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Thread: Removing and Replacing Browning A Bolt barrel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Removing and Replacing Browning A Bolt barrel

    Normally I don’t do things that I know that later down the road I may regret. I have a very good friend whose son has a Browning A bolt in 300 Win Mag. The son is small in stature and his father wants me to install a muzzle brake on his son’s stainless Browning A bolt.

    I have been told that Browning A bolt rifles are made from extruded metal and not milled from a piece of billet metal. I have been told horror stories about these actions cracking and crumbling when someone tried to remove or replace the barrel. I have further been told that the barrels are put on with a glue instead of grease an/or anti-seize. I have been told they frequently seize up during the barrel removal process. I have been told that within the last few years that browning changed the threads on their A bolts from 20tpi to 32 tpi. This would significantly increase the surface tension greatly increasing the odds of a galling with stainless steel to stainless steel interface.

    I contacted Browning’s service center in Missouri and they refused to provide me with any information saying that it is proprietary. There web site list approximately 25 independent gunsmiths are factory authorized Browning service centers. I called about a half dozen of them and asked if they removed any Browning A bolt barrels to install muzzle brakes and or replace the barrels. None said they had ever removed a Browning A bolt barrels. None stated they had removed any A bolt barrels from the action. Some indicated they had heard some of the same previously discussed comments about Browning A bolts. Some went as far as saying if one is buying a new rifle they should not buy a Browning. One stated he formerly worked for Browning in the Missouri service center. He stated that Browning only paid $85.00 for a barreled action and when one was returned to the service center that required it be re-barreled, the action was destroyed and replaced with a new barreled action.

    I thought about making a mandrel to fit inside the action and an a collar for the barrel. Turning and threading the muzzle in the steady rest, (Without removing the action from the barrel). This goes against my better judgment. Brownell’s sells a Browning A bolt wrench head for their action wrench set for about $80.00. They too could not give me any advice on removing Browning A bolt barrels. I am of the mind to tell my friend that I cannot install the muzzle brake on a Browning A Bolt.

    I believe John Mosses Browning would roll over in his grave if he knew the company that bares his name is making and selling products that cannot be serviced by a machinist/gunsmith.

    If you have any experience or advice about removing and replacing Browning A bolt barrels I would appreciate hearing it. Especially if it was a later model Browning A bolt.

    Nat Lambeth

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2004

    Default Browning R&D Department Contacted

    I contacted Browning R&D Department.

    He did not know about the action being investment cast.

    They confirmed 32tpi, no glue, and yes to anti seize.

    They said with the right wrenched and technique the Browning Barrels will screw off just like a Remingrton.

    The engineer appologized for the response from the Browning Service center.

    Nat Lambeth

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Montezuma, IA


    I will do everything in my power to keep from having to pull a barrel to work on it. That said, what lathe do you have? What's the hole dia. through the spindle? How much room do you have compared to how long the barrel is? Can you hold the muzzle in a four jaw and support the breech of the barrel with a spider on the outboard end of the tailstock? I had one job where the spider extended too much, and I made a plug for the spindle out of Delrin, turned to be a snug fit in the spindle, and bored to fit closely around the barrel ahead of the receiver. This gave me just enough room to turn and thread the muzzle. Generally, you'll want about .500" to .625" of thread for most muzzle brakes.

    Another way to do the you have a Bridgeport? Make up a clamp for the barrel to hold it vertically on the side of the table, and indicate the bore to true vertical. Swivel the mill's head and extend it so that you can use a boring head to cut straight down onto the barrel at the muzzle, cutting to the major diameter of the muzzle brake threads. (Practice this on a piece of bar stock first!) Choose a brake that uses "standard" threads, like 1/2-28 (M-16 flash hider thread size) or something else readily available in a split die. Cut a relief with your boring head to the minor diameter of the threads for about 1/8" at the muzzle. Thread with the die in several steps until the brake will start on with hard hand pressure. Clean up the threads and fit the brake. If you've been careful, there will be little or no cleanup or bluing damage. Practice this again before doing it!

    David Kaiser
    “You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.”
    ― Robert A. Heinlein

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    BC Can.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rustystud
    I thought about making a mandrel to fit inside the action and an a collar for the barrel. Turning and threading the muzzle in the steady rest, (Without removing the action from the barrel).
    That's how I do it, and you don't need the steady, just use the center. I also make my own brakes and use a standard fine thread.
    If you're not comfortable doing this, then do yourself a big favor and pass on it.
    Last edited by Al Flipo; 05-23-2010 at 09:59 AM.

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