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The 50 Beowulf has always been a cartridge that has caught my eye mostly because it starts with the magic number “50”. While they both have 50 in their name there aren’t many similarities.
History of the .50 Beowulf
The 50 Beowulf was released in 2001 and was created by Bill Alexander of Alexandar Arms.
Bill is a British firearms inventor and is well known for developing the 50 Beowulf and 6.5mm Grendel cartridges.
Purpose of the 50 Beowulf
The 50 Beo has a rebated rim that is the same size as the rim of the 6.5 Grendel round.
The parent case of the Beowulf is the .50 Action Express but the round has a very similar size to the 500 S&W Magnum round.
The round was originally desired to have great power at short to medium range and was touted to be a great round for checkpoints and gate security. The bullet’s heavyweight and substantial powder loud would better penetrate vehicle glass and body panels.
The .50 Beowulf round was mostly advertised as being a tactical round but in reality, has found most of its use in the hunting world for large North American games such as bear and elk.
The .50 Beowulf does not get its name for being a long-distance caliber. In fact, it’s best known as being a short-range, low-velocity, heavy round.
The ballistics of the Beowulf is very close to that of the .45-70 Government round as they share nearly the same grain weight.
The grain weight of the Beowulf round is typically between 300gr and 400 gr. The Alexander Arms Speer Gold Dot rounds travel at 1,870 feet per second and have 2,330-foot-pounds of force on the target.
Guns that Shoot 50 Beowulf
Are you looking to pick up a gun that is chambered in .50 Beowulf? Well, that’s a pretty simple thing to find. If you’re here to learn more about this round, that’s fine. But it doesn’t do much good if you don’t know what kind of guns it will work in.
The good thing is most AR-15s will work. Mostly because it would just require an upper swap and that’s how the 50 Beo was designed.
Time to take a look at a few rifles that are chambered in 50 Beowulf.
Alexander Arms Rifles
First on the list is Alexander Arms and for good reason, since they created and developed the .50 Beowulf round.
The most common other option to get a 50 Beowulf rifle is to get an upper chambered in 50 Beowulf.
50 Beowulf Ammo
Ammo for the .50 Beo may be hard to find at times but as of the writing of this article it can be found pretty easily.
Some of the easiest places to find this ammo are at some of the big-name retailers.
Optics planet is always a go-to for me when it comes to hard-to-find ammo, they usually have some in stock.
Brownells is also an extremely popular place to get ammo due to the fact it has some really hard-to-find and oddball ammo options typically in stock.
The price of the 50 Beowulf ammo varies but the average price per round tends to hover around the $1.50-2 mark.
It also depends on what type of 50 Beowulf ammo you buy to shoot. Plinking ammo will be less than defensive ammo.
2020-2022 has been a wild time in the world of ammo availability. However, as of this writing .50, Beowulf ammo is relatively easy to find in stock and ready to ship.
If you plan to get into shooting this ammo anytime soon I would go ahead and start buying it when you can find it, just in case it gets scarce.
50 Beowulf FAQ
With the .50 Beowulf round being so new to the market people tend to have lots of questions. Here are a few of the most common questions about 50 Beowulf.
What is the 50 Beowulf good for?
The round is great for short to medium-range engagement and was originally sold as a great gate guard round as it would penetrate vehicles more easily.
How hard does a 50 Beowulf kick?
The 50 Beowulf has more recoil than a standard AR-15 chambered in 5.56 but it is extremely manageable.
What is the effective range of a 50 Beowulf?
The round is effective out to about 200 yards but is really only designed to be extremely effective between 50 and 150 yards.