How come there's such a huge jump between the strength of the .50BMG and the other, less powerful cartidges? It seems like all other rifle cartridges are much smaller than the .50BMG. I've been told that most hunting rifles may not be able to stop a grizzly bear but a .50BMG would blow it to pieces. How come the .50BMG can flat-out destroy engines and machinery so effectively? Also, how do the .416 and .338 compare? Thanks.
Im not sure I would call it a jump in strength (ft lbf) but more so that smaller cartridges are shot more often compared to the .50. The .50BMG has an energy of about 13000 ft lbf depending upon what gr is being used. The .416 has an energy of about 9300 ft lbf for a 400gr. As for the .338 (lapua??) energy is about 6600 ft lbf for a 300gr. The .50 BMG is able to go through materials because of the higher energy it has compared to the other rounds. For comparing what you get from the smaller .416 and .338 Lapua is a higher velocity leading to flatter bullet trajectory at certain distances. Now to the Grizzly I would say a 300 win would stop one fine, but perhaps someone who has shot one should tell.
bullet weight is extremely important in the inherent power of a round. a typical 50bmg weighs in at 720grains. a 338 weighs in at around 250 grains. its not all about speed. what does more damage to a brick wall a yugo hitting it at 45mph or a dumptruck hitting it at 25mph??
thats why a lot of folks choose 45acp over 40sw or 9mm
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First thing is that the .50BMG was designed in 1910 and put into military use in 1921 to be a belt fed, machine gun round for battlefield offensive & defensive applications against armored and semi armored opponents.
This round was not designed to be a single shot, hand carried rifle. It was designed to be part of a 2 or 3 man CREW weapon that weighed close to 150lbs with tripod and ammo.
Now, let's look at some of the other rounds you mentioned:
.338 Lapua - Began development to bridge the gap between the .50BMG and other rounds, designed for specific sniper applications, in 1983
.408 Cheytac - Designed in 2001 to improve on the .338's distance and power WITHOUT adding all the extra weight needed for the application of the .50 from Barret.
.416 Barret - Basically Ronnie Barret using his mind and his money to signal a big F/U to Kalifornia when they banned his .50 - so in 2005 he designed the .416 to meet Kali's more restrictive laws AND be an effective ultra long range sniper round.
It's about design. The .50 wasn't originally designed to be a single shot sniper round. That is why you have a big difference in power and effectiveness.