No one using Browning BLR (lever action) for plains game?

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by ryan80, Jun 4, 2019.

  1. ryan80

    ryan80 New Member

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    Personally I can work a lever action more quickly than a bolt and while keeping it pointed in the general direction i need it for a follow up shot. Love my little 30-30 my grandfather game me decades ago.

    Problem with levers in 30-30, 35 Remington and such has always been range and that the tube magazine requires round nose bullets. The BLR has a standard magazine, some models come with back up sights and it comes in some useful cartridges like 30-06, 7mm mag 300 win mag, etc.

    I know the BAR is illegal in Africa, but what about the BLR? Does it feed reliably enough? What am I missing?
     
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  2. cmk

    cmk AH Veteran

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    Don't know if there is a legal situation, but to me, a lever action does not say "Africa". It says "America". Clint Eastwood and trappers and prairies etc is the picture that comes to my mind at least.

    I think Roosevelt used a 405WCF lever gun during much of his safari there. But that's about it in terms the olden golden days of safari. Lots of people here know that part of history better, and could correct my misassumptions.
     

  3. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Shots can range from 50 to 500 yards on plains game. Do you really want to leave something on the table, accuracy wise, using a lever action? Personally, if my rifle can't break a clay bird every shot at 500 meters, it gets sold with a disclaimer. I'm not in to the tracking blood trails thing.
    As previous posted, lever guns are for hunting deer in the U.S.
     
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  4. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    I've used mine to kill whitetail, mule deer, black bear, elk and Moose here in Saskatchewan at ranges from right on top of me to 300 yards. I wouldn't hesitate to use it in Africa. No matter what action rifle I use, I won't shoot much over 300 yards and not even that if I can help it. I love my BLR but if I'm lucky enough to get back to Africa I'll rent a rifle again.
     
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  5. Ryan

    Ryan AH Fanatic

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    Why not? They may be a lever gun, but Browning knows how to make one well and rather classy looking in my opinion. A Thompson/Center Encore doesn't say Africa either, but mine was quite effective both times I took it to Namibia. The answer I always hear for your firearm is not what kind it is, it's whether you are accurate with it. I knew a gent in Georgia who shot a lot of deer in the 100-200 yard range with a BLR in 30-06. Doing a little quick research on the net a few people claim they get MOA or better accuracy with one and a few said not that good. That can be said of bolt action rifles too. Perhaps I'm just lucky, but I've yet to shoot past 220 yards in Africa and like @Ragman I wouldn't go beyond 300. So if you can shoot a BLR that far accurately with one go for it, it's your hunt.
     
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  6. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Good question. My hunting buddy and his son here in Colorado both have BLRs in .30-06. Between them, they have shot probably six elk, a cow moose, several dozen mule deer and pronghorn. Ranges from 25yds to 250yds. My hunting buddy started hunting with a Montgomery Wards (Winchester) .30-30 that his dad had given him. He did shoot one small bull elk with it at about 25yds. Anyway, I prefer a bolt action rifle and use my .270 and .338WM. I know Colorado isn't Africa, and you're not spending even a fraction of what an African hunt would cost, but if it's the only rifle you own AND you can shoot it accurately? My wife's nephews from Pennsylvania all use Remington pump-action rifles. They were hesitant to hunt elk with them, but I told them if the caliber is .270 and up, bring them. I'm rambling, but the BLR is a proven, big game (North America), rifle platform. I don't own one. But for me, I will bring (or rent) a larger caliber bolt action rifle IF I ever am fortunate to hunt in Africa.
     

  7. Red Leg

    Red Leg AH ENABLER LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    Browning's BLR is a superb design. Each and every one that I have seen has been very accurate with a load it likes. They are designed to be scoped, are available in calibers well suited to African plains game, and will not be an issue bringing into any African country that I am aware. The design can be, theoretically, a bit crankier than a bolt action, but that is unlikely to be a relevant issue on a modern plains game hunt in Southern Africa. If you own one you like and trust, by all means take it. If Africa then bites you like it does most of us, then perhaps begin looking for a more general purpose bolt action rifle in a caliber also suitable for buffalo.
     

  8. TMac

    TMac AH Senior Member

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    I have a BLR in 308Win that is remarkably accurate, holds just over 1/2 moa at 300 yards with ammo it likes, similar to my better bolt guns. Was quite a nice surprise accuracy wise. I got it because it was a 308 and a good deal, I have never hunted with it, but could. My other BLR is a 358Win, not as accurate but it shoots minute of Elk/Moose to 250 yards or so... If the BLR is in good mechanical shape and you have shot it enough to be confident with it, no reason not to hunt with it if you want.
     
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  9. Sycamore59

    Sycamore59 AH Member

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    Heading out for first Safari in a week and half with my dad. He purchased a BLR in 300 win mag specifically for the trip. His only complaint is it’s gloss finish and not a good ol oil finish he prefers. (Says he going to strip it and re-finish it when we get back). It’s also his first ‘high power’ rifle. He’s old school, lever guns are his thing, and he’s comfortable with them. Doesn’t even own a bolt gun.
    He hand loads and worked one up using Barnes TTSX’s in front of Ramshot Magnum powder. The rifle is shooting MOA and he enjoys shooting it. I’m sure he’ll love it once he puts a Nyala down!
     
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  10. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    There is some (maybe a lot) of psychology that goes along with one shooting a given firearm platform (and maybe even a caliber) that he/she likes and is comfortable with. A person can train and change their way of thinking and shooting skills as far as adopting a new platform (I.e. lever action vs. bolt action or Glock vs. a steel pistol) as time permits, but if they are reluctant to do so, their overall shooting skills WILL suffer. I have seen this happen both professionally and in my hunting pastimes. Shoot what you want (given the proper caliber for the situation) and are comfortable with. Good luck on your Safari!
     
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  11. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    My very first real hunting rifle was a Beautiful Savage Model 99 Lever Action Rifle in .22 Savage Hi Power with one of those old 5 round rotary mags . It was a beautiful rifle and pin point accurate . A tack driver of sorts. It was legal to take deer in Maine back then with a centre fire .22 ( maybe it still is ... I don't know ) and l used it to take over a dozen deer , using the standard Norma 71 grain soft nose rounds . 1 shot to the lungs would do the trick . I still badly regret selling it. The thing about lever actions is that ( from my experience anyway ) more often than not , are less accurate than bolt actions. The Savage would be the exception.
    But l think Lever actions are perfectly suited for Africa. Wally Johnson actually used to use a .30-30 Winchester Model 1894 as a lion rifle in the 1930s in Mozambique.
     
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  12. Hoss Delgado

    Hoss Delgado AH Fanatic

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    Wally Johnson used to use a .30-30 Winchester Model 1894 as a lion rifle for a while
     
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  13. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Two recent examples of the lack of familiarity, thus reduced skill and psyching one's self out with a shooting platform. My hunting buddy and his son went to Newfoundland last September. They both hunt with BLRs here in Colorado, and in fact, don't even own bolt action rifles, and only shot mine at the shooting range before their hunt. But, for whatever reason, they used my Browning A Bolt .338WM "back up" rifle that they brought with them. My buddy shot and missed a Woodland caribou. On his second shot, he "short stroked" the .338 out of excitement and unfamiliarity with the bolt action and his guide had to reach around him and slam the bolt forward so he could continue firing. He didn't know what to do. He did get the caribou, but it wasn't Africa and not DG. Second example: My father-in-law always used his Remington 870 Wingmaster for bird hunting and was deadly on birds with it. He had always hunted with a pump action shotgun since the 1950s. For some reason, he decided two years ago he needed a Benelli Super Black Eagle semi-auto shotgun. So he bought one and struggles to shoot well with it. Different shooting platform, different weight, feel and recoil. He's learning to shoot it, but it's taking a while. Just a couple of examples that I'm sure everyone else here has seen at one time or another.
     

  14. curtism1234

    curtism1234 AH Enthusiast

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    I have one in a 308.

    My only two complaints are

    1) the trigger was over 8 pounds despite being marketed by Browning as like 3.5. Living near the Browning service center, they worked it down to 5.5 pounds which they called in spec...

    2) if shot off a sandbag with the front unsupported, it won't hit paper at 100 yards. If shot in shooting sticks with my hand squeezing the sticks, it shoot about foot high at 100 yards. Gripping the forearm on bags or inside of shooting sticks, groups are 1" with Sierra gamekings

    I have yet to miss an animal with mine, out to 180 yards.

    As far as lever guns not being "Africa" - either are stainless steel bolt action, synthetic stocks, plastic magazines, etc. A double gun or a 10 pound wood stocked rifle are fine and dandy but not really as practical for plainsgame.
     

  15. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I don't own a BLR but I do own a Savage Mod. 99 in 308. I'm positive it will work on deer sized PG without any trouble. BLRs are well made if I had a 300 WM in one that shot reliably and accurately I'd have no trouble taking it to Africa.
     

  16. Hogpatrol

    Hogpatrol AH ENABLER SILVER SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    As Colombo would say, one more thing: depending on where you hunt in Africa, some places are dustbowls. More moving parts in a lever hence more chance for failures.
     
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  17. Ragman

    Ragman AH Elite

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    A small sample of what my BLR has done. It's the one rifle that I would never part with. It would absolutely be perfectly at home in Africa for plains game.

    IMG_2036.JPG IMG_0637.JPG IMG_0552.JPG IMG_2294.JPG IMG_1650.png IMG_1591.png IMG_1624.png IMG_1636.png IMG_1644.png IMG_0044.JPG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2019
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  18. CoElkHunter

    CoElkHunter AH Fanatic

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    Yes, they are finely built rifles. Again, I don't own one. The only issue my hunting buddy has had with his BLR, is when he had over lubricated it and was hunting in 0-10F degree weather and the bolt wouldn't open. He had to warm it up in his camper and remove the lubrication. So, if going to Africa when the temperature dips down that far, make sure you haven't over lubricated it!
     

  19. Curious

    Curious AH Member

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    The RCMP conducted extensive tests of very-cold-weather rifle lubrication. They concluded that the best option is to strip the rifle of lubricants and give the working parts a light coating of EESOX.
     
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  20. bruce moulds

    bruce moulds AH Elite

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    if you could get one with 275 rigby written in the barrel, maybe the hardon factor of that will offset other problems with a lever in Africa.
    who knows, you might even get some game with it then.
    bruce.
     
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