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Thread: Did Bren Machine Guns also use mags from other guns?

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    Default Did Bren Machine Guns also use mags from other guns?

    Out of curiosity, did the Bren machine gun also use magazines from other .303 guns, or could it only work with the specific curved magazine for it?

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    Of course it only worked with its own magazines (the 30 round box or the much rarer 75? Round drum). It did not take the Vickers K drum, nor did it take the smle/No.4 10 round box.
    1884 electric cartridge. Look similar to anything?

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    Nor the curved magazine from the Vickers-Berthier, as used in Indian service.
    1884 electric cartridge. Look similar to anything?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tamaneko View Post
    Out of curiosity, did the Bren machine gun also use magazines from other .303 guns, or could it only work with the specific curved magazine for it?
    Hi mate and welcome to the site, the Bren only used Bren Magazines. Which of course was the simple answer.

    Cheers

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    I imaginethe question may have stemmed from the magazine commonality between the L1A1 and the L4 LMG, a rare piece of joined-up thinking.

    For information I have seen high capacity mags for the Bren in the AA rôle, although I think these were wksp mods using 2 x 30 rounders.
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    I never even knew the Bren had a 75-rd. drum mag.



    On second thought, I guess I've seen it before. I just wonder why it was not more widely available for infantry?

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    Thanks for the info. Well, actually, I was asking because I've been considering purchasing a Bren display gun, but unfortunately live in Calfornia with those 10-mag limit laws. I was hoping a 10-round mag from another firearm would be interchangeable with it, but alas...

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    If it's to be used as a display gun you might be better off buying one that's been deactivated or better yet a cutaway trg version.

    Magazines are not difficult to limit to ten rds or weld up completely, ask a dealer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh
    I never even knew the Bren had a 75-rd. drum mag....

    I just wonder why it was not more widely available for infantry?
    I would have thought that weight would have been a big problem with the 75 round drum. Fine if you are on a tripod, not so fine if you attempting to move from position to position, and fireing from the bipod. It could possible hinder carrying from the handle or if the gunner was carrying it "on the hip". As the weight on weight on top would tip the gun.

    The Bren Ammo was separated throughout the section, it is easier to carry two - 4 mags of 30 than one or two of 75.

    One big problem with the drum, which I feel is the real reason above all else, is time take to reload a drum. It contains 75 rounds or 2 1/2 mags worth. Thus it takes longer to unload and longer to load. Once you've fired 30 rounds, you can whip off the old mag pass it back to be bombed up, and you have a full supply again. Firing 2 - 3 round bursts this would be 12 (30 rd) or 30 (75 rds) bursts, regardless of mags or drums you are carrying the same amount of ammo just in more containers (30 rds) or less ( (75 rds) so there would be fewer mags to be charged in less time!!!

    Perhaps that reason is the one big one.

    Also, with a drum, the gunner might go mental and melt the barrel. With 30 round mags, there is a element of pause brought in. With AA, it would be long bursts but a fair bit of pause between each one. In a ground attack, there would be no respite.
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    I mentioned the drum mag to an old digger yesterday. He said they were for anti-aircraft use only, which avoids the weight problem for infantry.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    I never even knew the Bren had a 75-rd. drum mag.



    On second thought, I guess I've seen it before. I just wonder why it was not more widely available for infantry?
    I also imagine jamming would've been an issue since that's why the US military opted to drop the drum mags for the M1 Thompson and only load it using the box magazine.

    I'm sure the Bren, Lee-Enfield, and Vickers could all take the same ammunition; however, their magazines are all completely different so you cannot exchange magazines between them.

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    That drum mag appears to be incredibly rare. Here's one for $1500!

    Anyway, thanks for the suggestion on welding the mag, didn't think of that. I think I found a dealer willing to weld one up to make it legal to ship to California. I also ordered a parts kit for a Bren Mk.1, should be here next week.

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    There were other problems with the Thompson drum.

    In particular the 50 round drum was heavy, but the 100 round drum was insanely heavy and large. Niether could be easily stashed in existing webbing.

    Also both of the drums rattled when moving. They were ditched for use with Special units in the British Forces for that very reason.
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    I believe there were also reliability issues with Tommy Gun drum mags. in the field...

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    Not sure.

    Possible. But not heard of anything.

    There was also a belt fed version, but I don't think it was used or actually produced in large numbers.

    The original design being for a light automatic machine gun to be carried forward in the charge (trench warfare of ww1) and then used to sweep out the opposition - hence the nick name for this type of weapon as the "Trench Broom".

    The Belt fed version died a death early on, possibly because other weapons such as the long Luger and the Lewis Machine Gun were already being used for this purpose, and both had drum mags rather than belts. The belts would have got in the way.

    The Drums gave way to mags for some reason, and I don't think it was weight, as the weapon was said to be well balanced even with the drums on. Apart from commando raids noise wouldn't have been a problem either.
    If you post idiocy, don't get upset if you are seen as an idiot.... I don't.

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