The Browning Automatic Rifle/ High Power Rifle

.300 Winchester Magnum

This is a modern .308- a great rifle in a different role!

I think that among the least appreciated hunting rifles in America is the BAR- at least in the popular press. The BAR or Browning Automatic Rifle is well represented by those who actually use their rifles. Don’t confuse the modern BAR ‘High Power’ rifle with the war winning BAR. This is a different animal. Sure the sporting gun resembles all Browning rifles with its slight humpback but it operates differently. This is a relatively light rifle well suited to hunting chores. While the BAR is a fine hunting rifle it doesn’t have to have a role to fill, it just must please the owner. And that it does.

The rifle illustrated resembles the modern BAR but left the factory some fifty five years ago. It doesn’t get a lot of use and the little wear is honest wear from carrying the rifle. It is lovingly oiled and maintained after every range or field trip and probably has less than one thousand cartridges through it. While there are many calibers in the BAR line this is among the most powerful. I like a good .308 but the extremely strong .300 Winchester Magnum offers many good options for taking large game. The rifle has proven reliable and is accurate enough for most hunting chores to a long 300 yards, perhaps a bit more with a quality optic and an experienced shooter. It isn’t as accurate as a good bolt action rifle but then for what it was designed to do it is plenty accurate. As an example with the inexpensive PPU loading I put three shots into 1.86 inch at 100 yards, while the Federal and Hornady loads tested were closer to 1.25 inch, with an average of 1.6 inches for the premium loads. Don’t use PPU for hunting. The bullet is underdeveloped. It is a fine practice load and proved reliable.

While the rifle is very attractive with deep blue finish and walnut furniture the internals are well finished as well. The bolt features seven rugged locking lugs. The rifles handles quickly and comes to the shoulder easily and gets on target fast. A big surprise came when firing the rifle. I have fired a couple of .300 Magnum bolt action rifles, full size rifles with plenty of weight. They beat me up. My fillings were not jarred out but nearly so! The BAR’s self loading action soaks up much of the recoil. It is a pleasant experience to fire this rifle. The adjustable rear sight and post front offer a precise sight picture. While optics would be better I am well up in middle age and still don’t need eyeglasses so I will stick with iron sights for the time being. The 24 inch barrel offers maximum velocity and a good sight radius.

These old Belgian rifles with their hammer forged barrels are sought after. Just the same the newer guns are at least as accurate and offer a good buy in today’s world. The gas operated action is the same as the original with operating rods driving an inertia block to operate the rifle. These rifles are reliable, more so than other sporting self loaders, and are long lived without a need for repair. If you need a rifle that handles about as quickly as a well balanced shotgun and is more comfortable to fire than a bolt gun in the same caliber and offers an instant follow up shot the BAR may be your best bet.

Caliber: .300 Winchester Magnum
Barrel: 24 inches
Length: 45 inches
Weight: 8 pounds
Stock: High Grade Walnut
Sights: Fixed post front adjustable rear
Capacity: 3+1

The .300 Winchester Magnum cartridge-

150 grains – 3300 fps

165 grains – 3100 fps

180 grains – 3050 fps