Thursday, November 25, 2004

First things first. The Browning 1886 is a sweet thing indeed. Even using the 300 gr. "express" loading, recoil is un-noticed in the field. Cycling of the action is quick, smooth and efficient and the gun never has to leave my shoulder. I know this because...

Yesterday, I went hunting in the rain. After poking around quite a bit and getting pretty wet I slipped through some thicker stuff and heard a bit of rustling coming my way. The purposeful stride made me think it was some four legged friend on a mission but not in a hurry. I was a bit surprised that it was a red fox. Mr. Fox was not particularly worried about me, if he noticed me standing there and paused with his back to me, looking up-hill, about 35 yards away. I was arrogant enough to think that it would be a good opportunity to collect a good fox specimen (even with the .45-70, by placing the large caliber bullet through his head. Such was not to be as I overshot him by about ½ an inch. The world erupting directly in front of his face made him turn around and head back whence he' come and I was already ready to launch another 300 gr. round in his direction. I didn't though, I'd already conceded my folly. Proves the gun is a keeper though!


I also received a recently purchased Marlin Mountie made in 1956 (I thought it was 1955, the year of my birth according to the New York state records, but I'd received some bad info!). I bought this gun through my FFL dealer and Karo Arms in AZ on the auction site. You can see my feedback for Roger at Karo Arms as the gun was as described, communication was excellent (which isn't always the case with sellers on or other auction sites), and shipping was fast and professionally packed. However, there were several things to do to the gun to get it ready for my 30 year share of its lifespan.

First, it needed filler screws for the scope mounting holes in the receiver top. These are 8-40 screws and that was taken care of before I'd even completed the transfer. Many thanks to the fine folks at Nuckols Gunworks in Staunton, VA. Then, I had to install a Williams Foolproof Receiver sight which I'd purchased from MidwayUSA. That was a matter of but a moment as the receiver was already drilled and tapped. Then the rear sight had to be drifted from its dovetail (left to right) and that also took no time at all. I also removed the original front sight hood (I have the terrible habit of losing those things!). Now, I was ready to shoot.

To try it out I got down a box of Aguila Colibri (now discontinued), a very low noise alternative to regular .22 rimfire ammunition. Well, on the second round the hammer would not come back and the gun was jammed. I quickly took the gun down and saw that nothing was wrong in the receiver and that the hammer still would not go back. So, I reassembled the receiver and removed the buttstock. There, under the hammer, was a chip of wood from the right hand boss on the stock. I took that out and reassemble the buttstock to the rifle and... viola!

The action of this nearly 50 year old gun is as slick as snail snot on greased banana peels. The gun is still tight, the muzzle clean, the bore pristine, and I am happy. There are a couple of problems. First, the white line spacer under the butt plate has shrunk (as is usual for these). It did the same on a 1982 336T that I own so I don't know what I'll do. I may install a thin Pachmayr rifle pad on both guns. However, this doesn't do anything to affect the operation or accuracy of the gun so I've more than a bit of time to consider my options.

The other problem is more irritating. The magazine tube at the muzzle end is a tad bent and this was apparently done to make it easier for the inner magazine tube stud to lock into the magazine tube. There seems to be a bit of distortion at that point. Don't know what I'll do. For now it works and it is only a slight problem (IOW, its all in my head!).

The gun is not pristine all over though. There is some speckling on the receiver but there is no rust and by and large the finish is all there. The stock has been given one or more coats of True Oil (or so it appears). I knew that going in and see nothing wrong except for a couple of runs on the top flat of the forearm.

All-in-all, this is a great gun and I'm very happy with it.


I thought I might edit my wish list. I've also re-prioritized...

1. Winchester M92 SRC .45 Colt with Tang Sight and maybe a few extras... (clone from Steve's Gunz)
2. Winchester 1895 SRC in .30-40 or .303 British with Lyman 38 receiver sight.
3. Winchester 71 in .348 Winchester (what else?) with a good receiver sight.
4. Ruger 4 5/8" Bisley Vaquero, blued, .45 Colt. Might install Tru-Ivory grips.
5. Savage 99, straight grip, brass spool (maybe), .250-3000 OR .260 Rem OR .358 Winchester OR .300 Savage, receiver sight.

No comments: