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.”
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.