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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Browning BLR .358 Winchester

Browning BLR .358 Winchester

24 Dec 2016
@ 04:20 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

I've been thinking about getting another rifle at some point in next year or so. I have two centerfire hunting rifles, a Savage in .243 and Browning in .308. I've been interested in getting a .358 Winchester or .35 Whelen for a while, but in reading through the Knowledge Base here and looking at the performance of the .358 bore rifle cartridges I've basically cemented it in my mind that I "need" one. The Browning BLR has a good reputation and seems to be the only factory rifle that's currently made in .358. The .35 Whelen is likely a better option from a performance standpoint than .358 Winchester, however, I think it would be really cool to have three rifles that are all based on the same cartridge, but simply launch bullets of different diameters. The three rounds would likely cover any possible game I could ever hunt. A 6mm, .308, and .358 would, I think, be able to easily kill anything on the North American continent inside of 300 yards. Which is the maximum range I am comfortable shooting to anyway, I simply don't practice enough or have the opportunity to shoot at longer ranges than that, outside of coyotes in farm fields with the .243.

Does anyone here have experience with the BLR in .358, and if so, what kind of accuracy can I expect from the rifle? I would likely mount a Leupold Ultralight 2.5x20mm scope on it, so shots on big game would be limited to about 200 yards. Can 1 MOA accuracy be expected from this rifle? I would be handloading the ammo for it.

Thanks,
Ryan

Replies

25 Dec 2016
@ 09:22 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
You can get a stainless rem 700 in 35 Whelen you wont regret it. Youll probably sell the others and become a one gun hunter!
25 Dec 2016
@ 07:49 pm (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
BLRs ....... Nathan not a huge fan and gunsmithing can be ....expensive due to design/way rifle put together (threading foe a suppressor cost us 3 times as much as for my bolt actions)
the triggers are....interesting...someone on here summed it up the best Ive seen "they suck and blow at the same time"
that said we bought and older one made by Miroku in .308 and it will do around the moa and slightly under ,my older Brother has had one for years and has put in respectable groups with it at the range...very respectable.
lovely rifles for bush hunting as they shoulder well and are quick to target.
not the lightest around but that helps in its own way.
the exposed hammer is simply brilliant for bush stalking as you carry loaded and uncocked and simply thumb back hammer when ready to fire,quick and quiet.
cleaning from muzzle end or only use pull through.....just need to be cautious.
but I love them and bought one for our son at first chance we got.
26 Dec 2016
@ 03:38 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
I have one in .270win, as Mike said, they aren't too bad, not going to compete with a bolt action rifle if you want to shoot long, but i'd prefer to carry one for bush hunting.

I have carried one quite a bit and i find it very good, and i really like the external hammer.
I have been able to achieve moa in the past.
27 Dec 2016
@ 03:20 am (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
Hi Ryan, I wanted the exact set up that you are asking about except I couldn't find one in stock in 358 so I ended up with a BLR takedown in 308. I had the 2.5x Leupold scout scope on it as well. All I can say is I really, really, really wanted to like the rifle and scout scope combo but I just couldn't warm up to that gun one bit, and I am a certified and cardo carrying lever gun nut. There were two main reasons that I sent that gun down the road, the first was the as mentioned truly atrocious trigger pull, 7-8 lb of oat meal mush. To put it in perspective, my Moss berg 500 12 gauge breaks like a glass rod compared to that turd of a trigger on the BLR. The other reason I got rid of it was the complicated Rube Goldbergesque gear driven action that I wasn't brave enough to try and take apart for cleaning or service. I only had the rifle for a couple of years so I never needed to go through the adventure of taking it apart.

The idea has great potential I think, witness the success of the Savage 99. The Henry Long Ranger has some potential, it doesn't have the ridiculously complex trigger of the BLR and it uses an internal tube to secure the forend so the barrel is free floating. It's not available in 358 but a rebarrel job could be an option. Also the Savage 99 is still available on the used market or a Marlin can be rebarrel to handle the 356 Win cartridge.

If you really want to still have a go at the BLR, I wouldn't dare to buy it online, I would handle it in person and try the trigger pull to see if it is acceptable to you.
27 Dec 2016
@ 08:58 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
35 Whelen you won't find a better balance?
27 Dec 2016
@ 09:10 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
https://www.remington.com/rifles/bolt-action/model-700/model-700-cdl-sf
27 Dec 2016
@ 03:53 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
Quote:
https://www.remington.com/rifles/bolt-action/model-700/model-700-cdl-sf


In my opinion Warwick's post above is your better .35 caliber choice by far.

Follow the link he provided. This particular Remington has performed very well for freinds of mine right from the box. Still we bedded them, and one of the fellows had his barrel, bottom metal and action Ceracoated in olive. We put the new Timney dial stage triggers in both. Sweet and accurate. The balance even with the 24 inch barrel is very good and the functioning is fast and smooth.

One of them wears a Burris XTRII 2-10x42
http://www.burrisoptics.com/scopes/xtr-ii-riflescopes-series/xtr-ii-riflescope-2-10x42mm

The other has a Sightron STAC on it now. Not sure of the exact one yet.

I really liked the Burris.
27 Dec 2016
@ 03:54 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
Darned spell checker again. Should be Timney DUAL stage trigger.
27 Dec 2016
@ 06:26 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
If the trigger really is as bad as you guys are saying, I'll likely just forget about the BLR. I'm no target shooter, but having gotten used to Savage's Accutrigger and the Browning Feather Trigger, I'm not sure I'd enjoy a rifle with a trigger that's that heavy and creepy. There doesn't seem to be many of those 700's around for sale, but if I can find one I would probably go with that. Another option is the Ruger #1, and a few other single shots. The only problem I have with some of the single shots is that they're usually under 6 pounds without a scope, which is going to make a noticeable increase in felt recoil over an 8 lb. rifle like the 700, especially with heavy bullet handloads.

By the way, Warwick, there's no way I'm getting rid of the other guns :D I just like them too much, the .243 got turned into a coyote slaying machine after I got tired of using it for deer and the .308 is my specialized deer blaster. The .243 is shooting Superformance 58 grain V-Max ammo, it's a laser beam of a round, though I do wish they made a slightly heavier bullet in the Superformance. They're doing roughly 3650-3700 out of my rifle and are as accurate as I can shoot the rifle.
28 Dec 2016
@ 05:12 am (GMT)

Mike Davis

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
our trigger isnt heavy at all..... just "different" and if I can still do sub moa with what is designed as a snap shooting bush bashers rifle they cant be that bad...you need to try and see for yourself,you could well find a good one too.
ours is more like an older two stage trigger but perfectly usable.
28 Dec 2016
@ 03:49 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
Mike, I have never tried the rifles you are talking about so have only hearsay on the trigger quality. Your observation as to the trigger is interesting.

I went ahead and built a .358 Win using a Remington 783 I got used in .30/06 caliber for $225 Canadian and bought a prefit barrel by Shilen and put it all together, used Devcon Putty for the epoxy bedding and it shoots very well, has a good trigger and is fun to shoot. Got several 1/2 inch five shot groups at 100 meters while sighting it in and breaking in the barrel, so it is not a bad rifle at all.

I have nearly 500 brass in .30/06 so a new barrel for this rifle has been ordered in 35 Whelen. That should be interesting as well.
28 Dec 2016
@ 06:22 pm (GMT)

Ryan Nafe

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
As long as the trigger has a predictable break and isn't above ~5 lbs., I could probably be just fine with it. I'll have a look around at some local gun stores and see if anyone has one in stock that I could examine. I think the worst trigger I've experienced is the one on a Remington 760 that my grandpa has. It's really difficult to tell when it's going to break, which makes it hard to print decent groups. But that gun has the option of putting a whole new trigger in.
29 Dec 2016
@ 05:21 am (GMT)

Luke Lahdenranta

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
That's true that the triggers are variable. My BLR had a terrible trigger but other owners report otherwise and yet some more have had the same experience as I did. I think the biggest downside to the BLR design it's difficult to fix if your unhappy with it. There are plenty of otherwise good rifles for sale with unacceptable triggers but they usually have drop in replacements available or a gunsmith or even an enterprising owner can tune them (I'm getting pretty good with the Marlin 336)

Interestingly, my fathers old 760 gamemaster has a pretty good trigger and can do moa with a few favorite loads, just goes to show you never know. If the BLR in 358 really interests you (I can see why) you can still try and find one and try the trigger out, it might be okay.
04 Jan 2017
@ 09:10 am (GMT)

Francis Saunders

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
Hi there I have had a BLR for over twenty odd years. It's an original one made in Belgium! Yes the trigger was not great, but you can have them sorted by taking them to a gun smith that knows what they are doing, which I did.
Now it's pretty sweet.
I'm also thinking of having it re barrelled to .358 from .243.
05 Jan 2017
@ 06:59 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
Some really good advice on this thread and no great need for me to elaborate other than to say that the BLR forend can be problematic with regards to accuracy and that there is no one size fits all fix for this. Also, if the rifle is scoped, the scope will sit high which combined with a poor trigger and poor forend design, is not conducive to good shooting.

There is still some room for improved lever action rifle design. Somebody mentioned the classic Savage earlier, a bit of a shame that this was discontinued. Sako also made the very nice lever action Finnwolf in the old days with its solid action and bedding platform. This was before Beretta took over, back when they used to ream barrels, not customers.
20 Aug 2017
@ 07:06 pm (GMT)

john sokol

Re: Browning BLR .358 Winchester
I own a BLR cambered in 416 Taylor with a Krieger barrel. Work was performed by Z-Hat. The rifle is unique and awesome. Trigger work was done by the gunsmith. I had it made for short range buffalo hunting. It also has a Holland QD muzzle brake on it. Very shootable. It is a bit finicky when it comes to bulets, but 350 grain Barnes TSX shoot under MOA and delivers more energy than a 375 H&H shooting 300 grain projectiles. If you are willing to spend a few dollars upgrading a BLR you will have a very nice weapon indeed. Its much easier to cycle through rounds with the lever than a tyupical bolt action.
 

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