Opening Lever Woes

Dear Technoid,

I love my B-325 Sporting but there seems to be a problem for which any ideas/solutions will be greatly welcomed.

On firing any load of more than three and a quarter drams (such as a typical duck hunting load) the opening lever opens slightly after the first shot making the second shot not possible as the breech opens a little. The problem occurs whether the top barrel is used first or the bottom barrel is used first.I have opened the action to check but don’t seem to find anything wrong.

The lever return spring seems fine and visually nothing seems broken. The gun functions normally with light loads such as 24 gram skeet loads.I am based in India where access to proper factory trained gunsmiths is not possible. Any help or suggestions would most gratefully be accepted.


Dear Rahoul,

I have seen a number of 325s that open up after the first shot. It is usually caused by the weakening of the opening lever return spring. It should be fairly easy to replace the spring yourself. Of course, that is easy for me to say since I don’t have to do it. You do.

A quick temporary fix that I have used is to loop an elastic band around the opening lever and around the left side of the gun to the rear of the trigger guard. Of course, this looks shameful, but it does give just enough extra pressure to keep the opening lever closed. A pocket full of rubber bands should last you until you can get the proper spring installed. Try this fix first. If it solves your problem, then you know that the opening lever spring needs replacement.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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2 Responses to Opening Lever Woes

  1. Jan Nielsen says:

    The problem arises when the gun becomes worn and the locking bolt loses it’s “bite”. The inertia of the heavy locking bolt in Brownings (and their cousin, Miroku) during recoil can overcome the force of the spring and push itself out of engagement. That’s why you should always shoot a Beretta 😉

    One way to fix the problem is to lighten the weight of the locking bolt by removing metal from the non-bearing areas, but this job is better left to a competent gunsmith


  2. WILKINS Joseph says:

    I have had that problem with my GTI, and in fact, have replaced the top-ever return spring twice, the first time after many thousands of rounds, the second time after not so many. After even fewer rounds, it did it again right in the middle of a FITASC tournament here in France. It was my first gun malfunction of the tournament, so I was allowed to repeat the pair to establish the results of the second shot, but the ref was not pleased. I searched very deeply on the internet after that incident, and found a highly experienced gunsmith who likes to post on the various shotgun message boards. He was very familiar with the issue. His curt assessment was that replacing that little spring was roughly equivalent to fixing a bad noise in your car’s engine by turning up the radio. His opinion was that a Browning O/U shouldn’t open upon firing even if the little spring were missing. If your gun is opening upon firing, he wrote, the problem is that the main locking bolt is worn and needs to be replaced. My old GTI has fired a lot of shells, and the top lever had, over the years, migrated well to the left of center, so I took the old girl to the gun doctor here in Paris. He agreed that the problem was the locking bolt. Replacing the bolt requires custom fitting, so it is not generally something you can do yourself. Here in Europe, Browning will not sell you a locking bolt unless you are a gunsmith. The repair cost about $300 US, and the problem appears completely solved. My top lever is now well to the right of center just like on a new gun.


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