BAR Action in Straight Pull Elegance – The Browning Maral

Its hard not to enjoy a good bolt-action rifle. The action is completely satisfying: unlock, pull, push, and close the action. With fine, smooth guns, it’s a therapy unto itself.

However, the manually rotating bolt action is perhaps a vestige of the past, with countries noticing over 100 years that it was faster and more ergonomic to use a straight-pull action. The only major drawback is the increased complexity and cost to the straight-pull, which has kept them relegated to typically high-end offerings.

Today, companies are looking to convert modern semi-auto designs into bolt-actions, if only due to various firearms restrictions in place around the world. An AR-15 makes for a handy straight pull with spring-assisted closure speeding up shooting. POF has modified the AR-10/LR-308 side too.

 

But, what happens when you add a straight pull action to a BAR? You get the Browning Maral, a high-end hunting rifle offered primarily in Europe. Chambered in (as one would expect) .30-06, the rifle adds a contoured bolt handle the bolt carrier and when coupled with Browning’s elegant stock options creates quite the compelling sporter.

Released in 2014, the Maral is slowly gaining SKUs including options in 9.3x62mm, .308 Winchester, and 300 Win Mag. Pricing for 2017 has been released at a hair over 2,500 Euros or about $2,600 dollars for those here in the United States.

 

 



Nathan S.

One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

Nathan can be reached at Nathan.S@TheFirearmBlog.com

The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.


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  • Tritro29

    Belgian cinematic intro is clearly due for some Bayhem. The rifle is a beauty but that price though.

  • Blake

    straight-pull action is fantastic.

    This thing would be pretty sweet in 7mm rem mag.

  • zellgato

    I like straight pull A LOT but..
    I don’t like that whole “let go and it closes itself” thing.
    I would really prefer that personally.
    I suppose thats just personal taste…
    i like my bolt action to be fully my action, any of the automation just makes me go “why not have my semi auto” sorta thing. and if there is a jam with its auto closing it’ll throw me to have to go back to the bolt after letting go to work the jam out.

    • DanGoodShot

      I agree as far as the US market goes. But this isn’t made with the US market in mind.

      • Dougscamo

        What really freaks me out is the popularity of the 30-06 in Europe….
        We all have been moaning about a lack of originality in the firearms design markets…perhaps this is the tonic we have been looking for….if it came with a $1000 price tag…. 🙂

        • Tassiebush

          Yeah I don’t actually understand why there isn’t an “affordable” priced new production straight pull.

      • zellgato

        Very true~ i know nothing of the logitisics of other markets and their allowance for semi-autos.
        Though afaik a few folks have SKS over seas. Although i have no clue if they’re capped capacity like in Canada.
        for places with no semi auto I imagine this is gold

  • I don’t need one, but I want one. Really a fine looking rifle with a cool design.

  • Stephen Paraski

    Steyr 1895 with a return spring.

  • Rick O’Shay

    I like it. I think just based on a lifetime of using traditional bolt actions, the very few times I attempted to shoot this, I’d probably feel pretty dumb attempting to open the action by lifting up, rather than pulling straight back. And the whole “just let go and let it close itself” looks super counterintuitive.

    • ostiariusalpha

      Counterintuitive? Because that’s the way almost every single autoloader works, man.

    • Yeah, you’d definitely want to train yourself to a different manual of arms for it if you’re more accustomed to turnbolt actions than side-charging semi-autos. I’m so used to hearing emasculated AUtoloaders without gas tubes referred to as “the same as a straight-pull bolt action” that to me this just seems like a semi-auto minus the -auto.

  • Dr. Longfellow Buchenrad

    I can see this being a very nice option for a relatively fast ultra accurate style action since you can have a truly free floated barrel (as in no gas system hanging off of it) but still faster than a traditional bolt action.

    I really want one. I certainly dont need one but its a cool idea and everything made by Browning is a work of art.

  • Rob

    Straight pulls have their downside. I have a K-31 that I really like but rapid shots can be a challenge. The lack of mechanical advantage gained with a traditional lift bolt means extraction effort is much higher. You have train yourself to pull like hell if you want to cycle it fast.

    • Dougscamo

      Yep…the camming power of a turn bolt action is one of its advantages
      if you have a sticky round…something that may be problem if you are a
      reloader….
      BUT perhaps Browning has developed something here that addresses that problem…since I don’t speak French or German (I am American after all) I don’t know for sure….

      • Tassiebush

        In all honesty I think it’s just that they tend to use quality factory ammo so they avoid the problem.

    • Just say’n

      A dose of Waffenfett on the moving parts will fix that. Mine is as smooth as Swiss Chocolate.

      (I’m not sure just how smooth that is, but it’s smooooooth)

  • Tiru Maru

    Hell of a lot of money, but a hell of a lot cheaper than a Blaser R8.
    Wonder how the two compare.

    • Tassiebush

      I linked a speed comparison video that shows the two as well as the Merkel helix. I’m not experienced with either and have only read up on them pondering the same question but I think the R8 is just a lot more versatile and can be lighter depending on configuration and it takes down smaller and it’s a switch barrel. The R8 also seems easy to top off and the magazine and trigger are an integral detachable unit which is probably handy and a good safety feature but rules out spare mags. In comparison the maral seems very focused on driven hunts and faster. To take down only the maral’s buttstock comes off and it looks like it’s limited in chamberings. I reckon basically the R8 can cover most of the usual bolt action rifle roles while the maral is pretty specialized.

      • Tiru Maru

        Thanks for the info…..

        • Tassiebush

          Haha no worries it’s just cool to be able to share it with someone.

    • Hollif50

      “Hell of a lot of money” …. Yeeeees. I’m hoping to get someone to crowd-source it for me…..

  • Wild Bill

    Alternate title, “The Crazy Things We Engineer to Avoid Crazy Semi-Auto Restrictions.”

    • tiger

      We would also call it Pennsylvania till this year. NOw if we could bring liquor sales into century 21.

  • sb

    ug…ly

  • iksnilol

    Or get a Blaser/Sauer like everybody else.

  • John

    I hate these rifles just because they make it so harder to find new youtube videos or forum posts on the BROWNING AUTOMATIC RIFLE!

  • ORCON

    It’s like the people at Browning had a big meeting: “What is ‘fugly’ and how can we conceptualize that into profit?”

    • We must be lookin’ at different rifles, because that one up there is purty as all get-out.

    • Stephen Paraski

      Fuddly

  • Tassiebush

    It certainly stacks up well in speed alongside other straight pulls. The Maral shooter in this clip doesn’t use much hand movement.
    https://youtu.be/92W9co11dng

  • Don Ward

    I thought that we have determined right here on TFB with Alex’s videos that straight pull is NOT faster than the traditional bolt pull?

    But as always, Browning makes some sexy guns.

    • JT303

      This is a spring-assisted straight pull. Rather than being like a K31, it’s more akin to charging an AR. Given that, I fail to see how it’s slower than a turn bolt action. Bear in mind it’s really for countries like the UK where semi-auto centre-fire is absolutely haram.

      • Ced Truz

        Absolutely HARAM!

        • Dan Moore

          haram |ˈhe(ə)rəm, ˈharəm|
          adjective
          forbidden or proscribed by Islamic law.
          ORIGIN from Arabic ḥarām ‘forbidden.’ Compare with harem.

    • Tassiebush

      I think the comparison he made needs to be qualified that it was a comparison of service rifles. Alex rightly observed in his comparison some weird bolt handle placement on the straight pull example which did make it no better than a turnbolt and in fact inferior due to lack of primary extraction. If you look at a fair number of other straight pulls and particularly some new ones the straight pulls edge ahead quite a bit in speed due to better ergonomics that make good use of their action type. I think they forego primary extraction though but then again so does everything other than a turnbolt as far as I’m aware.

  • valorius

    God damn that’s a beautiful rifle.

  • Tassiebush

    This gun seems pretty good as do all straight pulls on the market currently but they all occupy a pretty lofty price point. I really wonder why there aren’t any straight pulls made at the more regular hunting rifle price bracket (meaning tikkas, rugers etc) rather than this bespoke end. It seems like straight pulls aren’t complex to produce and I think the demand is there.

  • The_Champ

    Always enjoy shooting my straight pulls, the K31 and Steyr M95, just because the mechanics of them are different and fun.

    Not convinced the straight pull action is really superior, but it’s lots of fun.

    Would really like to add a Ross rifle to the line up someday.

  • gunsandrockets

    That goofy spring does more than just save space. That looks like a constant force spring, which means the force applied during bolt open and close is the same level over the full movement of the bolt. That no doubt makes pulling that bolt back very smooth and easy despite the spring.

    Interesting solution. Very clever.

  • Geoff Timm

    Euro, but not in 7mm or 8mm? I wonder what calibers the Europeans are buying now days?
    Geoff
    Who notes the Europeans have a strange attitude toward firearms.

  • mazkact

    I have Schuester adjustable gas plugs in my Garands. I can turn off the gas completely and shoot them as a straight pull if I want to and do from time to time. I find this way of shooting to be very enjoyable . My heavy barrel National match rifle shoots like a fine bolt action with the gas turned off and the bonus is that my brass is more easily managed.
    I wonder if this Browning will still have the horrible trigger of production BAR’s these days.

  • GearHead

    So it functions like my M1A when it was having gas issues… cool?

  • mark

    Oh my goodness. Bravo Browning, bravo.

  • ostiariusalpha

    None that you can think of? Is your thinker busted? M1 Garand, SKS, Ag M/42, SAFN, MAS-49, M14, BAR, HK SL-7, Ruger Mini-14, Marlin Model 20, Ruger 10/22. Not a single one of these occurred to you?

  • Goody

    Having handled these in stores I can say that they have above average triggers, and superlative ergonomics. Using iron sights they mount & point like a shotgun, at least for my my tall lean frame.

  • rdsii64

    That is a beautiful rifle. With that said I bet a normal semi auto is less money. As beautiful as this rifle is, the only reason I can see owning one over a semi auto BAR is if I lived in an area that prevented me from owning a semi auto. This also proves that most gun control laws are stupid because law abiding citizens will find a way!

  • Leigh Rich

    Kind of pretty and I bet it is expensive. Wasn’t the Canadian Ross rifle a straight pull failure? (Yes,I have one in my collection.)

    • jcitizen

      I’ve seen quite a few Swiss K31s for sale in the recent past – even the surplus ammo has come up in the market – none of it cheap, but cheaper than these new rifles.

  • Ced Truz

    That’s purdy.

  • uisconfruzed

    $2,600???
    Make mine a BAR.

  • Old Vet

    Wow, that 9.3 would be nice if my neighbor’s pit bull comes into my yard….uninvited!!!! Tried to bite me last year through my damn chain link fence while I was cutting sprouts out of it. Animal control did virtually nothing. I only go into my back yard to mow now, and always with a sidearm.

  • frrst245

    so it is just a BAR without a gas tube?

    I guess its fine for California and the like. Any other point?

  • rrdonovan

    Nuts! Why in the world would someone go to the trouble of making a semi-auto, a bolt action? Man, I would love to have that in semi-auto. Throw the bolt away….Oh, and please don’t call that thing a BAR.

  • GarthDial

    John Moses Browning is RAOTFLHAO. You couldn’t have designed an uglier, more useless gun if you had asked a Frenchman working at Weatherby.

  • Wilfred

    Does it come as a links-version also?