By Garry James
When most people think of an American military .50 caliber, the round that comes to mind (deservedly so) is the .50 BMG. It is one of the world’s great machine-gun and long-range sniping loads, adaptable to a number of different situations and in constant service since its introduction in 1918.
Still, it was far from being the first .50 round used by the U.S. For that we have to go back well over a century to the inception of the self-contained cartridge itself. In fact, there were various proprietary .50 cartridges used during the Civil War, such as the .50 rimfire in the Remington, Ball and Palmer Carbines (though it is doubtful that any saw actual service), and some externally primed paper and metallic rounds designed for other breechloaders like the Gallager, Smith and Maynard Carbines.
The development and widespread use of the .56-56 rimfire Spencer repeater during the war ended all doubt that the self-contained metallic cartridge was the wave of the future. With its tremendous success, as well as more limited employment of other arms such as the Henry and Joslyn, the message was clear: The percussion muzzle- and breechloaders were doomed.
Other countries were also in the process of switching …Read the Rest
Source:: Guns and Ammo