Military Wiki
.50 Alaskan
Cartridge comparison.jpg
Type Rifle, Large game
Place of origin United States
Production history
Designer Harold Johnson
Designed 1950s
Parent cartridge .348 Winchester
Case type Rimmed
Bullet diameter .510 in (13.0 mm)
Neck diameter .536 in (13.6 mm)
Base diameter .553 in (14.0 mm)
Rim diameter .610 in (15.5 mm)
Rim thickness .070 in (1.8 mm)
Case length 2.10 in (53 mm)
Ballistic performance
Bullet weight/type Velocity Energy
450 gr (29 g) BAR FP 1,718 ft/s (524 m/s) 2,950 ft·lbf (4,000 J)
500 gr (32 g) JFP 1,674 ft/s (510 m/s) 3,112 ft·lbf (4,219 J)
525 gr (34 g) LFN GC 1,694 ft/s (516 m/s) 3,346 ft·lbf (4,537 J)
Source(s): Hodgdon[1]

The .50 Alaskan is a wildcat cartridge developed by Harold Johnson and Harold Fuller of the Kenai Peninsula of Alaska in the 1950s. Johnson based the cartridge on the .348 Winchester in order to create a rifle capable of handling the large bears in Alaska.


Harold Johnson necked out the .348 Winchester case to accept a .510" diameter bullet,[2] and Harold Fuller developed the barrel, marrying a .50 caliber barrel to an old Winchester Model 1886 rifle.

Since the rifle was designed for use on Alaska's great bears, Johnson cut 720-grain (47 g) boat-tail .50 BMG bullets in half, seating the 450-grain (29 g) rear half upside down in the fireformed .50-caliber case. It didn't take Johnson long to find out that the 450-grain truncated shaped "solid" would shoot through a big brown bear from any direction, claiming in 1988, "I never recovered a slug from a bear or moose, no matter what angle the animal was shot at."[citation needed]


Harold's favorite load in the .50 Alaskan was 51.5 grains (3.34 g) of IMR-4198 with a Barnes 400-grain (26 g) flatnose, jacketed bullet for about 2,100 ft/s (640 m/s) and just under 4,000 ft·lbf (5,400 J)of muzzle energy.[citation needed].

The Alaskan is shorter than the .510 Kodiak Express and produces about 10% less energy.[3]


Rifles for .50 BMF Bullet are available from some specialty gunsmiths and also conversions from Marlin and Winchester lever-action rifles.[4][5][6] Reloading dies are available from Hornady.[7] Although it is considered a wildcat cartridge, loaded ammunition is available from Buffalo Bore.[8][9]

See also[]


  1. The .50 Alaskan Built on a Marlin Levergun by Al Anderson
  2. Taffin, John (March 2004). "Big Bore Hunting Rifles". Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  3. McPherson, M.L. (November 2008). "The .510 Kodiak Express the 5,000 foot-pound Marlin". Guns Magazine. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  4. Taylor, Jim. "The Model 71 Winchester and the .348 WCF Cartridge". Archived from the original on 7 October 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 
  5. "Available conversions". 
  6. Cassell, Jay (2009). Shooter's Bible: The World's Bestselling Firearms Reference. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 235. 
  7. ".50 Alaskan 3 Die set". 
  8. ".50 Alaskan Ammunition". 
  9. Taffin, John (March 2004). "Serious ammunition: heavy duty factory loads for the big-bore levergun". Guns Magazine. Retrieved 25 September 2010. 

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