In the local news is that really big rifle, .50 caliber, that is a source of concern around the Faulkner County courthouse.
Hey, seize the opportunity. Hold an auction on the courthouse steps. Sure. Deer hunters will line up to buy the thing.
We will pass on more off-the-cuff judgments or additional smart-aleck comments. But we will point out a couple of earlier events involving these type rifles.
For the unacquainted, the rifle in the news and others of its nature fire the .50 caliber machinegun cartridge that dates back to World War I days, a creation of John Browning. It is tremendously powerful. It can shoot for really long distances with accuracy in the hands of a qualified person.
Faulkner Sheriff Karl Byrd said it will shoot though a building, and that probably is not an exaggeration. You can understand why deer hunters, some of them, would be interested in such a weapon.
Such a rifle was once manufactured in Arkansas and was a factor in a north Arkansas incident back in the 1980s.
A prominent Arkansas businessman bought the venerable old Iver Johnson firearms company, and it functioned for several years in a Jacksonville facility. Its major outputs were .22 caliber rifles and double-barrel muzzle-loading rifles. It also produced in limited amounts a bolt action .50 caliber rifle for law enforcement use.
The owner showed this writer one of these rifles but with the request not to write about it. He said something like, “I don’t need deer hunters to find out about these things.”
Yes, it was an impressive firearm, well made, smoothly functioning. We did not shoot it. The thing weighed something like 21 pounds, meaning a bipod was necessary for using it. Recoil likely was punishing on the shooter’s shoulder.
The .50 caliber BMG cartridge measures 12.7X99 in metric figures. The familiar .30-06 is 7.62X64. It uses bullets weighing from 650 to 800 grains. A .30-06 commonly uses bullets of 150 to 180 grains. The .50 BMG has muzzle energy of about 13,500 foot pounds compared to the .30-06’s 3,100 or so foot pounds.
Yes, it is powerful.
Back in the 1980s, a group called the Cross, Sword and Arm of the Lord (CSA) and state and federal law enforcement folks had a confrontation in far north Arkansas, near the Oakland community on Bull Shoals Lake. The law folks included Arkansas State Police, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Arkansas state police had a couple of those Jacksonville-manufactured .50 caliber rifles set in place overlooking the Cross, Sword and Arm of the Lord encampment about a half mile away.
The law enforcement people and the head of the Cross, Sword and Arm of the Lord met under a truce for talks, negotiations and such. The police took the fellow to the mounted rifles and let him look through its telescopic sight. They showed him the cartridges it used.
The Cross, Sword and Arm of the Lord surrendered shortly afterward.
Can we assume that these .50 caliber rifles don’t need to be out there in the deer woods?