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Winchester m1918 pictures and a few issues found

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Hello fellow board members. I just took down the Winchester m1918 BAR for a detailed inspection and took some pictures along the way. This is my first BAR and I have alot to learn. The Rock in a Hard Place book has a detailed section that helped me figure out the take down. The only problem encountered was the book indicates to remove the spring holding the bolt guide. That proved to be a little difficult but I realized I could use the edge of the thumb to push the bolt guide out of the way under spring tension - with that manipulated out I was able to work the bolt out of the receiver.


I am new to this weapon platform and welcome your suggestions. Here are the issues I identified:


-A2 style rear site installed. Thankfully a fellow board member sold me an original Winchester rear site. I removed the screw on the A2 site and tried to hammer it to the rear with a rubber mallet. No luck, its very tight in the dove tail. Will try again with a wooden driver but I am also concerned about damaging the stock (more on that later).


-After removing the gas tube and trying to remove the bolt I noticed the barrel twist ever so slightly. I then noticed with a firm grasp I was able to completely unthread the barrel from the receiver. This helped with cleaning and barrel interior inspection, but I am concerned that the barrel should be more firmly secured to the receiver for safe firing? The Rock in a Hard Place book has a section showing barrel removal in a vice using a large barrel wrench, I wouldn't think that procedure would be published if the barrel can normally be removed with hand strength? With that said, the barrel is very tight when installed in the gun with the gas tube in place, no wiggle whatsoever. Also the front sight is in alignment when installed with the gas tube in place.


-The rear stock has two pins from a wood repair. I have read that the stock is vulnerable in the hand grip area and prone to breakage. I did not remove the stock from the weapon in fear of harming the repair area.


-The flash hider has two gouges present indicating to me someone carelessly removed it at one time with a vice grip.


-The barrel is dated 2-19 and has marks indicating someone put a carry handle on it. The barrel has British proofs indicating it was in home guard use in UK during the war, probably explaining why the weapon was not modernized to A2.


-The front grip (W mark on the inside) has the side screw bushing stripped out. It looks like it was pressed into the wood at one point but is now loose. It is difficult to set tightly since it spins in the hole while threading in the screw from the opposite side. The side grip screw is well worn from being removed.


-The gas tube has been replaced with a New England part in parkerized finish. I suspect the regulator is a later version as well. I am in the market for a Winchester gas tube/regulator if anyone has one - even if it is too worn to shoot just for display.


All other parts appear to be W marked.


Here are some pictures:




































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Congratulations on your BAR.

You are correct in that it has some issues.

Most serious issue is the loose barrel. It should be impossible to unscrew barrel by hand. All other issues are insignificant in comparison. Your gun may have excessive headspace.

I would not recommend firing the gun until the barrel is tightened and headspace checked. If a gunsmith has the right tools the chamber end of the barrel could be "rolled" to tighten it up. Ohio Ordnance Works in Chardon Ohio might be able to do this.

My guess is, the original barrel was replaced by a barrel that had previously been on an A2 converted gun


As far as the rear sight base is concerned, soak it with "liquid wrench" for a few days, then hit it with a nylon or lead hammer.


A spanner wrench is required to remove the flash hider.


You are correct about the gas tube regulator, its post ww2. Originals are very hard to find.


A gun smith can solve the loose forend bushing with a little glass bedding.

Best of luck,

Jim C

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Thank you Jim for the good info. I was afraid the barrel thing would put this out of action. The odd thing is the front sight is in alignment, if the barrel worked out of tightness I would think the sight would be slightly askew? Being that the British proof marks are present on both receiver and barrel I suspect this is original to the gun. Also would tightening the barrel against the receiver impact the alignment of the gas hole that feeds the gas tube?


For the 1918 flash hider removal I ordered both the 1918 and A2 versions of the combo tool from Ohio Ordnance Works, I believe that has the stud/spanner incorporated to remove the flash hider.

Edited by nate129
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I'm guessing but I don't think the barrel was original on your BAR.

Barrels don't become loose from shooting. They become loose by removing them from the guns.

More than 25,000 BARs were loaned to the UK. So barrels can be found with British proofs.

"ROLLING" the chamber end of the can build up the chamber end of the barrel so that a tight fit can be had when the barrel is finished tightening up.

Jim C

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Hey Nate. The first question to determine is if your barrel was tightened in the receiver, would it be out of alignment? On my Colt and NESA, there were dash alignment marks to indicate where the barrel should be tightened in the receiver. I don't see any on my Winchester. However, the notch in the bottom of the barrel should be perfectly aligned in the center of the receiver. If you can tighten the barrel by hand and it's centered, then you either have a replacement barrel or God forbid your receiver is cracked. If I had to guess, I'd say you probably have a replacement barrel. These guns have had parts switched and swapped for 102 years! Even if your barrel has correct proofs to match your gun, it could still be a replacement.


If your barrel is close to being in perfect alignment just by hand, your going to have to either get if fixed according to the method Jim referenced or just replace the barrel. Before you go through the trouble of fixing your barrel, gauge it. If the Muzzle or Throat erosion is more than 50 to 75% of what it should be, I'd replace the barrel. The 50 to 75% is going to be a personal call. Yeah it will shoot with the throat or muzzle being a 7 or 8 on the throat gauge but if you are like me, I can't rest until it's new or like new.


Those barrel wrenches are unicorn teeth. I've never seen one for sale. I do have a barrel vice I modified to fit the BAR barrel to install a barrel. I could let you borrow it if you wanted to use it. Working on the BAR is not rocket science but it is a butt puckering experience when you are dealing with a $40K transferable.


Also, I notice your stock is cracked. That's 100% going to happen with every original M1918 bar stock. The walls or what I'd say are a bit thicker than card stock paper. If Browning had a design flaw, this may have been the only one on the BAR. Simple fix, get a wood craftsman to repair the stock. However, that's just the one I'd keep for display. Buy a new made stock to shoot on it.




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Thank you for the reply. Thanks to another board member I did pick up an original Winchester rear sight. The current site is not driving off the receiver easily, I will try the method Jim recommended above. Also good info on the rare sear, if those are prone to wear or breakage I should consider swapping it with a WW2 or Korean era part. Thankfuly the stock is repaired now just has the visible pins.


I did inspect the receiver with the barrel removed and did not see any cracks. I'll get a better look tonight and take some pictures. The notch you mentioned is perfectly centered now - I can't remember if there are draw marks.

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I did a closer inspection tonight - no cracks in the receiver found, everything looks good there. I did notice there are draw marks present on both the barrel behind the W mark and also on the inside of the receiver, and when the barrel is inline with the gas tube assembly (also front sight in alignment) and the barrel is only hand tight those draw marks do not line up which may be further evidence this is not the original barrel.


I also took off the stock. I found a little surprise inside: a dried up pull string, a carbon brush, some cotton patches, and oil bottle, and a small tapered cylinder in the bright within a sealed plastic bag - not sure what that part is. Also interesting is that I found the buffer tube was also only hand tight.


Here are some pictures:








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Nate, based on your pic of your barrel it appears that hand tightening the barrel puts it past the alignment mark. If that's the case, this is an easy fix as you could put a shim between the shoulder of the barrel and receiver to get it tight onto the receiver. As far as the buffer tube, the one that screws into the receiver should be tight enough not to come off by hand. I believe they were staked but on a $40K gun, I'd just use red lock tight and periodically keep an eye on it.

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The seller/dealer has agreed to cover the costs of repairing the loose barrel and buffer tube using his recomended gunsmith (John Andrewski). John will be gauging the barrel before the work is done. Thank you all for the suggestions.

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  • 3 weeks later...

This thread makes me worried about my m1918 Winchester as I can easily unscrew the barrel and have done so and re-installed it. It still operates fine, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t broken.

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This thread makes me worried about my m1918 Winchester as I can easily unscrew the barrel and have done so and re-installed it. It still operates fine, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t broken.

In my experience with several BAR's I've owned over the years, they will operate even if the barrel is loose and headspace isn't correct. I wouldn't personally shoot a transferable machine gun with a loose barrel but you may could find some shims and / or use some high temp loctite.

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The stock crack you have posted is fairly common, I've had this on 2 of the 3 BARs I've owned.

What I've done to help it is to get a 1.5" flat flapper sand paper wheel, mount in a drill and ream out the cavity

till the fit is snug. The 100 year old wood stocks are shrinking with age causing the initial fit to become tight-tight and cracking

the stock in the thinnest spot.

Hope this helps,


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