The Poor Man’s BAR
According to Wikipedia, “The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was a family of United States automatic rifles (or machine rifles) and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed by John Browning in 1917 for the U.S. Expeditionary Corps in Europe as a replacement for the French-made Chauchat and M1909 Benet-Mercie machine guns.
The BAR was designed to be carried by advancing infantrymen, slung over the shoulder or fired from the hip, a concept called “walking fire”—thought to be necessary for the individual soldier during trench warfare. However in practice, it was most often used as a light machine gun and fired from a bipod (introduced in later models). A variant of the original M1918 BAR, the Colt Monitor Machine Rifle, remains the lightest production automatic gun to fire the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, though the limited capacity of its standard 20-round magazine tended to hamper its utility in that role”.
I think the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was arguably one of the fiercest hand held machine guns of the first and second World Wars as well as the police action of Korea. It was also used in a limited role with the U.S. and our ally’s well into the sixties. It was produced by several different manufactures including Winchester, Marlin and New England Firearms from 1917 until the mid-fifties. It was also manufactured in 7X57 Mauser as well as 6.5×55. Its weight was between fifteen and twenty pounds. Even though the title of this article is the Remington BAR, Remington never made one, but I have made my own (Sort of…).
How to make a “Poor Man’s BAR”
Since this web site is about real survival and real world cheap ideas, I offer one of my favorite suggestions for a good dual use weapon. Most of the readers of this will be familiar with the Remington 742/7400/7500 series of “Woodsmaster” rifles. In the region of south central Missouri where I started deer hunting as a youth, all of the older guys had them and most were in 30-06. The Remington Model 742 has evolved from the basic semi-automatic rifle of the fifties to the modern Remington Model 7500. They all feel a lot like the very popular Remington 1100, therefore; it points and comes to the shoulder with the feel of a shotgun, not a rifle. These Remington models are also available in other calibers including the ever popular .308 and my favorite the .243. Also available to the public (for now at least) are higher capacity ten round magazines. I have even heard rumor of some elusive “20 round” magazines out on the market, but have yet to find them. These higher capacity magazines are available through online retailers like “Cheaper Than Dirt” and “The Sportsman’s Guide”, they can turn your deer rifle into a poor man’s BAR in 30-06. In .308 they can be compared to a poor man’s FAL/HK91 etc.
These rifles are very common on the used market and fetch less than a half of a new AR-15, and cost seventy five percent less than that of an AR-10 in 308. As for the original “big boy” BAR 30-06, in a high capacity platform, they do not even exist on the open market. So not only is the Poor Man’s BAR cheaper than your average “assault rifle” they also don’t appear to be anything other than a common deer rifle. If a violent situation arises simply replace the five rounds of soft point deer ammo with ten rounds of surplus green tip, and you are ready for any type of situation. No, I am not suggesting that these Remington’s can or should serve as a Main Battle Rifle in a sustained combat situation. What I am saying is that these Remington rifles can be a cost effective poor man’s survival weapon. Then by adding a few higher capacity magazine to the equation these rifles can get you out of a lot of trouble if the need arose.
As for my writing that .243 was my favorite. My first deer rifle was a Remington 788 in .243. I grew up in the mid-west where the deer aren’t that big and the shooting distances weren’t that far. My dad bought the Remington for me as a dual purpose, deer/coyote rifle. I never needed anything bigger for Missouri whitetails, coyotes, or crows. Although I have wanted a few extra shots at coyotes, which is where the Remington Model 742 comes in. The Model 742 is not the most accurate, especially not as accurate as the old cheap 788 or any other quality bolt gun, but it is good enough. Again, at half the price of a AR type weapon.
Have you guys ever shot the Poor Man’s BAR? If so what did you think of it?
This post was a guest post written by J.R Cook.
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