|Manufactured:||2004 (First appears in Halo 2)|
|Range:||Short to Medium|
|Type:||M634 X-HP-SAP, 9.5x40mm|
The BR85 Heavy Barrel Service Rifle, commonly known as The Battle Rifle, is a UNSC infantry selective fire service rifle used primarily in the video game franchise. It is a gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle that is extraordinarily effective against infantry energy shielding. It has a magazine size of 36 rounds and fires in three-round bursts.
The BR55 Battle Rifle is a gas-operated, magazine-fed, mid-to-long range weapon capable of semi-automatic and burst-firing modes. Prototypes of the BR55 existed as early as 2524, and were later used in 2525 during the fall of Harvest. By 2548 it had superseded the M392 Designated Marksman Rifle in use in all branches of the military with exception of the Army. The Battle Rifle fires the M634 9.5x40mm X-HP-SAP round from a 36-round magazine. Additionally, the weapon features a Telescopic Sight capable of 2x magnification. It does reasonable damage to enemies, being able to kill most within a few bursts (normally four when enemy is fully shielded), and can easily land headshots on unshielded targets, resulting in a one-hit kill. Its' accuracy and range are both also reasonably high, being able to hit a target from medium to semi-long ranges. It is highly recommended to always have one on hand during higher difficulty levels.
The titanium alloy weapon is gas-operated with a rotating bolt, therefore the charging handle must be racked before the first round can be fired; this will put a round into the barrel. The charging handle used to chamber the round is located on the left side of the weapon and does not move during operation. Once the first round is fired, the gases from that round—and those to follow—impinge upon a gas piston, which pushes back the bolt carrier, rotating the bolt inside and continuing to chamber rounds until the magazine is empty. Once the magazine is empty, the charging handle (even though not illustrated in-game) can either be pulled back and locked or it can be fully cycled after a fresh magazine has been housed. If it is pulled back and locked, then it must be pushed forward once a fresh magazine is housed to chamber a new round. The magazine release button is located on both sides of the gun with an arrow pointing down towards the housed mag in the stock. The ejection port is located on the right side of the weapon. There is also a fire selector on both sides of the ammo display.
The BR55, having a rifled barrel, is 89.9 cm long and is fitted with a scope for increased accuracy. The scope is mounted on the optics rail. The safety is also located above the handle of the weapon. Also, as the magazine of the rifle is inserted behind the trigger, it is classed as a bullpup, as with the MA5B Assault rifle.
It is interesting to note the ammunition type used for the battle rifle. It uses a new 9.5 x 40mm experimental round. The 7.62 x 51 mm NATO round is a rather high-powered round used on the MA5 and on modern-day marksman rifles and machine guns. The 7.62 mm already has a history of having too much recoil because of the round's high power, which made it hard to fire in full-auto in Assault rifles. Despite the Battle Rifle's shorter case size, the increase in diameter actually increases the amount of powder present. The level of recoil would be enough to drastically decrease accuracy and inhibit the ability to fire controlled bursts for standard Marines, although for Spartans it should not be a problem.
However, the size of the round would have a problem fitting in the 36-round magazine of the BR55. If a Heckler & Koch G3 (which is chambered in 7.62 x 51mm) has a standard magazine capacity of 20 and be the size that it is, it would be hard to see a cartridge much wider than the 7.62mm fit inside of a magazine of the Battle Rifle's size and with a capacity of 36 rounds. The Battle Rifle's magazine would have to be about twice as long as it actually is to hold that many rounds. This is a continuous pattern with UNSC Assault rifles; a similar instance occurs with the MA5B. The MA5B has a magazine capacity of 60 rounds, chambered in 7.62 x 51mm, with a magazine size that appears even smaller than the Battle Rifle's magazine. However, they probably use casket mags which are quad-columned and wider but retains original length.
The BR55 has reasonably high power, a decent rate of fire, and high accuracy with an electronic 2x telescopic sights attachment; it can be used to deliver three-round bursts at medium ranges. In multiplayer, three body shots and one head shot will kill a fully shielded opponent, assuming the player does not have an overshield. This weapon will kill an unshielded enemy in a single head shot. Target the head and if you're within range a red dot will appear in your reticule. This requires that only one of the three rounds, from a burst, actually hit and kill an enemy. Therefore, it is possible to kill up to three unshielded opponents in a single burst if they are grouped close enough to each other, though this is an uncommon occurrence. However, right after you shoot, it is possible to only shoot one round rather than three bullets, with a melee attack to disrupt the burst. Against vehicles like the Spectre or Ghost, an experienced player can easily take out the driver, rendering the vehicle immobile, however, this is harder with the Warthog.
At longer ranges, it's necessary to minimize strafing movements when firing to avoid "splintering" the shot grouping too much. Since each "shot" is really a three-round burst, certain movements can break up your shot's grouping, and could greatly reduce accuracy. To avoid this, either trade in for the Covenant Carbine, or get up to medium range. The Carbine has the same degree of firepower, and it lacks the splitting effect although it is slightly less accurate. This also affects accuracy when firing from a moving vehicle such as a Warthog (especially when firing at a 90-degree angle from the vehicle's heading).
The Battle Rifle is not as effective at long ranges, with stopping power reduced. Each bullet also acts as a tracer which gives away the shooter's position. Also, the range is limited compared to the Sniper Rifle. It is also not effective against Sentinels, and does negligible damage against vehicles. Neither is it an effective weapon at close range, as the low fire rate and average stopping power of the weapon makes any fully-automatic weapon far superior in close-quarters combat.