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Here is my deactivated Browning Automatic Rifle, or commonly referred to as the BAR. This rifle was officially known as Rifle, Caliber .30, Automatic, Browning, M1918. The BAR was built to help standardize the US Armies weapons as they were using various types of light and heavy machine guns. The US army wanted a lightweight weapon that could keep up with advancing troops and that could be operated by a single soldier. The brilliant weapons designer John Browning, proposed to weapon to US officials in 1917 and were so impressed, gave him a contract on the spot to produce the weapon. Although the weapon was introduced in 1917, to avoid confusion with the M1917 Browning, water cooled machine gun, the BAR was designated the M1918. Initially these weapons were going to made by Colt, however they were overloaded with orders, so the contract went to Winchester Repeating Arms Company (WRAC), with an initial batch of 25,000 ordered. By June of 1918, WRAC was in full production, making BAR's 9,000 a month. Shortly after WRAC got up and running, Colt and Marlin-Rockwell Corp. also started making the rifles, with 52,000 being delivered before the end of hostilities. A total of 102, 174 were made between 1918 to 1919. France was also impressed, looking to replace the Chauchat rifle and ordered 15,000 as well. 

The rifle is gas operated and air cooled, weighs 16 pounds and is 47 inches long. It used a 20 round detachable magazine, although a 40 round version was used for aircraft gunners. The BAR was used also in WW2 where it gained a bipod, carrying handle on the barrel and bakelite hardware. The BAR continued its service into the 1970s. 

The rifle below is the M1918 version used in WW1. The barrel is dated November 1918, so this one was around for the occupation phase. Of all the light machine guns of WW1, this in my opinion is the lightest and easiest to operate. The Lewis would be my second choice. 

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Here is John Browning's son, Val, shown in France with the BAR. He was a 2nd Lieutenant with the US 79th Division

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Two images of the BAR with the gunners belt. The belt had a cup which would allow the buttstock of the BAR to be inserted, allowing for marching or walking fire. 

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On the BAR gunner's belt there were pouches to hold up to 8 magazines, and a seperate one for 2 M1911 pistol magazines. Machine gunners typically were issued sidearms in case they had a problem with the main weapon. 

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Another view of the BAR in walking fire mode, note the assistant gunners next to the soldiers carrying the BAR. They have new magazines ready to hand the gunner. This is obviously a training scenario. 

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Another nice image of the BAR in action, this time on the firing range. The gunner is getting his practice while the assistant gunner provides fresh magazines. The rifle could fire semi-automatic and full automatic. 

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