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Winchester M1918 BAR
August 8, 2018
8:27 pm
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I saw the curator of Cody highlighting a WRA BAR for the 150 anniversary of WRA, so I thought I would post some of information regarding the BAR.  I have 3 notebooks of paperwork and test reports from an ordnance sergeant assigned to the WRA plant in WW1 to inspect/train and test the manufacturing of the BAR's  being built at WRA. Included are his personal notes as well as inspection test records of specific weapons, ammunition, etc. Not much to look at but interesting to ordnance collectors. Included were several copies of the Winchester Record (his is pictured in one) and a 1918 catalog, etc. The folders contain signatures of some of the best known ordnance officers etc., Tschappat, Smith, Johnson, Hatcher, etc. Here are a few examples of the items included.

DSC01412.JPGImage EnlargerDSC01413.JPGImage EnlargerDSC01415.JPGImage EnlargerDSC01416.JPGImage EnlargerDSC01418.JPGImage Enlarger 

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August 9, 2018
12:08 am
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A few years back I had a chance to buy a 1918 Winchester BAR that was 100% correct and in very nice condition. Priced at $10,000. All I had was $8,000 so I settled on a WW2 M1 Thompson. Long story here, but the deal went sour and I bought another M1 Thompson identical to the $8,000 one for $4,500. I still wish I would have bought that BAR. They still had those when I went to 2nd ITR out of Boot Camp in the Marines. I got to fire several BARs there. Very fine weapon. Big Larry

August 9, 2018
9:37 pm
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Thank you for the comments and story.  I enjoy your posts.  A friend of mine had/has a WRA bar that he said came out of the reference collection when they moved to Cody.  I believe he may have sold it last year or the year before in a private sale or via RIA auction (it was a class III weapon).  It was a sweat rifle.  I fired one or two of them when I was in initial training for the Army.  The museum supplied the weapons and history buffs suppled the ammunition and we fired all kinds of unique and interesting weapons. Regards,

August 16, 2018
1:44 am
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GaryK
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I’ve recently acquired a m1918 WRA BAR that was part of the reference collection (tag is still on the buttstock).

Many/most of it’s internal parts are marked with “W” and in addition ”MA.” Nobody seems to know what the “MA” stands for but it’s a mystery I intend to solve. Did any of the inspectors have those initials, by chance?

No military marks or date on the barrel. Barrel has a small “M” on the top and under the foregrip it’s marked “W circled(VP) C.R.C.”

Thanks!

-Gary

August 16, 2018
3:07 pm
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During that time period the Winchester Inspectors were assigned numbers, not letters.  The inspectors did not start using letters until later (circa 1938 for the rifles I am familiar with).

I have not seen a reference for "MA" that I can recall.  "MR" was a marking used to indicate "Approval Stamp for Inspection of Forming Tools in Soft State" but that was not used on the BAR.  I would assume that your "MA" is a similar inspection stamp to indicate an inspection (or test) of some type had been performed.

The "M" on top of the barrel indicates it was tested using the magnetic particle method, the VP indicates "Violent Proof" and the C.R.C. is likely the supplier of the steel.  I have a chart somewhere which lists the steel suppliers and the subsequent Winchester markings but don't have access to it right now.  It is also possible that "MA" was also a steel supplier for the internal parts.  I will check the chart when I get a chance.

Hope that helps.

Regards,

WACA Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

August 16, 2018
3:24 pm
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GaryK said
I’ve recently acquired a m1918 WRA BAR that was part of the reference collection (tag is still on the buttstock).

Many/most of it’s internal parts are marked with “W” and in addition ”MA.” Nobody seems to know what the “MA” stands for but it’s a mystery I intend to solve. Did any of the inspectors have those initials, by chance?

No military marks or date on the barrel. Barrel has a small “M” on the top and under the foregrip it’s marked “W circled(VP) C.R.C.”

Thanks!

-Gary  

I suggest you get hold of Mr. Bruce Canfield the author. He knows a lot about these things and may be able to help you further. Big Larry

August 17, 2018
12:41 am
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GaryK
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I’ve contacted Mr. Canfield. I don’t think the markings relate to metal as the inside of the foregrip is also marked this way.

August 17, 2018
2:50 am
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I’m a member now!

@JWA: I’ll definitely look into the magnetic particle method. That would resolve why the “M” on the barrel was so small... so, it is a WRA barrel.

August 17, 2018
3:36 am
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GaryK said
I’m a member now!

@JWA: I’ll definitely look into the magnetic particle method. That would resolve why the “M” on the barrel was so small... so, it is a WRA barrel.  

Yes, All the markings indicate it is a Winchester barrel.

Regards,

WACA Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

August 18, 2018
2:32 am
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GaryK said
I’m a member now!

@JWA: I’ll definitely look into the magnetic particle method. That would resolve why the “M” on the barrel was so small... so, it is a WRA barrel.  

Welcome!

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
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Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
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Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
August 20, 2018
4:06 am
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GaryK said
I’m a member now!

@JWA: I’ll definitely look into the magnetic particle method. That would resolve why the “M” on the barrel was so small... so, it is a WRA barrel.  

Forgot to add, in the automotive machine business (back when cylinder heads were made from ferrous alloys) they used a process called magnaflux. Probably very similar.

 

Mike

Life Member TSRA, Endowment Member NRA
BBHC Member, TGCA Member
Smokeless powder is a passing fad! -Steve Garbe
I hate rude behavior in a man. I won't tolerate it. -Woodrow F. Call, Lonesome Dove
Some of my favorite recipes start out with a handful of depleted counterbalance devices.-TXGunNut
Presbyopia be damned, I'm going to shoot this thing! -TXGunNut
August 20, 2018
8:01 am
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You are correct, it is the MP method.

Magnaflux is just a brand name of many different types of test products.  The technique commonly used on ferrous cylinder heads is the magnetic particle method, you just happened to use Magnaflux equipment to do it (or even some other brand of equipment).  Parker Research is also a very common brand of MP equipment.

Calling the process "Magnaflux" is a common misnomer.

Best Regards,

WACA Member #6284 - Specializing in Pre-64 Winchester .22 Rimfire

August 20, 2018
4:24 pm
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I have a friend that has authored and co authored several books on military arms from WWI and WWII.  I usually see him on Saturdays at the gun shop.  I will try to remember to ask him if he knows anything about these marks.  I have one of Canfield's books (Winchester In The Service) but the section on the BAR doesn't go into detail about the markings.

August 20, 2018
6:41 pm
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Mr. Canfield said he did not know what the “MA” represents.

Here’s another example with the markings (the bolt): https://www.wwiibarman.com/collections/parts-set/products/unissued-m1918-upgraded-to-a2-winchester-sample-cabinet-bar

August 27, 2018
6:01 pm
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My friend did not know what the MA is either.  He said he has no experience with the BAR's.  Most likely an inspectors mark.

August 27, 2018
11:35 pm
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Thanks for asking him.

The only inspector marks I've seen are simply numbers.

My final two guesses are: (1) Marlin Arms, or (2) French Ministry of Armament.

August 28, 2018
3:42 pm
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Marlin Rockwell was one of the manufacturers of the BAR.  Sometimes the manufacturer was supplied small parts from an outside sources.  So a Winchester BAR could have small parts from another supplier.  MA could be the supplier? 

September 3, 2018
12:24 am
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Chuck, maybe but I doubt they would have out-sourced receivers.

September 3, 2018
4:57 pm
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I agree with you.  Small parts and accessories only.

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