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I was able to inspect a BAR in a county museum in last night. At first glance it is a M1918 BAR, with a bipod similar to the 1918A1, but it is marked “Model 1919-Cal. .30" "Browning Pat. Feb. 4, 1919". It is made by Colt.

The serial number starts with a “C” so I think it is probably a Civilian/law enforcement gun. The barrel has no date or marking I could see, and it does not ordnance mark stamped on it like the example in Canfield’s WW I weapons book.

Oddly, the museum records indicate it was accessioned in the very early 1920’s, from, if I understand correctly, the Great War “Victory” train, sent from France, loaded with War Souvenirs for local museums. Any body have any info on early BAR’s?

I’ll try to get some photo’s this weekend. It is in pretty good shape, other that the places it was horribly assaulted with an electric welder! So sad!

BKW

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I had read that some were sold to other countries military, it is interesting to know it was rechambered for the 7.92mm. Do you know if thay had a bi-pod? The US didn't adopt one until about 1937.

Thanks,

BKW

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Hello Brian,

 

Correct name of your BAR in our military was R.K.M. Browning wz. 28. "R.K.M." is an abbreviation of the Polish wording "ręczny karabin maszynowy". It means "hand-operated machine gun". In American military you have shorter form without this "hand-operated" and all understand that it concerns machine gun for infantry or you have a little other wording "light machine gun". This "wz." is an abbreviation of the Polish word "wzór" which means Model in American military. "Wz. 28" means that weapon entered service in 1928.

 

The Polish BARs were manufactured in co-operation with Belgian FN company but the Poles re-designed several things and corrected gun ergonomics. The grip was added and bipod as well. Polish barrel was a little longer and had 611mm (24.06in).

 

Look please at the links below for various additional info in English and Polish pictorials.

 

 

English info

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Browning_wz.1928

 

Polish info

http://www.bigredone.pl/albumy/muzeum_wp_2...iejestatwe.html

http://militaria.wp.pl/kat,27307,wid,83722...ml?ticaid=15848

http://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karabin_maszy...owning_wz._1928

http://www.wpk.p.lodz.pl/~bolas/main/uzbro...arabiny/rkm.htm

http://www.iirp.prv.pl/piechota/rkm/rkm_28...oty_rkm_28.html

http://www.wilki.zyrzyn.pl/czym5.html

http://www.1939.pl/uzbrojenie/polskie/piec...ning/index.html

http://www.wojsko18-39.internetdsl.pl/wrzesien/rkmwz28.html

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To add to Brian's comments about the BAR. Since I also work with Brian in military history and had the ooportunity to see this BAR. The original model number and Sr numbern appear to have been removed and the new numbers added. one can see faint remains of the previous data. Is it possable that in might have been a reworked M1918 as a prototype ?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Colt marketed MGs after the war and the M1919 BAR was there first model of there commerical BAR. There farther development lead to the Colt Monitor BAR for the FBI

Colt Monitor
post-9906-0-91813200-1425350106.jpg

Colt made a deal with FN to manufacture and sell Colt's products in Europe. The deal was that Colt would sell in the Americas and FN would sell everywhere else.

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Michel Detrez' book about the Southern France campaign shows a GI with this Model BAR

 

Will try to scan that picture later

Could also be a belgian made BAR

T

WOODS NOW U.S MARINE CORPS ENTIRELY, our lines include now the entire Bois de Belleau. Signed, Major Shearer "Skipper" 5Th Marines, 3rd Bat - June 25th 1918

 

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There were two Belgian BAR types. Before 1940, The M30, largely the same as the Polish WZ.28, was made for Belgium, Chile, China, Argentina and maybe Venezuela, each in the buyers' choice of caliber, i.e. 7.92, 7x57, 7.65. After WWII, it was revived, with a quick-change barrel, in .30-06 for Belgium and 7.92 for Egypt (which also bought SAFN M49 rifles in that caliber). I encountered a beat-up M30 in 7.92 in VN in 1970, Belgian-marked -- but no mags and no 7.92 ammo.

 

BARs got around: Also in VN I encountered a M1918 Winchester BAR (so marked), barrel dated Jan 1918, blued finish, withn a later parkerized flash hider and bipod, overstamped (crudely) "A2", with French leather sling, that the owners (VN police station) insisted was residue of the French Mobile Group 100, that had gotten chewed up badly in the neighborhood, which they had confiscated from a local citizen after Tet 68) (and the citizen had used it for self-defense during Tet).

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