Sunday Question

In California, .50 BMG rifles are specifically banned by name. You cannot have any weapon that fires the .50 BMG round, and there is no provision to let the Destructive Device permit cover it, as that only covers weapons firing fixed ammunition of greater than .60 caliber.

So why is it that the police can’t have them (no company will sell them to California LEOs) and the California government can’t have them (for the same reason) and weapon rental places for Hollywood movies can’t have them (by law) and I can’t have one (by law) then why do the Mythbusters get one?

Only the .50 BMG is banned by name, and for all intents and purposes, anything that is NFA is banned as well. Theoretically, CA will allow you to have NFA weapons, but in practice, the permits are NOT given unless you rent the weapons for use in Hollywood movies. Despite the law saying regular civilians can own them with the permit, they won’t actually give you the permit.

So, only the .50 BMG is banned…so I may as well go out and buy a Boys Anti-Tank rifle in .55 caliber. That just happens to not be .50 BMG, but also not the unattainable NFA destructive device. Or how about a PTRS, in (roughly) .57 caliber, firing semi-automatic and with a ten round magazine. Under California law, that is totally allowed. Yet a bolt action .50 BMG isn’t, nor is a bolt action .60 rifle. Yet the more dangerous PTRS is allowed (it has a reputation for being very intolerant of people who don’t keep a good grip on it. It has been known to break shoulders.)

The .50 BMG cartridge is a 12.7x99mm round. That is the .50 BMG, no other 12.7mm round is a .50 BMG, despite sharing the same diameter. Does that mean the 12.7x108mm round is acceptable to have a rifle chambered for in California? The law says .50 BMG is banned, not every .50 caliber weapon (I believe the .50 AE Desert eagle is allowed in California.)

The 12.7×108 is a bit bigger, has a heavier bullet, and holds more powder. Given that, it tends to have  The lightest load of the 12.7x99mm is a 42g bullet that delivers roughly 17,000 Joules. The lightest load of the 12.7x108mm is a 52g bullet that delivers roughly 19,000 Joules.

Given that performance data, which would you say is more dangerous?


Note: Bullet weight is displayed in grams. When possible, I prefer to sue metric measurements for simplicity.

To give you an idea, 1 Joule is a force of one Newton-meter, or the force of one Newton applied over a distance of one meter. A Newton is the force required to accelerate a 1 kilogram object at a rate of one meter per second squared. The beauty of the metric system (properly referred to as Le Système international d’unités as the metric system has been replaces by the SI system) is that by knowing one measurement, you can determine practically anything else. Do you have 1 mL of water? 1 mL is 1 cubic centimeter. 1 cc of water is 1 gram. If you have 1L of water, you have 1Kg of water.

Far better than trying to figure out how many Hogsheads a person running at 1 Furlong per Fortnight will consume.

I think I seriously took up half of my post discussing the SI system. Forget raising the bar, I’ll apparently set it so low that doing anything can be considered an achievement.


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