Category Archives: Gunsmithing and BIY

Looking for a Cool AR Rifle Project? Build a .50 Beowulf

Interest in the Beowulf round is growing as people buy the low cost 12.7×42 chambered pistols, rifles and kits. 12.7×42 is the metric designation for the Beowulf and is being used by groups wanting to avoid a trademark problem with Alexander Arms.

The Beowulf is one heck of a thumper delivering massive kinetic energy on target from the base AR-15 platform. That’s the remarkable part – it uses a standard AR lower! To give you an idea of the size of the round take a look at this photo. From top to bottom: .50 Beowulf 350gr XTP, 5.56×45 55gr FMJ , 7.62×39 123gr FMJ and a loose 9mm 124gr Hornady HST. The Beowulf sure dwarfs the little 5.56×45 round!

I’ve owned two .50 Beowulf’s and my current one was built using an Alexander Arms DIY kit that allows you to add the handguard and brake that you want. They are built on standard AR lowers so if you have an AR today, it’s just a matter of adding an upper in this caliber or you can do a whole new dedicated build – it’s up to you. I’ve also done a number of posts about my builds in case you want to learn more – click here to see a list.

A Beowulf upper can mate to any in-spec AR lower. This is a Spike’s lower with an Ergo group, Magpul PRS III and Geissele trigger.

What caught my eye the other day and prompted me to write this post is that Primary Arms has noticed the growing interest in .50 Beowulf and is now carrying a variety of parts and ammunition. They have a lot of products in stock and they ship fast. I’ve placed a couple of orders with them for parts over the past month and they are still shipping stuff out either the same or next day – that’s remarkable given how busy the industry is right now.

To give you some examples of .50 Beowulf products that Primary Arms has currently, they have the Alexander Arms DIY 16″ barrel kit and also the Timber Creek Heart Breaker muzzle brake, which is my favorite Beowulf brake.

This is the 16″ DIY kit. Alexander Arms has done all the fitting for you. It comes with one magazine as well. In terms of the upper kit, I found the machining and parts fitment to be excellent.
This is the Timber Creek Heart Breaker and it does a remarkable job of reducing the recoil. It has three heart shaped ports on each side that redirect the blast backwards to propel the rifle forward and reduce recoil. The three circular ports on the top help reduce climb. Seriously, this is a solid brake.

For ammo, there is an increasing variety out there – Alexander Arms makes their own with a variety of loads plus there are other sellers out there with their own offerings. I’ve found the Alexander Arms 350 grain Hornady XTP ammo to be accurate and the XTPs really open up on impact.

The is older packaging. In 2019 I noticed Alexander was using an eye catching color scheme of navy, black and white – same ammo just a different box. The Alexander Arms .50 Beowulfl 350gr XTP ammo is packed 20 rounds to a box and Primary Arms has it in stock.
Here’s the whole Beowulf.

So, if you want a fun build, get the kit, the handguard you want, the brake you want and take it from there. For folks who like optics, I’d recommend something that can help with fast moving up close targets as well as out to about 200 yards — I paired mine up with a Vortex 1-6×24 Strike Eagle and the 1-8×24 model would be great also.

This is my 1-6×24 Vortex Strike Eagle using a Vortex cantilever mount on my current Beowulf rifle.

One last comment, I make my own magazines using the reliable but inexpensive aluminum D&H magazines that PSA sells. They typically go for $9.99 on sale to $12.99 normally and right now they are on sale in case you want to snag some – they also have their special going on where you can get one of their 36″ rifle cases plus 7 D&H magazines for $109.99

This is one of the 30 round D&H 5.56 magazines that you can use to hold up to 10 Beowulf rounds.
This is the very well made 36″ PSA rifle case deal that includes 7 D&H mags.


That’s it for now. I hope you found this helpful and have fun building and shooting a .50 Beowulf.

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Primary Arms Has WMD NiB-X AR 5.56 Bolt Carrier Groups On Sale

Folks, Primary Arms has WMD Nickel Boron bolt carrier groups (BCGs) on sale and in stock! These are my favorite AR-15 BCGs and I always recommend them. Note, they make a .308 BCG but I haven’t tried one yet.

Their Nickel Boron coating is excellent the lubricity is superb – even without any oil they move very freely. They also hold up great as well.

The following specs are from WMD’s website:

  • Bolt – Carpenter 158 heat-treated, shot peened and magnetic particle inspected.  Manufactured to government drawings.  Milspec gas rings. NiB-X coated (40% more wear-resistant than chrome).
  • Extractor – Manufactured, heat treated, and hardened per government drawings.  Black extractor buffer and heavy-duty spring. NiB-X coated.
  • Firing Pin – Manufactured, heat-treated, hardened, chromed and certified per government drawings.
  • Carrier – AR-15 or M16 style (heavy weight), 8620 material, heat treated and case hardened.  Manufacturing tolerances on inside diameters tightly controlled.  NiB-X coated for durability and ease of cleaning.
  • Gas Key – Hardened to USGI Specifications and attached using knurled grade 8 hardened fasteners. NiB-X coated.  Staked per military specifications. The knurled screw heads further enhance the effectiveness of the staking.
  • Cam pin – Manufactured, heat treated, hardened and certified per Government drawings.  NiB-X Coated.
  • Hammer – Manufactured, heat treated, hardened and certified per government drawings.  NiB-X Coated.  Can be semi-auto or full-auto.

The photo above is of the WMD BCG in my 10.5″ AR pistol. Here are a few more photos for you as well.

The WMD BCG is at the top and a regular PSA BCG is at the bottom.

So if you are shopping for a BCG – definitely check these out – click here to open the Primary Arms page! I hope this helps you out – these really are my favorite BCGs for the AR-15.

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Great Deals On Pistol Braces and Pistols With Braces At PSA

When the ATF reversed the ruling about braces and enabled folks to use them however they saw fit, the demand and supply of pistol braces went into orbit. I have carpal tunnel and a hereditary tremor so for me, using a brace is the only way I can wield a heavy pistol – such as one based on an AR, AK or MP5 type of action.

Examples of Braced Pistols

SB Tactical’s PDW brace is great on AR pistols
IWI Galil Ace in 7.62×51 with a SB Tactical SBA4 adjustable brace
PTR PDWR .308 pistol with a SB Tactical folding mechanism and SB Tactical SOB brace

Palmetto State Armory (PSA)

PSA has come a long way. I’ve used them as my go-to AR parts supplier for years and now they have great deals on parts, kits, receivers, and firearms. They also offer some great deals on braces – by themselves as parts, as part of a kit offering or even on firearms.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at