Shooting Noreen's .50 BMG

Shooting Noreen's .50 BMG
The ULR from Noreen Firearms is a simple, affordable and accurate long-range rifle available in .50 BMG, .416 Barrett, .408 CheyTac and .338 Lapua.

Even though my job involves firearms, it's rare I get to shoot something as cool as a .50 BMG bolt rifle. At 1,000 yards. And actually hit something. My chance came recently on a media trip to Montana, where I was introduced to Noreen Firearms. Based in Belgrade near Bozeman, it's family-run operation employing a dozen or so people.

Noreen concentrates on what you might call novel firearms. Heard of an AR chambered in .25-06? Neither had I. Well, Noreen makes one, as well as ARs in .270 Win., .30-06, .300 Win. Mag. and other hunting cartridges, in addition to a powerful .338 Lapua. With the exception of barrels, all major components are built on the firm's CNC machines. Barrels arrived rifled; Noreen's employees turn them to the proper outside diameter, and cut the receiver threads and chambers.

The firm's big .50 is called the ULR, and it's also available in .416 Barrett, .408 CheyTac and .338 Lapua. The rifle is a picture of simplicity. It's essentially a barreled action set in a metal frame that serves as a stock. A cylinder of metal at the front, the "fore-end," provides a place to mount the supplied bipod. The pistol grip is your basic A2, and the "buttstock" is comprised of two metal rods that attach to a buttpad and a piece of metal that serves as a cheekpiece.

The bolt face is set up like a reloading-press shell holder. To load, pull the bolt, slide a round into the shell holder, replace the bolt with cartridge aboard and close the bolt.

The action is even simpler. The bolt face is set up like a shell holder on a reloading press. To load, withdraw the bolt from the rifle, slide a round into the shell holder, gently push the bolt assembly into the tubular receiver and close it. The trigger is a Timney Sportsman adjustable, an excellent choice for a rifle designed for long-range accuracy.

The ULR may seem dead-nuts simple, but when you look closely at the rifle (visit for a better view than the accompanying photos provide) you'll see those rods in the stock mate up with springs mounted on the sides of the receiver. These are designed to soak up the .50 BMG's fearsome recoil. Between the springs and the Noreen-designed brake on the 34-inch barrel, and the gun's 32-pound overall weight, the ULR is not punishing to shoot.

I'd be a liar if I said I didn't concentrate extra hard on the first shot I fired to ensure I didn't flinch. But when I touched off that first round, I discovered the bark was indeed worse than the bite. Recoil was minimal, although the muzzle blast was formidable.

Noreen's machining expertise really shows on the ULR. With the wind figured out, hitting a 24-inch gong at 1,000 yards was a cinch.

I was the second or third person to fire the gun, and Phil Noreen, who runs the company along with his dad, Pete, had the scope dialed in and the wind figured out. I missed the first shot but rang the 24-inch gong on the second shot, striking the edge at three o'clock. I adjusted my Kentucky windage and nailed the target dead center on the third shot.

Always quit while you're ahead. I could've shot more, but probably not a ton more. I think after a while the muzzle blast/concussion would've worn me out. However, if you were shooting with a buddy or two, switching back and forth, I'll bet you could shoot it all day, if you can afford that much ammo. But for what it is, the rifle is a heck of a deal at just over $2,000, so you should have some bucks left over to feed it.

Recommended for You


.17-Caliber Reloading Data and History for 5 Cartridges

Layne Simpson - June 05, 2019

Some history and reloading recipes on five popular .17-caliber cartridges, including the .17...

Shooting Tips

The Rundown on Runout

Joseph von Benedikt - May 13, 2019

A simple test shows how runout can affect the accuracy of your rounds.


Rifle Shooter Father's Day 2019 Gift Guide

J. Scott Rupp - May 07, 2019

Rifle Shooter editor Scott Rupp provides a comprehensive list of ideal Father's Day gifts.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Black Hills Evolution of Rifle Cartridge: .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match

David Fortier talks with Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills Ammunition about the evolution of the .308 Win. 175 Gr. Match bullet.

All About .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout is here to stay, and we take some time to look at new technology surrounding this cartridge. Next, we pit subsonic rivals against each other before stretching the legs of this CQB round out to 600 yards from a short 9-inch barrel.

Ruger Launches New American Rifle Predator in 6.5 Grendel

OSG's Lynn Burkhead and Ruger's Matt WIlson kick off SHOT Show 2018 by taking a look at the Ruger Predator.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Review: Nosler Model 48 Long Range Carbon

Layne Simpson - March 13, 2019

Nosler pairs its M48 action with a new Proof Research carbon-fiber barrel for a high-tech...


Review: Savage Arms MSR 15 LR

David Fortier - May 17, 2019

The new MSR 15 Long Range in .224 Valkyrie reaches out with authority.


.22 Nosler vs .224 Valkyrie

Brad Fitzpatrick - May 02, 2019

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were...

See More Stories

More Bolt-Action


Mauser 18 Now Available in 6.5 PRC

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - January 15, 2019

The Mauser 18 bolt-action rifle is now available in a 6.5 PRC chambering with prices starting...


New Bolt-Action Rifles for 2019

Philip Massaro - March 01, 2019

Philip Massaro examines eight new bolt-action rifles that were revealed at SHOT Show 2019.


Review: Remington Model Seven SS HS

J. Scott Rupp - January 15, 2019

Remington's newest Model Seven is ready, willing and able to handle just about any task.

See More Bolt-Action

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.