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The Browning BLR '81... advice?

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Unread 04-25-2011, 01:21 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Central Montana
Posts: 4
The Browning BLR '81... advice?

Recently I purchased a Browning BLR Lightweight '81 chambered in .308 WIN. After taking it to the range with a few boxes of ammo, and my best friend, we discovered that it does not like any bullets heavier than the 158 grain. So once we found the bullets, it was time to dial in the sights.

Now, to be fair, I am wanting to keep iron sights on this rifle and get as much range out of it as possible. It's a saddle/pack rifle and I do not want to put optics on something that is going to get bounced around a lot. I have found that I have an issue focusing on the factory front sight, which is not more than a small brass button.

So I will be swapping that out for a green or orange fiber optic. However, the rear sight may need to be swapped as well.

I would really like to hit a 6 inch target at 300 to 500 yards with this rifle. But if I can't swap out the rear sight, that may not be possible. The windage adjustment is extremely limited. Does any one know of rear sights for this? Or where I can start looking?

I have crawled all over Midway USA, and even called Browning. Although I can find factory parts, I need to up grade them to better suit my needs.

Other than these minor issues this is an awesome pack rifle. The deer around were I live here in Montana are pretty stupid. In fact, this next season I plan to kill one with my Ruger GP-100 and also with my .45 Colt Ruger Vaquero. Elk are a little more tricky, and we usually ride horses when hunting them. Hence the saddle rifle. I just need to get better sights.

Any advice would be very helpful.
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Unread 05-25-2011, 08:33 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: PUEBLO, CO, USA
Posts: 1,135
Re: The Browning BLR '81... advice?

Congrats on your BLR 81. I luv em, had 4 of em ( 2- 243, 2- 7mm Rem Mag) and gonna buy another in 300 Win Mag. Wish they made it in .338 Win Mag, but might have to go for Browning BAR for that. Anyway, long range with open sights prob needs to be done with a peep. I'm guessing you're gonna really hunt with it instead of take pics of it on the kitchen table like most of the guys here do. So you prob wanna try some kind of peep sight with appropriate aperture disc and remove the Browning open sight. But bear in mind the peep sight may hang up in your saddle scabbard or wear a hole in your horse flank. So mebbe even a folding tang sight would be better option for LRH, and then keep the current open sights for 300yrd hunting etc. Or something. Your post has given me a lot to think on, I need to do some research. Good luck.

NRA Life Member

Last edited by silvertip-co; 05-25-2011 at 08:36 PM. Reason: sp
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Unread 05-25-2011, 11:17 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Central Montana
Posts: 4
Re: The Browning BLR '81... advice?

I appreciate the advice. I didn't think about the peep sight being an issue for the horse or scabbard. I did find a peep sight on mid-way (after hours of digging) and it should be here soon.

Having spent 14 years in the Army, so the peep sight is something I am used to. So hitting my range shouldn't be an issue. Unfortunately, sight options are very limited when it comes to this rifle. Almost makes me want to start making sights for them because they are such a popular rifle. It makes me wonder why there aren't more options out there. However, I found that most people get one and just slap a scope on it. It's a light rifle with a short barrel. Anything over 300 - 400 yards is pushing it, but my Army buddy and I have the philosophy of "Practice the impossible so that the improbable becomes common." Basically, "Aim small, miss small."

I have a box of ammo ready to go for when the sights get here and I will post the results. I may even throw in some pictures for the installation process even though it seems like it will be pretty strait forward.

I am aslo working on building a 7mm REM MAG. After much research, and debating with myself, I opted for that on over a .308. The 7mm stays super-sonic out to 1400 yards where as the .308 goes transonic at around 800, depending on bullet weight and powder load. Now my problem is the range we practice at doesn't support anything past 600 yards. So it looks like I will be searching for a rancher that doesn't mind me out on his back 40 shooting a rifle.
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Unread 05-27-2011, 04:06 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Central Montana
Posts: 4
Re: The Browning BLR '81... advice?

Okay, so my sights finally arrived! And I was very excited to get them installed. Installation was quick. Rear sight is two screws (that come with the sight) and the front sight was just a matter of tapping it in.

The rear peep sight is from Williams Gun Sight Company. I pulled out the back two factory installed screws for a scope mount. Then I loosened the windage and elevation screws on the peep sight and pulled those off. The mounting screws lined up perfectly, and I dropped the new mounting screws in the holes and torqued them down. Then just put the windage and elevation parts back on the sight and I was done! Total installation time about five minutes.

The front sight was a bit trickier. I had already tapped out the factory brass bead (it's a dove tail) and measured it. I couldn't find an exact match, so I got the closest I could find because I wanted to swap out the brass bead for a fiber optic.

The front sight is from Marble Arms, and I opted for an orange fiber optic pin. And here is where the trouble begins.

Now I knew it wasn't going to be an exact fit, so I arranged to meet a friend of mine at his gun shop to make use of his grinding stone. If you don't have one, or don't know some one that does, 600 grit sand paper is an acceptable substitute, BUT YOU MUST HAVE A FLAT SURFACE. And by flat I mean something like a granite slab that machinists use.

So after some very LIGHT honing, the new sight slipped into place with ease, and I started to tap it the rest of the way in. Then I made my big mistake.

As I was tapping the sight in place, the punch I was using slipped and shattered the fiber optic pin. I thought I was going to cry! I was so excited to get the sights installed that I made a simple mistake. So... as a word of caution, take a deep breath, and relax when you start something like this. It's like getting Buck Fever and rushing a shot.

After talking with my buddy, apparently these sights busting is a regular enough occurrence that they make replacement pins that come is strips. So, even though I can sight in my rifle now, I still have to wait till the replacement parts come in. Another friend said he might have some of the fiber optic strips in his gun supplies and will check, but even then, the pin diameter has to be the same. So I am crossing my fingers.

Montana is getting some nasty weather and flooding right now, so I don't know if I will get to try out my new sights this weekend or not, but as soon as I do, I will post a review of them here. My expectations are high, and these are decent quality sights and inexpensive. I recommend them for anyone wanting to swap an open sight for a peep sight.
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Unread 11-05-2013, 04:31 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: St. Louis,MO Farm in Northern Missouri
Posts: 1
Re: The Browning BLR '81... advice?

I have recently purchased a Browning BLR 81 in 30-06. I have put a 4-9 x 50 scope on it and am waiting for our Nov.14th Deer season to start. This gun had not been shot before me. it looks like out of the box new. I have sighted it in and am impressed with it's performance. I would like to add a sling to it but do not want to compromise it's condition. Are there any that will not require drilling holes?
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Unread 11-06-2013, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: North Platte, Nebraska
Posts: 122
Re: The Browning BLR '81... advice?

I had a .243 for a number of years and it shot as good as any bolt rifle. The trigger took some getting use to, because of the long hammer fall. I shot probably a hundred coyotes with it over the years. I sold it, because I like a rifle that can be easily dis-assembled for cleaning.

Good guns.
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Unread 12-05-2013, 01:26 AM
Gold Member
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Mojave Desert, Nevada
Posts: 777
Re: The Browning BLR '81... advice?

I had an original Belgian made .308 BLR. Nice quality and decent accuracy... for the first 2 shots. Then the pencil thin barrel heated up and shots wandered over an inch.

Now I have a Savage 99 C in .308 which I am having rebarreled with a heavier octagon 5R barrel and a new Weinig stock. Love that gun's trigger and inherent action strength - same as a falling block single shot.
"There are no comfortable packs, only packs that are less uncomfortable than others."
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