. These days, the enemy fades into the fabric of society and our targets need to be scrutinized and dealt with in a precise manor. Barrett firearms are an invaluable tool for performing this duty. Let’s say that we have a suicide bomber in a crowed outdoor market that must be eliminated quickly and efficiently. A shot from a Barrett .50 caliber rifle will shut a bad guy down fast and hard from an over watch positon far away. With the enemy using IEDs (improvised explosive devices) the Barrett fifties are perfect for stopping those devices from being hidden or the rifles can be used to detonate the IED from a safe distance.

The Barrett M82A1 .50 caliber semi-auto rifle has a 10 round magazine capacity, which might be more than you need to get the job done, especially if you’re a humble citizen such as myself. I would sincerely love to own an M82A1 or the M107A1, but I’m going to set my sights on acquiring a single shot bolt action M99. Here’s the twist, I love the .50 BMG cartridge, but I would really want my rifle to be chambered in .416 Barrett!

The .416 Barrett is an interesting and deadly cartridge. Just like Winchester developed the .308 Winchester cartridge (7.62x51mm NATO) by shortening the .30-06 Springfield, Barrett did the same thing with the .50 BMG cartridge. The .416 is a .50 BMG cartridge that has been shortened and necked down.

When you top 200 grains of target grade propellant with a 400 grain brass boattail Spitzer bullet, you get a projectile that moves 3,250 fps! This is one flat shooting, fast moving and hard hitting round that begins traveling at Mach 3+ and stays supersonic past 2,500 yards (1.3 miles)! John Rigby (.416 Rigby) would be proud of Barrett’s accomplishments with the .416 projectile! As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind smacking an elk or a moose with one of those .416 boattails screaming from the muzzle of my Barrett M99 “Dream Rifle”!

While I’m dreaming, I would like for my M99 to be topped with a Nightforce scope and Barrett’s BORS ranging system on top of the scope! A man can dream can’t he…“Oh!” my girlfriend says, “Yes it’s true, you can DREAM!”

Let me take a moment to praise the Barrett Optical Ranging System (BORS)! The BORS system is an integrated ballistics computer that mounts on top of your scope and couples to its elevation knob. The system runs proprietary ballistics software that interfaces with your computer for uploads, etc. All you have to do as an operator is range the target and turn the elevation dial until the figure closest to the measured distance appears on the LCD screen of the unit. The BORS system calculates the elevation, temperature, barometric pressure, etc. All of this technology seems mindboggeling at times, but really, it makes it easier to have the confidence to take a clean shot.

In all honesty, I would love to own one of Barrett’s American-Made precision shooting long distance rifles. It would be the missing link on my Ultimate Perimeter Defense Firearms List! Once again, I would like to voice my affection for the .416 Barrett cartridge! I remember sometime in 2006, when I first learned about their .416, I was extra thrilled because the .416 round and the Barrett M99 rifle that fired the cartridge could be sold in the Peoples Republic of California! The laugh is that the .416 Barrett happens to have better ballistics than the “evil” and banned .50 caliber cartridges! To learn more about Barrett firearms and their other innovative products, visit their website at: