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Browning Side-by-Side

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Gearhead Jim, Jul 8, 2003.

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  1. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    I have a Browning BSS made about 1983, that's the made in Japan version(VERY tiny letters) with the selective trigger. Browning says it is safe to shoot with steel shot smaller than BB. It's in mint condition.

    The plan is to have Briley install their choke tubes and a decent looking recoil pad, then use it as a field gun. Of course, I know that O/U's or repeaters are more efficient.....

    Is there any inherrant fault with these guns, or any reason why I shouldn't go into this project? It seems like all the currently available S/S guns are either rather low quality, or reasonable quality but very high priced. Your thoughts? Thanks.
     
  2. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    I don't know that particular shotgun, but I'm willing to bet that if it's a Browning, it's probably going to be of rather better quality of manufacture than many of the lower-cost doubles available today. Why not ask Briley for their opinion of it as a base for a field gun? They give objective, honest advice, in my experience.
     
  3. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    The fellow I spoke to at Briley seemed to think it was a reasonable idea, but I didn't have any comments about their objectivity/expertise. Thanks for your info.

    The other possibility is the Weatherby Orion, but I have heard a few disparaging remarks about the price/quality relationship of that gun. Any thoughts?
     
  4. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Weatherby Orion = overpriced by about 100%, IMHO! IIRC, it's a Spanish shotgun, and no better in mechanicals, etc. than other Spanish guns that can be bought for well under $1,000. It may have a fancier finish, but that's not what floats my boat. I'd stay with the Browning if Briley think it's an adequate base gun for their work.
     
  5. PJR

    PJR Member

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    The Browning BSS was made in Japan by Miroku and is in the same class as the Winchester 23 and maybe a notch ahead of the SKB sxs.

    If by the Weatherby Orion you mean the sxs then I agree with Preacherman. It's made by Hermanos Zabala in Spain which is not one of the more highly regarded Spanish gun makers. The Orion o/u however is made in Japan by SKB.

    Your plans for the BSS sound pretty solid. Enjoy the gun.
     
  6. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Thanks for the input on the Orion O/U, PJR. News to me... I've only shot the SxS, and that didn't impress me very much - even my old Stevens wasn't bad by comparison!
     
  7. 45auto

    45auto Member

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    The BSS is a very good side by side IMO.
    Side by sides are classy.

    Browning would do well to bring it back in this current marketplace.

    Briley does great work. I'm guessing you will spend around $400 to do both bbls so I would just make sure you really need the different chokes for your hunting needs.

    Good luck
     
  8. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    Briley choke tubes for both barrels, suitable for steel shot, are about $470, lead shot are a little less. So your estimate was pretty close. And yes, I have thought about whether I really need choke tubes. What is tipping me toward the tubes is that this gun is rather heavy (7.8 lbs on a calibrated scale) and I might get the barrels cut down from 28" to 26". The beavertail forend feels like it weighs well over a pound all by itself, there is a lot of metal in there plus the wood. Since I like the beavertail, I don't think it is practical to save any weight there. The buttstock already has a full-length hole for the attach bolt, might be able to save another ounce by drilling another hole but who could tell?

    During the winter I got to handle a prototype of the new Ruger SxS- beautifully light, but I'll probably be too old to hunt by the time they get it into production. I phoned them today and the latest word is "September." Yeah, right.
     
  9. PJR

    PJR Member

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    Jim:

    Talk to Briley before you cut the barrels and ask them what they can do to shave some ounces off that gun. With some backboring, some holes in the stock and other work, they might be able to get some weight off that gun. Shortening barrels can have unpleasant side affects on a sxs or o/u such as changing the point of impact. Cut barrels are also harder to sell should you decide to put the gun on the market.

    Preacherman:

    I agree on the Zabalas. Every one that I've seen wasn't worth the asking price and they weren't asking very much.

    Paul
     
  10. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    I've got 2 of the BSS shotguns. 1 ea in 12g and 20g- both 26" tubes.
    My 12g has been shot alot, killed birds in 5 or 6 states since about 1981. A tad heavy but stout and reliable. Kills what I point it at and (almost) never misses. Sometimes I use the 20 on the skeet range when I feel like a change.
    I wouldn't cut those barrels down for the reasons already stated above.
    What fixed chokes have you got now? Mine are both IC/M and I don't see a need for anything different. Have you patterned for POI barrel regulation? (Mine are both excellent at 25yrds.) Does Briley guarantee POI regulation with thier tubes?
    The miroku BSS is a great double but beware there are some Korean Browning BSS shotguns out there. Fit and finish don't even come close and you can tell the difference from across the room.
    One other note- I seem to recall Browning telling me that steel shot was NOT recomended in the BSS.
     
  11. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    You guys are a goldmine of information. Again, thanks.

    Kingcreek- my chokes are marked mod & full, but there is not a whole lot of difference in the patterns. The right barrel gives true modified (#6 shot) or slightly weaker (#8) patterns, the left barrel gives improved modified with both #6 and #8. POI is slightly high, but that's usually OK. If needed, I'll have my head surgically repositioned.

    During two different phone calls about 7 years apart, Browning was interested in the serial number of my gun and whether it was made in Japan or made in Belgium. Apparently, the early BSS guns are not OK for steel, the later ones are OK for anything smaller than steel BB. I got the impression that the change came when production moved to Japan, but I can't verify that. Is that also when the barrel selector appeared? Double triggers would be REALLY neat on this gun!

    I had not heard of a Korean BSS- are they legitimate, or fakes?
     
  12. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    I hadn't realized how advanced Briley was in their modification menu...

    :what: :neener: :D
     
  13. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    My 12g is older with the silver non-select trigger. the 20 is gold trigger with selector. standard and delux? Both are Miroku of japan and identical as far as finish and engraving.
    I don't think there were many Koreans. I saw one at a gunshow couple years ago. and like I said- fit and finish were not up to Browning standards but I don't think it was a knock off.
    I really like the miroku BSS. I would shoot it like it is, if I were you.
     
  14. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    gearhead jim wrote;

    [Browning was interested in the serial number of my gun and whether it was made in Japan or made in Belgium. Apparently, the early BSS guns are not OK for steel, the later ones are OK for anything smaller than steel BB. I got the impression that the change came when production moved to Japan]

    I have a real early 12 ga BSS with non selective trigger and a 71 date and it's made in japan, They all were. the latter Korean's are assembled with the old Mirouko parts.

    If weight is an issue why not sell it and buy a 20ga. I would do the choke tubes but not cut the barrels or shave the wood.

    You could always go cheaper than Briley, I think everybody does choke tubes now, There's a gunsmith named Mike Orlen at gunshop.com that the double gun guys swear by, he's about half of what your talking about spending.
     
  15. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    Again, thanks for the comments.

    Huntsman- the 20 ga would be a great idea except that I´m trying to simplify my life by staying with just 12 ga. Nice to hear the production story.

    Perhaps I`ll just do the recoil pad and shoot it for a season before going to the trouble and expense of the tubes.
     
  16. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    Jim, I understand the need to simplify, I did the same a few years ago. I got rid of my 16ga doubles and got a 12ga BSS:D
     
  17. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    Some years ago the guy who is now editor of American Rifleman bought one of those at a gun show he and I went to.

    After a little futzing around with it, he was happy enough with it to make it one of his regulars for pheasant and quail.

    As far as I know, it still is.

    The BSS' are very nice guns but unfortunately aren't seen all that often.
     
  18. SXSMAN

    SXSMAN Member

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    I'm in the same boat as Kingcreek.Have got both the 20 and 12.(In the fitted factory hard cases to boot)I like starting the day bird hunting w/the 12 and change around lunch time for instant new arms!
    I've been looking for a set of barrels for about three years for such a choke tube project and even have someone in Japan looking for me,still they elude me.(I don't want to modify the matched numbered barrels)I'm pretty happy with how they shoot,not sure now really why I started the quest,and not sure if I'll like the place any better than where I am now.....

    I'd put the SKB's on even par with the BSS's.(I sold a 200e when off work hurt w/no money coming in,rather sorry now...)Have also a nice light 20 O/U,great bird buster.

    My advice would be sit and ponder this query over a bottle on single malt scotch,or some nice cool gin and tonics.
     
  19. Mike Irwin

    Mike Irwin Member

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    There's a couple of BSS' for sale on Gun Broker right now.

    Bringing fairly hefty prices, too.
     
  20. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    For better or for worse, the BSS is on its way to Briley. They will call me to talk about the practicality of choke tubes and overboring on that individual gun.

    Over the weekend I got to look at a new SKB 385 in the local shop. It has the advantages of feeling a little lighter, looking prettier (silver receiver), and completely ready to go with choke tubes. On the other hand, the detail work (polishing, barrel lettering, and general fitting of parts) seemed a little below the Browning. And I don't like inertia-reset triggers.

    Stay tuned for further reports.....
     
  21. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    The BSS came back from Briley today. The work looks nice:

    Choke tubes installed with steel shot tubes (6 tubes total)
    Barrels overbored
    Forcing cones lengthened
    Recoil pad installed, stock length shortened by 1/4"

    Weight reduction was about 1/4 lb, mostly in the barrels from overboring.
    Balance seems improved.

    Total with shipping, insurance, etc came to about a thou.
    Lots of money, but still I probably have a better gun than could be purchased for what I have in it.

    The Briley choke wrench is very convenient to use but not so easy to carry. Does anyone make a more compact version?
     
  22. huntsman

    huntsman Member

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    sounds great give us a report after you run some rounds through it.
     
  23. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    Took the BSS out to the gun club, fired 50+ rds at clay birds from a portable trap by my feet. Broke about 80% of them, which is pretty good for me.:D

    There were occasional failures to eject a fired shell, usually (always?) the right barrel. The other shell would eject properly, but this one would just be extracted for hand removal. Any idea on how to cure that?

    I tried AA target loads both heavy (3 dram) and light (2 3/4 dram), half of the time I can't tell the difference. Am I the only one like that?

    Will try to get on the patterning board next week.
     
  24. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    That balky ejector sounds like grunge buildup or even a bit of rust inside. Try a little CLP or SLIP trickled down and handwork it a few times. Also, check the chamber for roughness.

    As for feeling the difference between light and heavy, unless I'm over 1 1/8 oz I really do not feel much difference when shooting clays or birds.

    In truth, sounds like you've sunk some money into what may turn out to be one GREAT wingshooter. It'd be worthwhile to me.
     
  25. Gearhead Jim

    Gearhead Jim Member

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    Thanks for the kind words. Already I am dreaming of Fall days gone by, and to come, with pheasants bursting out of the corn ahead of a good pointing dog.

    This evening I took off the foreend and barrels, which I had not done since putting the gun into storage 7 years ago after test firing my "new" purchase. No grunge, no rust (luckily); but the ejector mechanisms seemed totally dry. After little Break Free CLP, it ejects dummies perfectly.

    The opening and closing of the barrels is rather stiff, but I expect that from a virtually new gun.

    What is more annoying is that almost half of the time, the unlocking lever is VERY difficult to get moving, like it is stuck in place. Once it has moved just a fraction, then the rest of the movement is normal. This does not happen with the barrels removed, so it must be related to the interface of the locking bolt and the barrels. Casual inspection does not reveal any burrs.

    By the way, is it OK to dry fire this gun? Virtually all center-fire rifles and pistols can be dry fired extensively without problem, but I've heard different things about double shotguns.
     
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