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Thread: Semi-auto Bren new built receivers?

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  1. #1
    Really Senior Member flying pig's Avatar
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    Semi-auto Bren new built receivers?

    Just thinking out loud, but as a Canadian I would give a kidney to have a legal, shootable, Bren. With everyone thinking so highly of them, and with the relative success of other designs that have already been done and made available here, I wonder why no one is even talking about doing it. It sounds like even the new replica semi BARs have all but sold out here through pre-orders, even at $5,999! The only gun I would even consider spending that much money on would be either a No4T that I absolutely had to have, or a Bren I could shoot. If one came available I'd probably do my best to convince my wife that I NEEDED it and take a loan!

    Technically speaking, how difficult would a semi-only Bren receiver be to build? I don't have any experience with the design at all, perhaps it can't be done and that's why it hasn't? I've wondered about this for a while, especially seeing the 1919s, MG34 (and soon MG42s?), Suomi, and now BAR.

    I'm fascinated by this LMG, and regardless of whether I can own one or not, I'd love to learn more about them. I haven't posted in here before because I can't own a live one, but I've been reading here quite a bit and love the history in them. I'd like a Dewat in the future if nothing else.

    Interested in hearing what those here who know them the best think about this.


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    Member bentwrench's Avatar
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    How difficult you ask?

    Well not all that bad with moderm CNC machining centers. It is the high number of different operations and total machining time that would make it very expensive. If there was an economical way to make them I would bet someone would have done it by now.

    There is good reason why the kit guns get re-welded...

    The BAR has a large machined and heat treated reciver and it is much simpler than a BREN, still they cost thousands for Ohio Ordnance Works to make the guns. I own one though, and it is astonishing how well they are made. The 1918A3 is Bob Landies' magnum opus.
    Last edited by bentwrench; 12-07-2013 at 12:26 AM.

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    Really Senior Member flying pig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentwrench View Post
    There is good reason why the kit guns get re-welded...
    Problem is that in Canada they can't be. FA and Converted Autos can only be owned by the few remaining owners with grandfathered licenses. Even then they may as well be dewat, those with the licenses can't shoot them either. Would be a dream come true if a Semi Only became available here.

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    Member bentwrench's Avatar
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    Oh, can't build a semi by re-welding in Canada eh? What does it matter how the gun is built as long as it can't be easily converted to a machine gun? Sounds like time change some laws.

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    Really Senior Member flying pig's Avatar
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    Definitely. You see in Canada if it makes sense it doesn't make it to law. Ha ha. The way I understand it, a new built receiver could be identical, as long as it was never actually full auto, and can not be 'easily' conveted to FA. Easily is a grey area in the law and is subject to interpretation, which is the scary part. If a semi only receiver was built, an example would have to be submitted to the gov't for testing to make sure it can't be easily made full auto, then if it passes it will be given either non-restricted or if deemed restricted or prohibited it gets that status. A lot of our laws don't make sense, like how a 1/2" of barrel on a M1 Carbine will make or break it for restricted/non restricted or the gas system in an AR makes them all restricted, or how a FAL is prohib because it looks scary, same with all AK variants. Also our mag laws are crazy and have strange loopholes. Weird ideas here sometimes!

    Could a semi auto Bren be made to fire from a closed bolt?

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    Member bentwrench's Avatar
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    Yes, they have to function from a closed bolt in the US. Open bolt is a no-no.

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    Really Senior Member Joe H's Avatar
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    pig,

    I doubt you will see new receivers available in 80% (legally not a gun in the US) or in semi auto format. If my memory serves me correctly Bob Bower at Phila Ordnance at one time offered a 80% Bren Receiver. He no longer does although he is quite capable of making it.

    As long as there are weldable de-mills available here in the US I doubt anyone will be making new receivers available due to demand and cost. Unfortunately that puts Canadian builders out of luck.

    Joe

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    Contributing Member Mr E's Avatar
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    there was a set of plans for a bren receiver made from flat plate and welded together but it used the front half of a demilled receiver and the flats replaced the box section of the receiver.
    never seen one actually made. I think it was a real option before the reweld was approved

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    Senior Member DocAV's Avatar
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    There are two problems: the amount of actual machining required to make a Bren Body from a slab of 2&1/2 inch steel ( see "The Bren Gun Saga," by Dugelby, Collector Grade Publications); I suppose either an Investment Cast receiver and minimal Machining by CNC would cut down on the cost, but for Both IC and CNC there is a "Minimum size" lot for economic production.

    Then there is the Problem of "Semi -Only"...The Bren is an Open-bolt Gun ( that is part of its attraction as an LMG, keeps the chamber relatively cool). Converting the mechanim of the trigger to Semi-only is possible ( the Tr is in a separate "Lower" Slide), but to convert the Bolt and Bolt carrier ( which pushes the Firing Pin) to Semi-only is very complicated. It would require a VZ58 type separate FP on a separate spring, which was released by the trigger only after the Bolt itself was in Battery. For ATF reasons, the bolt and body also have to be modified, to prevent "reversion" to FA with the correct Parts...


    So a SA-only Bren with closed-bolt functioning would require a complete internal re-design ( Bolt, Bolt carrier, Action Body ,Trigger mechanism....Way too costly, and un-economic for a small run.

    That's why I work in the Movie Industry....

    Doc AV
    Last edited by DocAV; 12-07-2013 at 07:56 PM.

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    Really Senior Member Midmichigun's Avatar
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    Huh... I was under the impression that SA Brens were possible for Joe Public to own and BUILD in Canada. IIRC, someone had posted this. Since he didn't have to jump through USA 922r laws it was easier. Perhaps I was mistaken and he built a dummy gun. I bow to my northern brothers for their knowledge in their homeland!

    Regardless, successful attempts have been made and built for SA Brens in the US, including kits for home gun builders. I own a 922r compliant kit for 1 Bren (and have 2 kits to build from) that was offered a few years back. In this case, the original receiver is to be rewelded and denial bars put in place so FA components don't fit. As significant gaps are present due to the torch cut, several kits/ receivers were needed to fill in the gaps. Or chunks of virgin material could be used to fill in the gaps.

    There was an outfit in Texas that could convert YOUR torch cut kit, but I don't know if they are in business still. Obviously a moot point for Canadians.

    If I ever get around to it, I would build the BREN as a .308 due to the ammo cost.

    Another company was offering shortened BREN barrels with a new flash hider setup. They would do this to YOUR barrel.

    Just some random thoughts.....

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