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Old February 10, 2013, 11:48 PM   #1
d33rhnter
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Browning BLR 22-250 going under the scalpel...

The recent ammo crunch has me blowing the dust off my more neglected calibers for target practice this spring and I was hoping to get some opinions on a rifle I will be sending back to browning for repair.

While cleaning my Browning model 81 Short Action BLR (manufactured 1983) chambered in 22-250 I found a spot where the bolt has been nicking the hammer. This is creating a small interruption in the operation of the rifle that they can hopefully fix. I will also asked for a detail cleaning while it is apart as I do not believe it has been disassembled since it's original purchase in the early 80's.

Of more concern is an issue with the barrel that I'm hoping is not there. The rifle shoots a great initial 5 round group at under 2" (good for my skill level) but begins to widen out to a 6" when the barrel warms up. I'm hoping that I'm just a terrible shot or have bad scope mounts, but are there any signs of stress I can look for to give me an idea of whether or not I have a barrel issue on my hands too?

Thanks guys

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Old February 11, 2013, 02:22 AM   #2
Keg
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Quote:
Of more concern is an issue with the barrel that I'm hoping is not there. The rifle shoots a great initial 5 round group at under 2" (good for my skill level) but begins to widen out to a 6" when the barrel warms up. I'm hoping that I'm just a terrible shot or have bad scope mounts, but are there any signs of stress I can look for to give me an idea of whether or not I have a barrel issue on my hands too?
I would say that is probably normal....A hot cartridge and a thin barrel....
If it heats up..it's gonna spread....
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Old February 12, 2013, 12:41 AM   #3
d33rhnter
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Thanks for your input Keg. I'll be a little more patient with her the next time I attempt to sight her in.

I took some quick pictures to help get an idea of the issue I am having at the rear of the gun. If anyone out there has seen this scenario on another lever action rifle please chime in. Trying to get an idea of how serious of a malfunction this is.



Lever released and slide back with no manipulation. You can see where it catches the hammer.





The hammer still has a small amount of room to be manipulated. When pressed the bolt falls back.



This simply shows the beating the hammer has been given while this problem was neglected.


After talking to a Browning representative today I was directed to the guys over at Midwest Gun Works. Not expecting this to be an easy fix right now.
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Old February 26, 2013, 08:34 PM   #4
jmazzagl
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BLR 81 bolt catching on hammer

I noticed the same thing for the first time last fall -- I could have taken your pictures. I bought my 308 new around 1987 and it has been a great rifle. I do not really feel the bolt "catching" on the hammer unless I operate the action very slowly. My instincts tell me that either a spring in the hammer assembly is getting tired or more likely a pine needle or something has worked its way in behind the hammer. Unfortunately, I wouldn't feel comfortable taking this gun apart. I am kind of obsessive about equipment being perfect so I will probably want to have it fixed if possible. I'll be very interested to hear how you make out. Thanks.
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Old March 2, 2013, 01:15 PM   #5
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From the pictures here I'm trying to decide what it is that you see as a problem. When the action is levered, the bolt slides rearward engaging the hammer to cock the rifle. You will notice that the lower rear of the bolt has a protrusion that exceedes that of the rack on the bolt. This allows the cocking mechanism to engage via rear bolt contacting the hammer but allows clearance between hammer and rack once rifle is cocked. Almost all exposed hammer actions work this way.
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Old March 2, 2013, 02:00 PM   #6
Jerry45
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If that were my rifle I'd put a little oil on the bolt and hammer and forget about it. Looks good to me. I'd put a few drops of light oil in the action wipe the whole gun down and then go shoot it.

As for the grouping. At 100 yards my bolt action 30-06 with sporter barrel will shot one hole dead cent with a cold barrel every time. Second through fifth shots 1 to 1 1/2 right, left, high low. By then the barrel is "HOT". It will then shoot a three shot group that touches close to center. Then it opens up again. I don't shoot it until it gets hot anymore. Shoot one put it in the rack for 20 minutes. Then again. It will shoot one hole all day long like that. It's also very picky about ammo. My Marlin 45/70 leaver gun will shoot a 1" to 1 1/2" groups at 100 all day long cold, hot, clean, dirty, whatever. Rifles are strange beasts. But fun!
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Old March 2, 2013, 02:01 PM   #7
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I see no problems here.
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Old March 2, 2013, 06:24 PM   #8
big al hunter
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Your pictures show normal function and wear. Unless the hammer drags on the ridges under the bolt you don't have a problem. Clean it, oil it and shoot it. Have fun.
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Old March 2, 2013, 07:49 PM   #9
PVL
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My brand-new BLR '81 does the same thing.

It's OK.

That's a beautiful rifle that you have there, by the way.
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Old March 2, 2013, 09:28 PM   #10
jglsprings
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A question to d33rhnter

My question to you is do you expect the hammer to fall and lock without the bolt coming into contact with the hammer?

I don't have the BLR but all of the other lever action rifles I do have use the bolt to push back and lock the hammer. The two parts always come into contact.

Does anyone here have a BLR that works as the OP expects? Is the lever supposed to cock and lock the hammer without bolt contact?

Just asking, as the BLR with the "interesting" lever/trigger assembly is "unique" - certainly not vintage John M Browning design.
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Old March 2, 2013, 09:31 PM   #11
PVL
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I think that the OP has been beat-up enough.

Even I made a mistake one time... ( That time that I thought I was wrong. )

At this point, giving the OP a hard time says more about you than it does about him.
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Old March 2, 2013, 09:44 PM   #12
jglsprings
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Quote:
I think that the OP has been beat-up enough.

Even I made a mistake one time... ( That time that I thought I was wrong. )

At this point, giving the OP a hard time says more about you than it does about him.
I don't think anyone was "beating up" the OP.
  1. I don't have a BLR.
  2. I wasn't clear what the OP thought normal operation should be.
  3. I just asked anyone else if the BLR functioned differently than other lever actions.
  4. It is quite possible that the action, with it's different design, may work as the OP expects.

And I believe everyone was polite and friendly with their comments.
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Last edited by jglsprings; March 2, 2013 at 09:58 PM.
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Old March 3, 2013, 12:46 PM   #13
jmazzagl
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I think that the OP is correct. I have had a BLR 81 for 26 years. For 25 years, opening the action cocked the hammer by pushing it totally out of the way of the bolt. Closing the action, moved the bolt forward to chamber a round and lock the bolt without the bolt ever touching the hammer during the closing phase. In year 26, my gun started behaving exactly as the poster describes.

I agree with everyone who says that it is not a problem but I liked it better during the first 25 years. I also liked my truck better when it was new.
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Old March 3, 2013, 01:19 PM   #14
Jerry45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmazzagl
I think that the OP is correct. I have had a BLR 81 for 26 years. For 25 years, opening the action cocked the hammer by pushing it totally out of the way of the bolt. Closing the action, moved the bolt forward to chamber a round and lock the bolt without the bolt ever touching the hammer during the closing phase. In year 26, my gun started behaving exactly as the poster describes.

I agree with everyone who says that it is not a problem but I liked it better during the first 25 years. I also liked my truck better when it was new.
You need to take a good look at how your bolt and hammer interact. See the "hump' on the bottom of the bolt. That's what cocks the hammer. The hammer can't be depressed any more than it's height. If nothing else touches the hammer, that "hump" has to contact the hammer when the bolt is moved either out or back in. The bolt on on my Marlin 1895 has a hump, however the bolt rides the hammer full stroke in and out. Same thing on my Bowing .22 lever gun. There is no hump. The bolt just rides the hammer in and out.
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Last edited by Jerry45; March 4, 2013 at 02:57 PM.
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Old March 3, 2013, 04:58 PM   #15
jmazzagl
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Took a good close look and have to agree with everything you said. It is hard to believe that I used the gun for so many years without feeling the bolt ride over the hammer while closing the action. Thanks for your observation. Now I'll probably spend the rest of my life trying the action on every old BLR I encounter.
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Old March 4, 2013, 12:52 AM   #16
d33rhnter
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Thanks for all of the input guys. It looks like the general consensus is that the rifle is operating just fine and I need to be a little more patient when sighting it in.

As far as being "beat up", I'm a big boy and will be just fine. I understand the bolt must engage the hammer while cycling, I was more concerned with the bolt rubbing the hammer after it has been cocked (as the bolt returns to the receiver/cycling unfired rounds). After looking back at the question now and reading your responses I see the flawed logic. I guess that's what happens when you sit around polishing your guns because the ammo isn't there to shoot them

Thanks all for your input, it is very much appreciated.

Last edited by d33rhnter; March 4, 2013 at 01:09 AM.
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Old March 5, 2013, 06:34 PM   #17
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I wait 3-5 minutes between shots. That gives the barrel time to cool and will keep your groups tight.
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