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Winchester M1918 on order

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I recently sent the paperwork in for this M1918 BAR. Some of you may have seen it on Gunbroker, the owner pointed out some unique stamps indicating the gun was previously in British service. Marked Winchester Model 1918 without any A2 stamps. Receiver has some pitting. Barrel dated 2-19 with a W mark. Barrel looks good inside. I was not able to check headspace. Wood furniture appears original with a possible repair on the stock judging by some visible pins on the right side grip area. Gas tube a replacement judging by the parkerized finished, and the gas regulator looks like one of the late types to me. The sling swivel on the gas tube slides along the tube, not sure if that is normal. The rear sight is A2 style, parkerized.


So this M1918 is a bit of a Frankenstein gun, but I could not afford to get into something in better shape (I live in a C&R only state). The sale was sweetened by a set of A2 parts (stock, hand guard, flash suppressor, bipod, and carry handle - all parkerized) , and many magazines. Judging by the wear on the barrel someone had this set up as an A2.


I did not check internals when I inspected this in person prior to committing to the purchase. The seller does not have any history on this BAR, only that it was purchased from a private (non FFL) owner in Arizona.


I am new to BARs and looking forward to learning more. I have "Rock in a Hard Place" on order. The focus on my collection is WW2 era, if I choose to make this A2 in the future does the buffer tube need to be replaced or will the A2 style stock bolt right onto what is there now? Also if I pick up an A2 slow/fast lower in the future I assume a different buffer would be needed to make it function in slow fire.


I have read that M1918 unmodified saw use in WW2, and this configuration seems more rare in the collecting world. Perhaps I would be better off replacing the rear sight and gas tube and leaving it as an early gun. It looks to me like the early rear sight is more functional than the A2 one. In any case, I have many months to consider the possibilities. I will get some more pictures posted when the transfer is approved in 6-12 months. I have some pictures attached to this post from the inspection.






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I would lean towards restoring it to the original WW1 configuration.

Is the trigger frame and internals also a WW1 Winchester?

I own an original 1918 Colt also, hard to beat these old work horses.

A great find!


Edited by darrylta
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I agree with Darryl. Restore to WW1 configuration.

The US sent 25,000 BAR"S to UK after the Dunkirk fiasco.

Your gun was one of them, so was my Winchester. Most were issued to the "Home Guard". The regular Army got the BREN guns.

Does the gas tube have a "W" stamped on the rear end? The front swivel should not move on the gas tube.

Its possible your gun may have already been converted to A2 and not stamped, you won't know until you try it.

Personally I like the semi/full over the fast/slow feature. One of the clubs I belong to prohibits full auto fire , but allows MG's if shot SA.

FWIW I believe the US Marines preferred the semi/full feature and used them into WW2 an maybe even Korea.

Ohio Ordnance Works may have some of the parts needed to restore to WW1 .

Jim C

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I am not sure on the lower parts, and I never took the rifle down to check inside, but the finish of the lower closely matches the receiver so I suspect its original.

I did test function and found the bolt held back in semi mode while holding the trigger down. But I have not handled an A2 enough to know if that same thing would happen in slow fire mode. I don't remember seeing a W on the gas tube, but admittedly I did not closely examine that area or took pictures of it. I think converting back to period correct M1918 would only involve replacing the gas tube, regulator, and rear sight which would probably be less work than going up to A2. My range also prohibits f/a so keeping it with the semi mode is a good idea, I have to do that now with a M1A1.

For replacing the rear sight, is it just dovetailed and can be driven back towards the rear with a wooden punch?

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Jim ,

Have you tried OOW's 30 round BAR mags yet. I bought 5 of them when the Dems were

pushing for more gun control. I've heard they work great.


Who knows what were going to need if / when the civil war erupts.


My early Colt 1918 also has some Brit stamping on it, it may have been a Home Guard gun as well.


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I have considered buying the 30 rd mags at different times but never did.

I really baby my BARs. Shoot on semi most of the time. Let the barrel cool between mags etc.

Almost all shooting from the bench, longer mags would be a negative here.

Plus I have plenty of 20 rd mags.


One really nice thing about the Brit Home Guard guns is that most of them haven't been converted to A2, plus being parked.

This lowers the value in my opinion.


Nate, you are very lucky to own such a beast of a gun.


Jim C

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Mine is only a couple hundred away from this one. I'd get a new rear sight (W marked are the most common anyhow). Might leave the gas tube or have it refinished to match? Or find another one that does? I would not go A2 at all, that would diminish the gun IMO. From memory the barrel date should make it original. I'd be more concerned with throat erosion, than headspace since the barrel appears to be original.

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Great comments, thank you for the replies. My copy of Rock in a Hard Place arrived today, in forum searching it looks like it is the most recommended book on the BAR. The book is fantastic, lots of history plus technical info and maintenance matters. Looking forward to reading it!

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Thanks for pointing that out, another board member sent me a PM on that too. I have not backed out of the purchase, and the seller has cashed my check. The paperwork has been submitted. I suspect an oversight by the employee who runs the seller's auctions. I have a phone call in.

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