DIY “AR-50” rides again in Brazil

Back in 2015, TFB (http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2015/08/15/potd-a-mystery-fifty-cal/) showed a DIY .50BMG caliber rifle that was seized from criminal hands in Rio de Janeiro by the local Military Police BOPE – Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais (Special Police Operations Battalion) and which was falsely marked as an “ArmaLite  AR-50”.

The “ArmaLite AR-50” .50BMG rifle seized in Rio de Janeiro two years ago.

It just so happened that a very similar “Frankenstein” gun was found with a large group of outlaws who took part in a recent (April 24) multi-million dollar robbery from a bank security company in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, near the Brazilian borderline with Paraná State. Some of the guys trying to escape back to Brazil were caught (some, actually, killed) by agents of several Brazilian police agencies involved in the chase, when one of the weapons used in the crime was seized. Guess what? It was a close copy of the earlier mysterious gun.

The .50BMG “Frankie” seized in Brazil after the multi-million-dollar robbery in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

Images made available by Brazilian police authorities show that the so-marked “AR-50A2” features a somewhat different, box-like muzzle brake and general features basically common to the weapon found two years earlier, including the detachable box magazine that fits under the receiver. Unlike the “AR-50”, the “A2” barrel is not fluted.

The seized rifle (location of the spurious markings indicated by circle) and part of the money recovered. Displayed badges are those of Brazil’s Polícia Federal (Federal Police) and Paraná State Military Police’s BPFron – Batalhão Polícia de Fronteira (Border Police Battalion).

The DIY rifle and its box magazine as in the location found by Brazilian police.

This is just to give you an idea of the damage caused by explosives and gunfire used in the late-April robbery in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, carried out by (mostly) Brazilian criminals.

One of the weapons used in the robbery captured by PRF (Polícia Rodoviária Federal, Federal Highway Police) was this AR-platform rifle, whose displayed magazines seem to be for the 7.62x39mm chambering.





Ronaldo Olive

Ronaldo is a long-time (starting in the 1960s) Brazilian writer on aviation, military, LE, and gun subjects, with articles published in local and international (UK, Switzerland, and U.S.) periodicals. His vast experience has made him a frequent guest lecturer and instructor in Brazil’s armed and police forces.


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  • MrBrassporkchop

    Is that a duct tape marital aid on the table in the first pic?

    • Matt B

      I swear that’s the first thing I noticed!

      • It does sort of, uh… draw the eye, doesn’t it.

      • BrandonAKsALot

        That’s the only thing I noticed. Good thing they got this off the streets. Could have resulted in a sticky situation.

    • James Earl Jones

      I’m just glad I’m not the only one that noticed…

    • B-Sabre

      Duct tape. It can do anything. Ask the Missus.

    • Ned Weatherby

      Naw – it’s called a Brazildo down there.

    • Stephen Paraski

      Tactical Duct Tape Extension? Or a kilo of blow? Maybe Long Dong Black Jack? It is dual purpose.

  • Gary Kirk

    Those mags are straight up AK mags.. No way they go with that rifle.. My mind is saying propaganda..

    • nooodbe

      You beat me to it. It was a huge red flag. Ak mags with a AR that has a normal AR magwell= no go.

    • Rnasser Rnasser

      They are authentic. The police around here does not care to match all weapons, ammo and mags for photos.

  • Vhyrus

    That awkward moment when the gun is not the most interesting thing in the picture.

    • Mitch

      In all seriousness, I was thinking (after what everyone else did) was a possible improvised suppressor. Is a reasonable chance that something like that could be effective for a shot or two? School me, yee clan of the suppressor!

      • Stephen Paraski

        Went limp after 1 shot?

  • Gun Fu Guru

    Duct tape dildo?

  • Tassiebush

    I’d just like to say I didn’t spot the DTD until everyone else mentioned it which for me is quite a step forward.
    This really was a remarkable crime! The size of the band of bandits, their weapons, the cross border nature of it and the size of the haul that was taken. It feels like a look into the future of crime.

    • Dougscamo

      Ever heard of Butch Cassidy?

      • Tassiebush

        Haha yep saw that film.

      • Tassiebush

        When I say it’s a glimpse of the future I basically meant large armed groups from large disorganized urban areas. Not conspicuous white guys raiding cash in Latin America.

        • Dougscamo

          Well…granted they were almost all white and granted they were country boys but when that is all you have to work with….
          When I was pronghorn hunting in Wyoming, my guide looked around and said that we were in Wilcox. My only reply was a blank look until he asked me if I had seen the movie and told me that this was where they had blown up the express car while opening the safe…
          They only went to South America because it was getting too hot for them in the US….

          • Tassiebush

            How fascinating that must have been to ponder that connection with that place!
            Yes I forgot the context from the film but yes they were pretty much in the brown stuff by then. Bandits and bushrangers have a short lifespan!
            That pronghorn hunt sounds interesting!

          • Dougscamo

            It was a hoot! Shot 1 after crawling around in cactus and sagebrush all day…441 yards….according to the laser anyway…

          • Tassiebush

            Wow that sounds like a fun trip and also an act of endurance! I gather prickly pear is a common cactus in the States? I’ve only encountered one once and it was a real blend of pain and pleasure! The fruit was divine but the prickles were perfect at burying themselves into finger tips. I’d be apprehensive about crawling around in that! I imagine gloves and tough clothing is a must.
            That’s a very decent bit of shooting under those conditions!

          • Dougscamo

            It was a low-growing, light colored viney, non-succulent cactus, or what I believe to be a cactus since it deposited a number of spines in my clothing and flesh as I was crawling through it. Being a Southerner, I would have to depend on one of our Western friends to truly identify it….
            Gloves I used, thank God, but the clothing was what I normally wear whitetail hunting. I think I may have discovered why jeans are the norm among the guides….

  • SP mclaughlin
    • Paulo Marcondes

      Armored cars/body armor.
      Oh, and mind you, almost anything you call decent is outlawed here in Brazil.
      Not sure about DTD.

      • SP mclaughlin

        By “outlawed”, are you talking about body armor or weapons?

        • Paulo Marcondes

          No body armor able to withstand 9mm and up is allowed to civilians.
          No handgun above .38. Most rounds/calibers/weapons are prohibited by energy levels, others by name.
          If you are a sports shooters, being ffiliated with a club and having an Army authorization, then maybe you can get a .40 or .45. No 9mm for you. Prohibited. Armed forces and some VERY select LE only. THE ARMY has the last word. And you complain about the BATFE.

  • Evan

    A .50 BMG and a massive dildo. I’m not even sure I want to know what these guys were up to.

  • mazkact

    The duct tape object could be a cartel suppository.