Browning Weight Reduction


Bruce,

While perusing your archives of wisdom looking for advice on using a vintage Superposed for upland hunting, I noticed a comment regarding ejector studs. You stated that the B-25’s had a problem with “broken right hand ejector studs unless you cut a coil off the ejector hammer springs”. As I am purchasing an old (no, wait… not old, you don’t do old…), make that experienced Superposed with twin-single triggers, is this something I should think about? If I should, can you explain it so my thinking won’t be wasted? I have to ration my thinking…

You’ve also discussed the merits of backboring in order to reduce the weight or modify the balance of a gun. I would like to get the overall weight of this gun down towards 7 pounds without messing up it’s balance.

You’ve stated that a fair amount of weight can be taken out by backboring. I imagine that some weight would have to come out of the stock to maintain proper balance.

It would also seem only logical to have the forcing cones lengthened at the same time. The Shotgun Shop for this job?

As this gun has fixed chokes (IC/IC), can I have one of the barrels made into modified while it is being backbored? Perhaps further down the line, as funds become available, I’d like to have Briley put in Thin Wall screw chokes.

On a web inundated with spam, yours is truly a site of Chateaubriand.

Thanks for the advice.

Mark

Dear Mark,

The older Brownings (and the single/double trigger is definitely an older gun) have good ejector design and don’t crack the ejector studs the way the ’70s and ’80s guns do. Don’t worry about it.

As to backboring and (presumably) hollowing out the stock to reduce overall weight, well yes, it will work but it has drawbacks. Yes, you can increase choke when you backbore. You can increase choke to the extent you backbore- i.e. if you wipe out .010″ from each barrel, you can increase choke in each barrel by that much simply by not backboring all the way to the barrel.

How much you can backbore depends on how thick your particular barrels are, but a modest .010″ backbore on 28″ bbls will reduce overall weight by about 2.55 ounces. This is not really going to affect the overall weight of the gun very much, though it will affect how the gun swings and feels quite a bit.

Note: it is vital that you seek the advice of you qualified gunshop or gunsmith as to how much can safely be backbored from the barrel. He will monitor barrel wall thickness and can check the barrel out for flaws. Any kind of aftermarket backbore goes against the original design of the gun’s makers and should only be attempted by someone who knows what he is doing. I have had Briley do all my backboring work and have been very pleased. They do fine “mass production” custom work but they also do true “custom” custom work.

Hollowing out the stock is also an easy way to reduce weight and it shouldn’t be too hard to get 4-6 ounces out by judicial router work. The Browning Superlight B-25s that I have owned weigh about 6-3/4# in 12 gauge and all have a large cavity hollowed out of the stock- larger than the cavity taken out of the Lightning model stocks.

If you have a rubber recoil pad on the gun, consider substituting a butt piece made of horn or other solid material that you can hollow out. Rubber pads can easily weigh 6 ounces.

Taking all of that into consideration (less the pad as you don’t say that your gun has one- they originally came with horn butt plates), you will be able to take around 6-9 oz out of your gun, more from the rear than from the front. Whether it will be worth the expense is up to you.

To get a sense of used prices, take a look at <gunsamerica.com> or other places on the internet. This will give you an idea of prices.

As to Shotgun Shop’s work, I have not had anything personally done by them, but I have seen several of their forcing cone jobs and they looked excellent, really first class, unlike the work from many other more highly advertised machine shops. Briley has always done good work for me.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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