Tactilite .50 BMG AR-15 Upper

Zel Custom Manufacturing recently purchased the Ultralite50 line of .50 BMG AR-15 Uppers. They have just released an improved version of the Ultralite50 called the Tactilite.

Picture 11-30

As you can see above the Taclite is a single shot bolt action that sits atop an AR-15 lower. Because the lower is considered a firearm by the BATFE, the Tactilite is legally an accessory not a firearm, a fact that I am sure would freak out certain elements of society if they ever found out!

It features a free-floating barrel and is available in barrel lengths 18.5″, 22″, 29″ or custom lengths up to 30″. There are three main models. The Ultralite is the budget model that has a Mossberg barrel. The Duty is next step up and is the basic law enforcement / military model. It features a Lothar-Walther barrel. The Super Match is the competition-grade model featuring a Lothar-Walther Super Match barrel.

Picture 12-29
TactLite UltraLite Defender with custom finish.

They also sell a variety of packages. One of the packages they sell is the ultra-short 18.5″ barrel UltraLite Defender. It is designed to be fired from the shoulder (as opposed to a bi-pod) and is packaged with a set of back-up iron sights (BUIS) and sling. I don’t think a single-shot .50 BMG is ever a good choice for self defense, as the name suggests, but it could be popular with hunters wanting to carry something exotic during their next hunt. While it would have the power for African dangerous game, civilian ownership of military cartridges are banned in many African countries where hunting is popular.

Pricing starts at $1550 for the most basic model.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • XxleoxX

    doesnt seem like a bad idea 🙂 i would get one

  • Mainsail

    Not knowing much about the AR-15 platform, but is the alloy lower really up to the power of the 50cal?

    The hinge mount is hardly designed for the increased recoil.

  • Canthros

    Something about having ‘ultralight’ and ‘.50 BMG’ in the same sentence sounds dreadfully uncomfortable to me.

  • mmathers

    All the recoil is delivered in a linear fashion from the chamber straight back into the buffer tube/stock. The lower is really just there to have something to put the trigger bits inside of.

    as for having a 18.5″ barrel 50cal that’s designed for being shot from the shoulder? That sounds perfect for varmiting 🙂

  • Carl

    Mainsail: My thoughts exactly. AR parts on a .50 BMG rifle seems like a recipe for fatigue cracks and various other problems.
    I’m guessing this seemingly questionable design is mainly driven by stupid rules and regulations.

  • JS

    This is cool and all (I’d love a .50 BMG Barrett 82A1), but why would you want a “lite” .50 BMG with a ultra-short barrel and without a bi-pod? These things are designed to shoot far, and the extra weight helps reduce the recoil.

  • Nevermind that, how about the blast/report from a 18″ .50BMG rifle?

    • Vote, yep, there would be a lot of blast … not always a bad thing 🙂

  • Nick

    It’s a single shot bolt rifle. There’s no buffer or spring, so there’s no stress placed on the lower. All the stress is on the upper and bolt lugs.

  • Cymond

    Nick, the concern is the stress from the recoil. The upper will recoil backwards, putting force through the lower/shoulder stock and into the shooter. Hopefully, most of the force is absorbed by the muzzle brake, gun’s weight*, and physical movement. Still, there will be some strain on the lower.

    Scopes technically don’t take any stress either, but watch what happens if you put a cheap scope on a high powered rifle and shoot enough rounds. Eventually you can shock and vibrate a cheap scope to the point that it won’t hold its zero anymore. That’s why most scopes are labeled as “shock proof”.

    *Gun weight doesn’t actually reduce the force, but it slows it down. It’s like the difference between a fast punch vs a hard shove.

  • Freiheit

    Well, lets settle this durability issue. If someone would care to have an AR lower and one of these uppers shipped to me, with a few thousand rounds of ammo, I will happily cover range time, take notes, pictures, and find out how durable it is. 😀

  • Nick

    Okay, but there’s a difference between throwing the intricate working bits of a scope off target, and tearing aluminum.

  • Ben

    I’ve owned and fired a few thousand rounds of .50 on a DPMS single shot lower attached to both an 18″ UltraLite-50 and 22″ UltraMag-50 conversions. Absolutely no extra wear or stress on the lower attachment points.

    There’s actually LESS felt recoil from the shorter barrels as the bullet exits sooner and consequently all that extra powder and gas behind it gets used up in the muzzle brake.

    No problem hitting a 400yd gong at a local range.
    My UltraLite is setup with just the iron sights and my UltraMag has a OKO red-dot.

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  • Jeff Powell

    I think the word these people are looking for is impulse. While the total force is not reduced, because of impulse, the actual damage that force does is. Its like Cymond said. Except instead of a hard punch all at once 4 punches that are 1/4 of the strength happening over time.

  • Thomas

    unless your a sniper this is completly usless

    • Thomas, not true. Shooting .50 BMG is fun. Long range shooting is a sport.

    • PavePusher

      So what?

  • I have one in 18″ and love it. Shoulder shoot it all the time. I took it deer hunting,and shot it out of my tree stand.
    It set’s on a DPMS lower. I Have shoot 150 rounds.

  • Justin

    I just came across this entry and wanted to say that I have one in 22″ and two days ago my 15 year old nephew and 16 year old second cousin shot it from the shoulder and hit a 6×6″ steel plate at 400yds. No complaints about recoil but lots of smiles. I have about 200 rounds through it and haven’t seen any ill effects to the lower.

  • Treeguylee

    Taclite .50 BMG IN ACTION with new bipod design.

  • Zombie Slayer

    Quote: Mike Suttonon
    ” I have one in 18″ and love it. Shoulder shoot it all the time. I took it deer hunting,and shot it out of my tree stand. It set’s on a DPMS lower. I Have shoot 150 rounds. ”

    no need to quarter the deer, tho… and the landing was a bit rough… LMAO
    I can just see some overweight, tactiCool guy flying through the air… LMAO

    like one of these retards:

    But on a serious note. I am personally getting one for the ensuing Zombie Apocalypse… and I will try to line up as many of those SOBs as I could… kinda like connect the dots…

  • Steve hunter

    I am thinking of getting one of zel’s 50 bmg uppers. My main concern is the hammer spring, is the stock ar spring enough to fire the 50. If not and I havhe to upgrade will the heavier spring be too much force for the 5.56 round if I choose to go back to my original upper.