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by Max R. Popenker
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Bren L4 (UK)

Data for BREN L4A4, 7.62mm NATO (converted from Mk.3, cal .303)
caliber .303 British (Mk.1-Mk.3); 7,62mm NATO (L4)
weigth 8.68 kg on bipod
Length 1156 mm
Length of barrel 635 mm
feeding magazine 30 rounds
rate of fire ca. 500 rounds per minute

The BREN machine gun had been initially developed in Czechoslovakia as ZB-26, and then redesigned to fire rimmed british .303 ammunition. The designation BREN stands for (BRno-ENfield). Manufacture of the Bren Mk.1 began in Enfield (UK) in 1937. Brens in .303 had been manufactured in Mk.1 to Mk.4 configurations, being slightly differend in barrel lenghts, sights and other aspects, and saw wide and sucessful use during the World war 2. After the standartisation of the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge, many BRENs had been converted to fire rimless 7.62mm NATO rounds. These guns can be visually distinguished from early ones by more straight box magazines, and bear designations of L4A1 to L4A6. Most of these guns are currently obsolete in British army but some (especially, L4A4 and L4A5) are still in service with British Army and Navy. The 7.62mm BRENs also widely used by other British Commonwealth countries and some others.

Technically, all BREN machineguns are gas operated, tilting bolt locked, air cooled, magazine fed machine guns. The barrel, gas action and bolt assembly with bipod can recoil slightly inside the receiver body to reduce felt recoil. The gun can be fired in single-shot or full-auto mode. The barrels are quick changeable, but models L4A3, L4A4 and L4A6 had crome lined barrels, which require change only during the very intensive fire. All other guns were issued with non-lined barrels, each gun with two barrels (one installed, one spare). All BRENs are fed from top-inserted 30 rounds box magazines. Each BREN can be fired from integral folding bipod, from tripod mount or can be installed on vehicle (pintle or turret) mount. According to many sources, the BRENs were one of the best light machine guns of its time. banner exchange