Browning BLR alternatives?


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valnar
January 4, 2012, 07:18 PM
How come manufacturers have not build lever alternatives to the Browning BLR? Do they own the patent on it? Or is it simply a bad idea that nobody wants to duplicate?

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Abel
January 4, 2012, 07:23 PM
Winchester used to have a similar design, Savage had the 99, and Sako had the Finnwolf. The BLR now stands alone. My alternative of choice is a conventional lever action design; a tube magazine fed Marlin 336.

tyeo098
January 4, 2012, 07:38 PM
1895? Winchester was fed like that.
They made a few in x54r for Russia, really neat!

gpb
January 4, 2012, 07:44 PM
The OP states “How come manufacturers have not build lever alternatives to the Browning BLR?”

By alternatives I assume it is meant rifles more powerful than the 30-30. The one alternative that I know of is the Winchester 1895. It seems to be kind of an on again and off again model with Winchester. It’s currently listed, but I don’t know its availability.

Why don’t manufacturers make alternatives? I believe it’s simply a matter of demand. If there was more demand there would be more manufacturers making alternatives. It’s that simple.

valnar
January 4, 2012, 07:47 PM
Sorry, I mean lever guns chambered for .308 or .270 for instance.

BrocLuno
January 4, 2012, 08:19 PM
I don't have a BLR, but I do have a Savage 99 in 308. It's my all time favorite "do all" rifle :)

308's in levers are cool :) Don't forget the Winchester 88. A bit finicky, but once tuned and set-up correctly, it's a nice shooter too :)

The Lone Haranguer
January 4, 2012, 08:29 PM
I would guess it is a niche market that no one else really wants to compete in. There have been other lever-action rifles with non-tubular magazines that allow the use of pointed bullets in the past, as has already been mentioned, but none of them are made today.

Do they own the patent on it?
Patents expire after 20 years.

Or is it simply a bad idea that nobody wants to duplicate?
I wouldn't say it is a bad idea. It is a pretty complex design, and I've read it is a bad idea to try to take it apart. :uhoh:

courtgreene
January 4, 2012, 08:53 PM
I've often wondered the same thing, because every one raves about savage 99's and I want one. Looking at the cost of the BLR, I can only assume that it is a price vs demand thing. Lots of people would love them if they were cheaper, but they obviously can't make them cheaply like they can other action types, so they also can't price them low enough for the market to bare them. That's my guess, anyway, but I sure would like to get my hands on a savage 99... if I could find a cheap one... and now you see my point.

valnar
January 4, 2012, 10:32 PM
I was looking at a M1A, AR10, SCAR, etc but they are expensive, so then I looked at alternative action types. The BAR comes up of course, then I saw the BLR and it got me wondering if there were competitors. It's not that I am against a bolt, but for a faster action a lever does qualify - as does a semi of course. It also opened my eyes to the possibility of not being forced into a .308. A 7mm-08 lever or semi would be nice.

How hard is it to strip & clean a BAR or BLR?

I assume the accuracy of the BLR/BAR would be comparable to a bolt up to 250 yards, but what about beyond? And taking the bolt design out of the equation completely, how would the BLR compare to a semi-auto military gun like the M1A, SCAR, FN FAL, AR10, etc? Bolts always get praised for their long range accuracy, but so do high-end military battle/sniper semi rifles (at 2-3x the price of course). So where does the Browning product line fall in?

Abel
January 4, 2012, 10:39 PM
I had a BLR '81 in 308 once. It is the only rifle that I wish I had not sold.

jmr40
January 4, 2012, 10:54 PM
There have been several. The Sako Finnwolf, Winchester 88, Savage 99, and the Ruger 96 are all modern designs that just didn't make it. The Savage and Browning are the only 2 that had any success at all.

When it comes right down to it they simply don't offer any advantages over a good bolt rifle. They cost and weigh more, and are rarely as accurate, although the Browning comes close. Most guys who want a lever action want one that looks like the ones John Wayne carried.

tahoe2
January 5, 2012, 01:23 AM
I have a Model 99 in .300 Savage (circa 1957) and a traditional lever action Marlin 375 (circa 1980-83) in .375 Winchester love them both, and they are cheaper to attain than a Browning, they are all about the same in accuracy. I shot a BLR lightweight in 7mm-08 once, (straight grip) it just didn't fit me right, I prefer pistol grip stocks, they feel more like a bolt rifle.

156197

Chooch
January 6, 2012, 07:55 PM
I have a Sako Finnwolf in .308 that my father passed down to me and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Silent Sam
January 11, 2012, 01:19 PM
"How hard is it to strip & clean a BAR or BLR?" - For the BLR, no need to strip, just drop the mag and open the action and you can do all the cleaning you need to. No experience w/ the BAR.

"I assume the accuracy of the BLR/BAR would be comparable to a bolt up to 250 yards, but what about beyond?" - It's still comparable. More about the cartridge and the bullet at that point.

"When it comes right down to it they simply don't offer any advantages over a good bolt rifle." - That would depend on the use/user. I would disagree. They offer all the advantages of more traditional levers and then some. "They cost and weigh more, and are rarely as accurate, although the Browning comes close." - I don't know how they cost compare with a comparable Browning bolt gun. I'm guessing not a lot of difference. They won't ever be priced like plastic stocked Savages at Wal-Mart. Neither will Browning bolt guns. BLR's are relatively light compared to similar bolt guns. Never heard of the BLR being called "heavy". My BLRs shoot right along with good bolt guns. They areharder to shoot well off a bench. They make up for it in the field. Most guys who want a lever action want one that looks like the ones John Wayne carried.- Probably the biggest "complaint". Many just don't like the looks, even though the '92 that JW usually carried was not period correct for most if not all the movies it was in. Many complain about the gloss finish or because the receiver is not steel. Things that really don't matter.

"I shot a BLR lightweight in 7mm-08 once, (straight grip) it just didn't fit me right, I prefer pistol grip stocks, they feel more like a bolt rifle." - Many if not most levergunners prefer staight stocks. The qualities they value are precisely because it doesn't handle/feel like a bolt gun. If you want a pistol grip Browning accomodates you.

Stantdm
January 13, 2012, 12:03 AM
I shot a BLR in .243 awhile back. Nice gun, seems really well built. From that limited exposure to it I would still prefer a bolt action. The one I shot was not as accurate off the bench and doesn't seem to have anything about it that suggests it would be better at shooting antelope or whitetail than my bolt action rifle. The design doesn't appeal to me all that much and maybe others feel about its looks like I do. It could also be a lack of marketing. I don't recall seeing anybody shoot one on any of the hunting programs or much about them in the print ads in the monthly magazines. For unknown reasons it just doesn't fit in the lever action niche as well as the traditional Winchesters and Marlins. With the interest in Marlin .45-70's you still don't hear much about the BLRs. I think the BLR is chambered in 450 Marlin but not in .45-70.

At their $800 plus price point there is a lot of competition. There are a number of very good rifles for less money.

GuysModel94
January 13, 2012, 12:25 AM
My question is what the heck is wrong the Browning Lever Action??? I think it's a great gun. Lever's (back in the day) were lighter than bolt's and IMO better balanced, the model 94 is a very quick to shoulder and sight rifle. The BLR, in 30-06, will stand up to any bolt out to 300 yards, but it is not a bench gun. If you've never used a Lever do yourself a favor and try one on for size.

olafhardtB
January 13, 2012, 08:02 AM
Remington makes some nice pumps and autos which compete with theBLR/BAR and are often avialable second hand.

Cocked & Locked
January 13, 2012, 08:46 AM
I've got one blemish free BLR 81 .243 made in 1988...box and all It's my favorite lever gun. If it was .308 I would probably keep it forever. I might anyway.

In this pic it's got a Weaver Classic 4X scope. It now sports a Bushnell Elite 3200 3-9X. It will shoot a 4-shot one inch group at 100 yards using inexpensive Federal Power Shock 100 grain ammo.

That ammo will hammer a deer.

http://pic90.picturetrail.com/VOL2169/3082611/17383006/346298775.jpg

BrocLuno
January 13, 2012, 11:09 PM
Funny, but I like pistol grip levers more. My Marlin and Savage are both pistol grip and they feel good in hand and coming to shoulder.

I don't know if Mossberg 464 will ever be offered in pointy bullet calibers?

Tirod
January 14, 2012, 12:16 PM
Levers are a niche Cowboy market, and it's shrank so much only Marlin is left. Winchester is now a custom made Japanese gun.

The BLR survives because it did offer big calibers, but the market has moved down the scale on that, too. The short magnums are a good indicator - churn the market and shake the money tree with small cartridges and a lot of hype.

The BLR is actually the Stoner action modified for lever use. Take a look, barrel extension screwed on, multilug bolt, and camming bolt carrier, with an unstressed (decorative) receiver.

For the money, the market has moved to the gas operated version. The lever generation has passed, maybe never to return.

Cocked & Locked
January 14, 2012, 12:30 PM
The lever generation has passed, maybe never to return.

I'm still here! :scrutiny:

Actually I prefer bolt rifles.

valnar
January 14, 2012, 12:58 PM
I look at lever guns, bolt actions and iron sights like learning mathematics. Scopes, red-dots and semi-autos are like using calculators. It never hurts to learn the basics.

But then, there aren't many people using muskets or an abacus anymore, so I'm probably wrong.

jmr40
January 14, 2012, 03:48 PM
The lever generation has passed, maybe never to return.

True, for now. But I wouldn't be surprised to see them make a comeback in a few years. But not as hunting rifles.

Actually the Winchester 94 and the 30-30 were obsolete 2 years before they were even introduced. It was a step backwards in technology. Modern bolt guns and modern cartridges such as the 7X57 Mauser pre-date almost all of the leverguns, and their common calibers in current use today.

Leverguns were never actually popular in the West. Most weren't even invented until the 1890's, and were poor sellers at first. The most common guns actually used back then were single shots. The leverguns were on their deathbed by the 1920's. But Hollywood Western's from the 1920's-1960's made them a star. Just like today, if a gun is featured in a move, folks flock to the gunstores to buy them.

Look at the influence "Dirty Harry" had on Smith 29's. Lethal Weapon and the Beretta, The "A" team and the Mini-14, Gunsmoke and the Colt SAA. Do you think we would see Mare's leg rifles in gunstores if it were not for Steve McQueen? All those Saturday Westerns movies sold an awful lot of Winchester 94's.

If Cowboy movies become popular again, watch how fast new models start being produced. Lonesome Dove was one of the rare movies to actually use period correct guns and was a big influence on many of the reproduction guns made by Rossi, Uberti, etc.

Ole Humpback
January 14, 2012, 06:54 PM
The one I shot was not as accurate off the bench and doesn't seem to have anything about it that suggests it would be better at shooting antelope or whitetail than my bolt action rifle.

They are far more accurate in the field than from the bench. In bench shooting, they are just a bit too light to hold steady. In the field, when you're leaned up against a tree or lying prone with a sandbag to rest the forearm on, they are as good as any bolt rifle out there.

This is my 257 Roberts BLR:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=153531&d=1322426572

valnar
January 14, 2012, 06:58 PM
Other than a .30-30 and 7.62x39 which are specific to certain guns I have, I've standardized on 6.55x55 as my sole caliber between .223 and .308. I see no reason to have others since any shot I would ever take would be less than 300 yards. It's too bad Browning doesn't chamber that option.

Cocked & Locked
January 14, 2012, 10:09 PM
In bench shooting, they are just a bit too light to hold steady.

Really? BLR's?

My BLR .243 scoped and empty weighs 8 lbs 7 oz (steel frame)

My Rem 700 .270 scoped weighs 8 lbs 2 oz (wood stock)

My Rem 700 scoped .35 Whelen weighs 8 lbs 3 oz (wood stock)

Both of those 700's above are lighter than my BLR.

I've got other bolt actions (Remington, Winchester, Krag) that weigh from 8 lbs 14 ounces to an even 9 lbs that are heavier than my BLR.

To me the BLR's are not that light...at least the one I own weighs in heavy.

Stantdm
January 15, 2012, 02:08 PM
My bolt action weighs 10 ounces less than the .243 BLR and shoots great off the bench. I don't think weight has anything to do with it, the BLR trigger was not good. It just wasn't an accurate rifle. Others may be as accurate as a good bolt action, this one wasn't.

Ole Humpback
January 15, 2012, 06:51 PM
Really? BLR's?

Yep, my 257 as shown weighs in just at or over 7lbs fully loaded. If its stripped down, the rifle itself weighs right at 6lbs.

Cocked & Locked
January 15, 2012, 10:07 PM
That's nice and light. My 1.5+ pound heavier .243 is the steel frame version. Is yours the BLR Lightweight alloy frame version?

And as an added note...I'm envious of yours being chambered for .257 Roberts! :what:

GuysModel94
January 16, 2012, 12:30 AM
"The lever generation has passed, maybe never to return"
Blasphemy i say, stone this man to his death!! (LOL) I say that every american rifleman owes it to himself to own at least one lever action rifle, it's in your heritage!

Scrumbag
March 15, 2014, 06:28 PM
That's nice and light. My 1.5+ pound heavier .243 is the steel frame version. Is yours the BLR Lightweight alloy frame version?

And as an added note...I'm envious of yours being chambered for .257 Roberts! :what:
I would love a BLR in Bob as well. Closest I have seen is in .223 and I let it walk... DOH!

Elkins45
March 16, 2014, 02:49 PM
So a guy walks into a gunshop looking for a rifle to hunt with. For this sake of this discussion the following hypothetical conversation happened during a time when the shelves were almost bare.

Guy behind the counter says, "what sort of caliber do you want?"

"How about a 30-06?", the customer responds.

"Sure. We have two, a bolt gun from (insert well-known brand here) for $600 or a lever from Browning for $900."

"I'll take the bolt gun"

Scenario 2:

"I'm looking for a lever gun to hunt deer with."

"Sure. we have two. A 30-30 from Marlin for $450 or a 30-06 from Browning for $900"

"I'll take the 30-30."

Personally I own a BLR. I didn't buy it because it was a lever gun, and I didn't buy it because I'm a Browning fanboy. I bought it because it is chambered in 358 Winchester, the greatest cast boolet rifle caliber ever.

Shimitup
March 16, 2014, 08:19 PM
Elkins45, that's a good idea about the cast bullets. I have a BLR .358, care to share some favorite recipes?

GooseGestapo
March 17, 2014, 09:41 AM
I've got a bunch of rifles, but the lever-actions are my favorite.
Acccuracy is where you find it. My Marlin (and a "Marlington") aren't bench-rest target rifles and neither are any of my bolt-actions. The l/a's hold their own for accuracy. In fact, several of the l/a's will outshoot most of the b/a's, some by a wide margin.

My reason for liking the l/a's has to do with the fact that I'm right handed but have a left dominant eye. I shoot rifles and shotguns left handed. The l/a's besides some single shots are the best "ambidextrous" actions available. I'm not a fan of the AR's. I've got, had several. Just don't like the ergonomics of the "modern rifles". That and I don't "need" more than 5-6 rounds for hunting. Even encounters with dangerous game don't allow time for more than a couple of rounds. So, you need a quick handling POWERFUL rifle for dangerous game. Humans included, so, I prefered a shotgun for that 'application'... but I digress...

Getting to the BLR, I too have one. No, it's not as accurate as some others, but it's a .358wcf, not known for accuracy for several reasons.
1. It's got a LOOOONG throat. You can't get a bullet seated short enough to fit the magazine to touch the rifling. However, with a load it "likes", it is near MOA for 3-shots. Entirely adequate for it's purposes. I won't take it elk hunting in open terrain, but, for what I'd use it for, it's excellent. Lack of factory ammo is it's limiting trait. But, I handload so options are excellent. Besides, there isn't much a 200gr Hornady PtSpt at 2,500fps won't take.
2. It has a poor trigger. Feels like a 'mile' of creep. Weight isn't the issue. Just lots and lots of creep before it releases.
3. Mines a "steel" reciever. However, it's not heavy. Removing the "block" of rubber they called a recoil pad and installing a Boyds 1/2" pad removed close to 1/2lb and shortened the pull length to under 14". With a Leupold Vari-X II 2x-7x it weighs under 8lbs. Any lighter and it'd be obnoxious for recoil. It now handles beautifully.
Mine's killed drt every deer I directed it at. It was the original owners "most favorite" rifle of the over 50 he owned at his death. It's among my favorites.
One day I'm going to get a heavy "rifle" cast bullet mould for it. However, I've got too many other rifles to make that a priority. Besides, the Marlin .338ME just has everything all over this rifle/cart. Accuracy, ease of "fixing" the triggers, long range ballisitics, good and inexpensive cast bullet moulds (Lee)...
I don't like the new ones with aluminum recievers....

re; cast bullets. Just enough H4895 or Acc#5744 to make an RCBS 200gr FNGC to run 1,850-2,000fps.

Elkins45
March 17, 2014, 10:03 AM
re; cast bullets. Just enough H4895 or Acc#5744 to make an RCBS 200gr FNGC to run 1,850-2,000fps

The RCBS 200gr FN is just an amazing boolet, isn't it? Whoever designed that one got everything right.

I've had good results with Alliant 2400 and that boolet in both my BLR and Ruger 77, and in 35 Whelen as well. I have loaded with slower traditional rifle powders but I think 2400 does a good job for mid-velocity loads.

GooseGestapo
March 17, 2014, 10:16 AM
Me too....It's my go-to 'boolit' powder for most of my cf rifles, and pistols. From .22Hornet to .45/70.

IRCC; the first Cast Boolit BR match was won with a .30/06 and 20.0gr of #2400.... I prefer 24.0 for a "hunting" load. Works for the .358 and .338ME, too!

Elkins45
March 17, 2014, 11:23 AM
For readers who are wondering why we are spelling bullet wrong, you need to know the difference between a bullet and a boolit.

Bullets wear a copper jacket put on them in a factory somewhere by a machine.

Boolets are lovingly hand cast from the pure silver stream.

http://castboolits.gunloads.com/forum.php

vahiker83
March 17, 2014, 12:41 PM
Browning. The best there is. I have a BAR Safari in .270 The great part about the BLR is that the gun is magazine and not tube fed. Which opens up a greater variety of cartridges you can chamber the gun in compared to the tube fee where you have to use a blunt bullet. And then you go back to the fact that it is a Browning. Why do you want an alternative? A take-down BLR is on my short list to own soon.

wyohome
March 17, 2014, 12:47 PM
For readers who are wondering why we are spelling bullet wrong,
I doubt anyone was wondering...

fiddleharp
March 17, 2014, 06:43 PM
Many years ago, I bought a steel-receiver Japanese BLR in 7mm-08 for one reason: I shoot left-handed and couldn't find a LH bolt-action in 7mm-08 in those days. I'm not even sure about their availablility these days.
That being said, if I met someone who had a LH bolt gun he'd be willing to trade for my BLR, I'd make that swap in a New York Minute!

Cocked & Locked
March 17, 2014, 08:02 PM
I doubt anyone was wondering...

I wonder why?

Shimitup
March 18, 2014, 11:12 PM
Thanks elkins45, I'll keep those in mind while I'm working up a load.

rodregier
March 19, 2014, 12:23 AM
Other recent BLR threads:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=737493

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=734915

rswartsell
March 19, 2014, 12:53 AM
Winchester made the .307 Winchester AE (Angle Eject), and Marlin the .308MX (Marlin Express). The .307 Winchester was a still born for ammunition availability and the .308 Marlin Express is hanging on by the graces of Hornady LeverRevolution ammo.

Both however do a creditable job of approaching the .308 ballistics. The LeverRevolution introduced the advantage of spire ogive polymer tipped bullets that can be tube loaded without chain-fire. The spire point grants the .308 Marlin Express true 300 + yd capability.

The BLR suffers from complaints about handling and action/trigger compared to the Winchester and Marlin offerings whether they catch on with ammo manufacturers or not.

Speedo66
March 19, 2014, 09:00 PM
"Leverguns were never actually popular in the West. Most weren't even invented until the 1890's, and were poor sellers at first. The most common guns actually used back then were single shots. The leverguns were on their deathbed by the 1920's."

Are you familiar with the Winchester 1873? Custer & Co. got their butts kicked by them in 1876.

"Obsolete" doesn't mean people didn't continue to buy them, almost 3/4 million 1873 models were sold. Over a million 1892 models were sold. Don't sound like poor sellers to me.

I love my early BLR in .308, great handling woods gun.

rswartsell
March 19, 2014, 10:51 PM
I don't believe they are "obsolete" as sporting arms even today. I will stipulate that at least by the introduction of the M-16 they didn't have any military contracts in their future.

Deog
March 20, 2014, 02:01 AM
First, the lever gun will never go away. lever guns have a huge following.
2nd, I read here regarding the big price tag for a BLR, I call BS. How much is a new Winchester lever gun ? Yep, more then a BLR. Funny thing is that the BLR and the winchester are made in the same Factory. The Blr is made by the japanese company Miroku.
The fit and finish on a BLR is second to none, Miroku [ and Japanese standards are far beyond anything made in the good old USA. I have no problem owning Miroku made firearms, I have a BLR stainless takedown in .308 and a 81 243, both fine firearms.
I am a JM Marlin man threw and threw, but i love my BLR'S and would not ever sell them off.
My 2 cents.

Arobbins
March 20, 2014, 02:38 AM
Do they make a 44 mag lever rifle

Elkins45
March 20, 2014, 11:18 AM
Do they make a 44 mag lever rifle
No, just cartridges based on the .308, 30-06 and the WSM cases.

rodregier
March 20, 2014, 03:36 PM
I too was very impressed with the fit and finish of my 2013 production stainless takedown BLR in .308 Win. My only real complaint is that the trigger as supplied was almost double the specified weight. (8.8 vs 4.5 lbs). I managed to find a Canadian gunsmith skilled in the ways of the BLR trigger who was accepting such work and had it fixed. Now it matches the factory spec and I'm much happier.

One of the less-advertised advantages of the takedown model is that it wildly simplifies barrel cleaning. That becomes more important if you're practicing with it on the range in addition to taking it into the woods for hunting. (Unless you're hunting varmints the round count is typically low in the field).

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