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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 16:56 pm 
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Real Name: Ian Smales
I am interested in obtaining a nice de-act Bren - representative of a WW2 example used in the British Army. There does seem to be many pitfalls for the unwary, as there seems to be many things affecting the collectability? Can any seasoned Bren collectors recommend any particular dealers or guides to collecting Brens?
Thanks for your help

Ian


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 20:18 pm 
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Alysloper wrote:
representative of a WW2 example used in the British Army

Get an Enfield or Inglis MkI or a Monotype or Inglis MkII. Don't get a Lithgow MkI or an Enfield MkIII. After that it depends on how fussy you are about whether they have 'factory spec' parts or not.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 21:03 pm 
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What period do you wish to portray with said Bren ?


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 22:47 pm 
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There are Brens that are in their configuration spec ie Mk1 Bren with Mk1 Bren parts, the same with Mk 2 and Mk 3 Brens this also applies to The early double dovetail No1 Brens and then there are Brens that have other parts from other Mks of Bren ie a Mk1 Bren receiver with Mk2 barrel and Mk3 Butt stock woodwork and sights visa versa a mix mash of different Mks of bits. These Brens with a mixture of different parts are quite normal for a Bren to have as all parts from different Mks fit each other, the armourer would fit what ever parts they had available, they would not be interested how the Bren looked from a collector's view but how it worked and how quickly it was back in the field for battle. This practice happened throughout the war and after. I have a Mk1 1944 dated Bren ( that I may be selling ) that has a Mk 1 barrel, with Mk 2 bits and a Mk3 stock. A mixture of different Mk bits would be normal and correct during wartime as well as a Bren with all the correct related Mk parts.
I asked a question about this to the author Peter Laidler of the Sten gun and Brengun collectors grade books also ex British army armourer on the Milsurps forum with the same above response. Argue with him if you think I am wrong.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:11 am 
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That's correct to an extend, but not for example for 1939-41, which is why he needs to decide what peiod he wants to portray a Bren at, later on, it's exactly as you say, mix and match


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 9:27 am 
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I quite agree.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 18:23 pm 
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It's true that in service armourers would refurbish guns with whatever parts were available at the time. There is also photographic evidence that late production Enfield MkI's were factory fitted with Mk2 butts, bipods and barrel handle grips. For official purposes, the Mark of a Bren was defined only by it's receiver type.

Having said that... the problem is that - matching serial numbers aside - there is no way of knowing from this distance in time when the mixture of parts you might see on a deact Bren occurred. During WWII British service? Postwar British service? Postwar foreign service? Just before it was deactivated? Personally my money would be on the latter options.

Hence collectors tend to favour guns that have the parts they are most likely to have had when they left the factory. It may have been a recent assemblage, but at least you know the *probability* is that the gun will look more or less like it did when it started service and during most or all of it's WWII service.

But as I said; it depends how fussy you want to be. There is nothing 'wrong' with a Bren that has a mixture of parts.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 18:46 pm 
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Thank you for your replies and what little I have read seem to support the sensible idea that the turnaround time in the armourer's shop would be the most important factor deciding which Mk parts were used to get a weapon reserviceable.

Ideally, I would be looking at 39-40 period but these might be prohibitively expensive.
Is there a helpful online guide to the differences between the various Mks?
thanks

Ian


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 18:54 pm 
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If it's 1939 -1940, then you have no option but to go for a reasonably "full spec" early one, with dovetail, square flash hider, extending bipod, AA butt strap and butt handle. Any thing else would look w**k for that period


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 04, 2014 19:07 pm 
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Alysloper wrote:
Ideally, I would be looking at 39-40 period but these might be prohibitively expensive.

For an up to circa mid-1940 gun you'd want an Enfield MkI with a double-dovetail and King's crown marked receiver. Then - going back to the factory spec thing - you'd ideally want one with a Mk1 barrel, Mk1 bipod, Mk1 butt, early type Mk1 butt-slide, butt plate with butt strap, butt handle, Mk1 barrel locking nut and various other things depending on what level of detail you want to go down to.

Here's my 1940 dated one:

viewtopic.php?f=121&t=55937

It's mostly 'right', (and I've since fitted it with a butt plate with butt strap) but has a later type Mk1 butt slide and a Mk2 barrel locking nut as well as various Canadian Inglis marked parts. My suspicion is that it was at least partly assembled from parts prior to deactivation.

At a guess you'd be looking at £600-700 for a mostly correct early MkI. But I'm a bit out of touch on values these days as I thankfully bought my four Brens before the prices went beserk.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:46 am 
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I guess I need a Mk.1 with all the Mk.1 components. Thanks for all your help!

Ian


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 11:50 am 
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Forgot to add: there's some excellent pictures here of 'factory spec' Bren guns by different manufacturers:

http://www.warrelics.eu/forum/world-fir ... ion-13195/

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