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Old February 9, 2012, 08:56 PM   #1
Bigfatts
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My first Browning! What is it?

So I picked up this Browning today. It's a .30-06 bolt action. Hinged floor plate with engraving, nice iron sights, 3 position side safety, nice trigger, crossbolted stock with engraved cross bolt heads. It's old, I can tell that much, but I can't find a model number or anything on it. It's marked Browning Arms Company, Made In Belgium on the barrel. The receiver and barrel are marked 9L and then what I guess is the serial number, the serial number is also imprinted in the barrel channel in the stock. Would the 9L be the model? Any help with age or model designation would be appreciated.











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Old February 9, 2012, 09:39 PM   #2
jhnrckr
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Thats a Browning Hi-Power built on an FN Mauser action. It looks like it has been refinished. Remove the stock and check for any rust where the barrel/action are in contact with the stock. If it is clean you have yourself a good shooter.
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Old February 9, 2012, 10:02 PM   #3
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So is it a Browning rifle or something cobbled together? There's no stripper clip slot so it would be a commercial action. I don't think the metal has been redone, maybe the bottom metal but not the action/barrel. The bluing there is very worn. Any idea what time frame this would've been made? 50's maybe? No rust to speak of on it. I think I will have it reblued. It could use it and I think it would be worth it to put that into it.
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Old February 9, 2012, 11:11 PM   #4
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I have one like your's except in .270 Win. I am the second owner, and the original owner received it as a wedding present in 1959. Mine has serial number that starts as LXXXX which is as best I can tell 1959.

Your rifle does look to be refinished on the wood I believe. Your serial number starting with a 9L is a later rifle, and I am guessing 1969. It's been a while since I tried to research mine. but I believe the 9 indicates the year on later guns, but then the letter did to on some of the later guns. I think I remember those guns only being made from about 1958 or 59 until it was either 74 or maybe 79, but I believe the later ones were on a Sako action, and yours looks like an FN Mauser Action, like mine.

Yours has the original stock, since the serial number is also in the stock channel, however some of theses guns made in the 60's had saltwood stocks and most of those got replaced. If your's had been a saltwood stock, the bottom of you barrel and action would be very rusty by now.

Do a google search, you won't get much, but there is a little info out there that will help you.
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Old February 9, 2012, 11:18 PM   #5
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Your rifle is not cobbled together, and was one of the best boltaction comerical Mausers ever made, unfortunately it was an unlucky rifle for Browning, due to some bad choices regarding the saltwood stocks that probably cost them dearly to replace, and the timming was bad, because the rifle was too expensive to make and sell against the new kids on the block, the post 64 model 70, and more so the Remington 700, among others.

It just happens that there is an article out this month or last, in Rifle Magazine on the Browning Hi-power. I noticed it on the newstand just the other day. You might want to look for one.
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Old February 9, 2012, 11:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
So is it a Browning rifle or something cobbled together?
No, it's a full on Browning High-Power Safari Grade rifle produced by FN from 1959-1974. I don't know why jhnrckr mentioned the action specifically, since FN made the entire gun.

My book lists the following values
NIB: 1376
Ex: 1088
Gd: 882

ps. the book is rarely right.
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Old February 10, 2012, 01:17 AM   #7
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+1

Very nice and a bit rare. The saltwood issue is real and there has been some recent press on Browning/Mausers just lately in one of the gun rags. If your rifle has a bad stock, I don't see why it could not be restocked and make a great hunter. Right caliber too! Congrats.

Lutz???, as in Lutz TN ? ? ?
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Old February 10, 2012, 06:48 AM   #8
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Ok so about this saltwood. I take it that is just a normal piece of wood with a high salt content? How can I tell if mine is saltwood? I took the stock off and there was a couple spots of minor surface rust where it looks like water had settled but no major rust and no pitting. I assume salt would really tear it up. I would be heart broken if I had to restock it. It has the most beautiful wood I've ever owned on it.

The crappy lighting does it no justice:
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Old February 10, 2012, 11:27 AM   #9
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All salt wood stocks were Claro walnut, like yours, though not all Claro walnut stocks caused rusting/corrosion problems.

And that is a terrible finish, it looks like spar varnish. The original finish on those rifles was prone to cracking and peeling, so someone may have slapped a coat of spar varnish on it to cure the looks.

BTW, that rifle was made in 1969, in case you were wondering. That was right at the peak of the salt wood problem.
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Old February 10, 2012, 12:37 PM   #10
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It is a terrible finish . I'm going ti try and find someone to clean it up for me. I don't trust myself with a piece of wood this nice, I never had the knack for finishing.

So the only real way to tell if my stock is salt wood or not is to say that my rifle isn't rusted to pieces? I may have it bedded, so that will take care of the action, would it help to put a coat of some type of sealer in the bbl channel, just as a precaution?
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Old February 10, 2012, 02:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
No, it's a full on Browning High-Power Safari Grade rifle produced by FN from 1959-1974. I don't know why jhnrckr mentioned the action specifically, since FN made the entire gun.
This is correct, but most actions were made in Belgium by FN and some were made by Sako in Finland. This is an FN action but its from the transition period from control-round feed to push feed. Can you post a picture of the bolt face?

From the pictures your stock looks like it was either refinished or replaced at some point.

This thread also talks about them:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=474851

Yours is a 1969 production based on the Serial number, 9=1969, L=Safari Grade though most of the 1969 production I had seen had the date code at the end of the serial number and with two digits like this 63000L69. I would rule out 1959 because they were all 4 digit serial numbers.

There is a really good write up on them here:
http://www.riflemagazine.com/magazin...allpartial.pdf

here is my gun and the bolt face:




Mine is a 1965 gun with the Control-round feed Improved FN Mauser action. These guns are very similar to the pre-64 Winchester Model 70. Depending on your action it could be closer to the post-64 Model 70

Last edited by DutchTexan; February 10, 2012 at 02:37 PM.
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Old February 10, 2012, 02:59 PM   #12
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Thanks for the input Dutch Texan, I'll snap a pic of the bolt face when I get home. Stock was definately refinished, and not very well done. There are still sand paper marks in a couple spots. So far I have my smith lined up for bluing and bedding and he's going to quote me a price on refinishing the stock once he sees it. It'll be a new rifle! And I tell you, the more I look at and touch this rifle, the more I love it.
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Old February 10, 2012, 03:56 PM   #13
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to see if it is salt wood...

My buddy has one in a saltwood stock, pull the butt plate off and look at the screws for rust. If they're rusty, that stock will make great firewood after you get it duplicated. There is no way to fix em without compromising the action to rust and pitting in the future. Good luck!
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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That would work except it has a Pachmayr recoil pad, not a plate. However I did look closely at the crossbolt where it goes through the stock and there isn't any rust on it so I think I'm safe.
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:14 PM   #15
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If that Rifle has been in that stock since 1969 and isnt any more rusted than it is I would keep it in that stock, The finish wasnt smooth on the surface, but the wood grain is georgous, infact the entire Rifle is beautifull.
The new Brownings, just arent as apealing as the older ones like this.
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:34 PM   #16
DutchTexan
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If that Rifle has been in that stock since 1969 and isnt any more rusted than it is I would keep it in that stock, The finish wasnt smooth on the surface, but the wood grain is georgous, infact the entire Rifle is beautifull.
The new Brownings, just arent as apealing as the older ones like this.
I agree. I wouldn't be surprised if that was a salt wood gun that already had the stock replaced or that the refinish job was to try and seal it in.

I heard that the salt wood stocks were cured in a tall block of several layers of stocks with salt between each layer. The bottom layers were reportedly worse because of the slurry that ran down hill while the top layers absorbed less salt.
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Old February 10, 2012, 05:38 PM   #17
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Well that sounds like a terrible idea and I don't know ANYthing about treating wood! But yeah, I think I'm safe from the salt wood. Glad too. This stock is probably the nicest most figured wood I've ever owned.
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Old February 10, 2012, 06:30 PM   #18
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Browning was enjoying great sales in the 60’s and they were supplying wood to the FN plant in Belgium, as there was a ready supply of it, here in the US.
The problem was they could not supply enough to meet the demand.
The tried and proven method of curing wood was with kiln drying, which removed the right amount of moisture which seasoned the wood and made it useful as a gun stock. The wood was put in large kilns and would remain there for several months to get the moisture content to the desired level.
The bottom line was that it worked well, but it just took too long and thus the gun manufacturing process was being held up while waiting for the wood to dry.

A new process was being introduced in this country, by which wood could have salt packed around it, and thus the moisture would quickly be removed - and the wood was quickly ready to be sent to Belgium

As old Browning retiree's have attested, one of their jobs was to go out into the field and locate cured gunstock blanks.
When they visited with suppliers in California and Missouri and taken on a tour of those facilities, they told how surprised they were to see pallets of wood blanks stacked high, and amazingly enough the wood had salt packed between each layer of blanks.
Water was running from the blanks as moisture was being pulled from the wood.
The suppliers informed them that this greatly accelerated the curing process and that they could supply as many of these blanks as was need. It seemed harmless enough.

Deals were made, and soon many blanks of wood were on the way to the plant at FN.
Production increased, and everyone was happy - but trouble was around the corner.

This salt curing process began in 1966 and continued until around 1971. In those few short years thousands of Browning’s, but not all, were fit with salt cured wood.

It wasn’t too long after the salt wood installation process began, when only a few guns started appearing in the Browning repair shop; but it soon became a full-fledged epidemic as they began to pour into the St. Louis repair facility.
Damaged guns were always repaired at no charge, but the owners were without a gun for a long period of time. Browning was really in a financial pinch over the situation and it would dog them for years to come and still does to this day.
(Browning no longer honors the saltwwod warranty)
Many guns would have to be replaced as they were just too far gone for repair. Replacing Olympian, Medallion, Midas, Diana grades (and everything in between) was a terribly costly situation for Browning, as many thousands of man hours were spent on the repair of salt guns.

.
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Old February 10, 2012, 10:14 PM   #19
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Hm, that's an interesting read Petahw. You'd think that a firearms manufacturer would realize anything including salt would be a bad idea.

Quote:
Can you post a picture of the bolt face?
Here you go:
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Old February 10, 2012, 10:55 PM   #20
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You have an FN Mauser Bolt instead of Sako.

Also, I believe your stock is the original, but has been refinished. I don't think it was replaced, because I read somewhere that the originals had the serial numbers stamped in the barrel channel of the stock, I know mine does, but the stocks that were repaced by Browning for saltwood damage were not stamped with the serial number in the barrel channel.
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Old February 10, 2012, 11:23 PM   #21
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It's the best Browning they ever made with the FN action. Don't get rid of it. Those were made before Browning came out with the A-Bolt back in the early 80's(?)... Looks like someone botched up the original stock with some syrup finish. They had some beautiful finishes on their guns back then and I don't know why anyone would do that.

I also learned alot about those guns from this thread. I had never heard of salt cured wood before but being a metallurgist I can't imagine any engineers with a company contemplating putting a wood stock with salt in it against a steel action. Doh!

I think if you found someone that works on stocks that could remove that varnish nightmare and re-finish it to a glass finish the proper way and THEN seal the inside of the wood with a finish/coating that would keep the metal from direct contact with the wood, you'd have a collector's piece. And no worry whether the stock was salt cured or not.

Last edited by warbirdlover; February 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM.
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Old February 11, 2012, 03:24 AM   #22
Bigfatts
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Warbird that's along the kines I'm thinking. The smith I'm talking to for rebluing will glass bed the action and give me a quote on refinishing the stock. He does amazing work so I'm sure he'll do a good job. All said and done the refinishing and restoration work will cost more than the rifle did. Oh well, it's worth it to me.

This has indeed been a very educational thread for me.
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Old February 11, 2012, 08:57 AM   #23
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You know I was thinking about that Syrup looking coating on the stock, The original owner, may have done this out of fear of the stock being saltwood, to seal the stock and protect the metal.
It makes sense to me if this was a concern with these rifles. I love the brindle pattern of the wood, Its beautifull.
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Old February 11, 2012, 09:16 AM   #24
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You know I was thinking about that Syrup looking coating on the stock, The original owner, may have done this out of fear of the stock being saltwood, to seal the stock and protect the metal.
It makes sense to me if this was a concern with these rifles. I love the brindle pattern of the wood, Its beautifull.
That thought also crossed my mind!!
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Old February 11, 2012, 06:36 PM   #25
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found article

Hey Bigfatts ,

the article on the Browning/FN High Power Mauser bolt is in "Rifle" magazine, Jan 2012. Author Barsness states that the Safari grade did have some salt wood issues, but not as bad as the higher grades. He liked'em and so do I.

Again congrats. Maybe you can find a back issue of the magazine.
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