While the Barrett M107A1 has been out and fielded for over a decade now, its legendary status still reigns true. For this reason, I recently had the chance to fulfill a dream by putting it to the test in 2023. Over the course of two days, I shot approximately 90 rounds between target shooting, hunting, and stretching this 50 BMG out to 1265 yards. I also put the rifle through its paces with various drills, hiked five miles in the dark, and experienced an unforgettable weekend. While I normally run rifles longer before writing a review, we had an action-packed weekend and a good variety of situations to test the rifle with. Given its proven history of exceptional performance and devastating power, this rifle is truly a force to be reckoned with.
The M107A1 utilizes state-of-the-art design, manufacturing, and materials, every component of the rifle has been engineered to be lighter and stronger than its predecessors. In addition to a 4-pound weight reduction over the M82A1, the M107A1 is optimized for use with a sound suppressor, providing a much-needed signature reduction capability. Lighter, stronger, more accurate, and more capable; the M107A1 has truly been engineered for action.
Barrett M107A1 Specifications:
- Caliber: 50 BMG
- Operation: Recoil Operated, Semi-Automatic
- Barrel Length: 29″ (737 mm) or 20″ (508 mm)
- Twist Rate: 1 : 15″ (381 mm)
- Overall Length: 57″ (1448 mm) or 48″ (1219 mm)
- Weight: 28.7 lbs (13 kg) or 27.4 lbs (12.4 kg)
- Mag. Capacity: 10 Rounds
- Rail Length/MOA: 23″ (584 mm)/27 MOA
When people think of shooting a 50 cal, they immediately anticipate a ridiculous amount of recoil. Luckily for anyone who has the opportunity to shoot the Barrett M107A1 that is not the case. Utilizing a massive muzzle brake, dual barrel recoil springs, a massive buffer spring, and weighing around 28 lbs, this rifle kicks about like a 12 gauge shooting 3″ shells. It is not quite as sharp as a 12 gauge, but the recoil impulse is much longer due to the distance the bolt carrier assembly has to move to eject and chamber another round. Shooting close to 100 rounds spread between two days, I never even ended up with a bruised shoulder. Kudos to Barrett for designing a rifle to tame the felt recoil of the renowned 50 BMG.
Bolt Carrier Assembly
The M107A1 features a bolt carrier assembly that is suppressor-ready. It comes with a Nickel Teflon® coated bolt which requires less maintenance when shooting with a suppressor. This rifle is designed to shoot both suppressed and unsuppressed without the need to change any components. This carrier is no joke being by far the largest and heaviest I have ever seen. However, it is built to take a beating.
One of the upgrades for the M107A1 is the “thermal cheek guard” featured on the top of the stock. This functions as a low-profile cheek riser that is comfortable and more temperature stable. The stock also uses a rear hand module which is mounted on an M1913 rail.
This helps shave some weight while providing a good resting point for the shooters off-hand to control shots. It also can be used to mount a lightweight monopod if one so desires, but I did not use it throughout my testing and just used rear bags instead.
An interesting feature is the curved rubber butt pad. While I appreciate the dense rubber, I would have preferred a flat butt since the curved one seemed to draw my shoulder a little too low causing my neck to stretch a little to get a proper cheek weld when shooting laying down.
While this rifle is worthy of a high-end scope, Barrett includes a set of pop-up irons with this rifle. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation with ticks marked out to 1500 meters. I guess better have and not need than to need and not have.
Throughout this review, I never did end up using the iron sights, but I did use a Vortex Razor 6-36 for target shooting out to 1265 yards, and a Pulsar Thermion 2 LRF XP50 Pro for hunting wild pigs at night. Capable of shooting very heavy projectiles at very long distances, the M107A1 features a 27 MOA Picatinny rail machined into the upper receiver. This is nice as it allows for more elevation adjustment for any scope mounted to it.
While shooting this rifle standing up is doable, Barrett includes a bipod for going prone when accurate shots matter. The bipod is lightweight and the whole thing features a quick-detach mount. The legs can be stowed either forward or backward by simply pulling down on the arm and rotating. Each side is independently adjustable to compensate for uneven terrain and accommodate various shooting positions.
The M107A1 comes with standard 10-round steel magazines. For a 50BMG, that is a lot of heat. Featuring cutouts on the rear of the mag as witness indicators, it is easy to see how many rounds are currently loaded. Throughout my shooting, I never had a single magazine-related issue. They fed well and rocked in solid.
The M107A1 muzzle brake is a cylindrical muzzle brake that accepts Barrett QDL Suppressor. One of the big perks to this weapon system is the fact that it was designed to run suppressed and the muzzle break works as a great suppressor host. Also, due to the cylindrical muzzle brake, this is easier to shoot un-suppressed than the iconic M82 muzzle brake which was known for a rather brutal muzzle blast. Now don’t get me wrong, even with the newer muzzle brake the M107A1 still packs a punch. The gas-punching me in the face was not a pleasant experience, but the muzzle brake does a good job of reducing recoil and keeping the gun on target for quicker follow-up shots.
The M107A1 is available in two barrel lengths: 20 inches and 29 inches. Both barrels have a chrome-lined chamber and bore, while being capable of pushing standard 660gr ammunition at speeds of 2500fps and 2750fps, respectively.
While the 29-inch barrel offers greater velocity and is well-suited for long-distance shooting, it adds an additional 1.3 lbs to the rifle and made maneuvering in and out of vehicles while hunting more difficult. The 20-inch barrel, on the other hand, sacrifices around 250fps in velocity but is much more maneuverable. However, I will say that even the 29″ version is still wieldable. I hiked roughly 5 miles through fields and pastures with night vision chasing wild hogs during this review. While the M107A1 is heavy, it is not unbearable.
Both versions of the rifle feature deep flutes that help to reduce weight and improve barrel cooling during extended shooting sessions. Overall, the choice between the two barrel lengths will depend on the user’s specific needs and preferences.
For a rifle as expensive as the M107A1 I would have loved to see a better trigger. While it works, I don’t feel like I was as accurate as I could have been. I forgot to bring a gauge to measure the pull weight, but it was around 5 lbs. There was no real defined wall, and the slack was smooth yet springy as in the 5 lbs of pull was required throughout the whole trigger press. It got the job done but wasn’t the typical precision rifle trigger people may think of.
While I have heard mixed reviews about the accuracy of the Barrett M107A1, I had to test things for myself. During this part of the review, I shot a cardboard target from a distance of 100 yards while battling intense crosswinds of 25-50mph. Due to the wind, the target was shaking, and I had to admit that I was only a 1MOA shooter at best. Oklahoma wind can be relentless, so it was anticipated to cause trouble.
Considering the circumstances, most of the ammunition I tested performed as expected, producing groups between 2-4MOA. However, I managed to achieve a 1.04 MOA 4-round group using match-grade PPU 725gr ammunition, discounting the fifth shot which I acknowledge I pulled. I have seen other people shoot sub-MOA groups using Hornady 750gr A-Max, which I believe is achievable after my testing. Unfortunately, I had ordered some, but it didn’t arrive in time for this review.
Despite the average groups, I was still able to shoot a TaTargets Goliath AR550 steel silhouette at distances ranging from 100 to 1265 yards. There aren’t many targets that can withstand the power of a 50 BMG, but the Goliath held up remarkably well. Even at a distance of 100 yards, the steel target remained unscathed on the front face, with not even a dimple to show for it. Although it’s a loud ringing target, we couldn’t hear anything due to the 30-50mph winds, but it was satisfying to see the target visibly swing when hit.
As expected, 50 BMG is capable of causing significant damage. The typical 660gr M33 Ball ammo, for example, has a muzzle energy of approximately 11,000 ft-lbs, which is roughly 3-4 times more than that of a 308. While there are various rounds designed for specific equipment, the sheer energy of even ball ammunition can have a devastating effect on tissue.
During my review, I took the rifle out for hunting, but I was unsuccessful in catching any wild pigs. However, I did come across an armadillo, which is considered a varmint and tears up our farmland. I deemed it necessary to quickly dispatch it with the M107A1. The image below is a screenshot taken from a Pulsar thermal scope mounted on the rifle. Let’s just say that it got the job done.
During my testing, the Barrett M107A1 performed admirably. While I didn’t have the chance to test it with Barrett’s QDL suppressor, others I talked to have reported that it works well. The rifle had no trouble firing rounds downrange with enough force to obliterate an engine block.
The only problem I encountered was that by the end of the day, the rifle started to get gummed up with dirt. The combination of 30-50 mph winds and fine dust created a very dirty environment, which led to failures to feed. Fortunately, disassembling the rifle was easy thanks to the takedown pins, as illustrated in the user manual. After wiping down the chamber and applying more oil, the M107A1 was back up and running. In fact, it was able to cycle through 11 rounds in about 3 seconds without any issues – a mag dump to remember!
The Barrett M107A1 is a powerful and durable semi-automatic rifle chambered in .50 BMG. It has a solid construction and ergonomic design, that made it easy to shoot accurately and bearable to hike miles with. The rifle has impressive long-range capabilities and can take down targets at distances past one mile away. I was even able to get a few hits on a silhouette out to 1265 yards. The M107A1 has a reputation for accuracy and can shoot around 1 MOA groups when paired with premium ammunition. While the barrier to entry for owning the legendary M107A1 is high with an MSRP of $13,275, this rifle provides a lot of capability when used in the right circumstances.