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Ohio Ordnance HCAR: The BAR of the Future

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The Ohio Ordnance HCAR (Heavy Counter Assault Rifle – a rather fanciful name) is what happens when you take the US military development track of the Browning Automatic Rifle, and bring up to the present day. Why would someone choose this particular product to modernize? Well, because eOhio Ordnance was already making standard semiautomatic reproduction of the M1918A2 (World War Two era) BAR, and this type of modernization was a fairly obvious extension of that project.

The HCAR retains the .30-06 chambering of the BAR, but gives it much-improved controls. The magazine release is now a handy AK-like lever, the safety sits nicely under the thumb of a right-handed user, and a proper pistol grip replaces the traditional wrist of the M1918A2 (a change that Colt and FN made in the 1930s, but which never got into the US Ordnance system). The rifle fires from a closed bolt, and Ohio Ordnance added a bolt release control as well – something not needed on the open-bolt originals. Picantinny rails on the receiver and handguard allow for mounting of optics, bipods, and other accessories.

A few holdovers from the US military ancestry inclose the A2-style magazine guides, and the rather tricky disassembly procedure (which was also much improved by FN in the 1930s, but not adopted by the US). The barrel is offered in either 16″ or 20″; both dimpled for weight reduction. The receiver, bolt carrier, and many other parts have been substantially lightened, bringing the HCAR in at 11.75-12.5 pounds depending on barrel length – a huge reduction from the 19 pounds of a standard M1918A2.

The question is, what is the purpose of the HCAR? It is a very expensive rifle, and one is tempted to try to see it in a modern tactical light because of its styling. However, there really isn’t much a .30-06 can do that can’t be accomplished by any number of lighter and cheaper rifles with more widespread aftermarket support. To me, the purpose of the HCAR is simply to have fun with. It is a very cool rifle, and does not need to be justified as aTier One Operator’s choice. It is reliable, pleasant to shoot, accurate, and makes form a fun head-turning day at the range. Sometimes that’s all a gun needs to be…

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