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Old January 4, 2012, 06:18 PM   #1
valnar
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Browning BLR alternatives?

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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Old January 4, 2012, 06:23 PM   #2
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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.
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Old January 4, 2012, 06:38 PM   #3
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1895? Winchester was fed like that.
They made a few in x54r for Russia, really neat!
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Old January 4, 2012, 06:44 PM   #4
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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.
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Old January 4, 2012, 06:47 PM   #5
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Sorry, I mean lever guns chambered for .308 or .270 for instance.
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Old January 4, 2012, 07:19 PM   #6
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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
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Old January 4, 2012, 07:29 PM   #7
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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.

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

Quote:
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.

Last edited by The Lone Haranguer; January 4, 2012 at 09:15 PM.
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Old January 4, 2012, 07:53 PM   #8
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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.
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Old January 4, 2012, 09:32 PM   #9
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BLR and BAR

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?
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Old January 4, 2012, 09:39 PM   #10
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I had a BLR '81 in 308 once. It is the only rifle that I wish I had not sold.
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Old January 4, 2012, 09:54 PM   #11
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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.
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Old January 5, 2012, 12:23 AM   #12
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lever actions

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.

guns 048.jpg
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Old January 6, 2012, 06:55 PM   #13
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I have a Sako Finnwolf in .308 that my father passed down to me and wouldn't trade it for anything.
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Old January 11, 2012, 12:19 PM   #14
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"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.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:03 PM   #15
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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.
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Old January 12, 2012, 11:25 PM   #16
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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.
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Old January 13, 2012, 07:02 AM   #17
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Remington makes some nice pumps and autos which compete with theBLR/BAR and are often avialable second hand.
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Old January 13, 2012, 07:46 AM   #18
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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.

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Old January 13, 2012, 10:09 PM   #19
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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?
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Old January 14, 2012, 11:16 AM   #20
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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.
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Old January 14, 2012, 11:30 AM   #21
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Quote:
The lever generation has passed, maybe never to return.
I'm still here!

Actually I prefer bolt rifles.
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Old January 14, 2012, 11:58 AM   #22
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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.
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Old January 14, 2012, 02:48 PM   #23
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Quote:
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.
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Old January 14, 2012, 05:54 PM   #24
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Quote:
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:

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Old January 14, 2012, 05:58 PM   #25
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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.
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