• Browning Bar, born perfect more than 50 years ago

    Browning Bar, born perfect more than 50 years ago

    An icon for wild boar hunters (and others), all over the world. And for more than fifty years it has been synonymous with the gas-operated, semi-automatic rifle.

    From “military” to “civilian” BARs

    The BAR acronym in the name of the Browning automatic rifle is the only thing it has in common with the military BAR M1918 designed by John Moses Browning towards the end of the First World War, for trench warfare in the battlefields of France and Belgium.

    But, in fact, even the “civilian” hunting BAR has the genes of John Moses, because it was designed in 1966 by his grandson Bruce Warren Browning (1928-2019) in collaboration with a design team led by Marcel Olinger. It was then presented in the 1968 Browning catalogue. Today, more than 1,200,000 BAR rifles have been produced.

    A positive modernisation through the years

    A rifle born perfect and now adult, very reliable, even more than capable of keeping up, thanks to subsequent modernisations that have improved its already very valid performance. Ten years ago, Browning also added the Maral version, which is almost identical, but which features a straight-pull linear manual reloading: the breech is contained inside its casing, making for easy reloading and a seven-lug bolt, renowned for its robustness, and guaranteeing exceptional safety and accuracy.

    The company always recommends cleaning the gas recovery system every thousand shots fired.

    From Type 1 to Type 2 BAR

    BAR rifles made before 1976 are generally called “type 1”, those made between 1976 and 1992 are often known as “type 2”, although they are very similar to the originals.

    1993 marked the introduction of the Mark II versions, when Joseph Rousseau made the rifle even more reliable, with a redesigned trigger system that made it easier to remove for cleaning, and the bolt locking lever.

    The Lightweight and Safari

    Then the Lightweight version with light alloy frame and the luxurious Safari appeared, with the possibility of mounting the BOSS muzzle brake, in calibres .25-06, 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum, .338 Winchester Magnum in addition to the more usual ones: .243 Winchester, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester and .30-06 Springfield.

    Then came the LongTrac/ShortTrac, the Zenith and finally the MK3

    In 2004, Long trac arrived for magnum calibres and Short trac for the standard and WSM calibres.  In 2009, the Zenith model arrived, with various options, while in 2015 the MK3 was completely redesigned, with a single action for all calibres and also a hand cocking system. Barrels are always 22” or 24” long.

    A European rifle with the most reliable mechanics

    With optimal ergonomics and aesthetics, the Browning BAR MK3 has every reason to be the reference “platform” of semi-automatic hunting rifles, with the most reliable mechanics of all time.

    The MK3 series is also totally produced in Europe, assembled in the Viana plant (Portugal) while the barrel is cold hammer-forged by the armaments giant FN Herstal (Belgium).

    The MK3 is optimized to achieve the perfect compromise between performance and handling, with new ergonomics and a lighter trigger. The Reflex version is also available: it allows immediate availability to hunt, out of the box, for hunters who prefer to use the red dot collimator.

    I have owned a Zenith BAR for years which has given me great satisfaction while hunting. The new BARs have an even “easier”, more comfortable, light and predictable trigger system. The recoil is perfectly manageable, the rifle is precise and constant, living up to its reputation. It can easily digest all types of cartridges and the accuracy is legendary. It should be noted that the first catalogue already reported that the rifle was zeroed at 200 meters with metal sights!

    Do you own a BAR? Which model? Which generation?

  • Browning blog : Fawns in danger - Drones to the rescue

    Fawns in danger: drones to the rescue

    Harvest time is a difficult period for wild animals.  Many of them get caught up in the blades of combine harvesters.  We might assume pheasants, partridges, rabbits and hares alone are affected, but larger game is not spared either.  It is estimated that thousands of fawns meet this invidious fate each year.  One association has decided to come to their aid.

  • Browning Blog: Straight-pull versus bolt-action rifles

    Straight-pull versus bolt-action rifles

    If you went into a gun shop 25-years ago and asked for a repeating, centrefire rifle, you’d get a bolt-action. However, things have changed dramatically as since 1993 you could get a manually-operated straight-pull instead. So, what is it and how does it compare to the traditional system?

    Straight-pull and bolt-action: mechanism

    Both systems have been around since the end of the 19th century with the introduction of smokeless, high velocity cartridges.

    The major difference being the method of operation. A bolt-action technically requires four movements:

    1. lift the bolt to open the action
    2. pull it back to eject
    3. push it forward to feed
    4. close the action.

    A straight-pull cuts this down by 50% as steps 1 & 2 are combined in a single rearwards pull, as are 3 & 4 when you push forward. 

    Though there were some notable, Military straight-pulls, research shows that in the crucible of battle, turn-bolts won out due to their greater reliability. However, for sports shooting this is not an issue.

    The Germans were the first to propose linear recharging.

    One cannot talk about straight-pulls without acknowledging Blaser, who introduced the first commercial design; the R93 in 1993. Great rifle, as you could also change barrels and therefore calibres, but its fixed, top-loading magazine was not ideal.

    Browning came next in 1999 with their Acera, I tested one and it had distinct possibilities though was discontinued in 2000. Next and more successful was their the Maral based on the BAR semi-auto. Since then other companies have offered their takes on the concept, and the generic design is now well established.

    I have two straight-pulls, a Maral and a Blaser R8 and they are significantly different in terms of design and what they offer. They also tend to highlight the major differences compared to bolt-guns.

    The fastest system is…

    Technically a straight-pull is faster to operate, but it’s not all about speed. I can shoot a bolt-action as fast as my R8, though 2-2 bolt manipulation in relation to maintaining your firing position and aim is better on the latter.

    However, and given the design a bolt-gun offers more leverage and operating power in adverse conditions, in terms of opening and closing the action compared to the smaller side handle of a straight-pull.

    You also have to be certain that you have closed the action fully unlike a bolt-gun, where the method of operation ensures this automatically.

    The Maral is a little different, as it’s powered by constant velocity springs, which means at the end of the opening stroke you just let the handle go and it will automatically shut. Generally, it’s a handy, highly pointable and shootable rifle.

    The most accurate is…

    Some, site straight-pulls as being less accurate, which is not the case, but like any rifle it’s down to the ammunition you choose. My Maral in 30-06 shoots best with a 150-grain load, which I use for deer, however, for boar shooting where targets are closer I use heavier loads for the power.

    With the proliferation of straight-pull rifles these days, I don’t think you can pick a clear winner between them and a bolt-action. Both offer something to a greater or lesser degree, I picked the Maral primarily for driven boar, where its fast action and high magazine capacity offer advantages. However, most of my deer hunting is done with a turn-bolt; horses for courses.


    What’s your favorite system? 

  • Browning blog: camouflage does it still have a place?

    Camouflage: does it still have a place?

    I remember buying my first camo jacket when I was 13 in the Army Cadets. It was the French Lizard pattern; the forerunner of the US Tiger Stripe. Another milestone was when the British Army changed from their green combats in the 1970s to DPM (disruptive pattern material).

  • Close range hunting optics: scopes versus red dot sights

    I’m a big fan of iron sights and my rifles for the more serious game have them fitted JUST IN CASE, sure I normally use a scope, but there are times when something simpler is better. However, ‘irons’ have their limitations, not the least of which is trying to keep front and rear elements in focus along with your target. So, is there a compromise?

  • Browning blog : pushing the 22 Long Rifle cartridge well out of its comfort zone

    Pushing the 22 Long Rifle cartridge well out of its comfort zone

    We look at the dictates of pushing the 22 Long Rifle cartridge well out of its comfort zone.

  • Browning blog: how to choose a hunting knife?

    How to choose a hunting knife?

    I think that everyone agrees that a hunting knife is a very personal thing for each hunter.  Some have just one favourite knife, but others prefer to have few more (like 20-30): one for different days or different tasks.

  • Browning blog: Gas-operated and inertia-operated systems

    Gas-operated and inertia-operated systems: a brief explanation of semi-auto shotguns

    The future looks bright for the semi-auto shotgun, a favourite among waterfowlers and pigeon and crow hunters. Gas-operated and recoil-operated versions both have their devotees. Browning has two of the most competitive models on the market in the gas-operated Maxus and the inertia-operated A5. Here is a quick look at how these two systems work, and their strengths and weaknesses.

  • Browning blog: Bar and Maral Reflex - Kite Optics K1

    BAR & Maral Reflex: a step ahead of the rest

    Visitors to the IWA 2019 were unanimous in their opinion: Browning has made a great impact with the launch of the BAR and Maral Reflex ranges.  This ingenious system has provided a new shooting experience for all lovers of battue style hunting, putting you a step ahead of the rest.  Let’s explain.

  • Browning Blog - Maxus : repeating excellence

    Browning Maxus: repeating excellence

    It’s a nice title, isn’t it? I could just as easily have written “Browning Maxus, the best gas-operated semi-auto shotgun on the market”. But that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

  • Browning blog: 5 reasons to buy a Browning safe

    5 reasons to buy a Browning safe

    With lawmakers casting a foreboding shadow over the gun and hunting sectors, a gun safe is an increasingly recommended item of equipment. Some countries in Europe require all gun owners to have one, and others may soon follow suit.

  • browning-blog-fitting-scope

    Fitting a scope : Tight and right

    The best scope in the world is no good unless it’s mounted correctly so what’s it all about? There are two mounting options; fixed, and quick detachable (QD), this last is normally found on switch barrel/calibre rifles or where iron sights are also required. The basic setup is a pair of fixed, dovetail bases that screw to the top of the rifle’s receiver (bridges).

  • A weapon for lefties, for skillful shooting

    Lefties make up about 10 to 15% of the population. When it comes to guns it is only natural that they have specific needs. Browning wants to address this issue by launching a range that will certainly be expanded. 

  • The John M. Browning Collection

    A legend is reborn. As we head into 2016 with open arms, we can proudly announce Browning’s iconic Custom Shop has evolved into the John M. Browning Collection. This is a new generation, but what can you expect?

  • Jagd & Hund - Europe's largest hunting exhibition - 9-14 February 2016

    Jagd & Hund 2016 – Browning on the road

    For our friends in Germany: will you be attending the 35th instalment of JAGD & HUND 2016? Browning will be there as “The Best There Is”, as usual.