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Calling all B.A.R. experts

Discussion in 'Allied Light Weapons' started by Terry D, May 13, 2019.

  1. Terry D

    Terry D Active Member

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    9753216_1 BAR 1918 UK.jpg Bar.jpg As some here may know, the B.A.R. in its many variants is one of my favorite weapons. (Please don't jump in now and tell me how terrible it was, I know all its limitations and that discussion has already been discussed elsewhere here.) As some may also know, sizeable quantities of the B.A.R. were sent to Britain in 1940 to arm the Home Guard. These guns were the first B.A.R. variant, distinguished by the lack of a bipod, a rear sight similar to that of the M1917 Enfield rifle, a semiauto/full auto selector switch, and a flash hider which was practically flush with the barrel. In 1939 the US Army introduced a new and supposedly improved version, the M1918A2, and this was the type used by US forces during WWII and Korea. The M1918A2 had a new rear sight similar to that of the M1903 Springfield rifle,a metal buttplate, a slot for an optional monopod, two rates of auto fire instead of full and semi, a slimmed down fore-end, a bipod, and later a carrying handle as well. The flash hider may have been larger and wider too, I'm not certain. Most of these new features just added weight without improving performance. Many old M1918s which had not gone to Britain were rebuilt into M1918A2s, though I have seen at least one photo of a US Marine with an unmodified M1918 in the field. Now, in the course of my net browsing, I stumbled across a rather unusual piece which was offered for sale on gunauction.com. (Link is Fully Automatic WWI Winchester Model 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle ). According to the info on the site, this was one of the M1918 guns which was sent to the British. However, at some point in its life it was fitted with an M1918A2 type bipod and possibly a new flash hider as well. (Could you fit a bipod to an M1918 with the original flash hider? Was there much difference between the flash hiders on the different models?) There is no information about who modified this piece, when it was modified, or where it was modified. Everything else about the gun seems to be pure M1918--rear sight, semi/full fire switch, thick fore-end, no monopod or carrying handle. To add further to the mystery another site shows a similar weapon, though this time a carrying handle has been added. See the pic at http://firearmsworld.net/usa/mg/bar/winbar.jpg . Can anybody offer me any clues? Are these M1918-with-bipod guns a British wartime modification of the M1918, an interim or early conversion/production type of the M1918A2, or some kind of postwar mongrel slapped together by dealers? And no, I don't have Rock in a Hard Place, but it is on order for me through interlibrary loan. Thanks for anything, guys.
     
  2. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I got nuttin' for you, except to say that many BARs around today seem to be fitted with aftermarket parts, or are just cobbled together from parts. This one, because of the British proof marks, *may* be legit with the British upgrading the rifle with WWII issue parts. Unless you can find another BAR with the same history (passed through British hands) and with the same modifications, you may be headed for a dead-end. How many British BARs passed back into American civilian hands? Not very many I think.

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