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Blank Adapting the 1919a4 Browning 30 Caliber

Date Written: September 2011
Author: Chris Guska

Blank Adapting the 1919a4 Browning 30 Caliber LMG

There are several other tutorials out on the web regarding blank adapting the 1919a4 Browning 30. I've learned quite a bit from those tutorials, forums as well as first hand experience and wanted to write something up to put all my thoughts in one place.

There are many different variables to successfully running the 1919a4 with blanks.

This is not black magic, or particularly difficult. It may seem excessive to have 6 pages about this - but I'm trying to relay as much info as I can to help. If you don't to read 6 pages of my "explanations" - I have a quick and dirty overview from a high level.

1.) Selecting blanks
2.) Feedway modifications
3.) Booster / BFA modifications
4.) Belts vs Links
5.) Feed parts
6.) Troubleshooting

Skip the BS - Give me the quick and dirty details

1.) Blanks

The blanks you chose will impact most everything about the blank adapting process. There are a number of surplus and new made options available on the market which are and have been particularly popular with 1919a4 operators.

Surplus: These blanks are typically full length 308 blanks, with a long "bullet crimp". brass Austrian, British, Pakistani, and now plastic German blanks are available.

I consider these blanks to be preferable for use in 1919a4's due to consistency of overall length of the round as well as price.

Commercial: New made 30.06 and 308 blanks are available from blank vendors such as Atlantic Wall Blanks, Nartron and Joe Swanson Movie Picture Blanks. These blank cartridges can come in a short or long crimp variety - and are typically more consistent in powder charge. I cannot comment on consistency of cartridge overall length.

308 vs 30.06?

The caliber you chose to run has an impact obviously on what barrel you have to use - but it will also require some attention to the bolt. A bolt marked 7.62 on top will run 308 or 30.06. A bolt that is not marked (not Israeli or Danish modified) "may not" be able to run 308, but you will need to check your blanks to the bolt.

The difference between the bolts is in the T slot that the cartridge slides down as the action operates. 308 cartridges are typically made with a different extraction groove than 30.06, where on an original unmodified WW2 production 1919a4 bolt - the 308 cartridge wont fit down the slot properly. Some 308 blank cartridges are made with the 30.06 style extraction groove and will work in "unmodified" bolts. Conversely, some "unmodified" bolts are so worn, that 308 cartridges will work without issue.

Photo of the T slot

Provided you have a "308" bolt in your gun with the modified T slot, you can run 30.06, 8mm or 308 with a simple barrel change and some minor tweaking.

** Notes about "Israeli" vs "GI" gun kits / builds. Basically, there are only 3 parts that have any impact on what calibers you can run in a Browning 30. With exception of those 3 parts, all of the other "Israeli" modifications have no bearing on being truly able to shoot "308" or any other caliber for that matter. A "USGI" "30 Cal" 1919 or 1917 can be made to shoot 308 blanks. More about this in Section 2: Feedway

Confused? Don't be. Chances are you most likely have a modified bolt and all of the above is just theoretical...

On to Part 2 - Feedway modifications




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