Safety Harbor Firearms SHTF .50 BMG AR Upper

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While the Serbu break-action .50 cal rifle (in collaboration with Royal Nonesuch) is putting .50 BMG sub $1000, I think Safety Harbor Firearms has taken the right approach with their SHTF .50 BMG upper receivers for an AR-15.

The bolt-action upper receivers are offered in either single shot mode or a side-fed magazine version. Barrel lengths available are 18″, 22″ and a long 29″ versions (all 1:15″ twist), all equipped with a massive threaded-on muzzle break to help tame the recoil. For scope mounts, three options are available including “standard high”, “standard low” and “20 MOA high” options for the true long-range aficionados.

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The kits use standard AR-15 lower receivers, but they do require some small modification to ensure function. Bolt catch/releases need to be removed and the hammer with corresponding hammer spring need replacement as well.

The operating mechanism is simple. Its a bolt action using two lugs and a longer throw to achieve lockup and handle the bolt thrust off of the large round. Weight is higher than your standard AR, but reasonable at 12.0 lbs (no optic or lower) for the 18″ barrel and up to 15.5 lbs for the long 29″ barrel.

Pricing for the two uppers is reasonable, considering it has the extra machining compared to the single-shot. The single-shot version starts are $1,450 and the magazine fed at $1,850. Lead times from order is about 4-6 weeks.



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Blake

    I think a lot of people would really appreciate a bolt-action 7mm Rem Mag in a long-bbl bullpup configuration for this kind of money… They heavy loads (esp. new 195gr) are balistically equivalent to .338 Lapua trajectory, & you can get PPU practice ammo at <$1/rnd all day long.

    • TVOrZ6dw

      .50 BMG is cool, but I would like to see this configuration in other magnum calibers, 7mm Rem Mag is good, but other classic African calibers as well.

    • Paul White

      I just wish manufacturers wouldw ork on other economical semi auto platforms. ARs are great but some catridges for whatever reason don’t work great out of that type of magazine. A modern semi auto .243, 30-06, 6.5×55…

      • iksnilol

        You mean good rounds don’t work out of a magazine to short to accomodate them?

        That’s an issue since day 1 of the AR. Original mags were designed with 55 grain bullets in mind. :/

        • nova3930

          Yep. The magwell and by extension the mag designed for it is the biggest obstacle to improving the AR platform and extending it to different calibers.

          • iksnilol

            You don’t want to know what I’ve fantasized and dreamt about that magwell.

            I have a sense of disdain for the magwell to put it nicely.

          • nova3930

            Yah, ultimately it is what it is though. Stoner designed the thing around the 5.56 cartridge. I don’t think he ever in his wildest dreams thought people would take the platform down the roads they have….

          • Squirreltakular

            Lancer’s system of swappable magwell funnels could be expanded on so that the whole magwell swaps out. Something like that could be promising.

          • Joshua

            you mean like the AR-18? where the magwell is part of the upper, and thereby interchangeable with the barrel

    • Budogunner

      I don’t know much about 7mm Rem Mag. Does that shoot as flat as .300 Win Mag, or perhaps better?

  • Iggy

    SHTF… and the ceiling, and the walls and the floor and the wall behind that…

  • Jess Johnson

    ZEL makes the TACLite in the same price range as well.

  • RickH

    Can we please retire “SHTF”…………..please?

    • Joshua

      would you prefer TEOTWAWKI?

  • Renegade

    I’ve gotten a chance to check out and fire the 29″ single-shot version. The felt-recoil was stout, but still less than expected; it was no worse than shooting a Savage 110 in .338 Lapua Magnum. The uppers are well-made, and allow relatively cheap private ownership of a .50 BMG rifle.

    Shooting one made me put it on my “Want to Own” list.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Take the brake off and comment on the recoil 😉

      • Renegade

        I plan on doing that when I get my .375 H&H

        • iksnilol

          Are you perhaps one of those people with a .375 H&H with an 18 inch barrel + brake?

          If so I might have said some unflattering things about your mother.

          • Renegade

            Good grief, no. Otherwise I would have warranted those comments, and probably some about my grandmother as well.

            The rifle I’m looking at has a 25″ barrel, no brake.

          • iksnilol

            Ah, then I probably said some nice things about your mother.

            Like, seriously, Good Lord those cookies that woman can make. 😛

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Maybe I don’t get it… But I’m stuck with single shot, why would I want bolt action over break? I get if its a serious gun bolt is going to be better….

    But is anyone trying to argue a 50bmg upper for an ar-5 isn’t a toy? At least brake action will be shorter and lighter.

    • iksnilol

      I don’t think that a break action is a good idea in .50 BMG.

      Break action is good for stuff intended to be fired while standing (IE shotguns). I’d rather they went with a falling block. Would be short and light whilst being way better ergonomically for supported or prone shooting.

      • Edeco

        I consider falling block a higher order of single shot. I’m convinced it’s near inevitably more expensive to make though…

        • iksnilol

          Maybe… would be way better tho.

          I really don’t like how you have unscsrew that cap to work the Serbu thingamajig.

          • Indiana Finney

            For speed it kinda blows, but in terms of safety it’s pretty good. Limits the Serbu to being a range toy, but so are most of these single shot .50’s anyway.

    • Squirreltakular

      Serbu’s offering isn’t really a break action. You have to unscrew the cap that holds the firing pin just to reload. Probably takes ten times longer than a bolt action.

    • MR

      Magazine fed version available.

  • USMC03Vet

    I hate shooting .50 BMG
    – Said nobody ever

    More affordable BMG the better.

  • tony

    my concern is the receiver takedown holes handling the extra recoil.
    a few rounds for SHTF, sure no problem,

  • Marcus D.

    Hmm, California bans transfer or sale of .50 cal bmg rifles, but this is not a rifle…..I wonder….

  • antiliberalcryptonite

    The video could be shortened by 20 seconds.

  • kevin

    get the ruger precision rifle