Removing and Replacing Browning A Bolt barrel

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing' started by Rustystud, May 20, 2010.

  1. Rustystud

    Rustystud Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    431
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    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
    nlambeth@embarqmail.com
     
  2. Hairtrigger

    Hairtrigger Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    333
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2009
    A Browning authorized gunsmith advising not to buy a Browning Rifle?????
     

  3. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Messages:
    8,853
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Sounds like you've spend all the time you need to not do the job.

    Plus thanks for the information. It's good to know!

    John is looking down and scratching either his butt or his head or maybe both.:)
     
  4. Rustystud

    Rustystud Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    431
    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Since making this post I have been in contact with the R&D Department of Browning.

    The tec that I spoke with could not tell me if the actions were investment cast. He said he would find out and call me back.

    He verified the threads had been changed from 20 tpi to 32 tpi.

    He said no glue was use to lock the threads.

    He said with the appropriate wrenches and technique the barrel would screw right off the action. He said he had done thousands of them.

    He said the actions did have an anti seize compound on them.

    He could not have been any nicer and appologized for the persons lack of response from their Browning service center.

    The wrench from Brownells should be here today.

    Nat lambeth
     
  5. royinidaho

    royinidaho Writers Guild

    Messages:
    8,853
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Nat,

    Good diligence.

    Now we really know...
     
  6. tackdriver10

    tackdriver10 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    136
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    Rustystud,

    I don't what your set-up is, but if you have a lathe with a large enough spindle bore, then you don't need to remove the action. I'm sure you already knew that, but I've done several A-Bolts and never had any problems..

    Of course you will need to knock the trigger assembly out.
     
  7. coyotezapper

    coyotezapper Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    694
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2009
    I bought an A-Bolt stainless stalker in 7mm mag back in 88 or 89 when the SS were fairly new and I have to say that it has been an excellent rifle. Trigger is adjustable (back when they were the only ones offering this that I know of), recoil lug bedded and a true composite stock.(they are now plastic except for the Ti series) After 1700 very warms reloads I finally shot out the barrel. Last year I rebarreled the rifle with a Mike Rock 5R. I too had heard the gluing stories so I heated it up with a heat gun before removing barrel and had no problems. Just treat it like any other action and you will be fine.(make sure your action wrench fits properly, I used the Brownells)
     
  8. Fitch

    Fitch Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    478
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Nat,

    Please follow up and let us know what you find when you do the work.

    Thanks
    Fitch
     
  9. 4t4mag

    4t4mag Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2012
    Sorry, I know it has been years but any further info on this?
     
  10. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,307
    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004

    Nat.
    Why remove the action just to install a muzzle break ?

    If your lathe spindle is to long to except the barreled action find someone that has a smaller Lathe
    with a short spindle.

    I do not have a large Lathe and it will take a 23" barrel with enough sticking out to thread the
    muzzle of the barrel for a break.

    I hope I understood you. This way you wouldn't have to remove the action and all stainless
    barrels are about the same material (416 R) and this would not in anyway effect the integrity
    of the rifle.

    I hope this helps.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  11. sj-pratt

    sj-pratt Official LRH Sponsor

    Messages:
    125
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Nat

    I have removed a number of A-Bolts to rebarrel them and I found it's been hit or miss. I use an outside action wrench and a 4LB hammer some come right off but others don't, and I just don't feel they can take any more force, so I make a relief cut which you can't make in your case.
    The same as I have found with Howa's.