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Old August 18, 2006, 01:17 AM   #26
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An interesting side note on the BAR. 1960's US Marine Corp doctrine told drill sergeants to alwayse find the smallest volunteer possible to hump the BAR. Do they still do this today for the SAW?
Naw, I always got the heavy stuff and I'm about 215 and 5'11. Usually the person who wants it gets it. I did not mind the extra weight in exchange for a bit more firepower. The M60 on the other hand jams. A lot. Like, always.
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Old August 18, 2006, 08:35 AM   #27
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From the FWIW Department: Some years back, the SOF Magazine crowd took some full-auto stuff out for a comparison test. Informal; the primary target was a three-foot rock out around 500 yards.

BAR, M14, G3, and IIRC an FAL sort of thing.

The BAR was the only one that could be kept on target throughout a full magazine. Its weight was the key.

In passing: I once worked with a guy who was a USMC Medic in the Pacific ETO in WW II, from Guadalcanal on. He commented to me that most BAR guys were on the smaller side. Further, that smaller guys seemed to have more endurance in humping loads. Just a generality...

Regarding comments about the M60: Think about John Ross' comment in Unintended Consequences (I think that's where I read it) that ever since the 1934 NFA there have been few worthwhile full-auto critters designed here in the U.S. Today's JMB would either focus on civilian stuff, or work for somebody like H&K.

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Old August 18, 2006, 09:26 AM   #28
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Really would suck to do MOUT with, especially these days when you are wearing all your war gear. Today with all your armor, etc I wouldn't want the overly heavy ammo and magazines. I personally switched back from H&K mags to standard Aluminum mags for my M4 when my required load increased to 12 magazines, that weight adds up quick.
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Old August 18, 2006, 09:38 AM   #29
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BAR? Newfangled silliness. People need to man up and get the Lewis Guns back in the field.

But, anyway, there's a reason why the BAR, the M1, and the 30-06 round are all considered obsolete (even if all were quite capable in their day and age).

In the case of the BAR, it is more controllable than an M14 or FAL in full auto fire . . . but who uses full auto fire today with individual weapons? We have crew served weapons for base of fire, suppression, and such, and both the 240 and the SAW beat a BAR hands down in that role. End of the day it's too heavy for consideration as a service rifle, and too light for a crew served weapon by today's standards.
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Old August 18, 2006, 09:47 AM   #30
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Back when we still fired from the back of our vehicle on the move we always went to burst as a default mode.

I cannot speak for the army, the but the Marine Corps did start reemphasising firing on burst because we found it was 1) faster taking people down than CP and HP and 2) Many Jihadist were on drugs.
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Old August 18, 2006, 12:08 PM   #31
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BAR all the way!!

Yeah, yeah, I know it was too heavy to be used as a presicion rifle (just ask Bonnie Parker ) and was too light to be used as an GPMG but at least it was virtually unbreakable (solid steel) and, above all else, the god of guns himself (J. Browning) designed it.

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Old August 18, 2006, 12:12 PM   #32
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The Army emphasizes burst for firing on the move also. Reduces problems in misjudging your lead on the target.

As for the BAR, a 200-round belt of 5.56mm in a SAW beats a 20-round magazine of .30-06 in a BAR, IMHO. The BAR was considered outclassed by the belt-fed MG-42 in its day, and they were both issued at the squad level. Just because a weapon was considered good in its day doesn't mean that it fits into modern infantry tactics well enough to be an adequate replacement for today's weapons.
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Old August 18, 2006, 12:21 PM   #33
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Would the BAR be a good combat rifle for today?
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Old August 18, 2006, 12:59 PM   #34
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The BAR needs a good update to it to make it worth anything over what we already have available today.

Its sad that it would have been very useful at the end of WW1 though the US generals didn't want it to fall into German hands so armed them with the Chauchat instead.

The Bar was okay in WW2 but even then it didn't compare to the Bren or Mg42. You couldn't even switch out the barrel like the others so were limited on supressive fire compared to other systems introduced. The sheer amount of them fielded though with US troops helped, but it was only part of a much larger system and was mainly there because there wasn't another system ready to be deployed.

Nowadays its doesn't really have much point. We have machine guns such as the SAW and for fixed positions you have heavier mgs. We have better designs for designated marksmanship rifles. Its just had its day with its current design and would require a major redesign to make it fit with current military practices and logistics.
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Old August 18, 2006, 02:37 PM   #35
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MGs had a problem they fired to fast and then the postitions were over run because they had no more ammo. GI's learned real quick that you kept your head down and the cyclic rate was so fast that they would literally run themselves out of ammo. Out classed not in my eyes, the ME262 out classed everything we had in the air too but it was not enought to win the war. Limeyfellow your right it would have to be upgraded for the BAR to be effective now. For its time It served well
Hey IZinterrogator the .50 cal served well for its time too and its still here dont mean its outdated does it? (J/K) I get your point though
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Old August 18, 2006, 02:52 PM   #36
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why would the magazine capacity be a problem? 20 rounds is about average for most rifles today including the M-16 which holds 10-20-30 average. In fact, Making a drum magazine for a BAR probably wouldn't be too much trouble as long as something is feeding rounds into the gun
The M16 isn't typically issued as a fire support weapon, and in its current configurations, isn't even capable of true automatic fire. It has a 3 round burst limiter, and even that, according to my brother, an 11 Bravo in the Army, is rarely used. The BAR was an automatic rifle. In fact, that is what the "A" stands for. It was for automatic fire support. And it has simply been outclassed in this area today. The Browning Automatic Rifle is truely obsolete today. It was a fine weapon in its time, but it can't compete with the firepower available from more modern designs.
The 7.62x51 was created to utilize a more effecient case design and improvements in propellents to match the ballistics of the older 7.62x63 ball load, and did this very effectively. Actual differences between the standard 147 gr M80 ball load for the 7.62x51 and the comparible .30-06 ball round are nearly identical--probably within 100 fps of each other for most loads--and it certainly isn't worth a difference of 80 rounds between the 100 round belt of the M240G and the 20 round magazine of the BAR.
Plus, as Crosshair already pointed out, the gas system of the M240 and 249 is nearly indentical to that of the BAR, just upside down.
So yes, the BAR could still kill someone today and still be wielded effectively, but there are far better options available and the older weapon is simply too heavy in relation to the firepower it offers to be effecient on the modern battlefield.
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Old August 18, 2006, 03:33 PM   #37
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Old August 19, 2006, 08:05 PM   #38
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Would the BAR be good today, NO!

Heavy, limited to one (small) capacity magazine. It has no fast change barrel capacity. HEAVY, very sensitive to ammo condition. Lots of itsy bitsy parts to field strip.

Re the "only controllable full auto" not so. I have fired full auto G3's and FAL's and found them to be just fine on full auto. It all depends where you put the weapon. BAR's have that reputation because you slide your front hand in close, and let the weight of the barrel hold the recoil down. With a G3 or a FAL you do the same and leave the sling around your elbow. Sure a full auto 9 pound rifle is going to bounce a bit more than an 19 pounder, but it is still controllable.

For a full auto, combat rifle, the G3 and the FAL are pretty darn hard to beat. When you get to the assault rifle class, like AR and AK's and the like, they seem to be winning the selection process wars because troops like have LOTS of ammo with them. They are easier to master the recoil of, and they are really cheap to build. (ok AK's are at least)

The new darling of the LMG class seems to be the above mentioned ultimax. weighing under 5 kilos, or 11 pounds, the weapon has won several field trials and IIRC is being tested by some US troops in Iraq now.

The israeli Negev is also a strong contender as it is very robust, yet light weight and is combat proven.

The BAR was the answer to what JMB saw as the need in 1915-8 for a man portable machine gun. The questions have changed. It answers the older questions just fine, but now, it is outdated.
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Old August 20, 2006, 03:59 PM   #39
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BAR? Newfangled silliness.
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Old August 20, 2006, 04:32 PM   #40
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AS A BATTLE RIFLE, in combat where transit is done mainly by motor vehicles, why is the weight a factor?

What is the war really like in Iraq? What tactics are used?
How much walking is required? How much long range shooting?

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Old August 20, 2006, 10:38 PM   #41
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Well it all depends where you are, My good friend who just got back says all they did was walk. They had a commander who believed that by walking they got to build the trust of the locals, They would go on long long walks, sometimes 20 30 miles, just walking around all over their district, letting the people know who they were and what they were up to.

Most of the trucks you see are re supply convoys, These are easy pickings as they are often heavy, slow and loaded with things that go boom when you blow them up.

The BAR is out dated. just the Krag rifle or the M98, great in there time, still useful perhaps to a civilian in a SHTF situation but no longer relevant on the modern battlefield.
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Old August 21, 2006, 07:54 AM   #42
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Mention of the fact that the BAR did not have a quick change barrel makes me think of a few oddities of weapon design, both good and bad.

The M60, not a bad machine gun, has a quick change barrel but whoever designed it evidently thought that you need to change the bipod whenever you changed the barrel. I now wonder if barrels were ever actually changed in combat.

On the other hand, the M240 was finally adopted by the US Army and Marine Corps, after it was introduced in the rest of the world before 1960. But the first thing the Americans changed was to add a handguard, which was evidently something nobody else had thought to do in the first thirty years. The tripod for it looks funny though.

The Germans, as you know, used the MG34 and MG42 for everything (don't think the MG42 was ever used as a coaxial during the war) and in the infantry, some were used as heavy machine guns and had a fancy tripod. The heavy machine gun sections came with two spare barrels while the ones in the rifle squads only had one spare each. I assume they changed them daily! As a footnote, the later MG42/MG1/MG59, or whatever it was called, in 7.62 NATO, was widely distributed and used by several armies, yet one never sees anything about its use after WWII. I just wonder what people think of it now.

The BAR, to return to the subject at hand, was actually quite popular in its day and was used by other armies as well, though I think FN manufactured them and with a slightly different configuration. Both the Swedes and the Poles used them.
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Old August 21, 2006, 03:31 PM   #43
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As a footnote, the later MG42/MG1/MG59, or whatever it was called, in 7.62 NATO, was widely distributed and used by several armies, yet one never sees anything about its use after WWII. I just wonder what people think of it now.
There's the MG74 and the MG3 - both of which are direct descendants (in fact, almost exact clones) of the MG42, but in NATO standard 7.62x51 rather than the original 8mm. They are still in service today in many countries and still one of the best GPMGs of all time. Important to note, however, is that among the other improvements in the MG74/3 over the MG42, there are now heavier bolts to slow the RoF down significantly.

FWIW, I thought long and hard about buying either an MG42 or an M60 and finally chose the '42 over the pig. Even though the price was significantly more for the '42, the MG42/MG3/MG74 is a far better weapon than the M60.
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Old August 21, 2006, 03:44 PM   #44
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Not as a general issue combat rifle. But to serve in its intended role it would work just fine. As others have said the only thing outdated is the mag capacity and weigh. Todays alternatives serve the same role better but I would be more than happy if I enlisted and was issued a BAR.
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Old August 21, 2006, 04:16 PM   #45
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Hey Tiny,
My buddy's BAR is a little bigger than yours

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Old August 21, 2006, 04:23 PM   #46
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That would be a fun one without the cut-aways.....

I think I'd want a mount for it, though.


Last edited by tINY; August 21, 2006 at 08:15 PM.
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Old August 21, 2006, 09:58 PM   #47
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Check out the FN MAG / M240 machine guns. They're the evolution of the BAR into a belt fed machine gun.
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Old August 21, 2006, 10:35 PM   #48
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I had the good (?) fortune to carry a BAR. It was heavy but it stayed on target. It was capable of 550 or 600 RPM, but to fire it that way was really uneconomical with respect to ammo. Picture this: One man carrying the rifle and several extra full magazines and a second man carrying twice as many magazines plus his own M1. If either man was disabled, the other would take over the duties of both until a new #2 could be commandeered.
I'm much too old for such stuff now, but if I had to, I'd take a BAR over any of the newer SAWs. Unlike most of the new stuff, the BAR was built to last and to continue to fire until the barrel melted.
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Old August 22, 2006, 03:08 PM   #49
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The BAR was the only one that could be kept on target throughout a full magazine. Its weight was the key.
Just to expand on that, I had heard (sorry, no source available, so disregard as needed) that the BAR was the best full-auto weapon for long-range, precision automatic fire. The weight was part of it. The rifle sights and shooting position were part of it, too. Think about a MG on a tripod and typical MG sights. Not as precise as a shoulder-stocked rifle on a bipod. At long ranges, the BAR gunner could get more rounds on target than traditional MGs.

Of course, for closer-in "hosing", the traditional design wins out.

In "Unintended Consequences", John Ross says the BAR would fire accurately with its barrel heated up to cherry red, like a stove burner. Dunno if its true, just something I read in a book...

If it is true, it 'somewhat' negates the advantage of a quick barrel change.

It would be interesting to hear from any vets who may have used the BAR in combat, in WWII or Korea. Did the BAR see any service in 'Nam?
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Old August 22, 2006, 03:30 PM   #50
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Would the BAR be a good or effective combat rifle for today? I understand it stood up to recoil far better than it's decendant the M-14 and it's 30.06 round has more power than the .308. It is a high capacity rifle that has more power and a larger caliber than the modern M-16.
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