Barrett .50 Caliber Overview (M107 and M82A1)

    The Barrett .50 caliber anti-material rifles are truly icons in the firearm world. These man portable cannon allow an individual to have 10 rounds of earth-shattering .50 BMG ammunition on tap to destroy enemy equipment, vehicles, and so on. With too many movie and video game appearances to count, the Barrett .50s certainly get lots of due attention from the public. But what are these rifles really used for? How do they work? What’s in the box? Well, let’s have a look!



    So here it is: The legendary Barrett .50 Caliber Anti material rifle.

    If you ever wanted to buy a gun for the sole purpose of inconveniencing you by having to lug it back and forth in a giant case, weighing over 30 pounds, and chambered in 5 dollar bills, this rifle has your name written all over it.

    First and foremost, the Barrett .50 caliber rifles are not (and were not designed to be) sniper rifles, despite what video games and movies have led many to believe. In fact, I checked Barrett’s current sales literature I could not even find the word “sniper” anywhere.

    These guns were designed with destruction in mind: That is, destroying or disabling light vehicles, satellite arrays, and if you need to destroy a canteen or zipper that just so happens to be attached to an enemy combatant, that’s fair game.

    The Barrett .50s were designed by Ronnie Barrett in 1980 to allow shooters to lob .50BMG with more accuracy and precision than an M2HB generally allows for, and at a quarter of the weight. The rifles were an almost immediate success, and even the CIA acquired some to deliver to the Mujihadeen in their fight against the USSR. Battle proven, the Barretts were catching the eyes of militaries and police units around the world.

    Inside the included transit case, the consumer is provided with the barrel assembly, upon which is a long picatinny rail for mounting an optic of the user’s choice, a large and prominent muzzle brake, backup iron sights, and the barrel return spring assembly.

    The lower group features a bipod, the recoil assembly, monopod, and trigger group.

    The bolt group is quite hefty as well, and features a very large triangular bolt head that is reminiscent of the Austrailian Leader Rifles (whose designer worked at Barrett).

    Barrett magazines hold ten rounds of ammunition and are quite large. Overlaying an M16 magazine conveys the sheer size…. As does an M14 magazine. 50 BMG is not exactly a cartridge for a frontline infantryman’s rifle.

    Loading the magazines is also quite easy. They are staggered, double column, double feed and load like a larger version of an FAL magazine.

    The rifle is assembled by first pulling the barrel out of the receiver all the way, and pushing the black polymer bushing all the way to the rear.

    At this point, the user hooks the barrel return spring assembly onto the barrel.

    There is a hook on the upper that allows it to mate to a cross pin on the lower assembly, and the user should lock the upper into the lower.

    At this point, draw the bolt to the rear and lower the upper onto the lower.

    A non-captive pin will secure the two assemblies at the rear, and an additional pin secures them at the center.

    The final step is rocking in the magazine, and you are good to go.

    Now in front of us is a fully assembled Barrett M107 rifle, which is the latest military version of the M82A1.

    The barrett is easy to operate and features a large charging handle on the right side of the gun.

    The safety is very reminiscent of an M16 rifle, and positively clicks into fire.

    The M107s large picatinny rail allows users to mount an optic of their choice.

    And the M107s giant muzzle brake allows the mounting of a sound suppressor.

    The bipod is easily deployable, and when combined with the rear monopod creates a very stable shooting platform.

    Now there are two basic models of the Barrett that are available: The M82 and M107 rifles. Differences are relatively minor, but let’s take a look.

    First, the M107 has a rear mounted cheek rest.

    The most obvious difference are the rifles muzzle brakes: The M82’s is belled out while the M107s is cylindrical.

    The coloring on the two models is slightly different as well, as the M107 features a coated barrel, rail, and furniture.

    That said, both rifles function via the same short recoiling action and otherwise both provide a very similar shooting experience.

    There is an interesting dichotomy here: I would place these rifles on a list of 10 guns to shoot before you die, but also on a list of 10 firearms that aren’t as fun as you think.

    Shooting a barrett can be quite thrilling, but finding a range where you can really stretch its legs is incredibly difficult, ammunition is expensive, and the concussive blast begins to rattle the hell out of your brain the more you shoot. That said, recoil is not as bad as you would think and a shotgun firing 3 and a half inch magnum shells is much worse in my opinion.

    So we hope this overview provided you with some good information about the two predominant Barrett rifles on the market. Which one you prefer is up to you, but from a shooters perspective I can tell you that I have never noticed any noteworthy differences.

    They are big, heavy, expensive, and incredibly badass.

    This is Alex C. with TFBTV, thank you to Ventura munitions for providing ammunition for our shooting videos, and thank you very much for watching.

    Alex C.

    Alex is a Senior Writer for The Firearm Blog and Director of TFBTV.