Leader 50 A1 Bullpup gets Spotlight at 2016 NRAAM

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The updated Leader 50 A1 will be on display at this year’s NRAAM. (Photo: St. George Arms/Oleg Volk)

St. George Arms will be showcasing their award-winning Leader 50 A1 semi-automatic bullpup sniper rifle chambered for .50 BMG at this year’s NRA Annual Meeting. The rifle will be on display at the Louisville, Ky. event May 20 through May 22.

The Blue Book of Gun Values has crowned the Leader 50 A1 as one of the most innovative new designs in the gun industry and it’s not hard to see why. The Leader 50 A1 is one of the shortest and lightest fully-featured semi-automatic .50 BMG rifles in the world. It weighs 18.5 pounds unloaded and measures in at just under 40 inches long, including the 24-inch barrel.

To put that in perspective, an average AR carbine is about 35 inches long with the stock extended and a full-size AR rifle is exactly the same length at 39.5 inches long. It even uses a few AR components including the pistol grip and safety selector.

“We are thrilled to be able to showcase America’s first semi-auto .50 BMG bullpup at the NRA show in Louisville this year,” Charles St. George, President of St. George Arms commented. “This lightweight system delivers uncompromising performance, balance and ergonomics on the only lightweight .50 BMG platform available.”

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The Leader 50 A1 cuts weight without eliminating features. (Photo: St. George Arms/Oleg Volk)

The Leader 50 A1 is gas-operated and uses a short-stroke gas system to cycle the action. Feeding from 10-round magazines the Leader can throw large hunks of metal downrange as fast as the shooter can get on target. Thanks to the semi-automatic action and massive 3-baffle muzzle brake the Leader still has manageable recoil even though it weighs quite a bit less than many bolt-action designs.

Additionally St. George Arms makes two versions of the Leader in order to accommodate both right- and left-handed users starting around $8,200. It’s show here with with a standard flattop rail for optics and iron sights and a bipod and monopod on the front and rear 6-o’clock rails.

St. George Arms has been developing the Leader for a few years, working with other companies to simplify, lighten and standardize the design. You can see how it’s undergone more than a few changes since even 2014 in this preliminary overview by Oleg Volk. Even then it showed a lot of promise.

“It’s a ten-shot semi-auto bullpup of light weight and unusually low recoil,” said Volk. “Firing it last summer, I was surprised how close the kick was to a .223 carbine. Excellent balance also allowed unsupported firing. [The] annular gas piston gave smooth cycling without sideways torque.”

If you’re a fan of .50s going to this year’s NRAAM you’ll want to make sure to stop at the St. George Arms booth to check out the Leader 50 A1.

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • Karl Kostman May 15, 2016, 11:10 pm

    I guess the first word that comes to mind is is INTERESTING! I do not believe I have seen a 50 BMG in a bullpup design before. The 8200 price tag seems to make it more competitive than Ronnie’s 82A? Is it a sniper grade rifle? Good questions, they are obviously going to lose some velocity with that length barrel but I would guess they could make up for a percentage of that with some creative reloads. This will be interesting to watch its development and acceptance into the community! The statement about it kicking like a .223?? REALLY? I would have to see that to believe it!

  • Henry Killen May 15, 2016, 10:11 am

    The 24″ barrel does speak to accuracy but you are not realizing the extended length of the rifle body. When aligned properly it will still act as a longer barrel. That being said…barrel length does speak to distance. Is this rifle capable of the 1000-1500 meter shot?

  • Steve Warren May 13, 2016, 12:49 pm

    I think about 12 more inches of barrel would be more efficient and look better too. I don’t think I’d want my face that close to that muzzle-brake when that thing goes off.

  • Pseudomind May 13, 2016, 12:14 pm

    I would sure like an actual professional to chime in about this being a sniper rifle? Maybe they are doing so because it has a 24 inch barrel? I often say “to each, their Own?” But I myself am having a hard time seeing any practical use. Too heavy and not to mention much good as CQB and is the “sniper” lugging all of his own ammunition?

    Is there a YouTube video showing one shooting this item?

  • TooTallDean May 13, 2016, 11:52 am

    “We are thrilled to be able to showcase America’s first semi-auto .50 BMG bullpup at the NRA show”
    Canada has had the GM6 Lynx for several years now.
    Just saying…

  • Eric May 13, 2016, 11:52 am

    Save gas. Get one of these and a skateboard. A couple blasts in the opposite direction will get you to work on time!

  • Franke May 13, 2016, 10:50 am

    At 18 lbs empty, I would think they would have put a harness attachment on it. And, why a bullpup configuration? Not exactly a CQB weapon.

  • Abby Normal May 13, 2016, 10:03 am

    I bet that thing kicks like a mule just stung by a bee. And the accuracy has to be bad with the anticipation of the recoil. A Barrett kicks like a mule. Remove all that metal and the impact has to be crazy painful.

    • John Bibb May 13, 2016, 10:21 am

      The humongous muzzle brake probably takes up most of the recoil–the article claims the kick is like a .223 rifle. However–the blast and noise must be terrific! As far as accuracy–long range shooting tests will give the accuracy numbers.

      • Cam May 14, 2016, 9:30 am

        Yea, nope, I had a Barrett with their 2nd muzzle brake design and it wasn’t a joy to shoot. 10 shots out of it felt about the equivalent to shooting a case of clays with high brass

        • Cam May 14, 2016, 9:31 am

          This thing has to be obnoxiously painfull

  • Tonic May 13, 2016, 8:41 am

    $8200…What are they smoking?

    • Steve May 13, 2016, 10:57 am

      Cheaper than a barret. Do you know any other semi-auto .50 cal rifles cheaper than that, let alone bull pups?

      • Lance Dacus May 13, 2016, 5:41 pm

        As far as I’m concerned all the 50 caliber rifles out there are so over priced it’s ridiculous! What a waste of money.

    • john c mulhollan May 13, 2016, 8:31 pm

      i agree, who would buy this”bullpup”. this is seriously overpriced. who wants to shoot this thing. not me. i have a HSF S50. shooting anything less sturdy and heavy will remove you from the gene pool.

  • flintman50 May 13, 2016, 7:57 am

    Finally….a semi-auto pocket pistol for Texans….

  • joe May 13, 2016, 5:25 am

    Just a little bit of overkill ?

    • Lon May 13, 2016, 7:08 am

      No such thing. 😉

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