DSEi 13: AEI Twin Magazine Suppressed .50 Rifle

Prototype .50 cal rifle (2nd from bottom)

Prototype .50 cal rifle (2nd from bottom)

British firm AEI Systems Ltd make everything from 30mm aircraft cannons to bolt action 7.62mm rifles. At DSEi 13 they had a new prototype .50 caliber anti-material rifle on display. The gun has a long action recoil system and curiously it is fed by two side-mounted magazines. The magazines are selectable, so you could load AP rounds in one magazine and HE rounds in the other.

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I am not sure what scenario this gun was designed for. It is possible, I suppose, the idea is that it allows snipers to quickly switch to non-chemical/explosive rounds when targeting humans and switch back when targeting vehicles. This would avoid running afoul of the treaties and international agreements that in theory ban explosive ammunition against human targets.

I like the very deep fluting on that barrel and suppressor. That should help keep it cool when shooting in hot climates.


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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  • Burns C. Brimhall

    Why? Why not?

  • Giolli Joker

    Title says machine gun, article says sniper rifle…
    Photos show tiny magazines but no grip nor stock…
    I’m confused. :-)

    • Wing0Black

      .50 caliber machine guns have been used by snipers in the past, if i recall correctly one of the previous record holders for the longest range kill used an M2HB equipped with a sniper scope.

      • Giolli Joker

        Yes, you’re right, and I’ve read (and I suggest everybody here to do the same) Marine Sniper, the biography of Carlos “whitefeather” Hatchock that covers pretty well this practice (he did score that record).
        Still I can’t understand how to define that firearm. :-)

        • noob

          Big Fifty Gun

          • Giolli Joker

            I like it!
            Tonight I’ll be able to fall asleep, thanks noob! ;-)

        • Mystick

          I’ve seen a tripod-mount “civilian” semi-auto M2 .50 with the 4 foot German “bull-barrel” at a gun show with a Schmidt-Cassegrain (tele)scope mounted on top. The guy had a short video running of it in action shooting at vehicular targets at 2500 yards in the desert with spotter-tracers. He wanted $15000 for it.

          I thought that was a pretty good price for a rough-and-ready AMR.

        • http://www.thefirearmblog.com/ Phil W “Senior Writer TFB”

          Snipers were causing the troops problems. Carlos came in and mounted a scope on top of a Ma Deuce and went to work(he could fire one shot at a time. A VC was using a bicycle to move weapons if memory serves. Carlos blew the handlebars off the bike. The distance was a little over a mile from the marine outpost.

          • Giolli Joker

            Then the VC, a kid, instead of running away scared picked up his AK driving Carlos to fire another round, this time in his chest.
            How standard GI ammo could achieve such accuracy in the M2 has aklways surprised/amazed/puzzled me.

      • 11b

        Yeah but they aren’t in modern times, which begs the question, what is it?

    • Eugene

      It looks like it’s set up to be used in a remote weapon station for pin point shooting.. But the box mags are confusing me.. It could be there for match quality ammunition, but not very versatile

  • DW

    Brilliant. Now the MG gunner won’t draw much attention when he does his job.

    By the way that is really compact for a .50 MG…

    • Giolli Joker

      It is, but I’d judge better its size if there weren’t cannons around it. :-)
      BTW, are we sure it has two magazines or might it be fed by either mag or belt?

  • Mr Mxyzptlk

    I don’t think that thing sticking out the side is a box magazine, but rather a dust cover for the ammo feed. If you look at the image that is more from the side it looks like it has no thickness to it. Also, if it was a box mag, why the little step just before meeting the gun? I think it is more likely that this has dual, selectable belt feeds like the FN BRG-15. At least that would make a hell of a lot more sense than a box fed gun, as with that if you wanted to change ammo type, you can just swap the magazine and save a hell of a lot of complexity and bulk on the weapon

  • Big Daddy

    I thought with the Raufoss Mk211 round dual feed is not necessary with 50 cals anymore. Rienmetall is also developing new 50 cal ammo and a HMG to match.

  • noob

    how many rounds before the suppressor baffles get so carbonized that your knuckles start to bleed just thinking about cleaning it?

  • dp

    Most likely destined to vehicle armament stations. Combination of AP and HE is clearly suggesting that. Also, it appears there is pneumatic charging involved. I looks the mechanism may be of rotary type and that would also in combination make sense since it can be used to feed.
    I recall seeing a picture of this mounted in pintle with mocked operator holding grips.

    • dp

      “…in combination (with long recoil operation system).”
      This is not infantryman’s gun.

  • Casey Baker

    Judging not only by it’s neighbors but also the display around it, it looks like it’s meant to be a vehicle (probably aircraft) mounted weapon. However if it is mounted on something like a CROWs mount, it would be extremely effective and definitely benefit from the dual feed system. Not sure how much of an impact a suppressor would have if it were mounted on something loud like a helicopter though.

    • Ripley

      Just select whisper mode.

      • Maxcoseti

        I thought the same thing when I first look at the pictures xD

  • Madeleine Goddard

    I looked at this at DSEi. It does appear to be a semi-auto rifle, not a machine gun, and apparently does have two box magazines, one on either side of the receiver. I could not see the underside of the weapon because of the way it was fixed, but I assume the cartridge ejects downwards. On doing some research I think AEI may have given it the designation STA-50, which fits in with the STA designations they give to their sniper rifles. In terms of size it reminded me of the old Vickers/Maxim .303 MG with water jacket (but a bit bigger). The weapon was comparatively short for .50, but quite bulky. I remain a bit puzzled about the design philosophy behind this, as the bulk would make it an unlikely sniper weapon, although I could imagine it on a pintle mount. The long recoil mechanism makes a MG variant a bit unlikely. The UK does of course have experience of the very accurate single shot, long recoil concept with the 30 mm RARDEN cannon mounted on the Warrior MICV and Scimitar recon vehicle. So what exactly is this weapon for?

    • Giolli Joker

      Uhm… UAV mounted?

      • Avery

        That’s my thought. A skilled sniper can do change their ammo in almost nothing, be it chambering a single bullet or swapping whole magazines, but drones and automated positions don’t have hands of their own. I remember that those dual AA-12 automated mounts with the big drum magazines, that whole setup was because the operators aren’t going to have time to get out and swap out the 8-round magazines.

        So, yeah, drone or automated firing position, since 20 rounds is better than 10 rounds (assuming they’re using Barrett-compatible magazines and don’t have some drum magazine made for them) and added flexibility in ammo types.

  • DiverEngrSL17K

    As an aside to pintle-mounted AFV applications, what about the possibility of flexible or pod-mounting for aerial applications, assuming it actually is an MG rather than an Anti-Material Rifle? It doesn’t appear to be coincidence that AEI chose to display it next to assorted aircraft armament, eg., what appears to be a modernized 30mm ADEN cannon.

  • mechamaster

    Strapped it in the unmanned vehicle and it’s perfect for certain unconventional warfare.