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Old January 28, 2013, 05:50 PM   #1
4T4MAG
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Browning A-Bolt is hard to open.

My Browning A-Bolt Stainless .338 Win has always been hard to open. It makes no difference if I shoot factory or reloads. It also takes the same effort to open the bolt after dry firing. I have disassembled the entire bolt, cleaned, re greased between the outer sleeve and inner bolt body.

Do I lap the lugs?
Do I Flitz the inner tube and inside of the sleeve?
Do I use grease or oil/break free in between the sleeve and inner tube, just like was there from the factory?

Any ideas?
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Old January 28, 2013, 10:42 PM   #2
Unclenick
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Hard as compared to what? This is a cock-on-opening mechanism, so when you lift the bolt handle you are cocking the mainspring. Not so on a lot of older rifles.
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Old January 28, 2013, 10:44 PM   #3
4T4MAG
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Comparing it to my Browning White Gold Medallion.
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Old January 29, 2013, 06:35 PM   #4
Unclenick
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Sounds like you are correctly comparing apples to apples, then. I can't say my own A-bolt (.30-06) is an especially easy lift. Compressing the striker spring in just 60° instead of the more usual 90° does take half again more effort.

I think I would look closely (magnifier) at the camming surface under the bolt shroud that cocks it. Stainless can gall, and that causes friction problems. I would check the smoothness of that angled camming surface and, if you take the bolt down again, the tip of the cocker/cocking indicator that bears against it. Both should be smooth. If they are not, then I would get something between them by way of a lubrication layer. Sprinco Plate+ Red grease would be a good candidate as it should coat the surfaces and prevent further deterioration. NECO moly-slide is another moly-based grease that should work.

If my bolt had the problem, I would also disassemble it and use JB Bore compound on a shotgun bore mop to polish the inside of the bolt body. Then I would clean it in solvent and soak it, the spring, the striker and shroud and cocker for at least 72 hours in Sprinco Plate+ Silver, then wipe it dry with soft cloth. This leaves a permanent lubrication in the surface. (I prefer JB to Flitz for polishing in this instance only because it doesn't leave wax behind, which would interfere with the Plate + bonding and would require a chlorocarbon or a wax-free abrasive to remove reliably.)

Before doing all that, you might also consider calling Browning customer service to ask about it. I had to call them once on another matter and the seemed knowledgeable and responsive. Before calling, though, I think I would balance a short length of 2×4 on my bathroom scale and see how hard I had to push the bolt handle down against it to lift it, and note how much difference force is required between the two rifles. Having that information for Browning may help them understand the problem. They may ask you to send them the bolt to tear down and examine for themselves, which might be good, in case it's some flaw dragging in and around the mainspring (though that's unlikely if it fires properly). If you are going to do this I would not do the lubricating and polishing, as they might frown on non-factory work.
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