Inside The AK-50 – For When You want .50 BMG and Reliability

John Moses Browning gifted upon the world a large variety of firearms gifts. From the still-in-service 1911 handgun, to the BAR, and the venerable M2 or “Ma-Duece” machine gun, his designs have persisted and even thrived over the last century. Calibers he created are still being chambered and refined today with an excellent example being the various Barrett “anti-material” rifles chambered in .50 Browning Machine Gun.

The superiority of the Barrett designs has persisted for over 20 years. Its short-recoil action responsible for some of the longest confirmed kills within the sniper community. But, that weapon has had its fair share of detractors. Specifically, reliability, while generally considered good, could be improved upon by sealing up the action. Second, accuracy is hampered by the short-recoil operation where the barrels moves each shot.

Seeing the opportunity to bring the .50 BMG further into the 21st century is Brandon Herrara, otherwise known as “The AK Guy”. Brandon has been chronicling his journey of developing an AK inspired .50 BMG rifle. Posted to his YouTube channel and shared across social media, Brandon has highlighted the joys, pain, and sheer will it takes to get a gun from concept to delivered product – though he’s not quite shipped one yet.

News2Share recently caught up with Brandon and can quickly bring one up to date on the history and development of the weapon:



Frank.K

TFB’s FNG. Completely irreverent of all things marketing but a passionate lover of new ideas and old ones well executed. Enjoys musing on all things firearms, shooting 3-gun, and attempting to be both tacticool AND tactical.


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  • Harry’s Holsters

    Another great NC based firearms company!

    • FlaBoy

      North Carolina…a “free” state, as long as you stay away from the big cities.

      • Twilight sparkle

        Isn’t Charlotte the only large city there?

      • Harry’s Holsters

        Pretty much. I avoid the triangle like the plague.

    • Stephen Paraski

      Is that M.A.D. Moore Advanced Dynamics?

      • Harry’s Holsters

        I’m not familiar with them.

  • Dracon1201

    Barrel profile? Oh, we just won’t turn it down at all. I wonder how much the barrel weighs?

    Still excited to see it completed, though

    • iksnilol

      Why would you want less barrel per barrel?

      That’s some pansy stuff.

      • lucusloc

        I believe you meant to say “Harmonic damping blah blah blah heat dissipation something something greater accuracy.” Hopefully aftermarket barrels with a sane profile will be available, even if it takes a real smith to install them.

        • iksnilol

          But a heavier barrel is more precise, it whips less. It’s just a sonovagun to carry, I’ll admit that.

          • lucusloc

            For sure, but its in kinda the same way that a heavier boat is more stable. The added mass does help you resist changes more than a lighter mass, but eventually the added weight becomes more of a problem than the original issue. There are more elegant engineering solution to the problem than just adding mass.

          • iksnilol

            Ehhhh, explain bull barrels then, which are essentially unturned.

          • lucusloc

            The people who use them don’t care about weight.

          • lucusloc

            The people who use them don’t care about weight.

          • iksnilol

            And nothin’ wrong ’bout that, sonny.

          • lucusloc

            Depends on your use case, and personal preference of course. A bench gun for long range shooting? Not a problem. A pack gun for camping? You might consider a different solution.

            For this particular gun? Changing your profile could take as much as a pound off the over all weight. Since all that weight is coming off the front that could drastically change the handling of the gun even while on a bench. I know that shooting 300 WSM with a bull barrel is significantly different than shooting one with a standard profile, and I would prefer the standard profile even considering the (marginal) increase in performance the bull barrel gives.

          • iksnilol

            But that weight up front gonna keep the muzzle down.

          • lucusloc

            Yeah, all the way in the dirt if you try to shoot it off hand. Balance is important for everything but bench shooting. Even your standard improvised support shot in the woods can be made more annoying with a badly balanced firearm. I like bull barrels on bench guns, they are cheaper, effective and the added weight mitigates recoil. But that is pretty much the only place like them. For any gun I need to carry more than the 10 feet from the back of the car to the bench I want a more sane barrel profile.

          • iksnilol

            Not my fault you’re a pansy who likes pencil barrels 😛

            I’ve shot nose heavy guns of hand. No problem, just don’t lean so far forward like you’re gonna compete with Phelps in the freedive.

          • Dan

            You probably wont be shooting a .50bmg off hand enough to care about that 1lb of weight saving. Unless of course you only intend to use it for mag dumps at the range because Merica, then who cares anyway because your accuracy off hand with followup shots will range from horrible to wow thats embarrassing.

            Don’t even try to convince me you will run this weapon like you would a regular Ak or AR or you plan to hump it around the back country. Might happen a few times but probably as likely as the lotto ticket on my table being worth millions

          • Toxie

            Methinks you haven’t shot a 50BMG rifle before. Offhand is a LEAST consideration for a 50BMG rifle – and FYI I have one. Weight is your friend.

  • mosinman

    when i think precision sniper rifle i don’t think of a .50 BMG AK

    • iksnilol

      Why would you think of .50 bmg at all? It isn’t noted for its precision.

      • mosinman

        and putting it in an AK style action isn’t going to do it any favors

        • iksnilol

          No, but it is gonna be hella rad.

          • .45

            It will definitely be a favorite in the next modern setting Call of Duty, that’s for sure.

      • Major Tom

        It’s precise enough that it can hit a point target at over 2000 yards (1800 meters). Even from an M2.

        • iksnilol

          Using handloads, sure, like Hatchcock (giggle) did. Regular MG ammo (which is the most common), not so much.

          • Major Tom

            Regular MG ammo is often a blend of types such as ball, AP, API, and tracers for each. Every single type including tracer versions has completely different ballistics to each other.

            But load up one and only one type and it shoots straight and tight.

          • lucusloc

            I think he meant that the MG ammo does not have the best tolerances even within the same loads. It may not be as bad as something like cheap steel cased ammo, but it is not match grade no matter how your try and slice it.

          • mazkact

            this is true of any “machine gun” ammo without regard to caliber or cartridge design.

        • FarmerB

          “Can”. You CAN win the lottery as well, but I wouldn’t rely on it. Have you actually tried to consistently hit anything person sized with a 50 at even 1000 yards? I’ve tried about 10x different 50’s using everything from ball to AMAX match ammo to custom reloads and never were any of those platforms approaching “precision”. I’ve not yet tried with an M2, but we are getting one out later this year, but I’m pretty confident that although it was designed by God, it won’t fare any better.

  • iksnilol

    Doesn’t Brandon AK a lot in general?

  • lucusloc

    If they wanted true reliability they would have put it in a sealed action like the AR 😉

    I always wanted a .50 BMG. If I can manage to afford one in the future I really hope this one is withing reach.

    • gusto

      if they wanted reliability they would have done a bolt action

      • .45

        If they wanted reliability they would have done a single shot.

        • Cal S.

          If they wanted reliability, it would be a muzzleloader. Goes off so reliably that sometimes it surprises even you!

          • lucusloc

            lol, I love this chain. I’m gonna call shenanigans on the muzzle-loader though. They go bang when they want to, and never before. If they do not want to your going to have fun with a worm tool or an air compressor.

          • mazkact

            Needs to be a matchlock to be reliable, plenty of fire and no need for primers.

  • DanGoodShot

    I’d imagine their going to turn down the barrel a bit. I’m interested in seeing the gas system do it’s thing.

  • Bill

    It’s a cool rifle, but it’s not obvious to me what I would ever use it for.

    • Giolli Joker

      Fun.

    • Palmier

      Resisting racism.

  • Cal S.

    >Have ‘AK’ in the name
    >Automatically granted the moniker of “Reliable” because ‘AK’ or something
    >Be DDI: “Hold my beer”

    Seriously, for all we know this thing’s reliability could suck.

  • Raptor Fred

    Who cares if it has a 90lb barrel. You could totally mount it to a Segway or something. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e78e2f53e7485bee8018a72d395b4393cb749d21aca358c817529c18ce96c1de.jpg

    • noob

      wait, where is the person operating that Segway mounted weapon? should I be worried?

  • XT6Wagon

    I want to see how big a .50bmg RDB would be. between the ejection port, magazine and chamber thats 3x the length of a .50bmg round just in the action length, plus how ever long the bolt is.

  • Drew Remington

    I’m super happy for him. He looked pretty nervous when he was doing his first live test fire. Im glad it worked it and I hope he sells out.

  • mechamaster

    “When you want to fight back again machine overlord Skynet and their Terminator-underling”

  • mazkact

    Can hardly wait to see the finished product.