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FN L1A1 rifle

Article about: by m3bobby The .303 Bren mag wont fit the No.4, no where near. The L4A2/3/4 (Not the L4A1) was designed to have an interchangable mag with the L1A1 hence why you can swap the 2. And because

  1. #51
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    Default Re: FN L1A1 rifle

    Quote by m3bobby View Post
    The .303 Bren mag wont fit the No.4, no where near. The L4A2/3/4 (Not the L4A1) was designed to have an interchangable mag with the L1A1 hence why you can swap the 2.

    And because I like to see you drool, heres one of my L4s


    Im sure that Harry will back me up on this, but the problem with using the L4 LMG mag on an SLR was that the internal mag' spring, being designed for a "gravity assisted feed" magazine wasnt really strong enough for being used on the SLR unless it was either beefed up by a friendly unit armourer or "short loaded" by a couple of rounds.
    I never had one myself, but a couple of mates did and my brother carried a couple when he was in the army and they all said the same thing.
    No problems with feeds on the SLR mag fitted to an L4 though!

    BTW, lovely looking L4 m3bobby, we had them in my RE unit.

    Regards etc
    Ian D

    AKA: Jimpy
    Last edited by jimpy; 04-03-2013 at 07:13 PM. Reason: Addition/Spelling

  2. #52

    Default Re: FN L1A1 rifle

    Hi Ian, I can honestly say that we only used the bog-standard L4A2 magazine, and we never had a problem with them. I actually only had to use the SLR in anger on one occasion on my first tour, when I let off 12 rounds, although I came close to using it on many other occasions. My friend who was involved in the same incident had the standard 20 round magazine on his rifle and got a stoppage after one shot! When using these magazines we followed standard procedure as used for both the L4A2 magazine and Stirling magazine - two rounds less than capacity, a practice that was drummed into me by a WW2 army veteran when I was a 12 year old army cadet using the .303 Bren Mk1 which our unit had at that time.

    I don't wish to hijack this thread by going on about NI, but just to illustrate the problems we often faced in Belfast, take a look at this picture. It was taken in August 1972 at Andersonstown. Things to note are all the rubble immediately in front of the soldiers, lack of rubble near the rioters, and the amount of soldiers facing the rioters. Note also the way the SLR's are being carried by the soldiers. Barrels are either being pointed in the air or to the ground - but NOT at the rioters. On the whole, we displayed commendable restraint when facing such difficult situations. There was of course one infamous incident which happened involving troops and rioters. But feelings on both sides still run high over this, and it is not my wish to discuss something which is still cause for so much debate over what happened.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  3. #53

    Default Re: FN L1A1 rifle

    One other thing about the Bren gun. Where has all this talk originated from about the feed being 'gravity assisted?' I would argue the point that anyone having problems with the L4A2 magazine when used on the SLR, probably just had the misfortune to be using a magazine with a weak spring. It is surprising how many soldiers insisted on loading up the magazines to their 30 round maximum capacity. Any competent SAA instructor would tell you that best practice was to load only 28 rounds to avoid possible stoppages and weakened springs. Just because the magazine of the Bren sat on top of the gun does not mean the feed was gravity assisted! The spring was quite powerful for its intended job. And quite capable of giving proper feed for the SLR - it's un-intended job!

    Back in 1971 I was at Mourmelon Le Grande with our regiment. And at the end of our stay our troop went on the ranges with our SLR's and L4A2's to blast off all the 7.62 ammunition to save taking it back. I recall that myself and a lad by the name of Pete Cadby had a full transit box of Bren magazines each, and every magazine was loaded up with 28 rounds. We blasted away with magazine after magazine at an old Ferret scout car covered in tin cans and the like. We used the same magazines on the SLR's as well, and I don't recall having any feed-related problems. I might add that it was bloody good fun as well!
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  4. #54
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    Default Re: FN L1A1 rifle

    Thats just what I was told Harry, that and something to do with the follower plate spring being weak in comparison to that of an SLR mag's one.
    It is over 25 years since I handled an SLR though.........Thats my excuse and Im standing by it. LOL

    All the best

    Regards etc
    Ian D

    AKA: Jimpy



    PS: When's the book out on sale mate?

  5. #55

    Default Re: FN L1A1 rifle

    Hi Ian,

    Sales pitch first. I don't have a date now. It was originally 15th March, but I had to make certain changes to satisfy MoD. There was mention of 'Due to the ongoing security situation in...' Anyway, all changes 'suggested' and otherwise have been made. A copy has been printed off with documents and photo's included. This was to be sent to MoD for final approval. I know that some of the photo's may cause problems and have to be excluded. Local branch of Waterstone's are waiting for the word to organise the book signing. I am just waiting for the publisher to contact me and give the green light.

    Now about this L4 and SLR thing... Has anyone ever seen an SAA book which actually describes the Bren (and L4) as being gravity assisted feed? The only ex servicemen on here who have mentioned having feed problems appear to be from the very late 70's and 80's period. Maybe the magazines were clapped-out by then. Also bear in mind that I was in an Artillery regiment, and our L4's only got used a couple of times a year. The springs would have been perfectly fine.

    Steve.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

  6. #56

    Default Re: FN L1A1 rifle

    The gravity thing is nothing more than a fallacy, the mags were designed to be fully interchangable from the off. The proof is in the L4A2/3/4/5 itself. The original Bren had a hold open device built into the magazine, when the last round had been fired, the mag would stop the working parts from moving forward of the sear, allowing a new mag to be fitted. When the L4A1 was designed, the mag was from the FN FAL with the metric locking lug. The hold open device in the mag was never designed to hold working parts at the rear like those of the Bren so the designers made a device behind the mag catch which the mag could act upon and in turn hold the working parts to the rear. That was fine in theory but in practice, it didn't always work and it broke after very little use. So when the L4A2 version was on the drawing board, Enfield requested that they be allowed to redesign the mag with a hold open feature similar to the Bren mag, they were refused on the grounds that the mags had to be interchangable and the L1A1 couldn't be altered for an alternative magazine design. So to keep the mags interchangable, and to stop the hold open device breaking on the odd occasion it worked, it was ommitted and no hold open was incorporated in to the L4A2 onwards. So its no coincidence that the SLR and LMG mags are similar, had Enfield got there way, the LMG mag would have been completley different. In fact, had Enfield been allowed to develop a whole new 7.62mm mag for the LMG, it would have saved a lot of problems with the conversion of the Bren to the LMG.

  7. #57

    Default Re: FN L1A1 rifle

    My sentiments exactly on this gravity feed thing. I think it was just a conclusion reached by collector's. They saw the magazine on the top - and just assumed it must have been gravity feed. It was certainly something that I ever heard mentioned in the whole of my military service. I first fired the Bren at the tender age of 11 in 1963 when I joined the army cadets. I originally joined the ATC, but they wouldn't give me a uniform because I was too young. The local army cadets were not so fussy. I joined on the Friday and got my uniform the same night. On the Saturday I was at the ranges firing the Bren.

    We were never allowed to fire the Sten or the SLR, but we did have the Lee Enfield in both .22 and .303

    I never even set eyes on an SLR until I left the cadets and went straight into regular service. I last fired the Bren (L4) in 1974. An absolutely lovely weapon to use. It was always an absolute delight to shoot it.
    Author of... 'Belfast Diaries: A Gunner In Northern Ireland'... 'A Tough Nut To Crack: Andersonstown.. Voices From 9 Battery Royal Artillery In Northern Ireland'... 'An Accrington Pal: The Diaries of Pte Jack Smallshaw, September 1914 To March 1919'.

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