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The BR55 Service Rifle, commonly known as the Battle Rifle, is a United Nations Space Command infantry service rifle. It was first seen in Halo 2, although it has been in service since 2525. It is the older of the BR55 series rifles. It is most notable for its powerful three-round burst fire and accurate 2x scope, making it more efficient at farther ranges than the MA5 Assault rifle.
- “When nothing else gets the job done, the BR55 Battle Rifle will do. As the standard gun for all UNSC forces, the BR55 is the easiest gun to pick up and use. Almost all soldiers have trained with it, making its slight defects less noticeable, while accentuating its high rate of fire and accuracy. With both semi-automatic and burst-fire modes, the BR55 is the backbone of all UNSC armed forces.”
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 By 2548 it had superseded the M392 Designated Marksman Rifle in use in all branches of the military with exception of the Army.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 reticle. 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.
The BR55 is largely based on both the QBZ-95 Chinese-designed assault rifle, FAMAS French Assault rifle and the XM-8. Introduced in 1995, the QBZ-95 represented a radical departure from previous Chinese infantry arms. The new rifle used a bullpup configuration and was chambered for the lighter 5.85x42mm round. Both the BR55 and the QBZ-95 can similarly mount optional rifle accessories on the carrying handle. It also has some resemblance to the G36 and G36C and looks similar in appearances like the XM8 due to the curved front and mounted scope instead of iron sights. The FAMAS Assault rifle is a bullpup configuration like the QBZ-95 and has been in service since 1978 and fires a 5.56 NATO round.
- Main article: Campaign
- The BR55 is the all around go-to weapon when facing Covenant forces, as it can effectively take down Grunts and Jackals with one well placed burst to the head (torso shots require about two to four bursts to kill depending on the difficulty).
- Given that the bullets bounce straight off a Jackal's Energy Shield, fire a well-placed shot through the small notch on the shield's right, and, as the Jackal recoils from the wound, finish it off with a head shot.
- The Elite's energy shield is a great defense to the Battle Rifle. Try to keep the rifle leveled at its head and keep firing until it falls dead. It is advisable to soften an Elite up with grenades, melee attacks, or a Plasma Pistol's charged shot before engaging them with a Battle Rifle, especially on higher difficulties. On higher difficulties, the Plasma Pistol/Battle Rifle Combo is extremely efficient, as it only requires one overcharge and a headshot against any Elite.
- In Halo 2, you can kill a Brute with three head shots, as the first two bursts will knock off the helmet, and the following headshot will kill the Brute. However, shooting a Brute in any other area is not particularly effective due to their extreme resilience (on Heroic it takes about 17 3-round bursts, or one and a half magazines of battle rifle rounds, to bring down a Brute).
- When engaging a Hunter, dodge behind them, firing as many bursts as possible into their exposed orange sections before they turn around.
- Main article: Multiplayer
- The BR55 replaces the M6D from Halo: Combat Evolved. Most of the tactics remain the same; however, in Halo 2, you do not need to lead your shots as much as the M6D due to the fact that the BR55 relies on a hitscan mechanic.
- The BR55 paired with the Plasma Pistol makes a good combo. Paired with a Sniper Rifle, the Battle Rifle will fill the gap of medium to long range.
- Use the "four-burst tactic": three to the body and one to the head. This will result in a kill, as long as the opponent doesn't have an Overshield.
- On the side of the Battle Rifle, opposite to the charging handle, there are two Chinese symbols, "猴王," which translates to "Monkey King."
- In the novel Halo: Contact Harvest by Joseph Staten, a weapon called the XBR55 Service Rifle appears, which was a prototype of the BR55. It is explained that the first prototype came out in 2525. It had a 60 round magazine; after the conflict at Harvest, the UNSC standardized the BR55 for field deployment.
- On the level Quarantine Zone in Halo 2, the player can find a Battle Rifle from a dead UNSC Marine that, when reloaded, can have a total of 236 rounds of ammunition, instead of the normal 108 spare rounds.
- In the Halo 2 E3 Demo, the Battle Rifle was the only weapon shown used in making a melee combo, originally meant to be in the final version but was scrapped. It was also shown firing semi-automatically in both the demo and in the E3 2004 Multiplayer Alpha demo in which the semi-auto mode was engaged when in zoomed mode.
- Much like the MA5B and the MA5C, the BR55 and its newer variant, the BR55 Heavy Barrel Service Rifle, has a screen with the number of rounds left in the magazine shown in bright blue text. A compass is absent from the screen, however.
- The cover art of Valentine's Exile by E. E. Knight depicts a man holding a rifle. In the original version of the art, this rifle was a render of the BR55 Battle Rifle, obtainable at Bungie.net, that was photoshopped to fit in the image. The illustrator, when confronted about it, claimed that he had found the wire frame model in a CD and gave it a generic appearance. The book has since been republished with the figure holding an XM8 OICW.
- Unlike modern day battle rifles, the player does not cock the weapon after reloading, even with a dry magazine; instead, the charging handle moves back automatically when the weapon's magazine is removed, and automatically moves back forward once the magazine has been re-inserted into the weapon. It is possible, and likely that by 2552, such an action is unnecessary due to the improvements of this battle rifle over modern day variants.
- When fired, the charging handle does not withdraw to eject any shell casings. This could be an animation error, or likely the weapon would use a non-reciprocating charging handle.
- Below the ammunition count screen HA817 can be seen imprinted into the metacircularl.
- In Halo 2, while going for the IWHBYD Skull during the 7 waves of Elite Ultras, some can be seen wielding the BR55.
- Oddly, unlike any other weapon in the game, aiming the reticle of the BR55 at the exposed back of a Hunter will increase the width of the curved lines in the reticle. This does not happen with other battle rifles in Halo 3 or Halo 4.
- The BR55 is available as a Warzone loadout weapon in Halo 5: Guardians. When compared to the standard battle rifle, the BR55 has slightly faster switch and reload times. The weapon also notably has higher bullet magnetism and hitscan abilities like it did in Halo 2, which allow the player to hit a target with less-than-perfect accuracy.
- M392 Designated Marksman Rifle (Halo: Reach)
- XBR55 Service Rifle (Halo: Contact Harvest)
- BR55 Heavy Barrel Service Rifle (Halo 3)
- BR85 Heavy Barrel Service Rifle (Halo 4)
- Type-31 Needle Rifle (Halo: Reach, Covenant equivalent)
- Type-51 Carbine (Halo 2 and beyond, Covenant equivalent)