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All About the .50 BMG Cartridges
The .50 BMG armor-piercing round was designed during World War I as anti-aircraft ammo for the Browning .50 caliber machine gun. Many years later, .50 BMG ammo was also chambered in high-powered rifles, and during World War II, the .50 BMG was used in M2 Browning machines guns. Because a .50 BMG round can penetrate most commercial brick walls and concrete cinder blocks, the United States military uses .50 BMG weapons for sniping purposes and to detonate unexploded ordnance from a safe distance. A fun fact about .50 BMG weaponry is that the longest range sniper kills in history – around 2,500 to 3,000 yards – have been achieved with .50 BMG ammo. For example, a McMillan Tac-50 .50 BMG sniper rifle was used by Canadian Army Corporal Rob Furlong to achieve what was then the longest-range confirmed sniper kill in history, when he shot a Taliban combatant from 2,430 meters (2,657 yards) away in 2002 during the Afghanistan War.