Shooting the .950 JDJ: The Largest Sporting Rifle Made

Made by SSK Industries on a McMillan action, the .950 JDJ is the largest sporting rifle made. The cartridge began as a 20mm Vulcan round, cut down to 70mm case length and necked up to 24mm (.95 caliber). It required a special sporting purposes exemption form the ATF to not be classified as a destructive device under the NFA. It’s a pretty huge rifle with a pretty huge muzzle brake and pretty huge recoil!


    • A brick wall won’t stop a .50 BMG round, either.

      The .950 JDJ fires an 8-ounce (3,500 grain) bullet at 2,300 F/S. This works out to 41,122 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. By comparison, a .50 BMG with the 700-gr. NATO bullet at 2,800 is “only” good for 12,120.

      Exactly what you’d need that to kill is a pretty good question. An even better one is how many times you can fire it in quick succession before you break your shoulder.



      • Hollowood has taught people that even tabletops can stop bullets… In reality civilian housing structures provide a very poor protection against bullets. 12.7mm heavy machine gun bullets will go through basically any wall of typical civilian houses and apartment buildings with enough energy to kill people behind them. Even full power 7.62mm “ball” (soft core FMJ) will go through many exterior walls. AP of course is much more effective. Interior partition walls provide virtually no protection against bullets. They provide only concealment but no cover to speak of.

        If civilian house has to be used for defense, the first order of business is to reinforce the walls by sand bags, or if you have them, steel plates.

      • Due to their age, and the fact that they were designed and built for black powder ammunition, the old “elephant guns” for heavy African game are classified as “Curios and Relics” under NFA.

        However, if you tried to build a new one today, chambering a round using modern smokeless propellant, you would need to petition for an exemption from NFA, as with the .950 JDJ, to avoid it being classified as “any other destructive device”. Which BTW includes things like artillery pieces.



          • Technically it’s not artillery in the way it’s used. Sure, the projectile is huge, but the weapon itself was designed for civilian usage, so classifying the rifle as a small infantry support weapon would not be a good idea unless you’re going to stick it on a wheeled carriage mount complete with elevation and traverse gearing. And even that would be unnecessary because the manufacturer doesn’t want to give you ammunition with explosives packed in the projectile (yet another legal issue).

          • “You mean this thing isn’t an artillery piece?”
            Depend on taxonomy, from Russian point of view 20 mm and above is cannon, from Imperial-Russian (as used during First World War) point of view 25,4 mm is minimum to be cannon, from WWII German point of view 30 mm is minimum for cannon

    • “Was that 4 Bore rifle not “larger”?”
      Wait, I know about 4 Bore Shotgun (smooth bore), but not rifle (rifled), what is your source of information of such weapon? When it was made?

      • ARPAD didn’t fire the 35×176 cartridge – in fact I can’t even find a reference to such a cartridge existing. The 35mm Oerlikon round is 35 x 228 although they do a 30 x 173.
        Anyway, ARPAD fired a unique round with a HEAT projectile with the entire round looking like a miniature artillery shell fitted into a very short case. It is unlike a 40mm grenade as it has a long, tapering ogive. Page 458 of Janes Infantry Weapons 1987-88, if you happen to have a copy lying around . . .;-)

      • Those are definitely “handheld cannons” rather than rifles. They even have recoil systems like modern artillery pieces.

  1. Note the long eye relief scope in the “Scout Rifle” position. I’m guessing this is to prevent the worst case of “Kaibab eye” in history.



    • “artillery pieces with muzzle brakes”
      In case of field cannons, visual effect is not only powder gases, but also dirt, thus size depends also on type of ground. Muzzle brake was tested on F-22 cannon prototype, but as it was considering to make too big cloud (showing position to enemy), it was not used in serial produced F-22 and subsequent field cannon of that same caliber – USV, encountering German guns which used muzzle brake leaded to change and in effect ZiS-3 and others Soviet field cannon designed during Great Patriotic War and later have muzzle brakes.

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