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Browning "salt wood" stock

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by lowerunit411, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Well-Known Member

    I just saw an ad for a 1967 Browning Safari and the guy selling it as having a salt wood stock so that it can be called "rust free"??????????? Wow...thats all i can say.

    Browning Safari bolt-action rifle with a 24" barrel and an excellent bore. Chambers a .243 round with a 14.5" LOP. Fancy wood "salt treated" to carry the title "No Rust". Bluing is at ~95% and stock at ~95%. Monte Carlo stock with 1/2" raise and a recoil pad butt plate.

    Price: $1,650.00
  2. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    Many Browning firearms from the era contain walnut wood that was impregnated with a high salt concentration and consequently many of these older guns display excessive rust pitting anywhere the wood came in contact with the metal surfaces.
    Browning would replace the wood free of charge, many guns were restocked and many others were treated with epoxy sealant or laquer early on and spared from the rust pitting.

    For $1650 the rifle would still need to be near new with the box and all ancilliaries.
  3. Rembrandt

    Rembrandt Well-Known Member

    Not sure how he "knows" it's a saltwood stock....unless he's going by manufacturing dates. Browning restocked a large number of those problem stocks, this may be one of those. The other thing to keep in mind the higher grade guns had their wood sourced from other suppliers which did not use the salt cure method.

    Salt wood resulted from a process used on Brownings to speed up the curing time of wood...the salt would draw out the moisture and speed up the drying process, unfortunately the salt residue remained in the wood grain and caused metal corrosion where the metal and wood made contact. This was not a Browning problem, but a supplier problem.

    About 1965, a large wood supplier sent wood not only to Browning for FN's use but also to Bishop, Fajen, Winchester, Ruger and to the US Military for M-14 stocks. This company was drying their walnut using granulated salt, by covering the wood with salt and placing it in quonset huts.

    The wood dried so quickly that the workers said they could actually see a steady drip of moisture coming from the wood. The wood was already cut into the appropriate size planks and no one thought that any salt residue would remain on or in the wood after final shaping, sanding, and finishing.The US Government stopped using walnut for the M-14 rifles and went to other types of wood because properly cured wood was so scarce at the time.

    In Brownings case, the problem first showed up starting in 1966 and ends on their guns about 1973. Superposes and T-Bolts made between 1967-1973 should be looked at; Safari, Medallion or Olympian made between 1967-1976; and any A5's 2,000,000 edition Commemoratives should be looked at.

    Inspect any place the metal touches the wood. Take out the butt plate screws and look them over carefully. If you find no rust, the gun is probably OK. Sometimes you can test the wood with silver nitrate. Place a drop or two on a hidden spot on the wood, if it bubbles you have a problem

    (From "Browning Sporting Arms of Distinction" by Matt Eastman)

    Browning procrastinated in signing the wood contract in Europe because there was a price spike. They thought it was a ploy and put off the purchase knowing there was plenty of cheap California wood available if needed. By the time the European wood deal fell through the California wood was gone.

    The only figured wood available was planks bought in California but sent to South America for furniture. Browning was trapped and had to take it. This is where the salt curing was being done but Browning missed it being a problem.

    They then tried to sell some of these to TRW for M-14 stocks but Claro walnut failed the physical test and was never used. Bishop, Fajen, the Warsaw Missouri pact, bought some and sold it in semi-inlets.

    Browning nearly went broke from the fiasco. A serious tax problem about the same time almost put them under and as a result they lost the FN connection and were forced to Japan and Portugal for guns and parts. 1968 was the pre-1964 of Browning Arms. That's why round knob, long-tang, (RKLT) Brownings are more desirable. If a Browning has French walnut stocks it can't be salt wood. All Claro, especially the higher grades, is suspect.
  4. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Well-Known Member

    that was my point...salt wood is reviled in these and other such treat Browning firearms and they dang sure wont fix it for free now, but you can expect to pay 500 plus bucks to fix it...assuming there isnt a lot of metal damage. to tout "salt treated" wood as a selling point....thats just stupid and kinda insulting to anyone who knows a lick about these guns.
  5. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Well-Known Member

    Browning maintains a list of the serial numbers of the salt treated guns....this year is about right for them.

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