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The Browning M71
Among the lever action rifles I like, one always interested me so much that I knew that I'd have to get one or always regret it. I think the Winchester 71 type has "style". So much so, that I think it's a required addition to a gun cabinet.
I can remember, as a teenager, watching an old movie having something to do about the Canadian north woods. One of the characters was moose hunting with a HUGE leveraction & I thought it was just about the neatest thing I'd yet seen. Dad gave me a lesson about the rifle but, the bad part was, he told me production had ended just about the time I was born! Well, after many years, I came to the conclusion that few people who owned one considered selling an option and the one's that did thought the rifles were made out of rare interstellar elements. After I had left active military service in '93, I finally bit the bullet and found one for sale in GUN LIST. Bad thing happened though. When it was shipped via U.P.S., they apparently thought it was some form of test to see how many times the box could be dropped and still have the delivery accepted. The rifle was ruined. We returned it to the original owner so that he could get U.P.S. to pay for the repair work. Onwards & hopefully upwards. Having decided to buy one up front & in person, as opposed to again being at the mercy of the gorilla cast of Samsonite commercials, I ran across one of the Browning reiterations with the 20" carbine barrel at, of all places,
AN EVIL GUNSHOW!
As the price was reasonable, I felt it was tempting fate to pass and it went home with me. I had one primary & several alternate plans swirling around in mind. Starting another idea going; Should I chamber to .450 Alaskan or one of the .50s? or, just use a standard 24" rifle barrel. First I checked around to see who might have a spare rifle barrel laying about.
As luck would have it, Jim Taylor, the kind, generous webmaster over at sixgunner.com happened to have one of the last replacement barrels to come out of Winchester's shop & we struck up a barter deal. Dad got the barrel vise we had ordered from Brownells out and we proceeded to unscrew the original barrel and put the new one in. (NOT an easy job as the Japanese apparently don't consider the idea of barrel replacement and REALLY screw them in tight)
For those owners that have considered this. NB. The Browning guns WILL NOT accept an original Winchester barrel! The barrel end is radically different (ain't metrics & Japanese engineers wonderful?).
the Winchester is on the left
This put a big halt to the project and it went on the back burner for several years. Of course, fate shone brightly. Several months ago, one of the readers on John Taffin's board advertised a take-off 24" barrel from a project he was having built. This started the ball rolling again & when it arrived, Dad got the barrel vise put together again and we proceeded to reunscrew the original barrel. Of course NOW not having any trouble screwing the new one in. It headspaced up perfectly and at last I had a 71 that looked like I remembered!
The sights I had on the short barrel were moved over & now it's ready to go shooting.
Williams Foolproof receiver sights
and Lyman flip up sights as a backup plan
When time allows I'll hie away to the range and try some of the loads that have shown good groups with the shorter tube. This may be awhile as every time I get a spare day,