Leader 50: .50 BMG semi-auto bullpup rifle

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The Leader 50 is an interesting weapon designed by veteran gun designer Charles St. George.

Photo (C) Oleg Volk
Photo (C) Oleg Volk

It is in the same class as the Gepard GM6 Lynx .50 Caliber Rifle, hard hitting, fast rate of fire and light enough to be used off hand as a primary weapon. Unlike the GM6 Lynx (and Barret M82) the Leader 50 is gas operated rather than recoil operated. Having a fixed barrel should, in theory, help accuracy at the expensive of recoil. Oleg Volk says that the recoil is similar to a .30-06 M1 Garand.

It was to be manufactured by the now defunct Sabre Defence, but is now slated to be manufactured by Micor Industries.

Shooting Illustrated shot this video of the Leader 50 at SHOT ….

More information is available at Defense Review and Oleg Volk’s blog.

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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.


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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/panzerboy/ Jeremy Thomson

    It might be an illusion but the muzzle brake looks top be rotated a copy of degrees from horizontal. Perhaps to counter the torque effects of spinning a big bullet like the .50?

  • gary

    hahaha im gunna dump my saiga and get this for home defense

  • wlitten512

    Now some needs to make a wad cutter or super aggressive hollow point .50 BMG round and we have a winner.

  • Flounder

    Any idea what MSRP will be if it is even available to civilians?

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      Flounder, it is not yet in production, so I doubt retail pricing is finalized yet.

  • http://www.madogre.com George Hill

    Looks like the brake is banking right.

  • Ryan

    Dear Santa,
    I’ve been VERY good this year.
    Could I PLEASE have one of these?
    Sincerely,
    ryan

    Dang Nabit, Why do I have to spend my money on stupid stuff like rent and food? Me needs this. :-)

  • Fish0331

    I wonder what the price tag will be?

  • Howa

    Forgive my ignorance, but this seems like one of those “just because you *can* do it, it doesn’t mean you *should*” inventions.

    What’s the application? Is the 50BMG not an anti-materiel cartridge?

    How many rounds can the operator carry, and does the rifle come with the required pack horse?

    How quickly can he get a new mag in? This is important as he’ll be doing it every 5 rounds or so.

    How pointable is that thing?

    What’s the effective range, given that the bullet has the BC of a greyhound bus?

    There are a lot of rifles I’d rather go into a firefight with. All of them, actually.

    There are a lot of long-range rifles I’d rather carry. Again, all of them.

    My best guess is that this is for the ultralight anti-materiel sniper: he carries only one weapon, and performs all tasks with it — taking out mack trucks and freight trains, shooting insurgents at 1 mile, then fighting his way home.

    Seems that you could build a 2-gun combo (Rem 700 338LM plus a PDW) with a lot more utility for the same weight? I am genuinely curious — the designer obviously built this thing for a reason.

  • WeaponBuilder

    Looks a lot like a scaled-up Bushmaster M17S Bullpup rifle!

    I like it!

  • El Duderino

    I’d think plugs and muffs would be mandatory for this thing. Am I missing something?

  • cc19

    I want to see someone run a carbine course with that thing.

  • Vitor

    I want to see a video of this thing on action, even if just a single shot, since it promises so much.

  • AK-Adventurer

    Man, that is UuuuuuGllyyyy!

  • Lance

    Looks like a Bushmaster Bullpup carbine on super steroids.

  • Buster Charlie

    Wow that looks EXACTLY like the Bushmaster m-17 in some ways… Well specifically the receiver looks like it’s made from a ribbed extruded aluminum square tube like the m17s, not saying that’s a BAD thing but it’s kinda odd.

    However I like how compact it is!

  • Nadnerbus

    They should put this in to the new Modern Warfare game under the assault rifle category. It would be hilarious.

  • charles222

    It’s gonna be awesome the day everyone realizes the grip-pod is a useless piece of junk.

    I’m also going to question this thing’s tactical utility. Fast, repeated shots are not what .50-cal shooting is about; if you’re using a .50, you’re shooting at something extremely far away where a single extremely well-placed round is what you’re going for. If anything firing rapidly is going to result in missing.

    I own an M1 Garand. While I love it, Garand-level recoil is not at all conducive to accuracy when firing rapidly; the rifle is fairly jarring to fire and while rapid-fire is sustainable, your accuracy more or less goes out the window.

  • Charles St George

    Thanks for the comments guys. Yes the brake appears to be canted but in fact it is not. Must be the way the photo angle was shot. It puzzled me too. Yes, the single one piece extrusion was borrowed from my original design (ART30 Bullpup, circa 1986)) re-named M17-S. A single extruded receiver makes for ease of production and acts as the spine of the weapon and the anchor for the necessary attachments.

    Expected end user price, around $6,800 with 2×10 round magazines of proprietary design and manufacture.

    Thanks again for the comments.
    Charles St George
    [email protected]

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/ Steve (The Firearm Blog)

      Charles, thanks for the info.

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    The resemblance to the Bushmaster M17S is not a coincidence. Charles St. George designed both of them.

  • Rob

    I made a recreation of this gun when i twas still Sabre’s in the online application, Pimp My Gun
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/51996567@N08/5652766879/in/photostream

    It’s an interesting gun, I still rather an M107 anyday though ;)

  • http://www.thegunzone.com/556dw.html Daniel E. Watters

    Howa: The ballistic coefficient of a .50 BMG projectile is very high. Speer used to offer a 647gr FMJ-BT projectile that measured 0.701. This would be roughly equivalent to M33 Ball. Hornady’s 750gr A-MAX projectile is credited with a BC of 1.050. In contrast, the BC of 175gr Sierra MatchKing used in the 7.62mm M118LR is listed at 0.496. To get a BC lower than that with a 0.510″ projectile, you have to use the round-nose or flat point projectiles designed for the old safari and buffalo cartridges.

  • Buster charlie

    Charles St George, given that your new rifle shares features with an older design, have you learned anything from the .223 rifle that helped design this rifle?

    Are the internals at all similar? Is there any chance of a new rifle similar to this being offered in a smaller (maybe modular in design) caliber?

    I always felt the m17s proved that the ar-18 inspired bullpup could work, despite the troubles the british had.

  • Buster Charlie

    Wow, I didn’t realize you also designed the “T2″rifle. That is a bit of work that really impressed me in a lot of ways, i wish I could buy one!

    Just one more question for you if you can answer. I saw photos of this rifle with a ‘pyramid’ bolt like the m82 .50 BMG rifle, and some versions had a more traditional ar-15/ar-18 style bolt. Any comments on either design?

  • Charles St George

    Hi Buster Charlie,

    The triangular bolt was first used by me around 1976 and in the early Leader T2 prototypes. I could not afford to make bolts and barrel extensions using 8 lug bolts broaching this type of configuration was costly and limited in Australia. I try to design parts that I can make on a simple lathe or a milling machine and by hand. The 3 lug bolt was simple. Turn up a body shaft of .515 dia. with a .750 dia head by .280 and then machine 3 flats. The advantage with 3 lugs is that you can design the cam track to provide a locking rotation from say 30 degrees up to 60 degrees. On the Leader 50 I use a 45 degree locking rotation. Great lock up area and great for delay in un locking.

    The extruded receiver for the ART 30 Bullpup (M17-S) was a milestone in receiver weapons development. Reduced production costs dramatically and provided a sturdy platform for the weapon. An extrusion eliminates 90% machining as compared with machined uppers and lowers from forgings and from billets. Time to move on.

    Looking at re introducing the Leader T2 and possibly an improved version of the ART 30 Bullpup.

    Thanks to all who comment and ask questions.

    Regards,
    Charles St George.

  • Buster charlie

    Thank you for your replies! I cannot afford the fifty, but if you do release something in a lower price bracket I will be all over it.

  • Carlos U.

    Please, please, please, re- intro the M-17! All it needs are a few improvements. I love that trigger, beats the heck out of the Styer bullpup. THAT thing is like squizing a grip workout device.

  • Thanks Guys

    Sounds like a plan.

  • scott hannah

    Hi:
    Wow nice cross over design!.You NEED to make this rifle in 338 Lapua.With a 20-30 round mag or maybe a magazine design like Sur-fires
    60 rnd:).

    Thanks
    Scott

  • Bushmaster7

    I had the pleasure of talking with Charles St. George several times recently and am excited about the upcoming release of the Legend 50. Charles is incredibly knowledgeable in firearms design and development, and IMHO this one will be a show stopper. I especially like the light weight (17 lbs.) which I know sounds incredible for a 50 BMG rifle; but given the muzzle brake design and other enhancements the recoil is apparently very manageable. Closest to that weight in a 50 BMG rifle will be the Desert Tactical Arms HTI (Hard Target Interdiction) rifle weighing in at 19 lbs. which will also be a bullpup configuration; but a bolt action 5 round mag feed repeater, not a semi-auto. The light weight has to be appealing to the military as well, especially to the Special Forces community. Waiting to be able to shoot one soon if all goes according to plan for a product release by the end of this year. regards, Dale.

  • Bushmaster7

    Sorry, I meant to say in my post above the correct name of the rifle, namely the LEADER 50, not legend 50. Maybe it was because I already think of it as legendary :) regards, Dale.

  • Great Moresby

    Finally, the Colonial Marines have a weapon to fight those Aliens!

  • Space Cowboy

    In an anti material capacity, what is the hull metal penetration capability of the .50 bmg round using ammunition legally available in the civilian market when fired from this rifle?

    • Space Cowboy

      Maybe if some of you thumbs down voters were wearing a permanent 1 inch diameter 1/4 deep beam weapon entry wound scar 1 and 1/2 inches below your left eye like I am, and spent 2 months chewing your food on the other side of your mouth because the teeth under the scar were to painful to use, like I did, and it took a year to heal completely before you were pain free, like I now am. You’d have a different perspective.

  • http://thefirearmblog.com Andrew

    When considering such weapon, surprised not to see any information on accuracy. How does this design compare to say Barrett and Serbu semi models? What is the tested MOA and on-target accuracy at 500, 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2500 yards? Claims laid that this should be superior, but what the actual testing numbers show?

    • Bushmaster7

      Andrew,

      This is certainly a valid question. In talking with Micor Defense personnel at the Shot Show in January, they told me they will be publishing the accuracy results from their tests. I am interested futher in an accuracy comparison of standard M33 50 BMG ball ammunition vs. match grade 50 BMG, as well as the 416 Barrett results. I thnk that you will see better accuracy from the 416 Barrett than the 50 BMG at ranges of 1500 meters and beyond based on prior comparisons of that round in other rifles.

      • http://thefirearmsblog.com Andrew

        Bushmaster7, appreciate your reply and suggestion of 416 Barret cartridge. So, have you seen (or heard) any actual number comparison between your product and other 50 BMG semi’s? How close to you come to say EDM Arms, or do you surpass them?

        Also, from looking at the pictures (would love to see the product in person, but right now that is all I got), the furniture, especially the butt stock does not look very comfortable. Any feedback on that? What options have you considered? Given lower recoil, it still would seem nice to have some kind of dissipation beyond usual solid edges (e.g. what I saw on some shotgun butt stocks by I think Benelli). Due to differences in anatomy from person to person, softer end to butt stock should be advantageous from variety of standpoints.

      • Bushmaster7

        Andrew,

        I do not work for Micor Defense, I just spoke with them at the Shot Show. The Leader 50 designer, Charles St. George, monitors this site, and I am sure he can respond to all your questions. I believe they are making several additional stock refinements that I think will address all of your comments about the butt stock and the like; but best to talk to them directly. St. George is a great guy and I can tell you from handling the Leader 50 that it is extremely well balanced and ergonomic compared to the other 50 BMG rifles currently out there. Just waiting to be able to shoot one soon I hope. regards, Dale.

  • Paul Epstein

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