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Thread: Browning lightweight 81 lever action

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Question Browning lightweight 81 lever action

    My friend had never hunted prior to this past fall, but I took him out to harvest his first moose and he had a great time. His father just gave him the above rifle chambered in .308 as a gift. My friend asked me what I thought. Other than the caliber, though, I haven't got a clue. I have no experience with lever action guns, nor with Brownings.

    Thoughts?

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    They are well made and generaly accurate rifles. Set him up with some 165gr partition loads and send him into the woods.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Good to know. Thanks!

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    I agree!

    The more your friend shoots that combo, the "better" it's going to get. I hunted so many years with a 308 lever (a Savage 99, in my case), that it's still my goto setup inspite of a lot of other guns in the house. As we often say, it's where you put the bullet that counts, and that's a pretty fine "putting" setup in my book.

    I'd hesitate to hunt brownbear and grizzly with it, but wouldn't be afraid to defend myself with it. For everything else you can poke holes in up here, the 308 is just fine.

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    Member Alangaq's Avatar
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    I have never shot the newer BLR with the pistol grip and aluminum receiver, but for years I had an older one in 243 win that was made in Japan. That was a great looking and good shooting rifle. Sure wish I still had it! As mention in earlier posts, I don’t think I would go looking for big bears with it, but for everything else within reasonable range it should do great!
    “You’ve gotten soft. You’re like one of those police dogs who’s released in to the wild and gets eaten by a deer or something.” Bill McNeal of News Radio

  6. #6

    Default Browning #81 lever action

    I have sighted in a few Browning lever .308s for people. The triggers are not delightful, as sometimes accuracy can be hard to come by. The best one I shot was made in Belgium, and it was so-so in the accuracy department but I could not improve on it. Tighten scope mounts, clean barrel and chamber, look at trigger mechanism and give up in disgust, Don't mess with stock, etc. It is an ok rifle but not one I would pick for long range shooting. If I had to use a .308 in Alaska, I would handload a 200 gr. accubond and shoot close. The Browning BLR in .308 will work for caribou, black bear, deer, and for moose up close (200 yds. or less). It is a good starter rifle for someone who wants to learn to hunt. I would hope the neophyte shooter would soon graduate to something with a little more authority.

    Perhaps this is a prejudice of mine, but I have been instructing in marksmanship for over 40 years, and I have learned that people can learn to shoot almost any power level of rifle or handgun if they are not put in fear of it #1, and carefully walked through it to avoid scope bite, shoulder slam, etc. #2. Good hearing protection is a must. My sister in law and niece were taught by my brother, years ago, to be expert shooters with the .44 Mag. Blackhawk with full power loads. They enjoy shooting it. They were never told it might hurt them. And it never did. Prior to backpacking the Johnson Creek Trail, I taught them to shoot my Win. Mdl. 70, .458 Win. Mag., with aperture sight and full power loads. I showed them how to hold it, how to shoot it off-hand (what else?), and they shot it with great accuracy, and never a complaint about the "kick". They learned to shoot balloons blowing across a field in the wind, rapid fire. No complaints. They didn't know it could "hurt", so it didn't. My niece's Marine husband had been told the .44 Mag. was brutal and the .458 was as lethal to the shooter as it was to the game. Both guns hurt him and he whined about it. He couldn't hit a bull in the butt with either one. This fellow is 6'4" and 250 lbs.!!!

    My friend, its how you hold the thing, and how you think about it. Mostly, it's all in the head. I could say that over and over, but someone who comes to me spooked is going to be a real challenge to me. I hate to see people hunt unwounded, living, breathing game with an inadequate or minimal firearm just because recoil scares them or hurts them. If they happen to have a titanium pin on the point of the shoulder, ok. I will teach them to use the other shoulder or to use a .454 Casull or bigger. But I hate to see someone limit themself to a .308 or whatever because of recoil. 90% of recoil is in the mind, and for the other 10% there are recoil pads of every description, including the PAST recoil shield they can wear. I will shoot a 600 Nitro Express wearing that. When I was 15 I shot a .600 Nitro without a pad. It kicked like hell but it didn't cause any permanent damage, and I asked to shoot it again but got turned down because of the price of the ammo. I have a hard time understanding someone who shoots a .30-06 with a 180 gr. load and says ouch! and won't shoot it again. What are they going to do if they fall down and get a boo-boo and mother is 1,500 miles away? I consider myself to be a good marksman,, shooting in all of the NRA positions and several of my own design, but even with a rifle that has an incredibly quick lock-time, a lot of things can change from the time the trigger is released and the bullet strikes the warm-blooded, living game. Animals move without signaling us that they are going to do so, and bullets strike 6" to a foot from where we intended them to land no matter how great we are at field shooting. A sudden puff of wind hits just as we squeeze off. We do not have control over what happens after we feel the trigger break.

    I have put down big animals with rifles and handguns many people would consider obsolete and puny. Those days are over for me. I can still do it, but why? Have some compassion and respect for God's creatures, and if you are going to kill them, do it in a manner, and with a weapon, that will assure a clean kill even if the marksmanship is off a little bit. If the rifle or handgun that is really appropriate for hunting the beast is hurting you, please contact me or a good gunsmith and we will work out a way for you to use whatever it takes to do the job compassionately and cleanly. A .308 is a fine deer caliber, and it will kill every thing else up the line, but when we get above caribou and moose, we are asking too much of the rifle. Do your part and learn to shoot the appropriate gun and load for the game.

    I have a friend who lost both legs at pocket level in Viet Nam. He also lost his right eye, and has shrapnel all through him, including in his shoulders. He is an avid hunter and an excellent hunter, and he taught himself to shoot every rifle he needed up through the .458 Lott. He shoots from a wheelchair, and one way or the other, he gets himself to the right place to shoot from, sometimes crawling and pulling himself from alder to alder, dragging the wheelchair behind him. He has learned to shoot any rifle he needs to, to put a big animal down fast and certain. I have never heard him whine about "recoil". He is giving thanks to God for being out there and hunting. In the last 30 years he hasn't lost an animal to wounding. How many of us can say that? He started with a .270 and worked his way up. He covers a big clear-cut with a .375 H&H. Do you want to laugh at him for having Magnumitis? I wouldn't. He knows what he needs to use, and he uses it better than most of us. Should we do less? If you need to use a .338 or a .375 or a .458, learn it! It's not that hard.

    I had a C5-6, 6-7 laminectomy (neck surgery) and have a 3" Titanium plate in my neck with 6 screws. If I can shoot a .458 Win. Mag., most of you can. Get over it! Start with a .308. Fine! In Alaska it is a learner's gun. Graduate to an appropriate caliber for the game you are hunting! Alaskans are some of the toughest people on this earth. Ever been to the Mt. Marathon Marathon? Yeah? Well, put some of that famous toughness and moxy into shooting some of the guns my niece has mastered! A .338 Win. is a good start. Master it and move up. It's Fun! My apologies for my prejudices. I get carried away sometimes, but nobody has had to carry me out of the woods. I don't mean to lack sensitivity for people who are just getting into the game, either. If you need help learning the skills of a hunter, ask around. Hunters and shooters are a bunch of really great folks, and the ones who have been around a long time are usually more than willing to pass on their experience. Shooting is a mental skill, more than anything. Eye/hand coordination and mental control are very important; whole-body motor skills are essential. Over time, shooting a lot, you can learn to slow down your heart-beat. It will happen automatically, and you will learn to shoot between heart-beats.

    Keep progressing. Challenge yourself physically and mentally. Once you have mastered the .308, for heaven's sake, move up, and keep moving up. Recoil pads and muzzle brakes are not sissy tools. They are the advantage of the master hunter. Buy rifles that are properly stocked to hold recoil at a minimum. Don't let people "psyche you out" on recoil. Dealing with it is a science and an art, and not beyond your comprehension. If a wimp like me can learn to shoot a .375 or a .458 or bigger, you can too, and it needn't be torture. Psyche yourself up for it. It's Fun!
    Happy Shootin'.
    Jack.

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