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Philogynist & Sycophant, Looking For Work
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After months of waiting, I took delivery today of a Browning BLR in .243 Win! I bought one of these back in 1973-74, when they were made in Belgium using real steel instead of aluminum for the receiver, and I'd never had a gun of such quality in my life, then or since.

When I moved here 20 years ago, a lot of stuff went in storage, including my beloved BLR, and thanks to a screwup at the storage company, my gun got sold at auction without my knowledge. Some day that storage place will burn down - you can't fight karma - but I won't have anything to do with it. But I digress...

The new BLR isn't exactly the same, but Browning quality is as excellent as ever. When I was kid, "Made in Japan" meant "junk," but that hasn't been true in a very long time. This gun is an awesome piece of workmanship; the finish and detail work is beautiful, the action as smooth as a baby's butt. The stock is so shiny it almost glows - which I need to fix before I hit the woods with it...

I picked it up at lunchtime, then after work took it for a workout at the range. Wow! My eyes aren't what they were 40 years ago, so iron sights at 100 yards didn't work out too well. But at 50 yards I had no trouble with 3" groups, despite having fired no more than 500 shots in the past 20 years. I know I can do lots better once I get back into regular practice. Now that we have a decent range, and I have a decent rifle, I'll be doing a lot more practice!

I'm not a big guy - 5' 6" and 140 lbs - so the light recoil of this weapon is much appreciated. Even so, this caliber is not to be underestimated. Today I was shooting at a tumbling target, kinda like a child's jack - or a caltrop, for those who know what that is - with 4" round paddles on each leg, made of 1/2" thick steel. I expected the .243 to dent it, but I didn't expect the 1/2" holes it punched cleanly through the steel! I was shooting factory loaded 100 gr soft points, too!

I am so impressed with this gun! I'm just glad the Church hasn't heard about how nice it is to fire, else we'd have an 8th cardinal sin to worry about...

What was your favorite acquisition, and why?
 

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Back in the late 70's I bought a Remington 740 in 30.06. I don't remember the barrel length, but I'm thinking it was 18 1/2". Sweetest shooting rifle I have ever owned. Recoil was really low, and the accuracy of this rifle was almost unbelivable! I had bought several of the 10 round mags for it, and I would really like to have it back! I've bought others since, looking for one like the one I used to own, but none of them were keepers!
 

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I also have a BLR 81 in 243. But mine is all steel and I don't think it was made in Japan (it in the safe so I can't easily check). I bought it in 1990. It too is a superb gun. I have a scope on mine and target shoot with it.

Because it is lever operated some people lump it in with the Winchester and Marlin lever guns. It is not the same. Those guns have bolt locking blocks that hold the bolt closed which are located at the rear of the receiver. This allow the thin walls of the receivers to distort with the recoil and the accuracy is only just good enough.

The BLR is a rotating head locking bolt that happens to be operated with a lever. The bolt head locks in to the front of the receiver with multiple lugs and grooves not into the rear of the receiver as do the rest of the lever guns. So the inherent accuracy is that of a bolt gun, not a lever gun. Mine will shoot one inch five shot groups at 100 yards all day long with ammo it likes if I do my part.

A warning: don't take this gun apart as the timing between the lever and the bolt is critical and easy to get wrong. It is a geared assembly and easy to get a tooth or two out of time. An assembly/disassembly book is mandatory when re-assembling this gun. But there should be no reason to ever completely disassemble this gun. It is superbly made.

On the Japanese made Brownings and Winchesters:

These are all superbly made guns. The fit and finish is excellent. The accuracy great. I have many (mostly Winchester clone lever rifles) and have always been impressed with their quality and accuracy.The last of the American made Winchester levers are terrible compared to any of the Japanese made Winchester clones that carry the Browning or Winchester name on them. But you have to pay for that quality and these guns are all pricey but worth it, in my opinion.

LDBennett
 

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Philogynist & Sycophant, Looking For Work
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
If I recall correctly, the BLR I had 40 years ago had 6 visible locking lugs on the front of the bolt; this one doesn't. There's just one, and if it rotates, it does so after it passes from view. That's a huge disappointment, but I still have no complaints about this gun. The accuracy is superb, despite my lack of recent practice. I've ordered scope rings and will be adding a decent, though not ridiculously priced scope to this rig.

By the way, carver, I also have on order from the factory a BAR Safari in .30-06, with the BOSS attachment. It's due to ship July 23rd, so expect a report on that rifle shortly after. Perhaps it will be the replacement for your beloved 740 you've been looking for... :)

Just a thought to toss out there, especially for you, LD... How hard would it be to fabricate a 10-round magazine for the BLR, given the simple construction of the 4-round unit that comes stock with it?
 

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you guys are making me want one now also. especially if a 10 round is possible
 

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rawright54:

If you view the schematic of the centerfire BLR Lightning on the Brownells web page you will see that only the head of the bolt rotates and it does it when it is out of the view through the ejection port. So you can not see it rotate. Also note from the schematic parts diagram that it is multi-lugged. Now, it is possible that a more current model (I thought the Lightning WAS the most current version) might be different. There has to be at least two if not more lugs to lock the bolt head into the locking lugs or the bolt head would be seriously compromised in strength due to the offset of the force on the receiver locking area.

The BLR is a hunting rifle. As such, the magazine needs not more than three rounds (in some states that is a legal requirement). It is not an assault weapon or even a tactical weapon. But it is possible, as almost anything is if you try hard enough, to extend the magazine by welding two mags together, I suppose. But why? Then there is the magazine latch which, if I remember correctly, is a sliding latch that goes over the bottom of the magazine. That would have to be addressed as well (??).

LDBennett
 
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