Browning 81


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Agsalaska
July 8, 2014, 08:45 PM
So I have been given an almost impossible task(key word is almost). I have to buy my mother in law a new deer rifle for deer season. I hunt on their land, love my wife, and pretty much do not have a choice. I bought her current gun for her in 2004, a light 700 in .243 with a Zeiss scope. But the 700 has always had problems feeding to the point that it is almost a single shot rifle(multiple gun shops have failed to fix it). However it is very accurate and she has fallen in love with the .243 after shooting a heavy 760 in .270 since 1974(which is resting comfortably in my safe). She also has some arthritis that makes working any bolt more difficult. She handles the 94 much better but wants a .243.

I do what I'm told, and that is a lever action in .243. This of course leaves me two choices, a Savage 99 and a Browning 81. The 99 is pretty much out because of weight and general age and, anyone who sees me post, knows I put old guns in safes, not the field.

So I am down to the 81, specifically the lightweight 81. She is somewhat recoil sensitive but more weight sensitive.

So, the point of the OP, any feedback on the Browning Lightweight 81, specifically a .243? Thanks

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stiab
July 9, 2014, 01:09 PM
I know what you mean, I have the M99 in .243, and in addition to all else they can be hard to find, and a little pricey in that caliber. Another option is the M88 Win in .243, which also can be pricey. The Sako levers where made in .243, but that's the same situation. I'm guessing the 81 is the only viable option for the lever. They are nice rifles, but hard to work on, hopelly that would never be required.

Since she likes the 760, it was made in .243 as well as the 7600. Good luck in your search!

rodregier
July 9, 2014, 01:31 PM
I'm happy with my BLR in .308 Win. (I have the stainless takedown variant). The material I have read says the units in .308, .243 and 7mm-08 all function well. The detachable box magazine makes it very easy to manage ammunition in a hunting circumstance. A detachable box magazine also means that if the magazine was damaged, it could be replaced which solves most feeding issues. BTW, the .308, .243 and 7mm-08 magazines are work exactly the same, they may just have different markings. (Same parent cartridge).

I would support your choice of a BLR in .243 for her usage.

Agsalaska
July 9, 2014, 09:50 PM
Appreciate the feedback.

And I did consider another 760 in .243. But hers is heavy, so she thinks they are all heavy. Orders are a lever.

CosmicCoder
July 9, 2014, 11:13 PM
I have a BLR in .270 Win with the pistol grip stock and blued finish and I love this rifle. The fit, finish and function of my BLR is excellent. If I had not already had a .243 Win bolt rifle I would have gotten my BLR in .243 Win. The .243 Win BLR at 6lb 8oz sans rings and scope is fairly light weight. From my perspective the 20" barrel is a bit on the short side which will reduce the MV which with the 1:10" twist will likely limit the bullet selection to 90gr or less. But the 20" barrel does help reduce the weight and improve the handling. I think this would be an excellent choice.

gunnerh
July 10, 2014, 12:26 AM
I like my BLR in 243 a great deal but my wife(She who must be obeyed) will not let me or even our grandsons used it. How it became her rifle I have no idea. So I picked up a nice used BLR in.358. For what real reason I do not know, same thing with at least 2/3 of my rifles.

Agsalaska
July 13, 2014, 05:17 PM
I have a BLR in .270 Win with the pistol grip stock and blued finish and I love this rifle. The fit, finish and function of my BLR is excellent. If I had not already had a .243 Win bolt rifle I would have gotten my BLR in .243 Win. The .243 Win BLR at 6lb 8oz sans rings and scope is fairly light weight. From my perspective the 20" barrel is a bit on the short side which will reduce the MV which with the 1:10" twist will likely limit the bullet selection to 90gr or less. But the 20" barrel does help reduce the weight and improve the handling. I think this would be an excellent choice.
Interesting. I am surprised Browning would produce a .243 rifle that would have trouble stabilizing a 100 grain bullet. Around here 100 grain is by far the most popular selection for .243.

CosmicCoder
July 13, 2014, 06:52 PM
Originally posted by CosmicCoder:
I have a BLR in .270 Win with the pistol grip stock and blued finish and I love this rifle. The fit, finish and function of my BLR is excellent. If I had not already had a .243 Win bolt rifle I would have gotten my BLR in .243 Win. The .243 Win BLR at 6lb 8oz sans rings and scope is fairly light weight. From my perspective the 20" barrel is a bit on the short side which will reduce the MV which with the 1:10" twist will likely limit the bullet selection to 90gr or less. But the 20" barrel does help reduce the weight and improve the handling. I think this would be an excellent choice.
Interesting.
Originally posted by Agsalaska:
I am surprised Browning would produce a .243 rifle that would have trouble stabilizing a 100 grain bullet. Around here 100 grain is by far the most popular selection for .243.

It's not so much the twist rate [1:10"] per se that is the problem [although it is very marginal for 100gr and up bullets] but rather the 20" barrel length which makes getting the MV required to get the spin rate necessary to stabilize the heavier and longer bullets. My experience with my Weatherby Vanguard S2 .243 Win rifle which has a 1:10" twist 24" barrel is that these 100gr+ bullets needed to have a MV of at least 3000fps in order to be stablized. I observed noticable keyholing at 250yds with an MV below 2900fps. I'm now driving 100gr bullets at 3175fps with no stability problems. I think it may be difficult to get a sufficient MV from the BLR's 1:10" twist 20" length barrel to stablize 100gr+ bullets.

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