Terry Thomas

BAR Accuracy

Making the BAR Accurate



Before we start let me say I was at the point of throwing away all of my writings about the BAR. After you read this article I think you will understand why I changed my mind. I know one can have a BAR that has the potential to kill game from zero to five hundred yards, I believe this. But I have not convinced myself as of today. I am however on to something here that I do believe will help me achieve my goal of using my BAR for hunting and not for show.


Part One:


I do not where to begin when it comes to talking about accuracy with a BAR.


People I have tried everything one can imagine and have shot what seems like hundreds of rounds through five different BAR’s and three different calibers to try and prove I have found the secret only to discover I have not.


All of my BAR’s are Belgium made and only my 270 has a BOSS system.


My heartache has been with my 7 MM Magnum. Using 65 grains of IMR 7828 and the Hornady 162 grain SST both of bolt action rifles  give a consist grouping of less than five inches at 500 yards. I can not speak for everyone but for me that is accurate.


My BAR however shooting the same loads firing five shot groups will give me something like 5=18” and of the five shots 3= 5” and this is at 250 yards.


Another thing is the bolt action rounds that were fired indicate somewhat of a flattened primer where the BAR indicates way to much pressure. I am sure this has to do with the fact that the bolt action keeps the brass seated during firing and therefore the primer can only flatten as it is wedged against the bolt. The BAR on the other hand begins its ejection while the pressure is still in the barrel and lets the brass come loose from the bolt. This results in the primer review as indicating the loads are to hot and I believe they are.


All in all the one thing that has bothered me over the years is why is the pattern always so big and out of every pattern group why are the majority of the rounds close and one or two are way out of the pattern. I know experts tell us this happens because it is an automatic and that is the best it will ever do.


I do not believe that at least not yet.


Since IMR 7828 and Hornady SST’s have given me such wonderful results with my bolt actions I stayed with that plan. I down loaded 20 new rounds with 59, 60, 61and 62 grains of powder and tried again. I figured even if the bullets are moving a little slower than I like no deer or elk would notice the difference.

The results were as follows.


59 Grains 5= 12          3= 9

60 Grains 5= 10 ¾      3= 4 ½

61 Grains 5= 13          4= 4


Now it was during the adventure that the 5th round of 61 grains was delayed. Since my barrel still felt a little to warm to shoot I removed the round to let the rifle cool with the action open. It was then I noticed how bad the tipped end of the SST was damaged. After the rifle had cooled I loaded the last round and fired, the last round was the round that made 5= 13.


I always was loading the magazine during my testing as this is the way I have always done it. The force within the automatic system is mighty and I realized that perhaps my flyers where nothing more than bullet tips that where damaged during the ejection and loading process.


Now think about this. Uncle Sam would never have adopted the BAR for the war or the M 1 Garand if the type of patterns referenced above was all they could expect. I do not believe they would have. Then it came to me.


The M 1 Garand used a clip that aligned the unfired round with the chamber and therefore it would enter the chamber with little to no damage. Also the military used full metal jacket bullets that you could not damage with a sledge hammer. So therefore the rifles even though they were automatic they shot accurate enough the military accepted them.


With this philosophy in place I tried something a little different. Instead of loading the magazine I hand dropped each of the last five rounds into the chamber, released the magazine latch and let the bolt go home.


Results were 5= 5 4= 3 ½ at 250 yards. Now that is a pattern I can get used to. This is something every one of you can do yourself. Shoot a pattern using you magazine and then shoot a pattern dropping the round into the chamber and then closing the bolt. I think you find what I have found and that is the pattern stays together. Now this is based on loads that you know were accurate in your bolt action rifle.


Another suggestion would be to use lighter loads than you use in bolt action rifles.

Be very careful as the LYMAN 45th edition shows loads for the 7 MM that are 4 to 5 grains heavier than Hornadys reloading manual. Hornady is closer to being correct and LYMAN though they are off on the 7 MM I can not say that they are off with respect to other calibers.


Since you can not hunt with full metal jackets the challenge now becomes to find a bullet that will take the abuse of the auto loading action and give stable results.


Since Hornady’s SST and Barnes Tipped and TSX all gave the same erratic type of pattern shooting from the magazine I have to conclude that though these manufactures bullets are excellent choices for the bolt action shooters they are not however what one would want for his BAR. The damaged tip if it becomes damaged will lead to a flyer and this could be the difference between a heart or lung shot or a gut shot.


Since the choices for 7 MM Magnum are somewhat limited I am going for the Core Lok and the Woodleigh Protected Point. As both of these look like they may take the abuse. The exception would be the Woodleigh as they do not have a crimp ring and I crimp everything.


Since I also have this same problem with my BAR 30-06 at least I have an option here to try full copper jacket and gliding metal to see if my theory is correct.


For it will do no good to own an automatic rifle if you have to shoot it like a single shot.


I know there are those who believe you have to accept what ever accuracy results an automatic rifle gives you. I am not one of those.


My 270 pump looks just like a BAR with respect to single forearm and butt stock yet it is nearly as accurate as my Remington bolt BDL’s. I ask my self how that is possible as my BLD is bedded in glass with a one piece stock, how can that be. Now I think I know, the pump is loaded under four or five pounds of force and therefore the projectile is not damaged, the auto loader is loaded under hundreds if not thousands of pounds of force. Both you I know if you get your finger in the way of an auto loading firearm during firing you are going to be leaking red and I mean a lot of it.


One has to also keep in mind that by crimping the bullet you force the tip of the projectile to receive the bulk of the damage.


So with all this said I will keep my remaining articles about the BAR and I will post them as my testing is completed.



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