Welcome to the WWII Forums! Log in or Sign up to interact with the community.

Why wasn't the BAR given an extended magazine?

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by superbee, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. superbee

    superbee Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2010
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    5
    One of the criticisms evidently leveled at the the BAR was its 20 round magazine. What I am wondering is: if this was indeed recognized as a shortcoming, why didn't someone simply develop a 30 round magazine for the BAR?

    The 20 round magazine doesn't seem to extend too far below the action, so a magazine that would be approximately half again as long would not seem to extend so far below the rifle that the bipod could not be used.

    Creating a large capacity magazine would not seem to involve any retooling to the inner working parts of the action either, that I can think of.

    Any thoughts on this?
     
    Buten42 likes this.
  2. chibobber

    chibobber Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    48
    major heavy gun,major heavy ammo weight.not that controllable in full auto.As a squad automatic weapon,not so good.IMHO.
    I knew a G-canal brown shoe sergeant who got ride of his M1 for an 03.His was a riflemans perspective.He stayed in for 40 years and once cleaned the M-60 course with minimal rounds by firing it like a rifle.What I'm trying to say is that the attitude of old army,probably thought the .30 Browning MG was all we needed in full auto.(bullets cost money).
     
  3. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    5,448
    Likes Received:
    742
    Hmmm...whilst i'm going to admit i don't know what a BAR is my thoughts are:
    Anything over 20 rounds needs a strong spring inside the magazine, these "stronger" springs quite often fail and create jams...German Schmeisser MP40 good example.
    Mags need carrying and the size and shape are important, banana mags are difficult to carry alot of without a bag.
    Some weapons have had upgraded ammo clips/mags. The M-16 (and its derivatives) can use a variety of mags carrying different number of rounds. The Steyr can not only carry different sized mags but can (in theory) utilise a quick barrel change and can fire a different calibre! 5.56 - 9mil.
    The Bren used a banana mag quite effectively - though as a top loader - perhaps your queestion is a good one.
     
  4. sf_cwo2

    sf_cwo2 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    18
    I suggest Rock in a Hard Place by Jim Ballou. Short answer is weight/bulk (30-06 ammo isn't light and neither is the 20rd mag). However, an experimental 40rd mag for AA use was made in very limited numbers. A longer mag would raise the weapon off the ground even more and expose the gunner needlessly and require new mag pouches. Another thing to keep in mind is the fixed barrel-- frequent mag changes was believed to aid in cooling the barrel.

    PS after 20rds, the ammo curves so you need to design a curved mag. It's the same story as the 20rd & 30rd M16 mags.
     
  5. JBark

    JBark Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2008
    Messages:
    359
    Likes Received:
    21
    PS after 20rds, the ammo curves so you need to design a curved mag. It's the same story as the 20rd & 30rd M16 mags.[/QUOTE]

    I have to go with this part of the possible answers, not that I have much real knowledge of the subject. I remember seeing the BAR man character in SPR bang his mag against his helmet before inserting it and guessing to myself that this was to get sand out. I recall (don't quote me) that this was done to get the rounds in better alignment. Would a bigger mag have meant bigger alignment problems?
     
  6. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    7,876
    Likes Received:
    966
    It could come down to 'it ain't broken, so don't fix it' or 'it wasn't thought up here so why use someone else's idea'.
     
  7. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2010
    Messages:
    1,381
    Likes Received:
    153
    It wasn't foolproof; the spring could overtension and break...experienced users only put 29 rounds in the mags ;) There was also a question with alignment of rounds in the magazine; though you almost NEVER see it replicated in movies, the Bren magazine too needed a good thump against a hard surface - like a squaddie's steel helmet - to "settle" the rounds, or you'd get a jam, especially in a hot weapon.
     
  8. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    5,598
    Likes Received:
    982
    After 20 Rds the BAR would need to be moving to another postion.
     
  9. T. A. Gardner

    T. A. Gardner Genuine Chief

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Messages:
    5,945
    Likes Received:
    756
    Location:
    Phoenix Arizona
    I could think of two reasons:

    The problems with feeding a larger magazine and spring tension and, that changing the magazine size would have required changing the ammunition pouch size, the ammunition bandoleer size, etc. Also, I suspect that the US Army really did not intend this gun to fire long bursts in any case.
     
  10. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Messages:
    5,448
    Likes Received:
    742
    - Thanks, its little "inside" info like that i like.
     
    Buten42 likes this.
  11. TacticalTank

    TacticalTank Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Canada
    Well, the BAR or Browning Automatic Rifle was very heavy big and bulky, its ammunition already weighed quite a bit and i do belive some re-tooling would be neccesary to increase magazine capacity.
     
  12. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,709
    Likes Received:
    1,500
    Actually the BAR did experiment with an extended magazine for a time, but a combination of things made it less than advantageous. One; it made firing from prone less comfortable without the bipod being used, two; it increased the weapon's weight when loaded, increased the weight carried by the ammo carrier (or reduced the number of magazines), and lastly increased barrel wear. Twenty rounds was a well thought out compromise.
     
  13. gst121

    gst121 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2010
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    4
    Well a few years ago a ww2 veteran came and talked to my class for veterans day. He said that with the BAR you could only fire a few rounds at a time because if you fired more the enemy would figure out that you were the machine gunner. Maybe that was the reason.
     
  14. marc780

    marc780 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Messages:
    585
    Likes Received:
    55
    Don't forget the problem of barrel cooling. The BAR heated up fast enough in sustained firing, which happened a lot in WW2 and Korea. Particularly in Korea, the bar was the only portable full auto weapon available during a Chinese Human-wave attack and a lot of BAR's were fired during defensive action until the barrels glowed red and the weapon would not fire anymore. a 30 round mag would only add to the problem as the gun would only overheat that much faster.

    Remember also it was chambered in 30 /06 which is a mighty big cartridge, and makes 7.62 look dinky by comparison. Imagine carrying around a bunch of 30 round mags loaded with 30 '06 rounds, each mag weighing 3 or 4 pounds apiece, with all their bulk how do you properly carry them?
     
  15. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2002
    Messages:
    1,521
    Likes Received:
    139
    This was due to the BAR not being designed for sustained fire, the BREN which was designed for sustained fire was fitted with a quick change barrel.
    The British got around this problem by getting every member of the squad to carry a couple of magazines
     
  16. USMC

    USMC Member

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2009
    Messages:
    464
    Likes Received:
    10
    I would assume weight reasons.
     
  17. MikeRex

    MikeRex Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2011
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    7
    A 30 round BAR magazine would extend down about as far as the STG-44's magazine, seeing as 8mm kurz and .30-06 have the same case head diameter (.473"). Is that too long? End of the war the Germans were moving towards 10 round magazines for the VSG 1-5 and STG-45, but whether this was because the 30 round STG-44 magazines were too long or whether it was to save raw materials I am not sure.
     
  18. Old Schoolr

    Old Schoolr Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2009
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    12
     
  19. TacticalTank

    TacticalTank Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2011
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Canada
    The BAR was designed in 1917 and the weapon was so dominate (aswell as the Thompson) that the thought of a bigger magazine didn't even pass anyones mind at all. It's cartridge was powerful. It had outstanding accuracy even whith a full auto capability and 20 rounds back then was enough to do the job.
     
  20. sf_cwo2

    sf_cwo2 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Messages:
    200
    Likes Received:
    18
    It was to limit expenditure of 7.92k ammo.
     

Share This Page