How Powerful is a 50 Cal?

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Testing the 50BMG on an Oak Tree

50 BMG shoots through oak tree

Everyone knows that a 50 Cal is powerful, but just how powerful is it? In a previous video, I shot through a pine tree with a 50 Cal round. Now we are going to test different 50 BMG bullets and see if we can shoot through an oak tree! A pine tree can be waterlogged, but an oak tree is harder. So, just how powerful is a 50 Cal?

50 Cal Bullets

The first rounds that we are going to be using are the American Marksman 50 BMG M33 Ball ammunition with a Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) 660-grain bullet. The M33 Ball ammo has a soft steel core and is primarily used for training by the military. However, because of its steel core, this allows the 50 BMG to punch through some targets a lead core bullet wouldn’t be able to go through. However, will it go through an oak tree?

Then we move onto the Triple R Munitions solid brass 650 GR match ammo. In the previous test, the solid brass bullets punched through the pine tree without any issues.

Next up is the 50 BMG API (armor-piercing incendiary) 647 GR FMJ with a solid steel core. The solid steel core of the API does some severe damage to steel plates. You can see that video here.

For the grand finale, we shoot the M1 633 GR incendiary rounds. These are a bit of a wild card since I haven’t shot them before.

50 BMG ammo left to right: Triple R Munitions Match Solid 50 BMG 650gr, M33 BALL 660 GR FMJ, API 647 GR FMJ, M1 Incendiary 633 GR
50 BMG ammo left to right: Triple R Munitions Match Solid 50 BMG 650gr, M33 BALL 660 GR FMJ, API 647 GR FMJ, M1 Incendiary 633 GR

Barrett M99 50 Cal Rifle

The rifle I’m using is the Barrett Model 99 rifle is a single shot bullpup rifle that was introduced in 1999, hence the name. The M99 is a single shot bullpup 50 caliber rifle. It is the most affordable 50 caliber rifle that Barrett makes and my test rifle for when I do 50 BMG tests. Side note: It is also extremely accurate. In 2001 a shooter set a world record at 1,000-yards with the M99 shooting a 5-shot group that measured 4.09″.

50 BMG Through an Oak Tree!

As you saw in the video, the four different rounds of 50 BMG punched through the oak tree with ease. So, that answers the question. I would suggest not hiding behind an oak tree if someone has a 50 Cal.

Damage Report

The video shows the carnage done to the tree, but here are the exits next to the bullets. Watch the video and let us know in the comments how you thought the test would turn out and which rounds you would pick for your 50 Cal rifle.

Striker M33 50 Cal Ammo

The Striker M33 had no issues punching through the tree. It has a small entrance, but it went through without an issue. The video shows the steel core continuing through the tree smoothly until it hit the ballistic gel. The M33 made it through new Bill (the Clear Ballistics ballistic block) but bounced off of old Bill. So shedding that copper jacket slowed down the round. Also, the shedding of the jacket deviated the bullet off course.

50 Cal Striker M33
50 Cal Striker M33

Silvertip API 50 Cal Ammo

The silvertip API ammo exited the tree, but the exit is hard to see on the camera. However, given that the softcore ammo exited, it is no surprise that the API was able to pass through the tree.

50 Cal M1 633 GR incendiary
50 Cal M1 633 GR incendiary

Triple R Munitions Solid Brass 50 Cal Ammo

For the solid brass 50 Cal round, it went through both ballistic gel blocks and caused massive cavitation. The solid brass didn’t seem to shed much velocity or deviate.

50 Cal solid brass
50 Cal solid brass

Blue Tipped Incendiary 50 Cal

Lastly, the incendiary ammo created the most dramatic footage. The cavitation was not as significant as the solid brass, but it did go through both blocks and burn the first block.

50 Cal blue tipped incendiary
50 Cal blue tipped incendiary



  1. Mike Anderson says:

    I would like to go shoot with Dustin Ellerman one day. He always looks like he is having so much fun. Does he give marksmanship classes for adults?

    • Dustin says:

      Hi Mike, thanks! If you get a group of 12 adults together we can schedule a private weekend camp just for ya! Feel free to contact me and find out more at