I had some time this weekend and was out visiting my parents, so I got the new ".50 Beowulf" upper I bought a couple months ago out and decided to show it a good time up on their land.
I put .50 Beowulf in quotes because this upper isn't an official Beowulf upper, but a Radical Firearms 16" barreled 12.7x42mm upper...their work-around to the proprietary nature of the Beowulf uppers. It comes with a FHR hybrid rail system, (pretty much full length) and their Panzer Brake. I think it also included (but I'm not positive) a Hexmag magazine that holds thirty 5.56 rounds, or ten .50 Beowulf rounds and requires no modification to feed correctly.
Unfortunately, I didn't realize until I got there that I ordered the upper with no sights on it, just a flat top rail. Shit, but oh well, I decided to make do just eyeing it up for the time being.
I loaded the Hexmag magazine with 10 of Alexanders Arms 334 gr HP rounds. Those rounds are HUGE! The magazine was very tight, though, when attempting to insert it into the Del-ton lower receiver that I had the upper attached to. I'm not sure if that's from being loaded with those huge rounds, or just the magazine itself, or both. Unfortunately I only had the one mag with me, and I didn't think to to try it without any bullets in it. I'll have to check that out in the future. I have plenty of metal AR mags that I can modify, if I need to.
Anyway, I have the mag loaded and in the rifle, so I pull back the charging handle, let it go and...it doesn't seat the round all the way. It stopped about 1/4" or so short of being seated all the way. Piss me off. Take out the magazine (so it doesn't try to double feed a round) and work the bolt again. This time it seats all the way. Leave the magazine out, just to be safe, line up the "sights" (the open spot in the middle of the top rail) as best I can, and fire off a round.
This thing kicks like a mule...significantly more than any of 12 gauges I have...semi-auto, pump or double-barrel coach-gun. In fact, I'd put it up there with pulling both triggers of the double-barrel at the same time (something I did...once). I honestly wasn't expecting that much recoil. Then again, I am about 150 pounds lighter than the last time I fired any of my shotguns, so I'm sure that plays a part in it feeling like there's more recoil, too. Plus, my shotguns (except the double barrel) have padded buttstocks, and this 'donated' AR lower doesn't, so that would also play a part.
I also missed the 8" (ish) diameter and foot and a quarter tall log that I was shooting at (about 30 yards away), but not by much. Unfortunately, I didn't pay attention to where I was aiming, respective to the log, so I'd have to guess again for the second shot. Put the mag back in, worked the charging handle again, and the round doesn't seat fully again. Dammit. I work the bolt again. Double feed/jam. Because I forgot to drop the mag this time. (And I thought I was so smart remembering that the first time.) Super. Drop the mag and catch the second round as it falls out. Work the bolt again and the round seats properly. At this point I was hoping it was just a "break-in" issue.
Line up the "sights" and fire another round. Miss again. Still kicks like a mule. Put the mag back in, work the bolt, and the round doesn't seat properly again. Drop the mag (I remembered), work the bolt, good to go. Put the mag back in at this point, as I figured I'll see if the round will seat fully if the more vigorous bolt action from actually firing will help seat the round properly. Line it up and fire...miss. But closer.
Of course the round didn't fully seat, so I have to do the mag/bolt/mag dance again. Fire off another round and that log jumps and dances nicely! Woo-hoo! Of course, the next round didn't fully seat. Boo! Mag/bolt/mag dance. Fire off another round. Another hit! And the round seated fully! Double win! Fire off another round. Another hit, but the round didn't fully seat. Do the dance, and finish off the rest of the mag. I think one more time the round seated properly.
Loaded up the mag again, but this time with Alexander Arms 334gr FMJ rounds. Do the mag/bolt/mag dance again. Line it up. Another direct hit! And another! My dad has a pile of old appliances and TVs on a pallet next to us. I ask him if I can shoot at one of the TVs. He says sure. I start to go move it up near the log. He says to just shoot it on the pallet. <shrug> Okay. Big explosion! I also shoot the dishwasher, computer and copier that are on the pallet, too. And the TV, again, for good measure.
Somewhere along the line, maybe 4 rounds into this magazine, it starts seating the rounds flawlessly. So it was just a break-in issue. Excellent! Finish off the magazine into the log. Direct hit every time. Put on the safety, check that the rifle is empty, set it down and go check out the damage.
The TV was destroyed. The log had several nice holes in it, but, more impressively was split in half completely. It appeared to be together and just cracked, but when I picked it up it came apart in two halves on it's own. My dad said it was a piece of elm, which is typically pretty hard to split when chopping firewood. So that was pretty cool. A couple bullets were in the log where we could see them, so we dug them out. Big-assed chunks of metal.
Unfortunately, those 20 rounds were all I fired off. Primarily because it was time for supper, but also because I didn't feel like 'wasting' a bunch more rounds with no sights on the rifle.
So, for next time, I definitely need to get a set of sights for that upper, and I'll bring along the other Hexmags I have, as well as a couple metal AR mags, to see if I can figure that mag fit issue a bit.
Overall, this bad boy is a keeper and tons of fun! Less than 20 rounds of break-in for the rounds to seat properly isn't bad, in my opinion, for a brand new upper in a big-bore caliber like this. Plus, I picked it up for about $460, new (possibly including the magazine). A good deal compared to the $850 or so the closest comparable upper from Alexander Arms would run.
Oh, and my shoulder is bruised pretty nicely, too. I can't remember the last time, if ever, that I bruised from shooting. Some of that could be from (likely) not seating the rifle 100% correctly to my should due to the lack of sights and trying to eye it up as best I could. Regardless...this thing has some serious power!