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New, compact .50 cal rifle


Barrett firearms, the people who gave us the M82 semi auto .50 caliber antimaterial rifle are now prodducing a bullpup version, the XM-500.

I seem to keep hearing trailing echoes of noises refering negatively to bullpup designs. Let me just look dumb and ask,"What's wrong with the bullpup design?"
Besides the fact I know its a pain in the arse to reload on the run I am not sure. Its apparently a pretty study design but somewhat awkward for some to use.
I think the criticism of bullpups is a cultural thing.

The only major con that I know of is extended clip replacement time (that Creslin mentioned), and a slightly increased maintenance regime (but that is less clear cut as it is more dependent on individual designs). Most other negatives seem to fall into "but it looks funny" or are a consequence of poor design of the individual weapon.
Where does that picture come from? I can't find anything about it on the Barrett website.
Most bullpup weapons are 'handed' - i.e. they can only be used right handed, unless converted for left hand operation - something that can't be done quickly. Ejection is right by the shooters face, not to mention the breech.

There have been some novel solutions to this problem, most notably the FN2000.

While bullpups have been adopted by some militaries, there really isn't any evidence that there are real advantages of the design except for compactness - which is not as important as many think. And there are certainly ergonomic studies that suggest that conventional riflesa are better for 'snap shooting'. Users in quck fire situations tnd to index their rifles based on weight distribution - and conventional rifles tend to be muzzle heavy, making this easier. Bullpup rifles tend to have neutral balance and hence aren't great for 'instict' shooting.

Of course, these facts are relatively unimportant in most military circles. The main reason that bullpup rifles haven't become more popular with the world militaries is probably that there aren't an significant advantages (other than compactness) over conventional weapons. Militaries are very conservative, and with good reason in many cases.

Having spent some trigger time behind a Steyr AUG recently, I didn't find the rifle particulary impressive. The bullpup design necessitates a long trigger linkage that results in a truly crappy trigger. Accuracy was not on par with the AR-16, and having the barrel and receiver close to my face after a couple thousand rounds was a bit warmer than I like.

I don't know where he gets the long time to change magazines from, even on the run (why?) it is simple. I could change an SA80 mag easily as fast as an M16 anyday of the week.

My own peronal negatives with regards bullpup weopons is the inability to easily switch hands (being dealt with in newer designs) and bad engineering on the part of the designers (ie. L85A1 where the gas plug had to be turned the right way on re-assembling or the rifle would be u/s and set to workshops, or the ejector dustcover that cut fingers when making ready the weapon.
Thank you Anthony, veltyen, Creslin, Corejob, and Border Reiver. My own experience stems from soooo long ago (Sep 66, M-14) that I find they appeal to my former training as an armor crewman.
I have heard the changing the magazine is a problem for many soldiers at first but is gradually learned over time with usage of the gun obviously. Seeing as most troops in the U.S. train and use the M-16 rifle is way of reloading is far more "natural" feeling to troops because it isn't behind the trigger. In other words they are so natural to the reloading steps in the design that they don't have to look while reloading however behind the trigger at first is just down right awkward for most I would imagine.

I have never had the chance to shoot such a design so what I say comes from my uncle ex-special forces.
One big problem with a bullpup is the fixed length-of-pull (the distance from the butt plate against the shoulder to the trigger).

Up to recently all shoulder arms have had fixed LOP, but the increasing use of body amor has made this an issue. If you have an adjustable butt-plate to change LOP on a bullpup it loses much of the bullpups advantages.
What is the intended modern use for this weapon? I can’t imagine being anything but a long distance sniper rifle. For that I would assume that you would want a longer barrel to allow the charge to burn up.

BTW I am not a gun control nut but what possible purpose could this rifle/cannon serve? Home defense? If that is the case I suggest moving. It seems to me that if you need more than an M-14 you need to move.

As for reloading, I don’t think it will be a problem.
1) If you hit with this weapon, it should die.
2) If it doesn’t die you need air support so just run.
Polar bear and whale come to mind.

BMG based weapons are pretty much never used in crime, I assume sporting shooting (long distance target) for the bullpup, a combo orienteering/shooting (biathalon type) event would make a lot of sense. Not for a lot else though.[1]

There is a balance between friction from the barrel and continued burn, longer is not always faster.[2]

[1] Ignoring society ending anti-tank militia purposes.
[2] Results from a rifle machining shop that was testing this hypothesis by cutting ridiculous length barrels, testing bullet velocity, then hacking it down to a smaller size. It is online somewhere.
Personally, as a former sniper, I am not a huge proponent of the BMG based sniper weapons. That is to say, they indeed have their uses, but I don't find them the end all, be all of sniper weapons, and bigger isn't always better.

The BMG .50 caliber round has truly impressive range, and getting hit with a projectile the diameter of a banana and weighting a good half pound is no laughing matter - but effective shots are made far more often, every day, with weapons that weigh a third, are more portable and equally accurate.

But- that said,such weapons have their uses.

What is the intended modern use for this weapon? I can’t imagine being anything but a long distance sniper rifle. For that I would assume that you would want a longer barrel to allow the charge to burn up.
The barrellength/charge hasn't anything to do with it...its the overall size here thats telling. More and more sniping and enagagements are occuring in urban environments, and a smaller and more compact weapon just makes sense - hustle a 5 foot long 25 pound Barret up six flights of stairs in a standard stairwell, and you'll see what I mean. And don't forget the ammo, lay pad and gear you always hump along with you...its an ungainly process.

Soft skinned ( lightly armored if at all) targets are now more of a priority than ever - car bombs are a reality, as are escape vehicles and "crashers" - vehicles beefed up for ramming road blocks. A .50 cal. round in the engine block slows the most persistant driver. The same is true of my favorite use for such weapons - resources destruction. I am an old timer, but I have no doubt some doctrines havent changed - heavy rifle fire at commo relays, commo antennaes and such I am sure are still the practice, and think about it - a bullet in the trunion of a SAM radar disables the installation, as do well placed rounds to the missles themselves.

You also see these heavy rifles used in denial missions - directed fire against mortar tubes, heavy weapons emplacements ( such as an emplaced DShK or similar heavy weapon, a round to the reciever puts one out of action for good) and their usege on human targets is a welcome incidental, but not always the point.

This weapon would also be useful in mountainoius terrain, again where the small size is a premium, and cover is scant.

BTW I am not a gun control nut but what possible purpose could this rifle/cannon serve? Home defense? If that is the case I suggest moving. It seems to me that if you need more than an M-14 you need to move.
Home defense??!! Obviously not.

As to purpose, refer my previous comments. There is of course no reasonable civilian usages, barring perhaps police use ( I can't see what purpose it would have here in the US directly, but many countries have issues with previously mentioned car bombings, and routinely establish roadblocks, such a weapon has apparent utility there)

For Traveller purposes, the weapon is very like the statted LAG ingame, and most parties that absolutely must have one generally intend them as a simple method of defeating high tech personal armors.

In one of my campaigns in an alternate universe, they were a common civilian weapon, used to attend to neo-roos ( a raptor like native predator) and other inimicable creatures that were generally in the plieocene megafauna stage of evolution. I imagine on planets where the native predators are built like rhinos and have a taste for humans , I would want one around.
uh guys.. a bullpup has a long barrel
its length is just recessed further
into the stock/butt if i am not mistaken
so it should be no different then a
5 foot long weapon...its the same old
.50 just compact...


as to civilian uses there are many
if you are a warmed blooded american
arms bearing male...

dont want to start a debate here just
suggesting there is more then 1
opinion/interpretation on the matter...