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Bren versus BAR

Discussion in 'Small Arms and Edged Weapons' started by Martin Bull, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Sacred Cow Time . . .

    Everyone discusses MG34/42 but what about the Allies' dependable friends, the Bren and BAR?

    On paper, they look pretty close, except for the BAR's rather measly 20-round magazine. I've often wondered about this - which one was best ?

    I'll kick off by going for the Bren on patriotic grounds - in trained hands, it was ultra-reliable and could be devastating ; as used by the Airborne forces at Arnhem/Oosterbeek, for instance.
     
  2. Bish OBE

    Bish OBE Member

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    Personally, i don't like either weapon in place of a el feed GPMG. Its a bit like the British army today were we have the LSW instead of the GPMG. But of the two, the BAR looks rather to big for such a weapon, and what with the extra rounds, i'd go for the Bren.
     
  3. Smoke286

    Smoke286 Member

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    But Bish, the Bren has the advantage over the LSW of a quick change barrel
     
  4. Bish OBE

    Bish OBE Member

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    But does it really need one. I am assuming that an LSW does nothave this because it is not an issue because you don't carry enough Mags to get it that hot anyway. I've never known an LSW to have problems with over heating barrels. I'd rather have something belt fed than Magazine. I think that we, by bringing in the LSW have gone backwards.

    [ 01 July 2002, 07:00 AM: Message edited by: Bish ]
     
  5. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Hallo!

    Well, I have fired a BAR and I like it. Its fire powwer is fine for me, but it is too heavy for me.

    Would you excuse my ignorance and tell me what the Bren is and the caliber of the BAR?

    I am not very good on hand-guns.
     
  6. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Hi Friedrich

    To see the Bren in considerable detail, I recommend the following website : -

    http://www.brengun.org.uk/

    The Bren is standard British .303, whereas the BAR is .30-06. ( I think I'm right about the '-06' ) but am ready to stand corrected !
     
  7. Friedrich

    Friedrich Expert

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    Thanks, Martin.

    I will check it later. Because I do not have time. Now, the "work" has became work and I do not have plenty of time...
     
  8. Greenjacket

    Greenjacket Member

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    BAR:

    20 rd .30-06 mag
    Bipod (usually removed by soldier)
    Variable rate of fire 500rpm or 650rpm
    Bottom-mounted mag
    No quick-change barrel
    8.8kg

    BREN:
    30rd 0.303-inch mag
    Bipod (never removed)
    Fixed rate of fire, but with semi-automatic option.
    Top mounted mag
    Quick-change barrel
    10kg

    I would say the BREN was superior, for both practical and patriotic reasons. Firstly the bipod was rarely removed, and so it usually had a stability and therefore accuracy advantage when prone. The additional weight absorbed recoil and so helped improve accuracy. The quick-change barrel allowed fire to be sustained for longer, and the weapon was easily stripped down and reassembled, and was extremly reliable. It used a larger magazine than the BAR and so offered greater firepower.

    Some have said the top-mounted mag reduces visibility and sighting, but gravity aids feed and the offset sights are perfectly functional and accurate. One possibly snag was the .303's rimmed base which could cause stoppages, but these were easily cleared.

    I am not sure how the .303 and .30-06 compare ballistically, and so will not comment.
     
  9. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    Joe likes this.
  10. JKilts

    JKilts Member

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    I'm going to have to side with the BAR. It's 1.2 kg lighter than the Bren, and some soldiers carried up to 100 pounds on them, so the lighter the gun the better (in most cases). I believe they had about the same rate of fire and when prone with the bipods in use, the BAR had more accuracy.
    Also take into consideration their age. They were equally reliable, which is impressive for the BAR. The BAR was constructed during WWI, and the Bren was constructed during the 1930's. Even with the 20 year disadvantage for the BAR, it still compares (and in my opinion is superior) to the Bren Gun.
     
  11. schizuki

    schizuki Member

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    For patriotic reasons, I'd love to say the BAR (John Moses Browning is our most under-appreciated genius). And truthfully, I could weasel out by saying, "They're two different weapons types, so they can't be compared." But realistically, there is no such category as "Automatic Rifle." I assume we're comparing these as LMG/SAW's, and the Bren is far, far superior to the BAR with only a few-pound weight penalty. It's no contest.

    However, it should be said that the Brits needed the advantages of the Bren more than the Americans did, since the organic firepower of an American squad was greater... so tactically, it's a wash.

    Now, I question why our British friends are feeling patriotic about a Czech weapon...:D
     
  12. Owen

    Owen O

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  13. acker

    acker Member

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    Depends. What do you want to use the weapon for?

    The BAR was initially conceived as an assault weapon that could hold an area after its seizure (temporarily, at least). In other words, it was an automatic rifle (duh). The Bren is a pure LMG.

    If you take off the bipod and all the other attachments from a BAR, it becomes a serviceable assault weapon. Add the bipod and flash hider, and you have an very light machine gun. It doesn't do either spectacularly, but it does both jobs.

    If I want to assault a town, I'd use a BAR. If I want to lay down a base of fire, I'd use a Bren. If I was going to fight in the Pacific islands, I'd use a BAR (despite the corrosion properties associated with the M1 Garand and BAR there). If I wanted to hold a city against a German offensive, the Bren would be a better choice.


    It's all situational, isn't it?
     
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  14. tinmanl19

    tinmanl19 Member

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    I'd have to take the Bren gun, in almost all situations. Mag size and quick change barrel, would make a bigger difference in a close combat situation then the lighter weight of the BAR. And mag size would be important in a sustained support fire role. Defensive or offensive it is usually weight of fire that makes the difference. I believe that a .303 is a heavier round as well, but i'm not 100% sure. On a purely personal level I just think the Bren looks cooler.
     
  15. Herr Oberst

    Herr Oberst Member

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    Cooler?, something about a clip of live ammo, exposed, in front of my face that is unsettling, especially with bullets whizzing by my head.

    I have held both weapons but only fired the BAR and it has a nasty snarl when it spits hate at the bad guys.
     
  16. Asterix

    Asterix Member

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    The Chattelerault FM.24/29 is an excellent weapon. It never recieved the credit it deserved.

    Back in 1997, I had the wonderful chance to go to the famous Knob Creek machinegun event where I had the opportunity to watch up close the BAR, Bren, and the Chattelerault 24/29 being fired. I've since done some reading and studying on those 3 weapons, and in my opinion, I would place the Bren as the superior weapon with the Chattelerault a very close second, perhaps even it's equal. I'm simply not that impressed with the BAR, and while I'm sure it's a fine weapon, I would choose either the Bren or the m24/29 before the BAR.

    Someone I know sent me 2 vids of himself firing a FM.24/29 at Knob Creek just this past summer.

    YouTube - LIVE FM 24/29 SHOOT!!!!!!!

    YouTube - LIVE FM 24/29 SHOOT!!!!!!! #2
     
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  17. Tony Williams

    Tony Williams Member

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    One point not mentioned so far is that the top-mounted magazine greatly speeds up magazine changes. With the Bren, these were usually done by the No.2 to the gunner, who could whip off one mag and insert another with only a couple of seconds pause in the firing.

    The BAR was a good weapon, much loved by its users (the most important criterion), but as an LMG it did not compare with the Bren.
     
  18. schizuki

    schizuki Member

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    This is about the only situation I see the BAR more useful in - suppression fire into a cave mouth. Its "rifle" characteristics make it slightly handier than the Bren.
     
  19. schizuki

    schizuki Member

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    Hmm, you've just hit upon an advantage to the BAR I hadn't considered - I believe it was a one-man weapon. So while the Bren has a fifty-percent firepower advantage, and can sustain fire longer due to the quick-change barrel, it takes a rifleman out of the squad.

    Feh. Like I said before, it's kind of a wash. The bolt-action-armed Tommies needed the LMG Bren, while the automatic-rifle BAR was a nice supplement to the Garand-armed American squad and (if I'm not mistaken) did not cost a rifleman to serve as a #2.

    Both excellent weapons. I'll take one of each, thanks.
     
  20. tinmanl19

    tinmanl19 Member

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    one of each, Huh? must be eating your spinach, that's a lotta weight, not counting ammo and your second set of socks and undies, HEHE
     

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