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HCAR – BAR for the 21st Century from Ohio Ordnance Works


Seeing how today is Veterans Day which finds its foundation in Armistice Day that marked the end of WW I, it’s fitting to offer a story about a modern version of the 1918 Browning Automatic Rifle which first saw service in that war to end all wars. Designed almost a century ago by small arms genius John Moses Browning, it served from its inception in 1917 until the early 1970s in the US arsenal and elsewhere around the world for long after. I’d even go so far as to call the BAR the original SAW and its removal from service and subsequent capability gap led to the acquisition of the M249 SAW.

HCAR (5)

This modernized version of the BAR is known as the Heavy Combat Assault Rifle. Ohio Ordnance Works applied knowledge gained from almost 20 years of building semi-auto versions of the BAR to increase the firepower of the Infantry Squad. In fact, they’ve been working on this for a little while now. I gave the HCAR a brief mention during SHOT Show 2013.


I was fortunate enough to get a chance to fire the HCAR during the Osprey Global Solutions Range Demo Day. Headed by Retired Army Lieutenant General David Grange, Osprey has opened a new facility boasting a 1500m range near Elizabethtown, North Carolina, right down route 87 from Fort Bragg.

This new variant is still chambered in .30-06 but they are considering other calibers; 7.62 is a natural fit but a few others were mentioned as well. As this is still a developmental platform, almost anything in that class of round is possible, so long as it makes sense. Even with the .30-06 you can see that recoil is quite manageable. I found it similar to a 5.56 rifle. They tell me it’s due to their new buffer. The furniture is all designed and manufactured in house from Selective Laser Sintered (SLA) 3D printed materials. OOW has also integrated Mil Std 1913 rails for sights and accessories.

HCAR (1)

The 16″ barrel is “dimpled” with ovals to help reduce weight and improve cooling by offering additional surface area. Additionally, both prototypes were equipped with AAC flash suppressors and readily accepted the AAC suppressor. In order to make the suppressor more user friendly it was fitted with a Manta suppressor cover. Like on the original BAR design, the HCAR has an adjustable gas port. I fired both guns and observed no issues with either as over 40 different shooters firing several hundred rounds over the course of the afternoon.

HCAR Barrel

You may notice the 30 round magazine. OOW offers a 30 round BAR mag and the ones we used during the demo performed flawlessly. Granted, it was a range day, and we didn’t put them through combat conditions but I saw 5 magazines used between the two HCARs with no misfeeds. You should also take note of the magazine guide to assist with seating a magazine in the weapon.


The HCAR integrates accepts Mil Spec collapsible stocks as seen here.


OOW has developed a new folding charging handle that will be included with future prototypes.


One thing I am not enamored with on this build is the selector switch. It’s classic WW I design. Twist the switch forward, toward the enemy and you are on fire, twist it to the rear, toward friendlies and it’s safe. It’s just not easy to manipulate. OOW told me that they have developed a newer switch that is a little more ergonomic but you’ll still have to remove your hand from the weapon to use it. Let’s face it, we are pretty spoiled with more modern designs.


Sure, it’s still heavy at 12 lbs but considering they’ve shaved almost 8 lbs from the model it’s based on and it handles .30-06 like a champ, I’m not complaining. Also, I can live with the selector lever. All-in-all, I’m more than happy with what I’ve seen so far and look forward to the HCAR to be offered for sale.


I know what’s on everyone’s mind. How much does it cost and when can I buy one? Considering their 1918A3 SLRs run $4300, I’d say that the HCAR will be somewhere in that ballpark. As for when? That remains to be seen. OOW continues to refine the design. Hopefully, we will see more from Ohio Ordnance Works at SHOT Show 2014.

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18 Responses to “HCAR – BAR for the 21st Century from Ohio Ordnance Works”

  1. Haji says:

    Is that with M1 Rifle spec .30-06, or will it run on modern, commercially loaded .30-06?

  2. CanadianCivy says:

    What role would this rifle be trying to fill? With a name like “Heavy Combat Assault Rifle” it sounds like they’re trying to get the military to look at it. But what does it have that a M14 variant with a selector switch not have? IF (a big “if”) the military did look at it, that would mean new training for the troops, armorers, etc in maintenance, use, and what-not. i.e. LOTS of money and time. But if it’s for the civilian market, go right ahead! It looks kinda cool, but it’d be lower on my personal “list of guns to buy”.

    I don’t know, but I might be able to see it as some sort of long-range harrying rifle or a sniper support rifle if it was chambered in some thing like .300 Win Mag.

    Could the HCAR be made with an AR-15 style selector switch? Or use AR-15 grip? The picture make it look like the current prototype have the grip built in, and not changeable.

    • SSD says:

      There’s always a thought in the back of a developer’s mind of building something for military adoption. It’s a good straw man. One of the roles discussed was as a gun for the observer half of a sniper/observer team.

      Mechanically, I’m not sure what would need to happen to modify the selector lever to AR standards.

    • Dash says:

      Just thinking out loud here, but it is my understanding that the m14 was completely unmanageable in full auto. If this can manage LMG accuracy with 30-06…I can see how that would be useful. Then again, 30-06 out of a 16″ barrel seems like one would be carrying high power weight, with middle power performance. There would be no reason to carry anything bigger than 7.62×51 with a barrel that short, and even that would be a waste unless specially loaded with fast powder. Correct me if I’m wrong, but that seems like it would get the most velocity out of a shorter barrel. I’ve only reloaded handgun ammo, and haven’t done too much experimenting to find a “sweet spot” load, so my experience is admittedly limited in that regard.

  3. Hubba hubba!

    Come to daddy…

  4. DougD says:

    Interesting concept and a great article but it appears to be retracing the path to the FN FAL. The modernized FAL as produced by DS Arms provides ergonomic solutions to the listed challenges in a widely standardized 7.62 NATO platform.

  5. Emery Nelson says:

    Well, well, if General Grange is involved I’m in.

  6. We are grateful for the turnout and especially Eric Graves for showing up and shooting some great weapons with our team. We enjoyed sponsoring the event along with the other team. Gen David Grange is a great individual who is not afraid to get his hands dirty and move mountains if necessary like some other officers. Eric and I noticed that first thing on the firing line. Gen Grange is a ” Hands On ” leader and I believe that is why everyone loves him.


  7. Fritzthedog says:

    This is a great looking platform but I keep asking why not something like the NEMO armsOMEN in 300 Win Mag?

  8. SGT Dan's Cat says:

    Haji, a Garand will run just fine on any commercially loaded .30’06 of 180 grains or less, especially all the 150 grain FMJ out there. You don’t need to feed it surplus.

    Fritz, it’s a question of barrel life and action length. In semi when you’re looking for a heavy blaster to punch through cars and doors in a MOUT fight, the .300 WM does nothing the .30’06 or 7.62mm NATO doesn’t.

    Really, except for the ability to sling 165 grain AP (if you can get that glorious WWII vintage stuff), this does nothing a SCAR-H won’t, but it really appeals to the retro-hotrodder in me.

  9. m5 says:

    “… building semi-auto versions of the BAR to increase the firepower of the Infantry Squad.”

    Huh? Going semi-automatic-only for a SAW (LMG) seems like a sure way to *decrease* the firepower of the infantry squad.

    I’m sure this is a nice weapon for the firearms enthusiast, and that it might serve some niche military role even, but the LMG of the infantry squad it certainly isn’t.

    • SSD says:

      Wow, in the couple of years I have allowed commenting on SSD you now in the award for the most egregious out of context quoting ever.

      You literally should go find a job in politics.

      Either that or you some how lack the mental acuity to envision a full auto,version of this weapon.

      Which is it?

      • m5 says:

        Thanks for the compliment!

        But is there perhaps a slight difference between envisioning and actually building? So far they’ve built nothing that actually increases the firepower of the infantry squad, you just dreamed, uhm envisioned it up.

        Besides, chances are slim that HCAR would be adopted by any military as an LMG (full-auto by definition), and it is arguable whether the firepower of the infantry squad would be increased by replacing a modern LMG with HCAR. BAR was deemed outdated already in the 1960’s.

        A nice and high-quality retro weapon though, I’m sure.

  10. Dave in Utah says:

    You’ve sold me already, and I haven’t even held it or put a round through it. But this is the sort of platform that has been sorely needed. What are we talking when it comes to cost? Early beta models aside, what would production costs look like?

  11. […] Ohio Ordinance’s modern take on the BAR: […]

    • The Real OOW says:

      The Ohio Ordnance (no “i” in ordnance) team will be releasing an “intro” video before Christmas on our new HCAR rifle, which really stands for Heavy COUNTER Assault Rifle… and this will be the real scoop that you can trust, from people who have the right information and correct spelling!


      Team OOW

  12. Tom says:

    If you they do decide to do the 7.62NATO why not just go for a Model “D” in 7.62NATO, using FAL Mags? I know that there are not that many “D”s out there, but still the ones that are there could use some new parts now and then. Just a thought 🙂