What is 50cal?
We currently specialise in the 50BMG 12.7x99mm Browning cartridge - '50cal' being the common name, rather than the Russian counterpart 12.7x108mm or the short .50 'Spotter' as once used on recoilless artillery, as 50BMG reloading components are the most readily available in the UK, Europe and the US. Compared to other 12.7mm calibres the '50BMG' has the largest number of civilian users across the world. Details such as forthcoming 50BMG rifle competitions, 50BMG reloading data and retail information on rifles available to the UK shooter can also be found here.
Many of our members also own and compete at distances beyond 1000 yards with other large calibre rifles, in particular the .338 Lapua, but also the .408 CheyTec & 416 Barrett, several ranges we use are cleared for civilian use of all calibres up to and including 20mm. So even if you don't own a 50BMG rifle there is no reason why you cant join the FCSA (UK) and join in the fun and challenge of extreme range target shooting!
What are the origins and can I just use a historic anti-tank rifle?
The modern 50BMG target rifle is a development of an overgrown WWI era Mauser rifle that was designed to penetrate and stop a tank with a 13.2mm ARMOUR PIERCING bullet, this concept was rapidly developed up until the very early 1940s then promptly abandoned as deemed totally ineffective against heavy armour. However, over the past 40 years we have seen gradual growth in the competitive sport of precision long range target shooting by civilians the world over, using ball or solid bronze (non Armour piercing) precision target ammunition. If you require more in-depth technical and historical information on rifles of a similar or larger calibre then this can be found at Antitank.
Where can I zero and compete?
To those not familiar with the .50BMG calibre, the muzzle energy can be in excess of 10,000 ft/lbs depending on the loading and barrel length, with a muzzle velocity usually just under 2900 ft/sec. As such the majority of UK ranges are not suitable. The FCSA UK has regular bookings at a number of suitable ranges that can be attended either as a member of the FCSA (UK) or as a guest, assuming you are in possession of a valid firearms certificate and 'Safe Shooter Competency' card. These ranges are not the standard gallery ranges, they are either MOD Field Firing Areas (LFTTAs) or private ranges. Some of these ranges allow the use of calibres over 50BMG, contact the club Chairman Chris for details.
What other competitions do we operate?
The FCSA (UK) fully appreciate that shooting nothing but 50BMG and larger calibres all day is too expensive for most people, and many members also own a wide variety of other calibers right down to the diminutive .22, in answer to several requests by club members we now operate other competitions - for example a dedicated .338 competition, full bore rifle (optic) 1000 yards, service rifle (iron sight) 200 - 500 yards and LBR 100 yards. More details to follow under the competitions link or contact the club Chairman.
A brief history of the FCSA (UK)
The F.C.S.A (UK) originates from the large calibre association setup in late 1998 by the late Pete Bloom following a chance meeting at Bisley between the current FCSA Chairman and Pete one summer evening after a PR match at Bisley. Originally it was intended to be a small group of 50cal and .55cal shooters who wanted to formally compete against each other on paper targets.
This association was not a Home Office approved club, it was just a mechanism to allow competitive target shooting with large calibre rifles and open up access to suitable ranges.
Access to the Radnor range complex was obtained by Pete and a practice shoot arranged for August 1999, a good turn out led to the first UK Fifty Cal championships being held in October 1999, that same year a small contingent subsequently travelled to Sustenpaas in Switzerland to compete in a Swiss national 5ocal event.
Sadly Pete developed a terminal illness and access to Radnor diminished so other venues were sought, namely STANTA Thetford and Sennybridge. STANTA range access was curtailed and dependent on a club that did not specialise in large calibre events.
In 2001 the F.C.S.A was formed under the direction of its founding members, these being the current Chairman and previous Secretary (the secretary was a shared role between the Offas Dyke club and the FCSA), Offas Dyke already had bookings on field firing areas, so now there was nothing stopping the club moving forward. Since then the F.C.S.A has obtained the necessary range licenses, been granted Home Office approval in 2004 and NRA affiliation, which now means that for the first time in the history of UK large calibre target shooting there is a dedicated Home Office approved 50cal club ready and able to take in new members. We are vigorously fighting to promote the sport whenever and wherever possible.
Thirteen years in the running, an impeccable safety record and with over 400 members we are slowly becoming one of the largest rifle clubs in the UK.