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Old March 30, 2019, 18:10   #1
MikeF
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Bren L4A3

I finally broke down and bought a semi-auto Bren gun from Len Savage.

https://www.facebook.com/Historic-Ar...2284120591668/

BrenRange1

BrenRange2

It's the L4A3 model in 7.62 x 51, the same as the FALs and Ishapore Enfield I have. I didn't want to mess with the .303 version.

He did a marvelous job re-welding the receiver, converting it to closed-bolt semi-auto and refinishing the gun. You really can't tell it's been welded.

It came in while we were having all of the snow a few weeks ago, so I have just started to take it to the range. So far I have only shot it a couple of times to get it sighted in. Next I need to take it to the Lewis&Clark range near Lapwai and see how it does at longer ranges.

The first time out was a bit frustrating because it seems to be fussy about ammunition. There is a four position gas selector, 1 (least) to 4 (most). The military standard is 3, but you can adjust it based on the ammuntion and condition of the gun, sort of like the FAL.

Remanufactured ammo didn't always cycle the gun on 3. Radway-Green was better, but still had a few short strokes. Moving to 4 was better, but I was hoping to not run it full open all the time.

Today I had some '75 Portugues and '76 Indian as well as Wolf military standard. Len said that the gun wouldn't be bothered by Wolf, and with 30 round magazines it might be nice to have something cheaper. The Portuguese mostly ran OK on 3, the Indian and Wolf needed 4, but it does seem to be loosening up.

The Wolf - one case neck broke off and had me wondering what was going on when I could pull the trigger but there was no bang and no dent in the primer. I stripped it, didn't see a problem, but switched barrels and it worked, so the light bulb lit and I figured what had happened. Guess the savings from Wolf aren't worth the headaches.

This isn't going to be a target rifle, but I'll have fun with it.

The barrels are new manufacture from somone in the US. I got one from Apex and another from SARCO. Don't know when they will get more - probably depends on the interest shown.

A couple of things, they print to very different spots, about 6" vertically different between the two. I have set the rear sight to the bottom, 200 yards and adjusted the individual front sights by drifting them. As the sights are offset to the left, I should probably aim a touch to the left, but will figure that out when I get out to longer ranges. As far as setting the vertical adjustment to be the same it looks like I need a file.

The original military barrels have a dovetail notch to connect to the lower receiver in addition to the gas port and the interupted screw at the back. These barrels don't have the dovetail, which is a pity but probably won't make a difference considering the use they will be put to.

Looks like I will be in the market for more ammo!
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Old March 30, 2019, 18:40   #2
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You are running reman and Wolf in that nice
and I’m sure very expensive gun?

Like I said, nice.👍
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Old March 30, 2019, 19:24   #3
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My .303 and 7.62x54R guns are actually quite accurate. They do turn heads at the range.

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Old March 30, 2019, 19:27   #4
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My reaction when I opened the page made the wife think I was looking at hot chixx, I told her this was better...

Beautiful rifle!
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Old March 30, 2019, 20:48   #5
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Quote:
You are running reman and Wolf in that nice
and I’m sure very expensive gun?
The ammo question is always interesting. I won't buy a car that uses premium gas, but I will get very good tires. Different sorts of expenses, in my mind. For something like the Bren, which demands to be shot rapidly, the prospect of sending $15 down range with each 30 round magazine could keep me from shooting it as much as I want, so I'm interested in ways to save.

The builder, Len Savage, said that it could stand up to steel-cased, but the case neck separation shows me that the savings are not worth it.

So far it seems to be happiest with Portuguese, but I lost a chance at a case in Seattle last month. I see some of the German ammo with the defaced headstamp on the market for about .45 per round, still not a great deal.

It's a beautiful rifle, Len does nice work, and I have no intention of just leaving it in the safe. Looks like time to dust off the reloading dies! One of the lovely things about the Bren is that it will tidily drop your brass into a coffee can under the action. Handy for the lazy shooter, unless I take up walking fire.
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Old March 30, 2019, 22:43   #6
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Thats a beauty! Nice wood, too.

Wonder how it would do in the drop 15 or moses match. Got plans for the weekend of June 21st? The Oregon shoot is happenin that weekend. Prolly bout 7hrs one way from Lewiston, for drive time. The Washington group meets next weekend, near Prosser. Bring an extra rag to wipe off the drool! Check the state forums for more details.
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Old April 02, 2019, 05:39   #7
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Wow,

That rifle is a beauty to behold. Man I want one bad. Have you found a quick way to load mags?

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Old April 02, 2019, 09:33   #8
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BREN THREAD!

Much prettier than mine!

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Old April 03, 2019, 20:49   #9
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Stimpson - Lovely Bren. Is your Webley cut for 45 ACP or original?

Do you happen to know if the front sight blades are the same on the L4 series as the earlier models? BRPGuns has some available that fit the earlier marks. I gather they come in different heights, so I could order a taller one but that only makes sense if the dovetail is the same.

I'm also trying to find out if the firing pin and recoil springs are the same.

Thorack - I had a discussion a few weeks ago about loading magazines more quickly -

http://www.falfiles.com/forums/showthread.php?t=437372

I haven't tried cutting my loader to fit the Inch magazine lugs yet, but apparently at least one other person has done that.

It would give me a chance to spend money more quickly.
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Old April 04, 2019, 08:05   #10
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Quote:
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Stimpson - Lovely Bren. Is your Webley cut for 45 ACP or original?
Yes, 45 moon clips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
Do you happen to know if the front sight blades are the same on the L4 series as the earlier models? BRPGuns has some available that fit the earlier marks. I gather they come in different heights, so I could order a taller one but that only makes sense if the dovetail is the same.
I have a selection of Bren bbls, do you want me to measure some sights or look for any particular markings?

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I'm also trying to find out if the firing pin and recoil springs are the same.
I have no idea, this one uses the jumanji mod for the bolt/carrier/trigger group.
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Old April 04, 2019, 18:59   #11
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Stimpson - My Webley is also shaved, but I use .45 Auto Rim, partly so I don't accidentally use .45 ACP pressure loads, and partly because I like the look. It's a fun pistol to shoot.

Yes, if you could look at the front sights on your Bren barrels and see if they match these specs it would be helpful -

On the L4A3 it consists of a blade on a block that can be driven left or right in a dovetail. The top of the dovetail cut is about .171 wide. The two blocks I have are .393 and .397 front to back, .367 and .377 side-to-side.

One is marked .34 on the top left with a JI stamp on the right. It measures .33 high from the bottom of the block to the top of the blade. The other is marked .37 on the top left, with a D on the other side. It measures .363 tall. Both have a broad arrow marking.

Did you have problems getting different barrels hitting the same point?

As for the firing pin and recoil spring I want to get a spare set eventually, but there's no rush to figure out what I need. While I probably can't afford enough ammunition to wear them out it would be nice in case.
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Old April 05, 2019, 22:53   #12
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Both of those rifles are Beautiful guys!!!
I spoke with Len a few months ago, he offered me one for either $6000 or $6500, I can't remember. I just can't justify spending that kind of scratch on a gun. I did own a Bren Mk1 that SMG Guns built for me, regrettably I sold it when I was buying my new house. The guys @ SMG told me to only shoot quality ammo through it, I only shot the Privi .303 & never had a problem. I sold the gun to CGSteve on this board. Maybe he'll be along & post some pics of his [formerly my] Bren
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Old May 01, 2019, 13:14   #13
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I finally got the Bren out to a range where I could shoot longer distances. The main barrel is shooting about 8" high at 100 yards, but a taller front sight blade should deal with that. I have ordered some from BRPGuns.

The spare barrel shot a bit right at 25 yards, even with the sight blade moved all the way to the right. At 100 yards it's about 8" to the right, so - need to do some thinking. I checked for a bent barrel (set in V blocks, aim at dot on wall while looking through the barrel, rotate and look for changes) but didn't see anything.

Len says that he has had very few problems with this sort of thing, but one person did cut and re-weld the front sight post, moving it to the right far enough that he could adjust the sight blade for windage. A fair bit of effort and expense.

I see that Numrich has come up with a small lot of South African 7.62 barrels -

https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/1813110

No idea if they would work on my receiver, and it's quite a bit of money, but interesting.

As the main barrel also has the sight blade moved fairly far to the right, I am wondering about modifying the rear sight. You can get a new sight blade from BRP, and either cut and move the aperture to the left, or make a slide for an aperture which allows windage adjustment. I'm a woodworker, not a metalsmith, but it seems possible. Don't know if I could get both barrels pointing to the same spot that way.

In either case I have one barrel to have fun with, and can tinker with the other as energy and money allows.
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Old May 01, 2019, 13:34   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeF View Post
I finally got the Bren out to a range where I could shoot longer distances. The main barrel is shooting about 8" high at 100 yards, but a taller front sight blade should deal with that. I have ordered some from BRPGuns.

The spare barrel shot a bit right at 25 yards, even with the sight blade moved all the way to the right. At 100 yards it's about 8" to the right, so - need to do some thinking. I checked for a bent barrel (set in V blocks, aim at dot on wall while looking through the barrel, rotate and look for changes) but didn't see anything.

Len says that he has had very few problems with this sort of thing, but one person did cut and re-weld the front sight post, moving it to the right far enough that he could adjust the sight blade for windage. A fair bit of effort and expense.

I see that Numrich has come up with a small lot of South African 7.62 barrels -

https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/1813110

No idea if they would work on my receiver, and it's quite a bit of money, but interesting.

As the main barrel also has the sight blade moved fairly far to the right, I am wondering about modifying the rear sight. You can get a new sight blade from BRP, and either cut and move the aperture to the left, or make a slide for an aperture which allows windage adjustment. I'm a woodworker, not a metalsmith, but it seems possible. Don't know if I could get both barrels pointing to the same spot that way.

In either case I have one barrel to have fun with, and can tinker with the other as energy and money allows.
Quite likely old DSA imported barrels
DSA had brought in a mess of the SA barrels many years ago. They went real cheap as well. A few years back I started selling mine when they hit around an easy Grand.
Mine were straight New Old Stock units, think I paid something like $49.95 in the 90s. That was back when there were two entities affiliated sort of under DSA. One character was selling off the Uzi & SIG bits very cheaply including these barrels.

Seem to recall they do require some slight adjustment to run in a UK spec L4 or maybe it was on 8mm BRENs, can't recall.
$500 is actually rather reasonable on SA barrels these days
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Old May 01, 2019, 22:17   #15
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I finally got the Bren out to a range where I could shoot longer distances. The main barrel is shooting about 8" high at 100 yards, but a taller front sight blade should deal with that. I have ordered some from BRPGuns.

The spare barrel shot a bit right at 25 yards, even with the sight blade moved all the way to the right. At 100 yards it's about 8" to the right, so - need to do some thinking. I checked for a bent barrel (set in V blocks, aim at dot on wall while looking through the barrel, rotate and look for changes) but didn't see anything.

Len says that he has had very few problems with this sort of thing, but one person did cut and re-weld the front sight post, moving it to the right far enough that he could adjust the sight blade for windage. A fair bit of effort and expense.

I see that Numrich has come up with a small lot of South African 7.62 barrels -

https://www.gunpartscorp.com/products/1813110

No idea if they would work on my receiver, and it's quite a bit of money, but interesting.

As the main barrel also has the sight blade moved fairly far to the right, I am wondering about modifying the rear sight. You can get a new sight blade from BRP, and either cut and move the aperture to the left, or make a slide for an aperture which allows windage adjustment. I'm a woodworker, not a metalsmith, but it seems possible. Don't know if I could get both barrels pointing to the same spot that way.

In either case I have one barrel to have fun with, and can tinker with the other as energy and money allows.
So you made it to Lewis Clark Wildlife Club?

Great range.
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Old May 02, 2019, 02:23   #16
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Humped one of those awkward fcukers in the field many times! Everybody kept nicking my 30 round mags for their SLR's on FT-Ex's!

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Old May 02, 2019, 14:40   #17
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So what’s cheaper....buying one of these from Len...or getting the parts and have him build it?
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Old May 02, 2019, 14:50   #18
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I remember Armex Inter American selling the Dealer Sample Bren in .303. This would have been in the mid 80's. Its a beautiful rifle and shows us just how much the UK, Australia and New Zealand have changed.
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Old May 03, 2019, 16:28   #19
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Quote:
Seem to recall they do require some slight adjustment to run in a UK spec L4 or maybe it was on 8mm BRENs, can't recall.
$500 is actually rather reasonable on SA barrels these days
Heard from Len Savage. The South African barrels at Numrich were designed to work with a .303 bolt. To use them with an L4 kit you would need to replace the locking shoulder and the 7.62x51 bolt.

Quote:
So you made it to Lewis Clark Wildlife Club?
Yes, and it rained until I was ready to leave. Once the taller front sight blade comes in I'll head back down there and see what I can do at longer ranges. Probably set the spare barrel aside for now.

Unfortunately neither of the ROs working that day had been there long, so they didn't remember you

Quote:
So what’s cheaper....buying one of these from Len...or getting the parts and have him build it?
Better talk to Len and see what he's in the mood for. The cost has definitely put my desire for a Mauser Broomhandle on hold.

In any case my tri-focaled eyes make it a challenge when using iron sights, but I'm having fun.
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Old May 03, 2019, 17:36   #20
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I have a Mark II Bren that was built by SMG when they were still doing Bren builds. It's a fantastic shooting gun. I do also have a nice Mark I kit I'd like to build up, possibly in .308 and have it accept L1A1 or L4 magazines, as that would be the ideal caliber since .303 ain't getting any cheaper. Is Historic Arms doing builds if I can provide the kit and some of those Sarco .308 Bren barrels they have?
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Old May 14, 2019, 18:32   #21
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I have one of Len's 303 Mk II guns with sight problems. I have 4 barrels, all with the same problem (frt. sight is way to left). It has to be something in the receiver I believe but I can't tell which of the contact points is the culprit. So I bought 2 rear sights from BRP and had a smith move the aperture in enough to allow the front sight to be centered. Yes, I did the calculations many times over a couple of months.
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Old May 16, 2019, 11:08   #22
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I have 4 barrels, all with the same problem (frt. sight is way to left)
Yes - I'm thinking about working on the rear sight, too, but as I have one barrel that is centered (although shooting high) and the other shooting right I don't know if I can find a happy medium.

It would be interesting to take one of the rear aperture blocks, remove the aperture and make a new one which is adjustable for windage, but I expect by the time you milled a slot for it, and tapped in a hole for a screw the machinist charges would be high.

Need to find a friend with a mini-mill.
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Old May 16, 2019, 12:15   #23
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Humped one of those awkward fcukers in the field many times! Everybody kept nicking my 30 round mags for their SLR's on FT-Ex's!

Thanks for posting that. Mind sharing the where, when, what (unit) details of that pic?

I'd love to have an SA Bren to go with my R1 clones.
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