.30cal MG
Browning Cal.30 MG Barrel Sets
1:35 comparison
by Terry Ashley

The Barrel Sets:
The Browning Cal.30 machine gun was the standard light machine gun used by US forces as well as many Allies during WWII and way beyond with many still in use today.

We will have a look here at seven metal Cal.30 barrels available for the modeller in 1:35, two sets from ABER (set #35 L-54 and #35 L-62, 35 L-82), Adlers Nest (set #ANM35004), armorscale (set #B35-064), Karaya (set #B003) and from Modelpoint US (set #MP35107).

The initial ABER barrel set #35 L-54 gives you three barrels with a turned brass barrel and etched outer cooling jackets that need to be bent to form the jacket. While this requires far more work than the other barrels the final effect is very good providing you are careful during assembly.

The second set from ABER #35 L-62 has two finely turned brass parts, the inner barrel and outer perforated cooling jacket with the barrel being drilled out slightly and also includes the two small notches on the muzzle tip so typical of the Cal.30. The two parts fit snugly together for a very simple assembly and the barrel is also the correct length.

The third set from ABER #35 L-82 is basically the same as set #35 L-62 with just a different style muzzle cap and all other comments are the same for both.

The Adlers Nest barrel set #ANM35004 also consists of two finely turned brass parts, the inner barrel and outer perforated cooling jacket with the barrel being drilled out slightly and also includes the two small notches on the muzzle tip. The two parts fit snugly together for a very simple assembly.

armorscale set #B35-064 is similar to the ABER, Adlers Nest and Modelpoint US barrels with the outer perforated jacket and inner barrel but there was a fair bit of cleanup needed to clean out the drilling burs from inside the jacket before the barrel would fit in place. It is also about 1mm longer than it should be and a little larger in diameter but this may not be noticeable unless comparing the barrels directly, as here.

The Karaya barrel set has been out the longest and doesn’t have the detail of the others being simply a perforated cooling jacket and inner barrel but there is no muzzle cap which leaves this area lacking in detail.

The Modelpoint barrel set #MP35107 comes in three metal parts, a brass muzzle cap, a steel barrel and perforated copper barrel cooling jacket. The quality of the machining is very good with cleanly depicted cooling holes in the jacket and the muzzle hollowed out.

The metal barrel is designed to fit into the muzzle cap which in turn is fitted into the front of the cooling jacket but the barrel in my set did not fit into the hole in the back of the cap and I had the file down the barrel end a little to get it to fit.

The muzzle cap is slightly narrower in diameter to the jacket which is correct as there are different types of muzzle caps fitted to the .30cal with this being one type.

ABER 35 L-54 Barrel parts and etched jackets
ABER 35 L-62 Barrel parts
ABER 35 L-82 Barrel parts
Adlers Nest barrel parts and assembled barrel
Adlers Nest
Adlers Nest
armorscale Barrel parts and assembled barrel
Karaya barrel parts
Modelpoint barrel parts
Top row; ABER (35 L-54 left), ABER (35 L-62), ABER (35 L-82), Adlers Nest,
Bottom row; armorscale, Karaya and Modelpoint


Fitting the barrels to the target Cal.30 MGs is the same for each barrel where you cut off the kit barrel, drill a small hole and fit the metal barrel, all very easy. I have fitted the Adlers Nest, Karaya and Modelpoint barrels to the Academy Cal.30 machine guns and the ABER (all sets) and armorscale barrels to the latest Dragon Cal.30 MG in the images below and all make for a nice looking gun with the exception of the Karaya which is quite basic.

Top row; ABER (35 L-54 left), ABER (35 L-62)
Middle row; Adlers Nest, armorscale
Bottom row; Karaya and Modelpoint

Adlers Nestarmorscale

Barrel Dimensions:
The real Cal.30 Machine gun with the firing handle fitted is 41" (4041mm) long which in 1:35 scale equals 29.75mm and for this exercise I have fitted the four barrels to the new Cal.30 machine gun from recent kits for two reasons, one for an even playing field and that this Dragon gun measures exactly 29.75mm as it should. I have not included the Karaya barrel

With the metal barrels fitted to the Dragon receiver the ABER (all sets) and Modelpoint US measure the correct 29.75mm with the Adlers Nest being fractionally longer at 30mm while the armorscale is the longest at 30.75mm long or 1mm longer. Note the Adlers Nest barrel shown here is the "blue steel" version available at a slightly higher price than the plain brass barrel.



The newer ABER barrels (35 L-62, 35 L-82) with one piece brass cooling jacket is the correct length and has virtually no cleanup before fitting.
Both the Adlers Nest and Modelpoint barrel are very nicely done with each having a different style muzzle cap which does offer a bit of variety but the fit of the Modelpoint barrel requires a little more work than the simple Adlers Nest while the Karaya barrel simply doesn’t cut it compared to the others.
The new armorscale barrel also requires a little additional cleanup and is slightly longer than it should be with the original ABER barrel (35 L-54) requiring a lot more work to get a result with the thinner etched cooling jacket giving a better scale appearance IMHO but the end result does very much depend on the skills of the builder.

I would rate the seven barrels as;
ABER [35 L-62, 35 L-82] 9/10 Virtually no clean-up, easy fitting and the correct length makes this the pick of the barrels
Adlers Nest 8.5/10 Fractionally too long but easy to assemble and offers a different style muzzle cap
ABER [35 L-54] 8/10 Despite the extra work it looks very good with the correct length and thinner jacket
Modelpoint 7.5/10 Due to the extra work needed to fit the inner barrel
armorscale 7/10 Extra cleanup required and is too long by 1mm
Karaya is a distant last.

But at the end of the day the choice is yours depending on your skill level and budget with the Adlers Nest being quite expensive compared to the others.

Page Created August 15, 2006
Page updated March 7, 2007
Page updated January 1, 2008
Page updated August 20, 2009