By Gregg Giles
The Belt-Fed Automatic Rifle (BFAR) was, for nearly 50 years, the standard infantry support weapon of the Third Imperium. The BFAR was, and still is, a very reliable weapon, but was quickly outdated by the rapid development of other technologically superior weapons. Many frontier and lesser-developed worlds still use the BFAR in their limited arsenals.
The weapon itself, as the name plainly suggests, uses ammunition belts. Ammunition drums will operate with the BFAR, but are very prone to accidents; such as the spring malfunctioning in the drum. Firing selections include AUTO (full-automatic fire), 3 rounds per pull of the trigger, 1 round per pull, and SAFE (safety). Firing selections may be made at the end of every combat round.
During the relatively short period of BFAR mass-productions (1027-1074), the standard accessories included a sling, synthetic (impact plastic) shoulder stock, flash suppressor, bipod, and an extra barrel (which is secured directly beneath the main barrel). Replacing the main barrel is done by opening the breach lock (see illustration) and releasing the barrel lock. By tilting the weapon forwards toward the ground and by pulling on the barrel, the main barrel will slide out. Extreme heat caused by continuous firing will make it extremely difficult to remove the barrel; for this reason, it is highly unadvised to touch the barrel before it has cooled completely. Releasing the main barrel local will also release the replacement barrel; remove the replacement barrel and press it into the main barrel fixture. Reset the barrel lock, close the breach lock, and then resume mauling the enemy. Barrel replacement will take only one round, and less time for experienced operators.
The BFAR, like most projectile type weapons, is air-cooled. A sight-group is present on the BFAR in order to aide the firer. Scopes may be mounted by removing the carrying handle, but the only scopes which may be needed are night-vision scopes. Accuracy actually depends on the direr, so scopes are truly no help. Any scope will lose its accuracy after a period of extended fire, so readjustment of the scope is vital. Though not at all intended for sniping, the BFAR may also be set on 1-shot per pull and outfitted with a shoulder stock and scope.
The flash suppressor reduces the flash of exploding gases escaping from the end of the barrel, and has only a minimal effect upon the weapon's sound. The bipod may be removed by releasing the clamps which secure it, or it may even be stored by folding it over the bottom of the barrel and securing it. This will take one round. The BFAR may also be set upon tripods or vehicle-mounts.
To load the BFAR, open the breach block and insert the ammunition belt; then close the breach lock and pull on the operating handle. The weapon is now ready for use. All empty cartridges are ejected from the BFAR forward of the carrying handle, and fly over the left shoulder of the firer.