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In the twilight hours of WWI, John Moses Browning introduced a weapon to the US Army Ordnance Corps that would see quite extensive use… 20 years later during the second world war.
The Browning BAR, at a glance, looks like a phenomenal candidate for an early main battle rifle.
- Detachable Box Magazine: 20rds
- Full power and effective range: 30.06
- Select Fire
- Later models (Colt Monitor) even featured a pistol grip.
There is one crucial facet that makes it problematic however, it is an open bolt machine gun. The bolt carrier design was so good though that if you pull the FN MAG/M240’s carrier and a BAR carrier, you’re going to see the developmental ancestry quite clearly.
But even as we have since made a Battle Rifle version of the BAR, the Ohio Ordinance HCAR, the BAR of the World Wars, Korea, and early Vietnam era never was re-engineered as a fighting rifle instead of its early Squad Automatic Weapon role.
Would doing so have been a viable idea? Certainly, with very few changes internally and weight reductions done externally for the projected lower rate of fire, it could have been. But it wasn’t, for any number of reasons on any given day with the Ordnance Corps, it was not. Ian goes into why, so hit play and enjoy.