Adlers Nest
Browning M2 12.7mm Cal.50 Barrel
Adlers Nest Set No. ANM35024/ANM35024B
1:35th Scale

Review by Terry Ashley

This latest metal replacement barrel for the Browning M2 cal.50HB (Heavy Barrel) Machine Gun comes from Adlers Nest who specialise in producing some excellent sets in machined brass. This barrel follows the metal cal.50 barrels from armorscale, Lionmarc/Passion Models and Lion Roar all released this year to give quite a choice in detailing the many kit supplied .50cals which to date have not represented the tapered cooling jacket very well at all save for the excellent .50cal sets form Tasca (sets #35-L8, 35-L9).

As with previous barrel sets from Adlers Nest this set is available in raw brass (set #35024) and with an anodized “blue steel” finish (set #35024B) which save on painting and look quite good as they come. The anodized sets cost a little more and you should be aware to handle these sets with care as the anodized coating will very easily come off if scratched with a hard object such as modelling knife exposing the lighter brass underneath.

Other than the anodized coating the sets are identical and consist of three parts in machined brass not requiring any cleanup before use with the cooling holes in the jacket cleanly rendered.

Barrel parts showing the normal brass and the anodized parts
Adlers Nest
Close-up of cooling jacket
Adlers Nest
Close-up of muzzle bore hole and screw thread on receiver end.
Image of real muzzle for comparison (middle)

Adlers Nest

The barrel provides the full barrel and has the correctly sized muzzle bore hole which is quite distinctive on the .50cal being small in relation to the diameter of the muzzle. Also at the receiver end of the barrel in the screw threads used to screw in the real barrel which is also drilled out to a depth of 3.5mm allowing you to actually insert a brass .50 round (not included in this set) but available separately from Adlers Nest (set #ANM35015), Lion Roar (set #LAM047) and Mission Models (set #MM003). This additional barrel detail will make this barrel perfect for using in a diorama with a disassembled gun or just to have a spare barrel ready for changing.

The barrel changing handle is not included in the set but it would not be that hard to make one from thin wire or “borrow” one for other guns or update sets although the many etched sets suffer from the flat 1 dimension appearance of the changing handle.

Dimensionally the barrel length and contours match available data well with the correctly depicted muzzle bore hole and screw threads as mentioned but the notches around the central bracket are oversized compared to photos but there is little you do about this.

The cooling jacket is well done also being the correct length and includes the taper and cooling holes as well as the base brackets and side indented fairing as well as the lip around the front of the cooling jacket and as mentioned required no cleanup of the holes.

The third part in the set is the small washer that fits over the barrel to secure the rear of the cooling jacket but this comes attached to a large excess brass part and you will have to cut off this washer from this before use. This is not the easiest as the washer is very small and while the instructions show to use a modelling knife to do this you will need to use a fine razor saw for the job. After cutting off the washer you then have to file the cut burs and this is not the easiest due to the small size of the washer and I used a pair of stout tweezers to hold the washer while filing but a word of warning, don’t file this over the carpet or you know what will happen?

Small washer to be cut from large brass "sprue"
Adlers Nest

The small washer is designed to slip over the base of the barrel and sit against the first raised ridge forming the “seat” for the cooling jacket to rest on but I found the location of the washer resulted in the jacket being too far back in relation to the front notched bracket (see photos). To remedy this I filed down the washer a little more to reduce the depth which in turn removed the fine inner lip that catches the ridge on the barrel allowing you to slide the washer a little further along the barrel. Sounds complicated but the images below will hopefully explain things?

You can then add the cooling jacket with the correct front spacing and as the cooling jacket will slip over the muzzle and notched bracket you can actually leave this off until fitting the barrel to the chosen kit receiver which makes that job a little easier as you can see where the barrel is while fitting.

Position of washer as designed (A), resulting in cooling jacket being too far back (B)
reposition of the washer (C) to locate the cooling jacket correctly (D).
Note the small wider extension exposed in the process (D)

Adlers Nest

Fitting the barrel:
For this exercise I have used the.50cal MG from the recent Dragon M2/M2A1/M4 kits which has excellent receiver details but has the solid cooling jacket typical of all plastic guns other than the Tasca set as mentioned.

Firstly you cut the plastic barrel from the received ensuring the front of the receiver is perfectly square and then drill the hole for the barrel neck; this has to be very precise due to the barrel diameter being correct and not just a pin like on some other barrels.

Make sure the hole is below the open ammo feed chute and located centrally and drilling a small guide hole first will aid in getting the final hole correct. Due to the relocation of the washer as above the section of the barrel inserted into the received is two diameters and you firstly drill a 1.2mm hole about 5mm deep. Then use a 1.4mm drill to widen the first 1mm depth of the hole for the barrel to slip in easily.

Drilling the 1.2mm and 1.4mm holes in the Dragon kit receiver as per the text
and fitting the barrel to the receiver
Adlers Nest
Adlers Nest
Image showing the cooling jacket and oversized bracket notches
Adlers Nest

After drilling the holes the barrel slipped snugly into the receiver and you can then slip the cooling jacket over the barrel and glue in place with thin cyanoacrylate to finish the job. While there is some early work needed with the washer and drilling the receiver hole the end comes quickly after that.

This is an excellent representation of the .50cal barrel and cooling jacket with all the details correct other than the notches around the central bracket and having the full barrel with the screw threads included is really a nice bonus for using the barrel as a spare.

Assembly will take a little effort especially cutting off and filing the brass washer without losing it in the process but after that assembly is quick and easy.

Not having the barrel changing handle may limit the potential use but this is easy enough to make from wire for an excellent replacement barrel overall.

Recommended with reservations 8/10

See a comparison of the available M2 Cal.50 metal barrels
Thanks to my credit card and the excellent service fromRainbow Tenfor the review kit.

Page created August 23, 2007