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What to do if you wanted a .50 cal rifle badly? Some will buy it while some will build it, but in both cases, they must have a source for ammunition (a firearm that is not “fed” is nothing more than a piece of metal). In my case, the .50 BMG ammunition is not available in my area (Egypt), and if it was (black market) it would be too pricey and involve unnecessary risk (I am a law-abiding citizen), and hard to find too.

WARNING: Do not attempt any firearm or ammunition modifications like the ones shown in this article. The author is an independent researcher in Egypt who understands the physical and legal risks of his projects. Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines. Serous injury or death can occur with any firearm or ammunition alterations.

Molding a solid heel to accept the primer was a pain in the head for the MAK-50 project

The old school was the answer, in which I make the ammo first and according to its availability I will build the firearm based on it.

The first attempt was using copper tubing as a case, please note that it was intended for a single-shot rifle.

The first attempt in the cartridge design was made out of copper tubing after reforming it with manual tools (yes the ones used in heating/cooling devices), it was affordable yet it was a pain in the “head” to make the head which contains the primer, it was a silly and impractical process that wasted time (some other calibers made using that technique were easier to make, while that exact one had different and larger dimensions which required a customized head/base).

The MAK-762 (7.62x65mm) caliber was way easier to be made than MAK-50 rounds (12.7x99mm)

Anyhow, another bizarre alternative appeared since the 12” gauge shotshell has roughly the same diameter as the .50 BMG and with some inspiration from previous projects, the decision was to use the base/head of the shotshell for the new cartridge concept. Also, this will require very minimal changes to an existing .50 BMG’s bolt face as well a thicker chamber (safety comes first).

Since the shotshell’s case is made from H.D.P.E. (High Density Polyethylene) which can hold slugs, so why not use plastics instead of metal? Regarding also the jump of metal’s prices after the pandemic especially copper.

Since I had some ½ inch thick-walled Polypropylene water pipes, I decided to heat press them into the brass shells’ head – just like how normal shotshells are made – and trim it to be with an overall length of 99mm. Thus the result was a huge shotshell with the outer diameter identical to 12 gauge round yet the inner diameter fitting a 12.7mm projectile.

Crude 12.7x99mm (.50 MKV) round prototype showing the steps before being finished (paint was only for demonstration purposes, also the projectile wasn’t fully assembled into cartridge)

The bullet itself looks weird because we don’t have imperial measured drill bits so it was near impossible to make a mold, therefore I used a ½ copper tube with crammed ball bearing in the top and poured lead to fill the base, it’s simply a homemade hard-top jacketed hollow point but that’s only to prove the theory, in case of mass production any reloading bullets in .50 cal can be loaded into the case.

Rear view of MAK-50 / .50 MKV homemade 12.7mm projectile. note it deformed from a plier while I was trying to disassemble it from the cartridge

The design I intended to build for myself is the simple Mauser T-Gewehr style with necessary modifications such as the weight and the chambering, but due to insufficient funds, the project is postponed.

The applications:

The .50 MKV project is intended to offer affordable .50 cal rifles and ammunition to shooters (including me) instead of paying from $5 to $10 per round, this would give us the ability to buy it at roughly the same price as a shotgun slug.

And in order to decrease the cost and unification of platforms, a shotshell can be made from the same cartridge (there are .410 bore shotguns so why not?) in which the platform can serve as a rifle and a shotgun (moving around with one firearm is better than moving with two).

.50 MKV Short

Also, another concept is in consideration which is .50 MKV Short, a cartridge with the same length of a shotgun shell to be used on AR-12 shotguns after modifications (barrel and chamber). In other words, it would be like the amalgamation of .50 Beowulf with a shotshell.

Author demonstrating a Turkish made AR-12 shotgun which can be modified to .50 MKV platform with minimal changes-Osmanli Arms Headquarters-Istanbul 2014

Currently, the project is postponed from mass production until I either fund the project myself (as usual) or find a manufacturer who is willing to produce them.

The project was named MKV after my friend and TFB writer Miles K. Vining who showed an undisputed magnanimity and true brotherhood during my hard times.

Also inspired by Brandon Herrera’s quote (The AK Guy): “IF GOD DIDN’T WANT ME TO STICK A .50 BMG IN A 12″ GAUGE CHAMBER, HE WOULDN’T HAVE MADE THE DIAMETERS MATCH”


WARNING: Do not attempt any firearm or ammunition modifications like the ones shown in this article. The author is an independent researcher in Egypt who understands the physical and legal risks of his projects. Always follow manufacturer’s guidelines. Serous injury or death can occur with any firearm or ammunition alterations.

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