When it comes to the world’s history, firearms have played a major role. The history of the United States alone is one full of firearm heritage. Anyone who owns a historical firearm will tell you that you can almost feel the history when holding it. The NRA has a museum with firearms that have literally changed history. The NRA museum that was recently built inside the Springfield Bass Pro Shops has its own impressive arsenal. Specific firearms themselves can bring a multitude of emotions when mentioned. Winchester Model 94, Colt 1911 and AK47 all have impacted history in one way or another. One of the more under-acknowledged guns to me though, would be the BAR.
BAR stands for Browning Automatic Rifle, and currently I am talking specifically about the M1918. It was a military automatic rifle/light machine gun chambered in .30-06 Sprg. Anyone who has shot a .30-06 Sprg could only imagine what it would be like to shoot one that has a 20 round magazine and automatic fire. Quite impressive as was the service life of this firearm. It was used in World War Two, Korea and for a little bit in Vietnam. It is a highly sought after firearm and collectors will pay huge bucks for one. It is an iconic weapon that has earned its place in history and our hearts. (As a running joke my best friend’s dad said he wanted to name his son after the firearm.)
Now not your average hunter or shooter can afford the thousands of dollars it takes to own an original BAR. Luckily Browning has been producing a civilian/hunting version of the BAR rifle for years. Unlike the original M1918, these rifles are a semi-auto. They have been chambered in standard hunting calibers: 270 Win, 300 Win, 243 Win, 308 Win and 30-06 Sprg.
Browning is currently offering a BAR LongTrac in .270 Win, .30-06 Sprg and .300 Win. As they state their guns “are rugged, reliable hunting rifles, capable of cycling magnum cartridges, providing you the firepower needed to bring down any big game species in North America.” These guns are gas operated and utilize “a 7-lug bolt that locks directly into the barrel, giving it incredible strength, while providing exceptional accuracy. A buffering mechanism reduces wear and stress on the rifle's receiver for longer life and greater reliability”.
To many a gun is just a tool and to others it is a piece of art. This firearm provides both. It has beautiful walnut wood in the buttstock and forend. It also has a safety in the standard location for most semi-auto shotguns, making it a breeze to engage/disengage while maintaining proper grip. The floorplate is also hinged, giving access to the detachable magazine that much easier.
I would personally love to pick one up in the .30-06 Sprg. I already have a Remington 700 chambered in this caliber and my wife enjoys shooting it. This way we can consolidate calibers while adding to our collection. And while it might not be the original BAR, I am sure I would still feel part of the firearm’s impressive history. And I can always use it in the future to teach my son about how important firearms have been to history and why the United States is the greatest country in the world.
PS- While .30-06 Sprg might be a little big for predator hunting I have known to use bigger.