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Browning 22lr semi auto short stroking, what ammo with the most recoil?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by GJgo, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    Hey all,

    I inherited this beautiful Browning BAR-22 (22 LR only) from my Grandfather. Broke it down, gave it a serious cleaning, lube & reassemble. Took it to shoot for the first time and it has a real issue with short stroking. I was shooting some cheap ammo first, then I moved to CCI Mini Mags with the same result. The short stroking failed to pop the new round all the way up, and upon the bolt moving forward the bullet would bind above the chamber & bend, locking up the bolt.


    Upon investigation it seems that while the recoil is sufficient to overcome the main spring, at the back of the stroke there's a stiffer spring in the bolt that operates the ejector which it's not overcoming. My first thought is that I need to try some other types of ammo that have a more powerful recoil in the hopes that the extra energy will fully cycle the action & make the gun cycle reliably. Not that you can find any 22 ammo for sale right now, but going forward does anyone have opinions on some stout 22 ammo I can be on the lookout for? I wonder if the 22 "AR" ammo really does work better in semi autos?

    There isn't a whole lot of info out there on these rifles, so I have no idea if this was a common issue or what the heck is going on. I sure like it, want to get it running properly.

    351 WINCHESTER Well-Known Member

    It should run just fine with any high velocity ammo. Maybe something is wrong with the gun.
  3. 788Ham

    788Ham Well-Known Member

    Don't know how long the rifle was stored before you got it. Possibly a new set of springs might help in this regard, possibly compressed for a long time? Check on Numrich's website, order the bolt spring and a new extractor spring, might be all you'd need. Very nice looking rifle!
  4. JohnBT

    JohnBT Well-Known Member

  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    If it doesn't work with CCI Mini-Mags?

    Your gun is broke.

  6. gpb

    gpb Well-Known Member

    Did it work before you "gave it a serious cleaning"?
  7. mach1.3

    mach1.3 Well-Known Member

    That's a nice looking gun. I would agree that repalcing the springs and check to see if the buffer is intact(I would bet not) is in order. Numrich or Brownells
    might have replacement parts. I'm not that familiar with that model Browning but I do like Brownings. Any idea what the date of manu. was?
  8. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

  9. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    Wow, thanks guys, that's some great info to get me started. I've been looking for a copy of the manual, that's a great find.

    When I received it, the guts were so fouled with powder & gunk that I broke it down for cleaning before I ever shot it. It was pretty gross in there, so clearly it used to work. The date of manufacture is 1977, and I know this rifle has been sitting in a case unused since sometime in the early 80s. It probably sat cocked that whole time, or maybe I goofed up putting it back together. I will do it over with the manual in hand & inspect those parts closer. I'll report back with more pictures.
  10. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    OK, I think I may have figured it out. The recoil buffer is missing! The manual was a great help here. The springs all feel fine, I think my next step is to source a buffer & re-evaluate.


    I checked Numrich & they are out of stock, so I put an email in to them to see if they might get some more. Next I'll call the guys on the Browning dealer list. If all that fails, I've started a drawing of the part & I can probably have one produced. The only question there is material- I'd like it to be softer than the surrounding metals. So I'm thinking aluminum, or maybe even delrin?

    The one question mark I have in producing a part is thickness, hopefully I can find another owner who can take that measurement for me. :)

    *edit* from further searching, it appears that the factory buffer was some sort of a wax or a composite. No wonder it's MIA. One idea I found on another forum was to get a MAC 10 buffer & trim it to fit.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  11. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    More good info, it looks like early BAR-22s were jam-o-matics in the same fashion as mine, but there may be an easy solution. Info in this thread from Rimfire Central. I'll give it a shot.

    Oh yeah more info, apparently the first few years of this rifle had the buffer & no feeed guide, then at some point the design changed to lose the buffer & add a feed guide. I've come across a couple different user's manuals that show different design iterations. I'd love to find a copy of that field guide referenced in the thread above, though.
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2013
  12. Old judge creek

    Old judge creek Well-Known Member


    Those BAR 22s were simply dynamite rifles. Some 30 years ago, I got mine because it regularly stove-piped. Not having a manual and "pre internet days" I fiddled with it in typical southern "blind hog rootin' for a acorn" fashion. These days, I can even remember how I fixed it, but I did.

    It digests any an all Long Rifle ammo it's fed and functions flawlessly. It's also a tack driver. Back in the day, I once put 10 rounds into a single ragged (dime sized) hole from 50 yards. I seriously doubt that I could replicate that feat today, but that kind of accuracy wasn't uncommon for those rifles.

    IMO its major drawback was/is its size and weight. Its a RPITA to carry all day long - OTOH is is the most accurate, precise shooting semi-auto 22 that I've ever owned (or handled) - and I've owned more than a few.

    There was a short run of "slimmed down" BAR 22s, so I'm guessing there were more than a few who disliked the size and heft of this rifle for an all day carry.

    Edited to add: After reading your link I seem to recall the problem on my rifle was the lower feed ramp!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  13. RainDodger

    RainDodger Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I have one of these rifles also and it works with pretty much any .22 LR ammo I run through it. Very accurate with a Leupold Rimfire Special scope on it, but it's not a small rifle, as noted by others.

    Good luck finding a buffer. I'm sure there are parts out there somewhere.
  14. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    RainDodger, by chance can you measure the thickness of your buffer & report? I can sort out all the other dimensions, but I'd like an idea of how thick it needs to be. Thanks in advance!
  15. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Well-Known Member

    That is absolutely beautiful. I'd never heard of them.

    DRYHUMOR Well-Known Member

    A good machinest can make just about anything........

    Worth looking into if you can get some good measurements and a few pics.
  17. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    I've got some new information to add. Been learning a lot. First, I did hear from MGW & they don't service this model. I also heard from a few owners I pinged, thanks all for getting back to me.

    Fortunately I did hear back form the good people at Western Gun Parts LTD in Edmonton AB, they gave me some good information. According to them only the straight-pull stock models came with a recoil buffer. My model with a pistol grip stock never came with a buffer, nor will one fit in it. (They do sell repro buffers for 30 bucks.)

    I sort of backed this up in this thread from Calguns. Scroll down to where the guy posts links to three pages of his owner's manual, it's a pistol grip & it does not have the buffer. It does however show a "top ramp" which mine does not have. I know my bolt has a provision for it, and my barrel has a small slot for it so this adds to the thought that I'm missing one.

    At this point I'm thinking the next thing to look at is the top ramp, magazine well & lower feed ramp per the info in the rimfirecentral thread.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  18. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    More new & good info from the WGP folks. They say that all pistol grip models had the top ramp. Looking at mine closer, and how it was jamming, I think this could well solve the problem- so I ordered one. Once I have a chance to use it I'll report back.
  19. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    For posterity, a kind gentleman by the name of hairtrigger measured his recoil buffer, it's 0.14" thick. Hopefully this thread helps out the next guy down the line.
  20. GJgo

    GJgo Well-Known Member

    Problem solved! I installed the top ramp, and now it runs perfectly. The problem appears to be resolved. I haven't had a chance to do any accuracy testing yet, but it's now a BAR-22 that I can rely on.


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