Cal.30 Browning M1919A4 Barrel
ABER 1:35 Set #35 L-54
Review by Terry Ashley

The US .30cal M-1919 machine gun with its perforated cooling jacket lends itself perfectly for the current trend in finely machined brass updates much like the German MG34 with very nice .30cal barrels already available from Adlers Nest and Modelpoint (see comparison review).

This new .30cal barrel set from ABER differs is that it provides three barrels in finely machined brass barrels and etched outer cooling jackets that require you to bend to form the jacket.

Barrel parts and etched jackets

I must admit when I first saw this approach by ABER compared to the simplicity of the other sets I was a bit sceptical that they would stack up but the end result was anything but disappointing.

The set has a small etched fret with four flat cooling jackets and the three finely machined inner brass barrels that include the muzzle with distinctive .30cal notches included.

Providing the additional spare jacket is a nice idea as it allows for any disasters which may occur when bending the first jacket but after that you should know the best way of getting the result.

To bend the jacket I first annealed the part by running through a candle flame until the metal glowed red and then let cool naturally in the air which only takes a few seconds being so thin.

I then used an appropriate sized drill bit that corresponds with the diameter of the front and back locating ridges on the barrel which is 1.2mm and bent to annealed cooling jacket around the drill bit using finger pressure.

It is important to keep the jacket perfectly parallel with the drill bit while bending so the ends match up when the bend is compete. The advantage of bending around the drill bit is that you can be quite rough during the bending and the drill bit will stop any distortion of the soft metal as you press it around the bit.

To finish off the bend I burnished the two edges down with a model knife blade to get a good join and the best method of joining the two edges together is with a small dab of solder. Make sure you don’t use too much or you may end up filling the cooling holes, alternately you can use cyanoacrylate but this leaves a small join line which will have to be positioned at the bottom to hide once the barrel is fitted to the MG receiver.

After joining the bent barrel I then lightly filed the join smooth and also filed the full length of the jacket to eliminate any small ridges around the cooling holes which may result as a consequence of the bending process. The filing is done with the drill bit still in place to prevent any damage during the process and once satisfied with the finish you can then remove the drill bit and you have a perfectly formed cooling jacket.

The final jacket is then slipped neatly over the location lugs on the brass barrel and was firmly attached with a light application of thin cyanoacrylate followed by final sanding to fully blend into the barrel. Remember you no longer have the drill bit up the middle of the cooling jacket so do not apply any pressure to the jacket or it will distort and you will have to remove it and start over.

I fitted the assembled barrel to the new .30cal machine gun from the Dragon M2A1 Half-Track kit (#6329) as this is one of the nicest plastic .30cals available today and the plastic barrel was cut off, a small .85mm hole drilled and the pin on the back of the barrel slipped into the hole, all very simple.

Asembled barrel with Dragon .30cal MG

There is a lot more work involved with this barrel compared the brass jacket in the other sets but the final result looked more convincing as the etched jacket is about half the thickness of the machined brass jackets giving a very nice “scale” appearance to the jacket.

The other bonus is you get three barrels with the ABER set compared to just the one in both the other sets and the price is less making it an even better deal providing you don’t mind a bit of work.

Highly recommened 8.5/10

See the full comparison of available metal .30cal machine gun barrels.

Thanks to ABER for the review sets.
Airconnection carry the full range of ABER update sets and barrels.

Page Created November 21, 2006

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