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Thread: M71 Browning won't fire

  1. #1
    Boolit Bub 244ack's Avatar
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    M71 Browning won't fire

    I recently picked up a Browning model 71 in 348 win and when I went to shoot it , it wont fire. Put in a new mainspring and made no difference. There is no indent on the primer at all. Firing pin moves freely and when i push the pin forward with my finger there is lots of protrusion.
    Out of ideas on what the problem could be
    Any ideas would be appreciated

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    most all newer lever action have a second safety on the lever
    look and see if yours does
    its a small pin and if you dont grip the lever to to close tight it wont fire

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    Is the hammer going all the way down when its released? If it is and the firing pin is floating as it should then it could be a headspace problem. I would pm John Taylor on here and see what he thinks.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master
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    I have to ask, would this be CCI primers? I had a custom 308 rifle, I built myself on a Mauser action, and loaded some rounds the same as always, but used CCI primers, I had gotten at a local shop. Of the 20 rounds I had loaded, only 3 fired. Now keep in mind, I had put in a #26 striker spring, the original Mauser spring was 19#. There was not even a shiny spot or sign of a dent on those rounds. I went home and got some of my tried and true load using WLR primers, and it was business as usual. I called CCI and they told me it happened from time to time, to send them back and they would replace them. I thanked them. I then went out and loaded 3 rounds each, in 7 different calibers, guns, with the CCI primers, same result. I took what I had left, dumped them in a bucket of used motor oil to kill them, then disposed of them. I have not shot CCI since then, except for one try with their Bencrest primers, and got hangfires with them. Just asking in case.

  5. #5
    Boolit Bub 244ack's Avatar
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    Hammer falls all the way down and seems normal, maybe a little weak but normal. Thats why i replaced the mainspring but made no difference.
    Use only Fed 210 primers in my leverguns, too many problems with CCI and the harder cups

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 244ack View Post
    Thanks for the advice Joe, i will really check out the firing pin when I get back from work in a few weeks. Did you buy a one piece firing pin? Or is there some way to convert using the original pieces?
    I converted it to solid - sorry cant really remember how I did that - and would have to strip the rifle to figure it out again - happy to offer suggestions if you pull yours down and send me pictures two things I do remember
    1) I left the return spring IN at the front of the firing pin so it spring returns as well as the pin retracting with the lever stroke
    2) rear end of firing pin on yours should have a smaller diameter button bit protruding (a bit over 1/8th diameter) out the centre of the firing pin? my gun that piece has been replaced with one with no notches and an extension of 85thou that contacts the hammer
    Thats the end of the little blocker contraption. if you are going away for a bit - try dosing the gun with some crc or kroil or whatever is used for unlocking tight threads and such - put the gun on its back action open and squirt the stuff in side the firing pin along that little moveable bit and also along the firing pin channel as much as you can and leave it to run in - if this thing is seized up the problem is between the top of the firing pin and the breech bolt I think .

    also I have infringed by my use of the b word in my post so proly gonna get banned for a month or beheaded or sumthin - so If ya see this might be the last of me.

  7. #7
    Boolit Grand Master



    missionary5155's Avatar
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    Good morning
    If your M71 has a rebounding hammer that no good lousy lawyer safety device could be causing your issue.
    If your hammer "springs back" off the firing pin you are "blessed" with a rebounder that will cause you all sorts of grief until you cut it off.
    Guess how I know about those.
    Mike in LLama Land
    "Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
    Male Guanaco out in dry lakebed at 10,800 feet south of Arequipa.

  8. #8
    Boolit Buddy Rapidrob's Avatar
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    Take a pencil and drop it down the barrel on a closed breech. Aim the muzzle towards the ceiling. Pull the trigger. The pencil should be launched several inches up the barrel ( you'll hear it ) If so you have a problem other than the safeties.
    Once you have found the problem, try the test again. Saves ammo and is safer to do.

  9. #9
    Boolit Bub 244ack's Avatar
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    Rapidrob- Thanks for the tip. I will try that

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub 244ack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by missionary5155 View Post
    Good morning
    If your M71 has a rebounding hammer that no good lousy lawyer safety device could be causing your issue.
    If your hammer "springs back" off the firing pin you are "blessed" with a rebounder that will cause you all sorts of grief until you cut it off.
    Guess how I know about those.
    Mike in LLama Land
    My 71 is the traditional half -cock version. No rebounding hammer

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Is sounds like a significant headspace issue....with those rounds you're attempting to fire. If the firing pin is free, and you can push it forward with your finger so that it protrudes, and the hammer is falling, the primer just isn't in the right spot when the pin gets there due to either the case too far from the pin or the case is moving forward as it gets hit. Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but are you sure this used gun you got is actually barreled with a .348 Win? Has it been rebarreled where the headspace could be way off? How does a factory round fit in the chamber? It's kind of odd that it won't even dent the primer based on what you're describing with the firing pin moving and all.

  12. #12
    Boolit Bub
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    Had the same problem with mine when I first got it, replaced the main spring with no results. Ended up putting a spacer under spring worked like a champ.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 244ack View Post
    My 71 is the traditional half -cock version. No rebounding hammer
    It will still have this junk firing pin though or something very much like it.
    Name:  japchester firing pin.jpg
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    23 is the rebound spring right at the front end of the firing pin
    Last edited by indian joe; 03-05-2020 at 09:00 AM.

  14. #14
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSB View Post
    Is sounds like a significant headspace issue....with those rounds you're attempting to fire. If the firing pin is free, and you can push it forward with your finger so that it protrudes, and the hammer is falling, the primer just isn't in the right spot when the pin gets there due to either the case too far from the pin or the case is moving forward as it gets hit. Don't take this the wrong way or anything, but are you sure this used gun you got is actually barreled with a .348 Win? Has it been rebarreled where the headspace could be way off? How does a factory round fit in the chamber? It's kind of odd that it won't even dent the primer based on what you're describing with the firing pin moving and all.
    Anything is possible I guess but highly unlikely that a browning would have a headspace problem sufficient enough to cause a fail to fire.
    We know that the bodgy firing pin will do it - why not look there? the rebound hammer has been eliminated ............................

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    The Browning/Miroku guns didn't have the rebounding firing pin IIRC, only the Winchester versions (which I have). If the headspace is correct and the firing pin isn't broke off, it should be hitting the primer enough to leave a mark.

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by NSB View Post
    The Browning/Miroku guns didn't have the rebounding firing pin IIRC, only the Winchester versions (which I have). If the headspace is correct and the firing pin isn't broke off, it should be hitting the primer enough to leave a mark.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	browning 71 firing pin.jpeg 
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    Hope I dont ruin your day but those are the parts I kept after I fixed the lawyer firing pin on my BROWNING model 71 - the barrel is branded "Browning Arms Company -Morgan Utah and Montreal P.Q." ...........I bought it new in the early 1990's, imported to Aussieland by Fuller Firearms (I believe).

    It has the proper half cock notch - at about 1/4 inch back from fired position - has a coil mainspring assembly that is a pure mongrel to work with - trigger spring is separate and appears identical to an original Win.

    Has a return/rebound spring at the pointy end of the firing pin (that I left in) which appears to be unnecessary because the ears of the lever retract the firing pin via the angled cuts in the side of the pin body (as in a 92 or 86) - part of Browning's original design that didnt really need to be messed with.

    This also prevents an out of battery discharge (firing before lever fully closed).............I tested that part of my modification very thoroughly with primed shells, and could not get that gun to fire until the locking bolts were fully home. ------ would not have proceeded otherwise!!!

    My Browning DID NOT HAVE A SOLID FIRING PIN......................................
    Last edited by indian joe; 03-05-2020 at 07:24 PM.

  17. #17
    Boolit Bub 244ack's Avatar
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    Really appreciate everyone's input. Gives me a direction to go

  18. #18
    Boolit Master ammohead's Avatar
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    Put a couple layers of scotchtape on the head of a brass cartridge to see if there is resistance when you close the breech to check headspace.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ammohead View Post
    Put a couple layers of scotchtape on the head of a brass cartridge to see if there is resistance when you close the breech to check headspace.
    Is there a history of Browning model 71's with headspace problems??????

  20. #20
    Boolit Buddy veeman's Avatar
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    I've never heard anything but praise for bothe the 71's and the 86's from Browning. Closest thing to the real thing. Of course there could always be that one bad apple.

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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