How to make a “Poor Man’s BAR”

How to make a “Poor Man’s BAR”

How to make a “Poor Man’s BAR”

According to Wikipedia, “The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was a family of United States automatic rifles (or machine rifles) and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed by John Browning in 1917 for the U.S. Expeditionary Corps in Europe as a replacement for the French-made Chauchat and M1909 Benet-Mercie machine guns.


The BAR was designed to be carried by advancing infantrymen, slung over the shoulder or fired from the hip, a concept called “walking fire”—thought to be necessary for the individual soldier during trench warfare.[1] However in practice, it was most often used as a light machine gun and fired from a bipod (introduced in later models).[2] A variant of the original M1918 BAR, the Colt Monitor Machine Rifle, remains the lightest production automatic gun to fire the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, though the limited capacity of its standard 20-round magazine tended to hamper its utility in that role”.

I think the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) was arguably one of the fiercest hand held machine guns of the first and second World Wars as well as the police action of Korea.  It was also used in a limited role with the U.S. and our ally’s well into the sixties.  It was produced by several different manufactures including Winchester, Marlin and New England Firearms from 1917 until the mid-fifties.  It was also manufactured in 7X57 Mauser as well as 6.5×55.  Its weight was between fifteen and twenty pounds.  Even though the title of this article is the Remington BAR, Remington never made one, but I have made my own (Sort of…).

Since this web site is about real survival and real world cheap ideas, I offer one of my favorite suggestions for a good dual use weapon.  Most of the readers of this will be familiar with the Remington 742/7400/7500 series of “Woodsmaster” rifles.  In the region of south central Missouri where I started deer hunting as a youth, all of the older guys had them and most were in 30-06.  The Remington Model 742 has evolved from the basic semi-automatic rifle of the fifties to the modern Remington Model 7500.  They all feel a lot like the very popular Remington 1100, therefore; it points and comes to the shoulder with the feel of a shotgun, not a rifle.  These Remington models are also available in other calibers including the ever popular .308 and my favorite the .243.  Also available to the public (for now at least) are higher capacity ten round magazines.  I have even heard rumor of some elusive “20 round” magazines out on the market, but have yet to find them.  These higher capacity magazines are available through online retailers like “Cheaper Than Dirt” and “The Sportsman’s Guide”, they can turn your deer rifle into a poor man’s BAR in 30-06.  In .308 they can be compared to a poor man’s FAL/HK91 etc.

These rifles are very common on the used market and fetch less than a half of a new AR-15, and cost seventy five percent less than that of an AR-10 in 308.  As for the original “big boy” BAR 30-06, in a high capacity platform, they do not even exist on the open market.  So not only is the Poor Man’s BAR cheaper than your average “assault rifle” they also don’t appear to be anything other than a common deer rifle.  If a violent situation arises simply replace the five rounds of soft point deer ammo with ten rounds of surplus green tip, and you are ready for any type of situation.  No, I am not suggesting that these Remington’s can or should serve as a Main Battle Rifle in a sustained combat situation.  What I am saying is that these Remington rifles can be a cost effective poor man’s survival weapon.  Then by adding a few higher capacity magazine to the equation these rifles can get you out of a lot of trouble if the need arose.

As for my writing that .243 was my favorite.  My first deer rifle was a Remington 788 in .243.  I grew up in the mid-west where the deer aren’t that big and the shooting distances weren’t that far.  My dad bought the Remington for me as a dual purpose, deer/coyote rifle.  I never needed anything bigger for Missouri whitetails, coyotes, or crows.  Although I have wanted a few extra shots at coyotes, which is where the Remington Model 742 comes in.  The Model 742 is not the most accurate, especially not as accurate as the old cheap 788 or any other quality bolt gun, but it is good enough.  Again, at half the price of a AR type weapon.

This post was a guest post written by J.R Cook.

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i owned a remington 750 in .270 win for several years, loved the look and feel of the gun. i tried to use some of the aftermarket 10 round magazines, with the exact same thinking in mind. i was not able to get the .270 rounds to consistently work in the magazines. i had a lot of trouble with inability of the bolt to strip the round from the magazine, extraction, etc.

i finally took a magazine apart. the magazines were built using leaf style spring, maybe would’ve been better with a coil spring like in ar15 or m1a magazines. i have also read that 30-06 (~270….) do not cycle well in magazines. oh well, it would’ve been fun to have ten rounds of 130 gr 270 win ready to go. the mags might work better with short action calibers? i don’t know. just thought i would share my experience.

I have the 742 in 30-06 it is a very nice gun. I have used it to take a few dear. I have seen to 10 round mag but they are hard to find and I have not heard positive reviews on them. I would like to find a few good ones. This may be a poor mans survival gun but the ammo (at least in30-06) is not cheap, but no ammo is these days i guess.

Thanks for sharing! It is definitely worth considering that they may not feed well. If that is the case it may be worth it to switch the spring out or just go with have a few extra five round magazines.

Thanks for sharing!



Good point about the ammo cost, 30-06 rounds certainly don’t come cheap. But on the up side they will just about stop anything that needs stopping!



I have both the 760 and 740 along with a few 10-round mags that fit both. The magazines function well in the 760 and have yet to get a jam or FTE…I have tried the 4-round mag in the 740 and it worked well but wish I had brought the bigger mags along to test them out too. My next purchase is a Browning BAR 30-06 (pick it up in 4 days) and am hoping the 20-round mags I see advertised will fit…then it’ll be fun times at the local desert range!

Cool. That is good to know! Hey where did you see the 20 round mags advertised?

Triple K has been making 10 round mags for many years and are probably the best aftermarket product. There are “other” low quality 10 rnd mags out there and they are the main factor in the bad functioning reports. I own 2 of these type rifles and have purchased “other” type 10 rnd mags at gun shows. Quality was so bad I had to file spot welds and use JB Weld to get them to fit! I haven’t shot with them yet and I’m not expecting a lot ’cause I didn’t pay a lot! I would like to add that this fine hunting rifle wasn’t designed to do a lot of rapid firing and to suggest it could function in that capacity is a bit of a stretch. An extra couple of factory 4 rnd mags wouldn’t hurt as it does load fast but let that barrel cool and give the action a break! Good handling firearm in the field and the perfect round 30-06! Get an AK if you gotta go fast or even an SKS if you can find a decent one.

Cool! Thanks for the heads up on Triple K! Good stuff.

They are nice looking rifles. There seemed to be a durability problem with the Remington semi-auto. Alhman’s Gun Shop in Moristown, MN converted some of these treasured rifles into the 760 type pump and saved them from retirement.

Interesting. I hadn’t heard that they could be converted into pumps. Cool.

Just an FYI for the uninformed. The statement ” If a violent situation arises simply replace the five rounds of soft point deer ammo with ten rounds of surplus green tip, and you are ready for any type of situation. ” is incorrect. Green-tip is on XM855 Penetrator rounds in 5.56 NATO. .30 caliber AP ammunition is BLACK TIPPED. API is Silver. So please do not grab your green tipped 5.56 / .223 ammo and try to load it into your 30.06.
As stated above – to engage a couple of badguys this would work. It will over-heat if you try to use it for say, suppressive fire. If you squeeze off the factory 4 round mag very quickly, and then do it again with another 4 round mag – they barrel will burn your hand and your accuracy will be in the crap-hole. And that is less than 1 10-round mag. Use this weapon within its design parameters, and it is an awesome gun. BTW – it is NOT true you cannot get an original full-auto BAR – Just got to have a ton of money and a tax stamp. Or, like me, be a FFL & SOT. Or have a ton of money and start an NFA Trust. Do your homework. But I have a 750 Woodsmaster, and it has put a lot of meat on the table.

I’m -very- fond of the .243 Winchester myself and have a 750 synthetic in just that caliber. While I agree that these rifles aren’t made for “spray” type volleys that our military has gotten so fond of (particularly with the mediocre terminal performance of the M855 outside of roughly 200 yards or 50-100ish with the M4, respectively) I find it a little odd how many people are quick to say that it wouldn’t be a good “battle” rifle.

Battle rifles were not made to spray either…look at the FN49 and/or the SKS. The FN49 was more akin to a DMR style weapon whereas the SKS was designed to be more of a hybrid…but neither has a capacity of over 10 rounds. Though one could argue that they’re made a bit tougher (particularly the FN49; a tank that makes the M1 Garand and M1a look shabby) than your average hunting rifle they simply were not made to spray off 10 rounds as fast as humanly possible. When looking into a rifle like a 750, an SKS, FN49, or other similar firearms with 10 round or less mags (detachable or not) one simply has to realize that range and accuracy are your main advantages.

You don’t need to spray round after round hoping to hit your target when you’re capable of roughly 1.25-1.5 or better MOA (750’s are notorious for that, some into the moa and sub-moa range with good ammo) and, I don’t know about you, but your average person generally can’t afford to lob their survival ammo downrange by the hundreds/thousands like a soldier with a M249 SAW and the government’s deep ammo reserves.

It’s about being smarter than your equipment and, foremost, being smart enough to realize that suppression fire is, quite frankly, a good waste of ammo for any civilian or even LEA. With a ratio of 400,000 rounds per kill one begins to wonder why the military even adopted such techniques…particularly when the lowly terrorists attack outside of 400 meters 50% of the time in order to bypass the effectiveness of our 5.56 spray-cans. When you’re spending countless tax dollars on ammo it’s a lot easier to dump 250 rounds from a box mag than it is if you’re a hard-working civilian who doesn’t make 80k+ A year.

It seems that in this day and age of AR-15, AK-47 and 100 round double-drum magazine hysteria that everyone has forgotten that it only takes one WELL placed round to deal with a problem. I hear far too many people spouting off that everyone’s best bet in a survivalist/shtf situation is to get an AR-15 with a gigantic bunker of ammo when, in all reality, a full-auto 60 round mag on an AK (or AR) takes 4 SECONDS to deplete. Does anybody here have the ability to lug enough of those 60 round magazines (along with everything else they may need) to even cover a MINUTE of sustained fire? Suddenly it becomes very clear that, maybe…just maybe, spraying countless rounds downrange blindly to make an invisible wall might not be the best tactic for a survivalist. Does anybody think that invisible wall will do any good if someone 100-200 yards out of it’s effective range pulls the trigger once on a PSL (7.62x54R) and lands one right in their torso with it’s handy-dandy scope that takes all of 30 minutes to train a simpleton how to reliably hit a man-sized target with?

News Flash: We’re not Rambo. This isn’t a movie. In a survival situation it’s very unlikely that you’ll need a full-deck machine gun…and, quite frankly, you’re probably in bad shape (Deep shit) if you do. If you’re surrounded by multiple targets and it’s 100% up to you and your machine gun and “pile-o-ammo” to get out of it…you might wanna spend more time figuring out why you got there without a single friend and/or loved one — and less time trying to figure out how to carry 6000 rounds of ammo on your back. Even with that many you’ll only have 400 seconds of sustained fire…less than ten minutes.

Excellent points! Persoanlly Inprefer a bolt action for a survival situation. For many of the reasons you just pointed out. I do really like the new 308 and 223 bolt scout rifles from Ruger and Mossberg. I think they woild both be ideal. Thanks for stopping by!


Just stumbled across your article about Remington Woodsmaster. I have a newer Model 750 in .308, wood stock, 20″ not carbine, and its a great looking and reliable rifle! Have not found any 10+ round magazines for it. All that said, for backup I also have a Windham Armory SRC308 with 20 round mags, the Woodsmaster is a little lighter and easier shooting as both are configured. The SRC308 is about as good as it gets in an AR style 308, with high capacity Magpul magazines available, AND LIFETIME manufacturers warranty. But for the price, the Woodsmaster in 308 has to be one of the best shooting bargains out there.

Keep your bible close, your loaded gun closer, and it all going to be just fine!

Be well,

Joe, Thanks for stopping by! I would love to get a nice AR-10 variant of any style! It is on my list for sure!

I own a 742 in 30.06 and have a 10 round magazine for it. Have not a problem with it cycling when at the range. I have put quite a few “boxes” through it and as long as I keep it cleaned the rifle works just fine! Add to the fact it’s scoped, makes it a possible sniper rifle if the need is there!
I bought my 10 round clip/magazine through Sportsman’s Guide long ago and would love to get a few “metal” ones.. but as with everything else, they are a bit pricey.

Yeah that is a pretty sweet gun and it could have a ton of different uses in a SHTF situation. I would love to pick one up myself!

My father has a one of those Remington BAR and it shoots well and I have not yet experienced any problems with feed.

new at this could use some advise, thanks Murray.

Murray, What specifically were you looking for advice on?

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How to make a “Poor Man’s BAR”

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