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Thread: Anybody like the Browning BLR?

  1. #1
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Anybody like the Browning BLR?

    My dad has a Browning BLR in .308 WCF. This week I put a new scope and some Leupold mounts on it for him. Examining this gun, I think I could be satisfied with it if I only had to pick one hunting rifle. It is lightweight and points like a shotgun, and the .308 cartridge will allow you to reach pretty far out there. The BLR has the same lively feel in your hands as the Marlin 336 and Winchester 94. It would be no special trick to load the .308 with .30 WCF level cast boolit loads for shooting on the range or deer in the woods, or load it strong for bigger game and longer ranges. The rotary bolt head and ratcheting action mechanism appear to be very simple and strong.

    I think I'm going to have to pick one of these up sometime, mebbe in 7mm-08. Anybody else like the BLR?
    Currently loading: .32 Long/Magnum/Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    My favorite 243 in a 1991 vintage BLR-81. It gets used more than any of my other 6mm's.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master



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    My brother has one in .243 and is a very smooth accurate gun. My Brother-in-law has one in .450 Marlin for bear hunting in Canada. It's a real whomper and shoots great.

  4. #4
    Boolit Man 32ideal's Avatar
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    The older pre BLR-81 short barrel/carbine model in 358 Winchester is one of the best 150yd woods rifles made, plus it shoots most of the 38 handgun bullets out to 75-100yds with accuracy.
    32ideal
    Last edited by 32ideal; 10-13-2012 at 07:30 AM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
    429421Cowboy's Avatar
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    I have a BLR-81 .243 that my dad gave to me when i was just starting to shoot centerfire rifle, and later became the first rifle i ever reloaded for as well.
    Used to have a Williams rear sight close to the eye back on the rear scope base, just recently i put a 3-9 on her and got her ready for anther 100k miles! My dad made some amazing shots with it when he was younger, it is just a darn accurate rifle that almost "wants" to hit where you're looking. I never have had a rifle that points as nice or is as easy to pack all day. I carried it constantly until i finally got a pistol on foot, saddle, pickup or 4wheeler, because it is so light and rugged with the iron sights on it. Because of that it seemed to be the gun i always used when i really need a rifle, and it has never let me down.
    So yes, you could say i like the BLR! I will give up a couple rounds in the mag tube to be able to use little pointy bullets out of the box mag (yes, jacketed..) and the accuracy and strength of the rotating lockup is clear. I am particulaly interested in one in a short magnum or a bigger caliber in the .308 range.
    I also have a plan someday to make a cutdown handgun version in .243 or 7mm/08, sort of an upgrade from a Contender in that you'd have a repeater then.
    Raisin' Black Angus cows, outta gas, outta money, outta tags, low on boolits, but full 'a hope on the Rocky Mountain Eastern Slope!
    Why does a man with a 7mag never panic buy? Because a man with a 7mag has no need to panic!

    "If you ain't shootin', you should be reloadin' if you ain't reloadin' you should be movin', if you ain't movin', somebody's gonna come by and cut your head off and put it on a stick!" Words to fight by, from Clint Smith

  6. #6
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    I have a pre-81 in 308 and it is my favorite. I have a newer one in 358 Win that works well also. My 308 has killed moose to jackrabbits and shot the 113 Lee cast to the 180 gr j-words with out any complaints from me. If you get one get more magazines than you think you will need as replacement on some are hard to find and none of them are inexpensive. I always thought I wanted a 284 in one but I think it would have been too much powder room for a 20" bbl.
    [The Montana Gianni] Front sight and squeeze

  7. #7
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by 32ideal View Post
    The older BLR-81 short barrel/carbine model in 358 Winchester is one of the best 150yd woods rifles made, plus it shoots most of the 38 handgun bullets out to 75-100yds with accuracy.
    32ideal
    I had one of these early BLR's in 358 Winchester (all steel receiver) and loved it. One thing I remember, it was not punishing on the shoulder like some short barreled 308 bolt rifles.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raygun View Post
    I had one of these early BLR's in 358 Winchester (all steel receiver) and loved it. One thing I remember, it was not punishing on the shoulder like some short barreled 308 bolt rifles.
    I HAD one of the earlier BLRs in 308, but often wished I had a .358....one of these days....

  9. #9
    Boolit Master UBER7MM's Avatar
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    I can't speak to the BLR, however you'll be happy with the 7mm08. 308 cases are a little shy of the 7mm08 full length, but you can neck them down and make them work in a pinch. The BLR in a 7mm08 sounds like a good combination.

    Good shooting,
    Uber7mm

    Bambi: The great American hunting story as told through the eyes of the antagonist.

  10. #10
    Boolit Master
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    i had one in 7-08 was a good solid shooter no complaints .

    however do not ever buy one that someone disasembled and couldnt get back together .

    you need a engineering phd to get the things back together

  11. #11
    Boolit Bub
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    If I remember right, the Browning BLR lever mechanism is rack and pinion.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master

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    Very definitely "R&P", and must be timed when reassembled. Not obvious to the casual observer. Can be assembled and will fire without bolt being locked completely into battery as when the rotary bolt head doesn't fully rotate into full lock. Just a caution to anyone completely disassembling; experience speaking!!!!

  13. #13
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    Woah, I'll have to remember that. I sighted in the BLR today, it shoots great.
    Currently loading: .32 Long/Magnum/Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master


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    I have one of the early Japanese BLR's in .308 Win. It is a fine rifle but I have never tried Boolits in it yet. I would prefer the .358 Win for cast Boolits.
    Be careful with the early ones as the magazines are non existent. I saw an early magazine go for $240.00 on E-bay recently.
    A LGS has an early rifle in .243 Win. for $799.00 which is a little overpriced in my book.

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    No. i dont.

  16. #16
    Boolit Bub
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    I have a 308 japanese made BLR. Its the most accurate gun that I own. It is a great woods gun. As was said, it points and handles quickly. Mine has accounted for 90% of the deer and all of the elk I have killed

  17. #17
    Boolit Master FergusonTO35's Avatar
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    That's the only thing I don't care for on the BLR is the magazine. It's expensive to replace and just seems like it would be easy to lose. I think Browning should have gone with a fixed rotary mag like the Savage 99.
    Currently loading: .32 Long/Magnum/Auto, .38 Special, 9X19, .357 Magnum, .257 Roberts, .30 WCF, .45-70 Gov't.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    I don't like the idea of NOT being able to take it apart. Or I guess, NOT being able to put it back together! How do you clean it? For a hunting rifle I want to be able to clean the action in the woods 'cause, I tend to get dirty, And all the stuff with me does too.

    A rag with a few tools and my Marlins are apart and cleanable.

  19. #19
    Boolit Buddy
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearcove View Post
    I don't like the idea of NOT being able to take it apart. Or I guess, NOT being able to put it back together! How do you clean it? For a hunting rifle I want to be able to clean the action in the woods 'cause, I tend to get dirty, And all the stuff with me does too.

    A rag with a few tools and my Marlins are apart and cleanable.
    They now make a takedown version. With the barrel off, I imagine it would
    be easy to clean the bolt face and run a patch through the barrel from breech
    to muzzle.
    I've kinda been lusting after one in 7/08 or 260 as a whitetail rifle.
    I think the 260s are very hard to find.

  20. #20
    Boolit Man
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    I have had much the same thought, a BLR in 7-08 or .308 would make a fast handling package with accuracy and punch. I have a BLR-81 in .358 that I like an awful lot. With a Leupold 1X4 with heavy duplex reticle, I've used it for deer and black bear and like the way it handles. If you have a little mechanical ability, you can take it apart and reassemble it with little trouble. Not as simple as the Marlin but not a deal breaker either. It does use a rack and pinion system and you need to have the gear, rack and lever timed and in the proper position during reassembly. If off by a tooth, the lever may not close though the bolt has locked or the lever may close and leave the bolt not completely locked. No sweat, just advance the gear a tooth and try again. Most of the BLR's I've handled needed trigger work BADLY. My ..358 had a trigger I couldn't measure with my guage but had to be 12 or 15 lbs. It was useless from field positions and real hard to shoot from the bench. I do my own gun work so this wasn't that big a deal but I've heard some gunsmiths won't work on them. Actually, the darn trigger return spring was a big part of the trouble - it probably was a 10 lb spring! My biggest concern with the BLR is Browning's lack of support for parts. Try to find parts for the BLR - almost non-existant. I haven't checked for BLR81 parts lately but suspect it will be the same. Forget about Browning for anything but current production parts. I believe they sold the "obsolete" parts to Midwest Gun Parts. Give them a call, ask for a BLR hammer, sear, gear or something you would not want to have to make. Bet you won't be happy about the experience. If it were not for the parts availability problem, we would have 5 BLR's and 1 Marlin rather than the other way around.
    Last edited by Antietamgw; 10-16-2012 at 12:13 AM.
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check