Free floating a barrel on a Browning BAR


January 3, 2010, 12:51 AM
So for you guys that have Browning BAR's have you free floated the barrel? I have heard several guys recommend I sand the forearm so that it's not touching the barrel. In factory configuration it was touching on one side but not on the other. In order to get it to not touch on either it now is more wood on one side of the forearm than the other side. I'm sure you wouldn't notice it unless you were looking for it but it still sort of bugs me. However, if I sand wood off the other side it will make it a lot larger gap between the forearm than barrel. Did you guys free float yours? Or did you leave them alone? If you did free float them did you run into this issue? It's like the forearm may not have been cut perfectly in the center or something. The barrel seems to be further to the right than the center of the forearm when you put it all together.

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January 3, 2010, 05:23 AM
I've had 3 through the years, but never free floated. I'm curious how much it would help.

From what I've seen, you've got 2 to 3 shots before the point of impact starts to wander, as the barrel heats up.

I have intentionally run them hotter to see what I was up against, as far as accuracy. The groups averaged about 3" + at 100 yds. (308, 300wm, 338wm)

The big question is, how does your rifle shoot? If you think the barrel is not square to the reciever, but it shoots good, I'd leave it alone. If it doesn't shoot good, you could try to have a good smith square it all up. That equals money.

January 3, 2010, 09:17 AM
I didn't think about it being that the barrel wasn't square to the receiver. I thought it was going to be that the forearm was not cut in the center as it appears. However, now you've got me thinking the barrel might not be square and maybe that's caused my accuracy problems. Anyway to check this?

The thing that started this last year is that I got about a 8" group if I was lucky. I was shooting Winchester Ballistic Silver Tips and they were all over a 8" target. This was at 100 yards. I'd previously shot Winchester Silver Tip's the classic ones at 50 yards and all 6 shots just made one big hole.

Anyway, I started reading and saw to free float the barrel so I took a little off but not much. I then tried a few different brands of bullets. I found that with the Federal Fusions I took it down to about a 2" group at 100 yards. So I just chalked it up to not liking those bullets and liking the Federals. I also shot a 3" group at 100 yards with the Federal Soft Points at the time. The Winchester Soft Points seemed ok too but not quite as good.

Well, the last time I took it out to shoot I shot about a 1.5" or 2" group with the Federal Soft Points. It seems like with the Federals it's shooting plenty good for a hunting rifle. I shot 6 shots and had 4 touching and 2 that were fliers. The 2 I'm pretty sure I pulled on as it felt like it when I shot and sure enough they were off. I left it alone until just the other night I noticed the stock was still touching and it was rubbing the bluing off of the barrel in that spot. So I sanded it some more so that it wouldn't rub the bluing off the barrel anymore.

Would this have hurt accuracy or at worst will I just see no change?

So is there a way to see if the barrel is square in the receiver? Or if I'm getting 2" and slightly smaller groups should I just not worry about it? Could it being off be why It's soo picky about ammo when it comes to accuracy? It didn't like Remington Core Lokts either.

It seems to shoot all ammo pretty will without jamming but I've had a few stovepipes recently too. Not many but 2 or 3. It was odd as in the past it's never jammed and been 100% reliable. It still is very reliable imo I just had those 2 or 3 stovepipes.

January 3, 2010, 09:27 AM
Just my 2 cents because I've never shot a BAR...but how new is the barrel? Sometimes
a new barrel needs some rounds down them to get things settled in. This is what I've been told about Garand barrels...I think you are on the right track with wanting to take
a little off the front handgaurd, but their may be other tricks for accuraizing also. Ammo
can be the biggest factor though.

January 3, 2010, 09:57 AM
I have two BAR Lightweight Stalkers, one in .308 and one in 300WSM. The 300 has the BOSS.

The .308 is pretty ammo sensitive. I have the plastic furniture, and no rubbing on the edges.

If you have some ammo the shoots 2" at 100 yards for three or four shots cold, you are good to go for hunting in most cases. There was the one guy who shot two boxes of ammo at the elk herd that one day..........

January 3, 2010, 10:37 AM
Stovepipes are kind of unusual in a BAR...

You may have some crud built up. Clean and oil it, and stick to the Federals. 2 to 3 inches at 100yds is a decent hunting rifle for a semi auto.

If where you hunt presents shots of more than 100yds, you may want to consider a bolt gun.

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