Original U.S. WWII Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) Rigid Leather Scabbard by BOYT - dated 1943
Original Item: Only one available. Dated 1943, this is a very rare original BAR WWII item: a top quality Leather hard case expressly constructed for the legendary Browning Automatic Rifle, complete with steel strengtheners and belt-hinged end cover. The scabbard is marked under the end cover:
- 43 -
All of the examples we have seen were made by the same company, Boyt Harness Company of Des Moines, Iowa. The Boyt Harness Company was founded in 1901 to manufacture leather saddles and harnesses, and quickly became known as the regional leader in quality products for the farmer and stockman. As word spread of the pride and craftsmanship with which Boyt products were made, the company was soon the standard bearer for leather products nationwide. They were a major military contractor during the war, making all variety of leather goods, such as holsters, scabbards, slings, etc.
These scabbards were apparently designed to be used with pack animals in the Japanese War and also used by Paratroops as Drop Cases. Extremely rare, in fact we have only had a few in our possession. Leather beautifully matured, a high quality item in its day and even more so today.
Condition is very good, with almost all of the stitching appearing to be intact. There is just a bit of seam separation at the end, which is slightly deformed and stained, most likely from contact with the ground or water. The leather overall is hard, and could definitely use some conditioning. There have not been any repairs made that we can see, and the brass fittings do have some oxidation, as expected for an item of this age. The steel components still retain their paint very well, with only a bit of finish degradation and oxidation. This is one of the better examples that we have seen, as they usually are seen with lots of popped stitching and other condition issues.
The Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) is a family of United States automatic rifles (or machine rifles) and light machine guns used by the United States and numerous other countries during the 20th century. This machine rifle is similar in function to other related World War I automatic rifles used for assaulting the enemy. Other light machine guns used by troops advancing across no-man's-land were the Chauchat, Benet-Mercie and the Lewis gun. The primary variant of the BAR series was the M1918, chambered for the .30-06 Springfield rifle cartridge and designed by John Browning in 1917 for the U.S. Expeditionary Corps in Europe as a replacement for the French-made Chauchat and M1909 Benét-Mercié machine guns that US forces had previously been issued.
The BAR was designed to be carried by infantrymen during an assault or advance while supported by the sling over the shoulder or fired from the hip. This is a concept called "walking fire" - thought to be necessary for the individual soldier during trench warfare. The BAR never entirely lived up to the original hopes of the War Department; being neither a rifle nor a machine gun.
The US Army, in practice, used the BAR as a light machine gun (aka squad support weapon) often fired from a bipod (introduced on models after 1938). A variant of the original M1918 BAR, the Colt Monitor Machine Rifle, remains the lightest production automatic gun to fire the .30-06 Springfield cartridge, though the limited capacity of its standard 20-round magazine tended to hamper its utility in that role.
Although the weapon did see some action in World War I, the BAR did not become standard issue in the U.S. Army until 1938, when it was issued to squads as a portable light machine gun. The BAR saw extensive service in both World War II and the Korean War and saw some service early in the Vietnam War. The U.S. Army began phasing out the BAR in the late 1950s, when it was intended to be replaced by a SAW variant of the M14, and was without a portable light machine gun until the introduction of the M60 machine gun in 1957. The M60, however, was really a GPMG, a general-purpose machine gun, and was used as a SAW only because the U.S. Army had no other tool for the job until the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in the mid-1980s.
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