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April 15, 2008

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Bourjaily: What Guns Should Browning Make?

A guest post from Shooting Editor and Shotguns Columnist Phil Bourjaily.

Last week I was lucky enough to travel to Japan with three of my gun-writing colleagues to visit the Miroku factory, which has made Browning guns since 1966. It was an eye-opening experience which I’ll be recounting in an upcoming Shotguns department. After we toured the plant, the Miroku brass gathered us in a conference room and asked “What guns should we make?” Because they thought we were firearms experts, and because they are very polite people, they carefully wrote down everything we told them. We had a lot to say, much of which, if the Japanese know what’s good for them, they will consign immediately to the Miroku shredder.

So let me put the same question to you Gun Nuts, who are the real gun buying public and therefore the experts whose opinions matter: what guns would like to see Browning make? Should they revive the A-5?  How about the A-Bolt shotgun? Or, is there something new you’d like to see come out of the Miroku factory?

Here’s your chance to be heard. Make some noise.


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I can't believe no one here has said the bolt action slug gun. With so many people forced to hunt with slug guns and the old Browning A Bolt slug gun's reported accuracy, you can't touch a used one for $1,200 dollars or more. I shoot a Mossberg 695 only because these used guns are so hard to get. If a new production model were available, many would buy it instantly.

Brian T

Perhaps it is easier to align the barrels of an o/u shotgun. In any case, I'd hope they would make a 12 with interchangeable barrel sets for other gauges. It can be done economically.

Matt in MN

Chad - I think your right on the SxS if they could hit that price range. I looked and all I could find of decent quality was the Ruger for around $2,000 (too expensive for me). I'd jump at a decent quality "working class" SxS for around a grand.


Go with a quality pump shotgun. IMHO that’s the open gap in the market. If it were me I’d have Browning drop that god awlful, over-priced BPS and start manufacturing the Model 12 pumps again as they did in the 90’s in the various grades and gauges. WOOD STOCKS!!!!!!

A-5???? C’est Passe’. It’s like the Winchester 97. Good gun, but it’s obsolete with too many better guns out there.

BSS: They were pricy clubs. Maybe if the stocks were refined and functional it might make a difference. Say what you will, most shotgunners do their best work not with a sxs. So why pay harder-to-come-by-bucks for something you can’t shoot your best?

Whatever Browning does, they need to have an oil stock finish that doesn’t hide the beauty of the wood. Leave that plastic, shiny finish to the competition.

BTW, I don't know how a shooter can get away from steel choke tubes with steel shot requirements.


I don't think anyone has mentioned it so I will add that the re-introduction of the BLR in the 1981 version would be nice and preferable to the high power complicated lever guns now in production. Of course the lieyers would howl due to lack of safety features. I personally liked those little .243's and .308's and would love one in .284. Browning might as well jump into the thick of the 1911 business since old Jonathan himself started the process so long ago. Maybe give Kimber, Para, Springfield, etc. a run for their money. They might as well turn out a Luger while they are it just for kicks and produce it in .45 ACP since Mr. Luger apparently make a few in that caliber for the American trials so it can be done.

Jim in Mo.

Mr.B didn't ask for my opinion on rifles so my vote is for a decent SxS. Double triggers, no choke tubes moderate pistol grip. Chad L.-I love your price range but remember what name is stamped on the barrel, BROWNING. My bet the auction starts at 1500.



Usta peddle them gear drive lever guns! Sold quite a few. Think I'd rather hunt with a tire tool!
But, that's just my two Lincoln's!




Maybe I shoulda said, "Beats huntin' with a tire tool!"


Scott Mahl

While I usually don't agree with the slack-jawed, good ole boys on this site Mike D. hit the nail on the head. I fell in love with a BSS in college and while it only cost $475 it was out of reach for a poor college student. They are very difficult to find now for any amount of money. I would love to see this model again in 12, 20 and yes, a light 28 gauge.

Chad, as far as the bennellis go it is the demand for them that has kept the prices so high. I also thought that the price was a bit high until I took my SB2 waterfowl hunting. I soon found out that plastic parts or not it was worth every penny.

Bernie Kuntz

Chad Love probably is right in that production costs for the A-5 prohibit its reintroduction. Ten years ago I handled an A-5 duck and goose gun at Cabela's gun library in Sidney, NE. Price was $800, which was a couple hundred more than I thought was reasonable. The gun was in impeccable condition, but I didn't buy it (sob!)

Ishawooa--yes, I remember those Brownings Safari grades from the 1960s built on FN Mauser actions. I was a teen-ager and drooled over pictures of them in advertisements.
I'd love to see them back again--fine wood and NO SYNTHETIC STOCKS!

Mark-1: Good idea of resurrecting the great Model 12, but this time with a real milled steel receiver--not the alloy crap that Browning came out with the last time an attempt was made.


Bubba: I know what you mean about the gear driven tire tools but you know how you sort of like a rifle for no particular reason. Back then they were about the only lever that you could get that would shoot modern pointed bullet cartridges. Yeah I know there were 99's and Finnwolfs also but I never saw very many for sell. I used a BAR in '06 at that time and prefered it to the '81 model BLR. Still have the '68 year of production BAR but not the BLR if that means anything.
Bernie I think I have said before that I once bought 4 Safari grades from a guy and none had salted wood. A .243, .308, .270, and .300 Win Mag. The .270 had wood that was drop dead gorgeous. After about a year the guy wanted them back and offered so much money that I let them go. All were shooters, of course the two little ones Sako actions and the two long actions were Mausers, slick as melted butter when you opened the bolts. Oh well.

Jim in Mo.

I've heard and read about the old 'salted' Brownings but I forget the story. Explain it again.

Jim in Mo.

The wood had been saturated with salt water, dried, then made into stocks. The wood rusted every tad of metal it touched.



60's Brownings and the rust issue:

I heard Belgium Brownings o/u's in the mid and early 60's had the stock blanks dried in salt mines. There was also something about the charcoal bluing on these guns too causing rust, but I can't recall the exact information.

Bottom line is if you think of buying or you own a 60's Browning o/u it's best the take the receiver off the stock and check for rust on the inside. Restoration can be pricey.

Good reason upper production doubles see gold-plated critical working parts.


The guys told the story on the old Brownings. My experience was only with the Safari grade bolt actions as I never saw the rust from the salt dried wood on any other model or grade. This is not to say that it did not happen. Regardless any vintage Browning I ever bought required removing the stock or forearm prior to the purchase for inspection. I once pulled stock off a realy good looking 7 mm mag right in the store. The owner somehow was not aware of the salted wood deal and loaned me a screwdriver. The entire underside of the barrel was extremely rusty and pitted. Maybe I could have cleaned it up but he would not budge a cent as he figured sooner or later someone would walk in and pay the asking price. Next time I was in the store the rifle was gone and the owner was smiling. I have seen a few others that were not so bad. Odd but the rust never seemed to be obvious in the barrel channel but sometimes you could stick a business card into the gap and pull it out with brown rusty residue on the corner of the card indicating suspect wood. Regardless if I could only have one rifle I would pick that old Safari in .300 Win Mag. It was a real beanfield rifle, I think before Jarrett invented the term.
I used to hunt from a tree stand on the side of a long but narrow soybean field with this gun. I had hundred yard markers out to 500 along the sides of the field. If a whitetail buck walked into the field the 165 grain from the .300 dropped him.

Dick Mcplenty

How about a real bolt action rifle from browning not the pot metal pos a bolt.

The A-5 was discontinued for a reason.The M-70 has been revived for a third time and still sucks.

So Bernie Kuntz,who are you using for a gunsmith.


I would like to see Browning(Miroku) make a switch barrel bolt rifle, something along the lines of the Sauer 202 would be nice. I would also like for US sold rifles and optics to go to the rail system that Swarovski uses, it is one of those why didn't someone think of this 50 years ago things. If they could offer the BLR in 500S&W or make a big bore off the WSM case to use in it,they would capture quite a bit of market share from Marlin.

As far as shotguns I really believe that Miroku should build a serious self defense shotgun. Very few of the models currently available on the market are well thought out for this purpose, resulting in tremendous business for customizers. I would suggest that Miroku take a look at the products of the good customizers,like Vang, and build a comparable factory model.

Del in KS

A quality Model 70 would be just the ticket. Bring back the B78 and the Browing Mountain Rifle in 50 and 54 cal.


B-SS in 20 and 16 (a true 16 frame) with a NICE finish. I have a lot of Brownings and the Citoris are always nice but some of the rifles have a little bit of a cheap finish on them...just like the Winchesters at the end.


They have in the past made runs of old obsolete guns. How about a run of (near) Pre64 quality Winchester model 70's and sell them for $1500.00? There are many out here that would spring for one. Of course with the new model 70 being made in SC this probably will never happen and if they did go back to the original design it probably would cost more than $1500.00, but then "new" P64 Alaskan in 338 WM would be something to behold.

Bill (NOT Maher)


I would like to see Browning bring back the Safari 98 Mauser bolt action rifle but maybe with a regular Mauser bolt release on the side. Thanks...


Please, please, please....
Bring back the mod. 12 in 20 & 28 ga. (too much to ask for a 16?), the 42 in 410, the safari grade mauser in some classic chamberings, and the BSS in 20 & 28.


I would like to see an over/under rifle in 32 S & W, tactical ghost-rings sights, picatinny ribs poking out everywhere, twin compensators (for the recoil rise) all done up in nice matte black.

A compass in the stock would be nice touch too. But if this wouldn't sell too well...

I'll second the vote for the A-5 in 16 gauge


After reading Chad Love's post I have to agree with him concerning Benellis. This past season I hunted pheasants with some older gentlemen. One had a Benelli 20 magnum with camo covering every inch that he paid $1400.00 for. He nearly pissed both legs when I told him the DeHaan S2 20 SxS with oil finish walnut,
sideplates, and full coverage scroll engraving I was shooting cost $400 less than his high tech Benelli. They are overpriced, kick as much as an OU or SxS, and have about as much firearm sex appeal as a fence post.

SD Bob

As a guy who stands behind the selling side of the gun counter, you'd be surprised how many people ask for a new A-5 and are completely taken aback when they find out they are long out of production so I firmly believe under a limited run they would sell and sell well! A Browning side by side would be popular too and the glossier the better. Shooters seem to gravitate first to the Beretta White Onyx because of their high gloss finish so Mike Diehl's thought's back that up. I'd make it weigh very little with a 3" chamber only because most folks want that option but the comfort level of the gun would be to fire it with 2 3/4" shells. I'd engrave the receiver with pheasants and/or grouse on a 12 gauge with quail and/or grouse on a twenty. A 28 gauge would need a double dose image of Dave Petzal pointing this new gun at a flushing bird but encrusted in diamonds with a receiver milled out of solid platinum. That way the cost could get get up to 5 figures or more making it worthy of his finger prints.

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