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  1. #1
    Member britrecko's Avatar
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    semi-auto registed bren gun

    i have the possibility of purchasing a semi- auto bren gun wth b. a.t.f. .authorizing letter
    i would welcome members comments on durability, flaws and present price.


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    jmoore's Avatar
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    Need more info. Who's the "maker"?

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    Really Senior Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    As applies in the United States.

    Here is my experience with said type of weapon. I will name the manufacturer (RE-manufacturer really), only because I believe it is relevant. Semi Auto Brens apparently come in a couple of redesigns, as far as the firing mechanism is concerned. Since certain parts of the original design HAVE to be altered to met with ATFs approval, and therefore NOT constitute building a machine gun.

    I purchased a Historic Arms Semi Auto Bren from a dealer in Georgia. I had read some glowing reviews, but in hind sight, they were mostly over the APPEARANCE of the weapon and not a functionality report. The gun did indeed APPEAR well manufactured. Weld seams were smooth and overall the rifle was a thing to behold.

    My issues started when I decided to actually FIRE the weapon. From the very beginning, there were issues of ammo that would not fire (light striker hits) and also some extraction, functioning issues. When it fired, it was a joy! But after a while, not being able to get through a single magazine worth of rounds, or even a dozen rounds without a stoppage, became very annoying.

    The rifle went back to the original manufacturer twice and each time there was no significant improvement. For the cost of this weapon ($2,800.00), I preferred something that had a reasonable expectation of reliability. Upon checking a few boards and finding a few other HA SA Bren owners, I discovered that VERY FEW owners had actually taken there rifles out for a firing! One bloke had, and he reported nothing but glowing functionality reports.

    Unfortunately, mine did not meet those expected standards and I negotiated a return and refund, which was very disappointing. I would have much preferred to have a functioning, semi auto Bren gun. But I expect a certain level of reliability for that kind of money, and I do not think a redesigned, re-manufactured Bren gun will ever meet the reliability standards of the original full auto version.

    I have been tempted to try Wise Lite's offering as they are doing a pretty good job with the re-manufactured Sterlings they currently build. I have one and after an initial problem (traced to the magazine), it has turned out to be quite reliable, thank goodness. Wise Lite also seems truly committed to costumer service. Not a bad thing for a weapon that is cobbled back together with a new firing mechanism and other things.

    I do believe a reliable semi auto Bren could be devised, but after my first foray into that world, I have not gone back....yet. Owning a working Bren gun is about the pinnacle of my firearms dream. A full auto is out of my budget though, and a semi auto is about 10% the cost. Not quite brave enough to tackle trying to build my own and the parts supply for that venture seems to be spotty at best. Maybe I need to look deeper once again?

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    Contributing Member csmarcher's Avatar
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    Did you buy this particular SA Bren direct from Historic Arms, or was it purchased through a 3rd party ?

    Reason I ask is that some of the early SA Brens had similar problems with light firing and extraction.
    I bought one of the first ones made ( #0023) to be exact, and had nothing but problems. I sent it back to Len , who ended up scrapping it and building another from scratch which worked fine.

    One thing to be aware of is using old milsurp ammo. I used 70's HXP Greek surplus which ran like a top. When I tried to use old POF and 50's dated cordite stuff we had nothing but trouble. Hangfires will also cause major problems as well.

    Len also built me an L4A3 based on a Mk II Bren conversion, which is the sweetest and most reliable Bren SA I have ever owned.

    Bottom line, if you're having trouble, send me a PM and I may be able to help you with some advise.

    Gary
    The greatest LMG to ever see service in the British Army...........................

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    My Historic Arms was also an early build, and it has had some dramas, as well. (recounted elsewhere on this forum) I still need to try one repair to eliminate the "Bubba" set-up that currently works OK.

    Some links below:

    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=18209&page=2

    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=18913

    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread.php?t=20236&page=1

    Pics of gas cylinder variations at bottom of the page on this thread:

    https://www.milsurps.com/showthread....9373#post99373

    Sorry for the extraneous info, but I'd about forgotten about this project...Gotta get back on it one day!
    Last edited by jmoore; 07-09-2010 at 04:50 AM.

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    Can I humbly suggest that before anyone ventures into acquiring or buying a semi auto Bren, that they pleas take the opportunity to go somewhere where they can savour the moment of firing the real McCoy on automatic, in short bursts. You've GOT to do this before you get lulled into a false sense or deja-vu with a semi auto. Just two or three magazines should suffice.........................

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    Really Senior Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    Oh, if only it was that easy for us here in the States Peter. Not sure what the "registry" shows for the total number of legal Brens in this county, but I have never had the opportunity. I suspect if I traveled to one of the BIG machine gun shoots, like Knob Creek, someone would happily supply me the opportunity. I had looked for shooting opportunities while in the UK, but wasn't lucky enough to discover any. Just visited the War and Peace show and browsed all the static displays and sale tables. Not really clear on the status of ranges and clubs in the UK now for any sort of shooting?

    When that semi auto Bren would run a string of 6 or 10 rounds, it was really sweet. The comfort, accuracy and power were superb. I imagine that for short periods, one can achieve a 400 to 450 rpm with a twitchy trigger finger! :-)

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    Really Senior Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    Dear csmarcher, in response: Mine was third party. It was sold as "new" and for all I could tell, it seemed to be. I spoke with Len, I believe, on both occasions. I felt he was trying to make it right, but he himself didn't take long shooting sessions to check the thing before it came back to me. I was shooting surplus and new commercial (as suggested by Len) but NO POF. Never owned any, probably won't. I have cases of South African and HXP. Would love to have another semi, but hesitating between Wise Lite, HA and the new guy building in Texas.
    Last edited by AmEngRifles; 07-10-2010 at 12:03 PM.

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    Member zip code's Avatar
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    Hello there:
    I have HA's SN # 0095 and the only problems I've had were ammo related. First, a rd failed to chamber [ out of spec ] in the BREN and in a No.4 Mk I I took along to the range [ Knob Creek by the way...only 20 miles away! ]. Second, a rd had the case seperate just below the shoulder [ Hot Shot brand ]. Beyond that no problems.
    Bought it new for $2,025. when it came it was full of grit. It cleaned up nice and pretty. Right now it's in the gun room resting in the canvas case I bought for it.
    Name a country or a war and...I might just have some thing { ie: no MGs yet }

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    Really Senior Member AmEngRifles's Avatar
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    I hate the fact that all these historic guns get cut up. Machine guns ARE legal in the US, pending our fine governments approval and oversight. It erks me that they decided that no more could be brought in. I think the general condition is a slow tightening noose around the necks of gun ownership and free men being able to do what free men ought to be able to do.

    Even though the semi autos, in a small way, save a reconstituted Bren gun, it is sad they have to be messed with in the first place. Same with our M-14s.

    I think we could offer them as "incentives" for 8 years of service. You give Uncle Sam 8 years minimum of your life, and Uncle Sam will reward you with one historic rifle/machine gun of your choosing.

    I know some created this very program, but without Ole' Uncle Sam's knowledge or approval. He he.

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