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. Two years later the company put the upgraded BA50 into their catalog in both a rifle and (short-lived) carbine variant.
Today Bushmaster still makes the full-sized BA50 rifle with a 30-inch barrel and an MSRP of about $5,700 while surplus models can be had for closer to $3450 which is less than half the price of a Barrett in any condition.
Used to be there wasn’t anything on the market available in .50 BMG other than a few transferable M2 machine guns and converted Boys anti-tank rifles (it’s impossible to find .55 British Boys AT rounds). Then in 1989, Barrett started marketing their M82 rifle in .50 BMG and the guns have skyrocketed in popularity despite bans in some states (California,
New York etc) on the sale or possession of guns in the caliber while a number of niche builds are surfacing.
Now, in further signs that the .50 BMG is penetrating the market (pun intended), check out Sportsman’s Warehouse’s Christmas circular:
Yup, they have a Bushmaster BA50 for $3499, ammo included!
That’s pretty sweet when you consider I saw them at a Gander Mtn for $5799 a year ago.
I checked out one of these at the last SHOT Show, and they are very nice for when you are looking to hit the gong with 671-grains at 2,000m.
You know, the new normal.