Converting BAR sporter to feed from FAL mags. Possible?


June 12, 2009, 09:24 AM
I live in Sweden where the selection of semi-automatic rifles is scarce, to say the least. The law basically prohibits that a license application is approved for any semi-auto rifle that is of an appearance different from traditional hunting rifles (i.e. traditional military bolt action rifles) or descent from a military design born after 1942. Magazine capacity is irrelevant. Ownership of 100-round beta-c mags is kosher, but in order to get a license for a sem-auto hunting rifle it must be equipped with a 4 round mag because of hunting regulations, not firearm regulations (i.e. you're allowed to own high-caps for the purpose of practice shooting and collecting or whatever).

Examples of how this law is applied:

The m1 Garand is ok, it looks like a fudd gun and it's from before 1942 so it's not too much of a soldier's rifle to be prohibited. The m1 Carbine falls into the same category

The mini-14 is ok, it's a civilian rifle designed for civilian purposes.

The m1a is not ok, it's a rifle derived from the military m14 - which is post -42 and therefore illegal.

Saigas and similar rifles are also banned because of the -42 rule. There are examples of m14-derivatives that got through the system and are now used for hunting.

Now for the question at hand; I want to own a .308 or 7mm-08 semi auto rifle with a minimum mag capacity of 10 rounds. The Browning BAR sporter rifles are nice guns and due to the way their magwell is designed, I think they are the most appropriate guns for conversion. It's also a proven rifle and very common around here so it's not going to get weird looks from the antis.

I know people with CNC workshop access and CAD education and I don't think it would be that hard to build an improvised magwell insert for the BAR, when that's taken care of I just need to fiddle with the feed lips until they resemble those of the BAR magazines. In order to get some extra space for the magazine well insert, magazine and (if necessary) feed ramp I figured the best way to go would be buying a .30-06 rifle (with a longer action and receiver) and then having a smith install a barrel in .308w or 7mm-08 Remington.

I'm thinking FAL-mags would be perfect since they're rock-in mags which means the magwell insert can be split into a release lever thingy between the magazine and the trigger unit plus something for the rock-in-notch to hold on to in front of the magazine. With the extra space from the long action (the magwell space is almost 4 inches long internally) this seems like the way to go.

Do you think it's possible to do this? Should I start saving money for the project?

The internal width of the BAR magwell space is 25mm and I've been told a FAL mag is about 24mm wide. Is this correct?

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June 12, 2009, 09:37 AM
The m1 Garand is ok, it looks like a fudd gun and it's from before 1942 so it's not too much of a soldier's rifle to be prohibited. The m1 Carbine falls into the same category

Honestly just buy a garand and be happy. Magazine conversions on any rifle, even when done by a talented gunsmith on a known platform doing a known conversion procedure (aka M1 into an M14), can be a temperamental thing. It is easy to turn a reliable semi auto into a single shot when messing with the feeding mechanism. The garand is an awesome piece of engineering and history.

June 12, 2009, 09:57 AM
That thought has crossed my mind but the Garand's inability to mount centered scopes on the receiver sort of turns me off. The option to my crazy conversion scheme is to keep the BAR .30-06 as it is. I love those rifles.

I agree that this is risky thinking, but if I could just find a FAL magazine of any capacity I could mount it to the gun with pieces of wood and some clamp tools just to see if I can make it feed at any position and angle. That would give me a basic idea of how hard it would be to construct a replacement mag well.

The thing with BAR sporters is that the magazine rests on a lid attached to a hinge at the front of the receiver. The lid is kept closed by a latch(?) by the trigger guard. Remove the lid by the hinge and the well is just a big empty hole.

I think that except for the barrel swap (which can be reverted easily since I could keep the .30-06 barrel) this conversion can be kept non-permanent until it's been tested.

June 12, 2009, 10:15 AM
You might want to contact FN as their new sniper rifle is a BAR with an extended magazine...

There was an article a few years ago in I believe Rifle Shooter about a conversion to a BAR for X bullets that you might want to try looking up...

There was also someone making extension magazines for the Remington Semi Auto and Browning Rifles but I can't find his link...

June 12, 2009, 10:20 AM
Yeah getting a FNAR magwell (or a FNAR rifle without a pistol grip) and a bunch of mags was my first idea but mags are seemingly impossible to find in the US and getting someone to export them to sweden is going to be even worse. Not to mention the legal hassle to get a rifle out of the US.

June 12, 2009, 10:41 AM
I meant get them from FN in Belgium and sent to you in Sweden or will your Customs not allow this?

June 12, 2009, 12:07 PM
FN FNAR is the way to go.

Wes Janson
June 12, 2009, 11:00 PM
The mags are becoming increasingly more available, it's just a matter of time..we've been getting them in from time to time, and still have them in stock.

The FNAR would definitely be ideal, if you can get one. I'd expect it to be the sort of rifle that would make it to Europe eventually, so it may just be a matter of contacting the right people to find one.

4v50 Gary
June 12, 2009, 11:09 PM
Personally, I'd like to adopt the M-1 Garand to take a BAR magazine. Throw on the BM-59 pistol grip stock, with the sling swivel adapter and an M-1D scope mount and you're good to go (but not necessarily hunting as you'll have a heavy hunting gun).

June 14, 2009, 08:10 AM
The customs will only let me take the weapon into the country after the police have issued a special permit (not free of charge) to have the gun enter the country. This permit will not be issued unless I have a license for the weapon. This license (not free of charge) will not be issued unless the gun is designed as a traditional hunting rifle (which since the widespread acceptance of synthetic stocks means no pistol grip).

I have a feeling that if the person at the police issuing firearms licenses googles FNAR anf finds a black rifle with a 20rd magazine and a pistol grip this person would deny my application for a license.

About that m1 garand with BAR magazines; there was a guy at a Swedish forum who had a german gunsmith adapt a .308 garand to feed from m14 magazines, since m14 rifles (and derivatives) are outlawed because of their military descent.

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