In the world of converted semiautomatic “machine guns,” the Browning 1919 is a happy example of one of the most iconic and historically important US machine guns and also one of the cheapest semiautomatic belt fed guns available. This stems from two factors, primarily. One is that the Browning 1919, being developed from the water-cooled M1917 Browning, is a closed bolt system. Open bolt semiautomatic designs are not allowed by ATF, and so most semiauto machine gun conversions require substantial alteration to convert from open bolt to closed bolt – which the M1919 does not need. Second, the IDF used the Browning M1919 for many years and in large numbers, and surplussed many of them in the late 1990s. These guns came into the United States as parts kits in large numbers. This meant a glut of cheap guns, easily built as semi autos, and in an easily shootable caliber – 7.62mm NATO (as converted by Israel from their original .30-06 chambering).
Today, we are looking at an example of a semiautomatic converted M1919, and specifically at the various changes made by Israel to both improve the design and convert it successfully to the NATO cartridge.