50 Action Express: Handheld Artillery

50 Action Express

In the United States, it is quite uncommon to come across calibers exceeding .50 inches. The reason behind this lies in the regulations imposed by the National Firearms Act (NFA), which governs the majority of such calibers, except when they are specifically intended for sporting purposes.

Consequently, while shotguns are permitted as Title 1 weapons, 20mm bolt action rifles are not allowed under the NFA. As a result, the firearms market generally tends to steer clear of calibers larger than half an inch, unless individuals are absolutely certain they can obtain an exemption from the NFA for their firearm.
Taking these regulations into account, we will now delve deeper into the fascinating realm of the 50 Action Express.

50 Action Express Origin Story

The .50 AE, also known as .50 Action Express, is a sizeable caliber designed by Evan Whildin of Action Arms in 1988. 

Its purpose was to create a highly potent .50 caliber round specifically for automatic pistols. Before the introduction of the .50 AE, most powerful rounds were primarily designed for revolvers. 

Cartridges like the .44 Magnum were initially developed with a revolver’s big rim, and although they have been adapted for automatic pistols, it is not always a straightforward process.

The .50 AE was specifically engineered for semi-automatic handguns and was first utilized in the AMT Automag V, LAR Grizzle WIN MAG, and the renowned Desert Eagle. 

This round boasts an immense size and power, resulting in significant recoil. Consequently, it is not well-suited for self-defense or duty purposes.

However, where the .50 AE truly excels is in steel silhouette shooting competitions and hunting medium to large game. It possesses substantial capability for these tasks.

Size Matters

The 50 Action Express utilizes projectiles weighing anywhere from 300 to 410 grains.

In terms of its dimensions, the .50 AE features a case length of only 1.285 inches and a case capacity of around 50 gr. H2O, depending on the specific data sheet referenced.

What’s interesting is that despite its power, the .50 AE is small enough to fit into a magazine that can be conveniently inserted into the grip of a pistol. 

With a length of just 1.610 inches, it’s worth noting that this does make it relatively large for a pistol round.

How Powerful is 50 Action Express?

The .50 AE round possesses impressive power, particularly when compared to other handgun rounds. It excels in carrying hefty bullets and maintaining substantial energy over considerable distances. 

While handguns can never rival rifles, the .50 AE offers commendable ballistics within the realm of handguns. In steel silhouette shooting, where targets are often engaged up to 200 meters away, this round proves its effectiveness, considering the inherent limitations of a handgun.

One notable advantage of the .50 AE is its semi-automatic action, enabling shooters to effortlessly engage targets with accuracy. Its power is such that shooters can effectively utilize a low-powered fixed optic to fully exploit the potential of both the cartridge and the firearm.

Speaking of power, the .50 AE is capable of launching a 325-grain round at a velocity of 1,450 feet per second, delivering an impact force of 1,517 foot pounds. This level of power significantly surpasses that of a standard 9mm cartridge, reaching nearly five times the energy output.

50AE vs 44 Magnum

When you compare the .50 AE and the 44 Magnum side by side, they don’t appear all that different. 

They share the same case length of 1.285 inches and an overall length of 1.61 inches. Both cartridges rely on a large pistol primer and have a maximum pressure of 36,000 psi. 

However, their similarities end there.

The noticeable distinction lies in their bullet diameters, which differ by .071 inches, and that makes a more significant impact than you might expect. In terms of performance, the 50 Action Express outshines the 44 Magnum in every aspect

Let’s take the example of a 300-grain bullet: the .44 Mag achieves a velocity of 1,250 fps with a muzzle energy of 1,041 ft·lb force. In contrast, the .50 AE propels the same weight bullet to a velocity of 1,500 fps, packing a higher muzzle energy of 1,500 ft·lb force. It’s clear that the .50 AE possesses considerably more power and force.

While these performance statistics make the .50 AE a more formidable choice, some argue that the .44 Mag is easier to handle, and in certain situations, that may hold true. 

It’s important to note that the 300-grain bullet mentioned earlier is quite heavy for the .44 Mag, which typically employs bullets around 240 grains. 

Nevertheless, due to the overall size and stability of firearms chambered in the larger caliber, many shooters contend that the perceived difference in recoil and muzzle blast between the two cartridges is minimal.

What Can You Use The 50 Action Express For?

The .50 AE round offers individuals the opportunity to engage in target shooting and competitive shooting sports using handguns. 

It also demonstrates impressive effectiveness when it comes to hunting hogs, deer, and similar animals. With its remarkable power, it is a suitable choice for hunting purposes. 

However, it should be noted that the round’s excessive power and heavy recoil make it unsuitable for home defense, and the handguns chambered in .50 AE are too large for concealed carry.

Despite its size, the .50 AE Desert Eagle handgun remains practical and user-friendly. Weighing approximately 4.5 pounds, it can still be comfortably holstered and carried like any other handgun. 

As long as concealment is not a primary concern, the Desert Eagle can be a reliable choice for those who appreciate its capabilities.

50AE Ammo

50AE ammo is available in a few different types such as soft point and jacketed hollow point, with jacketed hollow point being the most popular.

Several ammunition companies manufacture 50AE ammo, but we believe ours to be superior.

Our 50 Action Express load boasts a 350-grain jacketed hollow point bullet capable of reaching speeds of up to 1,300 FPS when fired from a 6″ Desert Eagle. 

.50 action express
Our 50 AE ammunition features premium copper-plated projectiles, ensuring both accuracy and affordability in cartridges that are traditionally too expensive for high-volume shooting.

Its impressive accuracy is sure to leave a lasting impression, although it does require steady hands to handle its power effectively.

What truly sets this load apart from many other commercially available options is the exceptional power and consistency that HOP Munitions delivers. 

With a well-established jacketed hollow point design and unbeatable value, it is unequivocally the best choice for those in search of high-quality .50 Action Express ammunition.

Wrapping It Up!

Choosing the 50 Action Express is an excellent decision for individuals who desire the thrill of shooting a unique and forceful large-bore handgun cartridge that delivers a significant kick. 

Moreover, it serves as an ideal sidearm for those venturing into the wilderness, providing ultimate defense against dangerous animals. 

Admittedly, firing the .50 AE may require some skill and effort, but there’s an undeniable allure in wielding such immense power. 

When paired with a top-quality firearm like the Desert Eagle, the experience of shooting the .50 Action Express is etched into the memory of most shooters.

Leave a Reply