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Is not a lever gun like most lever guns in that it has a rotating bolt head that locks up like a bolt action, no?

So how does accuracy compare vis-a-vis other lever actions and bolt actions?
 

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I don't believe most lever action rifles use a rotating bolt.

There's no reason you couldn't obtain excellent accuracy from a lever action rifle, but generally they fall behind bolt action guns in functional accuracy.
 

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They are a lever action in any sense of the word. There is no one designated form or locking system for "true lever actions". The BLR's Practical accuracy is equal or superior to most stock boltguns. Choosing the proper load can bring bench groups under one inch. At present, the three that I have will do so on demand, while wearing 20 inch barrels and pure hunting scopes. When properly maintained, they have proven as reliable as any of the other nine lever actions in my safe.
 

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The BLR is really a bolt gun with a lever to actuate it. The bolt rotates and locks into the front of the receiver. Winchester style levers have the locking bolts in the back of the receiver which makes the thin side plates of the receiver have to absorb the energy of firing. They are weak and effect the accuracy of those style guns. The BLR does not have that problem at all and will shoot with a bolt gun. My scoped BLR in 243 easily does one inch groups at 100 yds. A good Winchester style lever may do one inch at 50 yds.

LDBennett
 

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I've got to go with LDBennett here. The BLR is different from every other lever gun I've seen because of that rotating bolt. It's also the only one I've seen that uses that rack & sector system to work the bolt. In terms of the lockup, it's essentially a bolt action with a very odd bolt handle, much like the old Remington 760 pump action. Both rifles can deliver exceptional accuracy, in my experience. I've got a fairly recent-production BLR takedown in 270 Winchester that will shoot very close to MOA with factory ammo. I haven't tried working up custom loads because I've been waiting for a friend to get his gunsmith shop up and running. Now that he's in business, I'm giving it to him to see if he can improve the trigger pull. Don't know why Browning put such a horrible trigger pull on an otherwise beautiful rifle, but based on what I've seen online, everybody who's ever shot one has asked the same question, and not a few have traded them off because of it. I'd guess the pull on mine weighs in around 6 pounds, with noticeable creep. I've told Lloyd that if he can come up with a reasonably-priced way to get a safe trigger with a pull under three pounds with a crisp break, he should be able to survive just on the BLR owners beating a path to his door once the word gets out. I've only heard of two gunsmiths with a good rep for that, and they're both east of the Mississippi. I figure if I can manage 1" groups with that nasty factory trigger, I should be able to shrink them considerably with a decent one. I found one other surprise: it likes 150 grain ammo better than 130, which struck me as odd in a very light-barreled sporter. Groups with the lighter bullets were almost 50% wider. I plan to try handloading some of the available 140-grain bullets and see how those do. I'll let you know how the trigger job comes out, etc.
 

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JRic:

The reason so few gunsmiths do trigger jobs on BLR's is that the rack and pinion bolt operation are easy to get apart but have to be timed correctly to get the gun back together. It is easy to get them out of time and then the bolt won't close fully or the lever will not fully seat against the underside of the gun. The actual trigger parts are like any other rifle with a hammer and the actual "trigger Job" is easy. It is the reassembly that scares everyone off. I have not done a trigger job on mine for that very reason. I did lighten the hammer spring, if memory serves me right, but you may not want to do that on a hunting gun as a hunting trip might be ruined by the gun not hitting the firing pin and the primer hard enough and cause a misfire during the hunt.

My impression is no trigger job will be perfect on the BLR as the trigger itself is a moveable link in the system. When the lever is operated the trigger goes with the lever. So there is another piece in the system with tolerance and looseness which makes a classical trigger movement probably not possible.

If you and your friend decide to do your trigger, there is one of the assembly/disassembly books out there that supposedly tells you exactly how to get the gun back together and timed correctly. If you need to know which one just holler and I'll look through my gunsmithing library and give you the title.

LDBennett
 

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I bought my first BLR in .243 in the early 70s, and I've never owned a better gun. Light, low recoil, and as accurate as the eye behind the sight. Mine got stolen about 20 years ago, but this year I finally gave myself permission to buy another. Though it isn't near as good a rifle - the receiver is aluminum, for bogs sake! - not steel, like a proper BLR, and it took almost a year to get the order filled, but I don't regret the purchase one bit. It's still the best gun I've ever owned.
 

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rawright54:

My BLR 81 in 243 was purchased new in 1990 and it is all steel. There is the BLR Lightning which I believe is different and available later than 1990. It has an aluminum frame. Is that the actual BLR model you have? Do they even offer the BLR 81 in steel anymore?

These are great guns and very accurate for a lever gun but they really are not a lever gun but a bolt gun which happens to be operated by a lever. The bolt head rotates into pockets in the front of the receiver just behind the where the barrel screws into the receiver. That is just like a bolt gun. The classic lever gun locks the bolt closed at the back of the bolt with a block of steel that slides vertically in the receiver and into the bottom or back of the bolt. That position allows the thin sides of the Receiver to have to take the pressures of firing the gun. They stretch and bow making most pure lever guns only relatively accurate. The BLR can be as accurate as any bolt gun and mine sure is.

Browning does business in an unusual way compared to other gun companies. Firstly, they don't make anything themselves. They spec the guns they want and the guns can be made in Portugal, Belgium, the USA, and Japan (and on occasion maybe other places??). They catalog guns that they don't yet have to sell. Most of their guns end up at distributors and rarely do they stock any guns themselves. They order a lot of a particular model, distribute that lot and may not make it again for years but still catalog it. That can mean a long wait for a Browning you may want if you order it. So….If you see a Browning in a gun store you want or at a on-line dealer then buy it now. Forget shopping for best price because by the time you get back to buy it it will be gone. I'm too impatient to wait a year or more for a gun and have given up on more than one Browning rifle I wanted. But I still have several found mostly in dealers' racks. All the Browning I have are beautifully made guns. The newer Japanese models are very well made with perhaps a tiny bit less polishing before bluing. But all new guns suffer that as it is hand work and labor cost make it near impossible to provide to sell at reasonable prices.

LDBennett
 

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LDBennett:

I have been unable to locate any current production BLR with a steel receiver, though it wouldn't surprise me to find that they were still using steel in 1990. I've got no complaints, mind you; it was worth waiting a year for this gun. Browning is still Browning, among the highest quality guns made anywhere.
 

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rawright54:

I assure you my BLR has a steel frame. My records show I bought it in 1990.

My understanding is that the receiver was made of aluminum when they changed the name from BLR 81 to BLR Lightning in 1995. That date is from Wikipedia so take it for what it is worth. I lived through that time frame and I clearly remember when the change was made and was interested because I had the earlier steel receiver version.

LDBennett
 

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I think Wikipedia has it right, LD. At least, I have no reason to suspect an error. Although I grouse about losing my first, 1973-all-steel-made-in-Belgium BLR, there's absolutely nothing wrong with my 2013-made-in-Japan-with-an-aluminum-receiver BLR. I'm an engineer, and if Browning did the math and determined that aluminum will work just fine, I'm happy with that.
 

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soundguy:


Marlin 336?

It is just like the Winchesters except done a little differently. The bolt is held closed by a steel block that travels vertically in slots in the rear of the receiver under the bolt. When the lever is up the locking block is stuffed into a slot cut into the bottom of the bolt. So, the thin sides of the receiver have to absorb the recoil through slots cut into the inside of the receiver and can flex just as in the Winchesters. The bolt locking piece is not visible from the top of the gun whereas both the 1994 (commonly called the Model 94) and 1992 (commonly called the Model 92) Winchesters' locking blocks are visible from the top of the gun. The 1992 has two, one on each side and the 1994 is a single one behind the bolt. The Winchester made for modern high power cartridges, the 1895, uses the same locking bolt style as the the Marlin 336.

The Marlin 336, because the top of the receiver is closed and the gun only has a smaller ejection port (the Winchesters have a completely open receiver top), are a bit stronger and easily take more powerful cartridges. Winchester had to go to the much more massive 1886 (a bigger version of the 1992 and actually came first time wise) to handle the more powerful cartridges of the day. When they introduced the 307 Winchester in the Model 94 lever gun, which is nearly equivalent to the 308, they thickened the receiver wall significantly and very noticeably.

But my experience with several Marlins, both levers and a semi-auto all in centerfire calibers, has dampened my enthusiasm for them. The three I have used were not accurate at all compared to equivalent Winchesters. I am not a Marlin fan at all. The have many lever guns both Brownings and Winchesters and love them all.

LDBennett
 

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my marlin 336 is easilly within minute of hog.. I have decent glass on it.. in fact.. better glass than gun.. :).. I do have a winchester or 2.. feels lighter..... hadn't even thought about the rcvr top differences..

I like the half pistol frip stocks vs the sweptback..
 

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sound guy:

The two Marlin lever guns I shot in pistol calibers where only one minute of barn. The same goes for the pistol caliber semi-auto Marlin I had back in the 1980's. With three examples, while not conclusive, I think it is a trend I wish not to test farther.

LDBennett
 

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sound guy:

The two Marlin lever guns I shot in pistol calibers where only one minute of barn. The same goes for the pistol caliber semi-auto Marlin I had back in the 1980's. With three examples, while not conclusive, I think it is a trend I wish not to test farther.

LDBennett
wow.. that's terrible.

my 30-30 marlin can put heart and lung shots on 50 pound pig sized paper targets at 50 yds with iron sights and 100 with glass. In practice, the pigs think it's deadly. or would think it had they had the chance!

no glass on the winchesters.. all i know is they will hit tarhgets at 50 with iron sights.. didn't do much testing on them other than to make sure they worked ( used ).

only other lever gun I have is a tarus in 38spl.

nice light fast gun.. more accurate than my t85 pistol. :)

I do thank you for the info on the rcvrs. and again.. surpised your marlins were so off.
 
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