BAR Opinions


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lizziedog1
November 16, 2011, 07:20 AM
I was at one of those large sporting goods stores. They had a Browning Semi-Auto Rifle on their rack chambered in 270WSM.

I really don't need another rifle. But this combo has really intrigued me.

Who has any experience with either this rifle and/or caliber?

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Abel
November 16, 2011, 08:08 AM
As far as I am concerned the BAR is the only option for an auto loading hunting rifle besides the AR. I know Benelli makes one, but its just not for me.

dogrunner
November 16, 2011, 09:15 AM
Hands down about the best semi auto sporting rifle readily available on the American market. Accuracy approaches & in some cases surpasses average off the shelf bolt guns. I have three, two '06s & a .338..........all will hold under an inch with the proper ammo, and I shoot soley handloads.

Two of those are lightweight models and the short bbled '06 is the snappiest handling rifle I have ever used. Far as the short mags go, I don't have any experience with them to speak of, but if you like the rifle why not.

MtnCreek
November 16, 2011, 09:25 AM
Accuracy approaches & in some cases surpasses average off the shelf bolt guns.
+1. Equal to hunting weight bolt guns in accuracy and I've never had a failure to function. Very smooth shooter as well.

I really don't need another rifle.
Logic has nothing to do with buying another rifle.

Edit: Mine is a 30-06.

hometheaterman
November 16, 2011, 09:33 AM
I've never had one in a WSM caliber. I did read they had some magazine issues that caused jamming, but I've never owned one so can't confirm or deny that. I also think it's a much better option than any of the Remington semi auto's, but that being said
I had one in a 30-06 and it was a decent deer gun, but it wasn't something that was a good range gun as it just wasn't nearly as accurate as I'd have liked.

I had a heck of a time trying to get it sighted in and every time I shot it at the range I got frustrated. Then I would think about how much I spent on it, and get even more frustrated.

When I first got it, I couldn't get it to shoot anything decently. I tried to sight it in with Winchester Silver Tips and it was hitting all over a 8" target. I then tried Winchester Power Points and while the groups shrunk, they were still huge. Finally I went and bought a ton of different factory ammo to try. The only two that shot halfway decent in it were Federal Power Shoks in 150 grain and I got groups that averaged 3" at 100 yards with them, and the Federal Fusions in 150 grain which shot the best out of everything I've tried and I got 2" groups pretty consistently. This gun will not shoot anything else that I've found in it.

To me 2" is still pretty disappointing, but it was at least usable with that. 8" groups with the other ammo wasn't useable. I called Browning and explained the issue to them, and they told me that I was welcome to send it in, but that there really wasn't anything they could do for me as any groups 3" and under were within spec.

So I learned to live with it, and for deer 2" and 3" groups were fine. That's why I say it's a great hunting rifle, but the accuracy just sucked.

I started doing research online and talking to many local gunsmiths, and other guys that owned them locally trying to figure out how to improve the accuracy, and nothing I did helped any. I've seen a couple posts from guys online claiming theirs shoot sub moa groups, and a few more claiming theirs shoot 1" groups. However, I've seen a bunch more complaining of the accuracy I'm getting, and that they could only get that with one or two types of accuracy. A call around to the local shops revealed many of them had seen the same things with the guns. One shop owner told me he personally had one and found a handload it shot decently, but he'd never been able to find a factory load it would shoot well. The reports of poor accuracy just by far outweighed the good reports. This makes me think that while I'm sure there are ones that shoot MOA out there, they seem to be the exception not the rule.

After I started handloading I tried to work up a load for it, but I never was able to get handloads to shoot decently out of it. The best I got was about a 4" group, so I just always stuck with the Federal Fusions.

Now, the accuracy aside, I like the rest of the gun. They have a good feel to them, they are beautiful guns, and they are extremely reliable for a semi auto. If you can deal with the sub par accuracy, they are great hunting rifles. Several friends have Remington semi auto's and it's no comparison between them and the BAR. They also seem to be inaccurate, only they are also unreliable. So between those two the BAR would be my clear choice.

There is also the Benelli R1, that's gotten great reviews, but I've never shot one so I can't comment on them.

Overall, this is my experience with one and if I had to have a semi auto hunting rifle I'd take a look at the BARs. However, if I wanted accuracy, I certainly wouldn't buy one.

biggameballs
November 16, 2011, 12:18 PM
I just picked up a Browning BAR LW Stalker in 308. I WILL NEVER OWN ANOTHER BOLT ACTION GUN FOR HUNTING AGAIN. Period. In my opinion there is ZERO advantage to having a bolt action gun for hunting.

The thing is more accurate then the model 70 featherweight I had in 270. It will hold 5 shot groups of 2" or better with any ammo I've thrown in it. I was able to get a 5 shot group with Hornady SST of well under 1.5". Keep in mind this is with a 1.5-6x40 scope. I'm sure something with even more magnification would do even better.

The gun is smooth as can be and the action soaks up a great deal of the recoil. My 308 recoils less then any other gun I've ever shot.

The action has preformed flawlessly.

The only down fall I can see is loading shells quitely when you're in your stand is a little more difficult.

MtnCreek
November 16, 2011, 12:27 PM
The only down fall I can see is loading shells quitely when you're in your stand is a little more difficult.

Do the new ones have a swinging floor plate/mag? The older one I have has a floor plate similar to a Rem BDL, but when you swing it open, the cartridges are contained in a mag. I love that, no dumping cartridges!

biggameballs
November 16, 2011, 12:29 PM
Hometheater man. Check the torque on the fore end nut to make sure it is in spec, check the crown on the gun, and if you are using a 1 peice scope base switch to 2 piece mounts like Talley lightweights. If yours shoots 8" groups with any ammo you either got a lemon or one of the things listed is the issue.

biggameballs
November 16, 2011, 12:30 PM
I have a MK 2 style LW stalker and yes it has the swing open floor plate. Love it also.

hometheaterman
November 16, 2011, 12:46 PM
Hometheater man. Check the torque on the fore end nut to make sure it is in spec, check the crown on the gun, and if you are using a 1 peice scope base switch to 2 piece mounts like Talley lightweights. If yours shoots 8" groups with any ammo you either got a lemon or one of the things listed is the issue.I checked both the fore end torque and the crown, both of which are fine. I tried free floating the fore end from the barrel as suggested by some, and that only made it worse, so I put an unmodified fore end back on.

The only thing I didn't change is the base. I was using a Redfield 1 piece base. I made sure everything wass tight, but I didn't change it. A local gunsmith did tell me that for some reason he has found that they seem to shoot better with 2 piece bases and it's proven to be true on every one he has owned. I've yet to try that, and had guys online tell me he was full of it, so I don't know if it will make much of a difference or not.

I agree the 8" groups with some ammo are ridiculous, and with the ammo it likes even though it shoots 2" groups which are decent, I think it should do much better than that. It's surprised me with how many people I've talked to both online and in person though who have them that don't shoot any better than mine. I've started to realize while some of these guns shoot MOA, a lot of them don't. I met a guy locally in a class the other week that said he had one and was having the same problem. 8" + groups with any ammo he tried. I told him to try the Fusions as it worked for me. Now, most of the complaints I've seen aren't saying they are shooting 8" groups, but 3-4" ones seems to be something I hear about often, and 2" or so once you find the ammo they like. To me 2" is still large as my rifle I hunt with now will shoot .8" groups with many types of factory ammo, and .5" groups with handloads. To me, that's the kind of accuracy I like, and have come to expect.

welldoya
November 16, 2011, 01:23 PM
I used one in 30/06 for deer hunting for 15 years. I still have it but I switched to an A Bolt about 10 years ago and like it better. It's not as heavy and just feels better to me. Plus it's a lot more accurate.
Like was said earlier, if you are going to shoot a semi-auto , this is the one. I shot a Remington 7400 before the BAR and it was awful - jammed and not accurate at all.
About the 270 WSM caliber, I wouldn't. I had a friend that bought one (unintentionally) several years ago. He went to a LGS to buy a .270 in an A Bolt. The clerk showed him a .270 Win, he said he'd take it. The guy went and got one out of the back. He took it home and put it in his safe. Not long after a hurricane hit and he got 4' of saltwater in his house.
So he took all his guns to a gunsmith to be cleaned thoroughly. That's when he discovered he had a .270 WSM and not a .270 Win.
Yeh, I know, he should've checked before he left the store or at least when he got home but he didn't.
Anyway, he hunted with it one season. Said it kicked like a mule and tore up meat. He sold it and made sure he got a .270 Win the next time.
Plus, I'm not so sure those short mags are long for this world. But that's just my opinion and it's worth exactly what you paid for it.

biggameballs
November 16, 2011, 01:39 PM
In a real life hunting situation in the woods of northern MN the difference between .8" groups and 2" groups is litterally meaningless. Unless of course you are hunting game at 500 yards and shooting off a bench rest.

If you miss a deer inside of 300 yards with any gun that shoots 4" groups or better it's becasue you made a bad shot. Period.

Germster
November 16, 2011, 02:29 PM
I love my Winchester M100 in 308. Having been raised on an M-14 (Marine Corps) I've always liked the round and the semi-auto. I've got four quick shots and if the brush after feral hogs it is a fine choice. I call my M100 a "civilian M-14". It hefts similarly.

I've never shot the BAR, but I've held a lot and I like the heavy, no foolishness feel of the rifle. If I needed another semi I'd buy one in a heart beat. There's one in the local pawn shop in .270. I have a .270 so there it stays.

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