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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I foolishly spent money the other day and bought a Belgian made Browning SA-22 semi-auto .22 rifle with a damaged feed-tube assembly. Now I am learning how some of the early SA-22 feed tube assemblies differ from the later (Japanese made) rifles as a ramp-up to figuring out how to repair (replace) the feed-tube assembly.

There are two good YouTube videos on the Browning .22 semi-automatic rifle by ' ArtIsaacson ' and it may be that they will be good enough but I thought that I would ask if anyone has experience working on the feed tube assemblies ?

The rifle I bought has a separate bolt through the butt stock to secure it to the receiver (from what Art says in his YouTube videos this was an early design) and so it did not depend on the outer cartridge feed tube to take-the-strain and hold the butt stock to the receiver (as current production SA-22s use).

The rifle is missing (completely) the outer feed tube and from what Art says having the outer feed tube assembly break (I'm guessing that's what happned) is a common problem with the design this older SA-22 has.

From my analysis of the design it appears that the technique is flawed in that it uses too thin an outer feed tube, or an insufficiently flexible one, to withstand minor flexures over a long period of time with the result being that the outer feed tubes tend to fracture in the area where they are threaded for securing to the receiver.

The current SA-22 design uses a thicker-walled outer feed tube as it is held-in-tension and acts to hold the butt stock snugly to the receiver - this more robust tube is apparently not prone to fracturing.

Anyone have experience in this area ?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll Check Wisner's

Mainspring;

Thanks much; all that I've been able to find up until now has been the newer style feed tube.

(I'm impressed at your knowledge of the design; sometimes I've had the feeling that I was the only one interested in it. Are you familiar with the Remington Models 24 & 241 from back in the 1920s & 1930s ?)
 

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A bit. The Remington's were built on the Browning patents, so some parts will interchange. But with guns that have been built for so many decades there are always small variations. As you've found, the evolution of a design will change some parts for the better, though the older parts will be more difficult to locate.

That's a link to the Wisner's parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Mainspring;

I'll have to wait until Monday for Wisner's to be open.

I've got a situation with this old rifle that has me a bit puzzled. Let me ask and see if you know the answer.

The old Belgian made Browning SA-22 that I'm working on came with two stocks and I thought that the second one probably resulted from a prior owner's attempts to get the magazine feed tube issue resolved (but now I'm not so sure).

The SA-22 design that I was previously familiar with (the currently produced Japanese made SA-22 as well as the old Remington Models 24 & 241) has a single concentrically mounted nut around the base of the outer magazine feed tube where it points out the rear of the butt stock. With my research over the past couple of days I thought that was an indication of the design that uses the outer feed tube in-tension to hold the butt stock to the receiver.

That is how the butt stock currently mounted to the old SA-22's receiver is set up (although there is no outer feed tube but the wooden stock has the single ' volcano crater ' opening for the feed tube).

The other butt stock, that came loose in a padded bag, it has what I thought (but now think that I was wrong) was the older style feed tube through-the-butt-stock exit. Although it only consisted of the wooden stock I can see that previously there was a round disk with four securing screws and I thought that was how the older style feed tube exited out the rear of the butt stock (thinking that the disk must have had a hole in its middle through which the outer feed tube projected). But now I'm not sure what to think because earlier today I took off the currently mounted butt stock and compared the impression made in the wood (where it presses up against the receiver) to the impression in the already unmounted butt stock and I was able to see that the unmounted butt stock had never been mounted to this receiver because the receiver that it had previously been pressed up against had a slight depression that left a pattern in the wood.

This tells me that the round disk style (for the exit method of the outer feed tube through the bottom of the butt stock) is not how this rifle's original outer feed tube exited its butt stock.

Now I am wondering (since I have not been able to find a drawing that shows the older feed tube design) if it is possible that the older style outer feed tube assembly (which is not in tension and does not serve to hold the butt stock to the receiver) might use the single ' volcano crater ' butt stock exit style just like the other SA-22 style rifles which do use the outer feed tube in-tension to secure the butt stock up against the receiver ?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Mainspring;

Your comment " As you've found, the evolution of a design will change some parts ... " may explain why the 'loose' butt stock shows that it previously had a round disk where the outer feed tube exited.

It may be that there was more than one method for the butt stock exit of the outer feed tube even when only considering the older not-in-tension outer feed tube design.

If my current analysis is correct, and the presently mounted butt stock is indeed the correct one for this rifle's receiver, then it may be that the Belgian built SA-22s had gone to the ' volcano crater ' butt stock exit hole for the outer magazine tube even while the rifle design still had a separate screw to hold the butt stock to the receiver.

The 'loose' butt stock (that came as 'spare parts' with the old rifle) 'disk' style exit for the outer magazine tube through the butt stock may have been an earlier design.

(As is obvious I am working hard to get-a-picture of how the not-under-tension outer magazine tube design is supposed to work.)
 

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There are 6 types, not grades, of this rifle, and two/three model categories. Some of the changes are minor and some are major. Types I, II, III, IV stocks were attached to the receiver through the pistol grip.

Type V has the heavier Outer Magazine Tube, and the stock is held on with a nut on the rear end of the mag tube.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Mainspring;

ref "Type V has the heavier Outer Magazine Tube, and the stock is held on with a nut on the rear end of the mag tube."

That means that all the Browning .22 semi-automatic rifles that I was familiar with previously (that no longer being the case now that I'm working on the old Belgian made SA-22) would be what you've called ' Type V ' ....

I can't think of any reason (technically) that a not-in-tension magazine tube design (where a separate screw secures the butt stock to the receiver) could not use the ' volcano crater ' style exit opening in the rear of the butt stock it's just that in my earlier thinking about under-tension, and not-under-tension, outer magazine tube designs I had thought that the way the outer magazine tube exits the rear of the butt stock could serve as an indicator (and of course you could also look to see if there is a separate retaining bolt head in the bottomside of the stock's pistol grip).

In my thinking about the requirements for a successful magazine tube in the SA-22 it has come to me that the tube does not have to be rigidly attached to the receiver in the not-under-tension design (i.e. where there's a separate bolt holding the butt stock to the receiver). The magazine tube only has to hold the freshly loaded .22 cartridges in place long enough, and keep them well enough lined-up, for them to be 'swallowed' by the ' Magazine Assembly ' (the thing with the long spring in its insides). I'd never thought about that aspect of the Browning .22 semi-auto rifle design before ..... once the cartridge loading process is complete all the cartridges are either inside the ' Magazine Assembly ' or further up in the receiver. If it was possible to have the magazine tube hole drilled carefully enough through the butt stock, and for the hole to be just large enough for the ' Magazine Assembly ', then it would not even be necessary for there to be an outer magazine tube as all the cartridges are enclosed by either the ' Magazine Assembly ' or the receiver once loading is complete.
 

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That means that all the Browning .22 semi-automatic rifles that I was familiar with previously (that no longer being the case now that I'm working on the old Belgian made SA-22) would be what you've called ' Type V ' ....
Type V, VI, and anything newer in the past 30 years. My data is old.

If you're missing the Outer Magazine Tube, just buy a replacement, they are relatively inexpensive and generally readily available.

The Type V came out in the early 1960's IIRC. The Outer Magazine Tube is used to retain the buttstock as well as contain and protect the Inner Magazine Tube. If you try to bypass this system you will probably create more work for yourself.

If you have a pre-Type V, then you might be able to bypass, though you will probably need to sleeve the stock and provide a way to retain the Inner Magazine Tube.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
could stock retention use both tensioned magazine tube & a bolt ?

Mainspring;

A thought has been growing in my mind since yesterday and it is that I am wondering if there may be Browning .22 semi-automatic rifles that use BOTH a bolt AND the outer magazine tube for securing the stock to the receiver (that would mean having two tensioned rods both pulling the stock to the receiver) ?

If you will remember a description that I gave yesterday of the old Belgian Browning rifle (that I'm working on) in which I said that it has a separate bolt securing the stock to the receiver while at the same time the hole in the base of the stock, through which the intake side of the magazine tube protrudes, is of the ' volcano crater ' style.

From details gotten off Art Isaacson's You Tube videos (Part 2 is at Browning 22-Auto Assembly & Disassembly (Part 2 of 2) - YouTube) I learned that the outer magazine tubes used to provide tension to secure the stock to the receiver are somewhat larger in diameter than the earlier non-tensioned outer magazine tubes. When I went to the Widner's Site yesterday I noticed that they described the older style magazine tubes (that they are selling) as being 7/16th inch diameter - that is what I measured the threaded hole to be in the old Belgian Browning rifle's receiver that I am working on. Since I don't actually know the diameter of the tensioned style outer magazine tube there is some doubt on my part that the tubes Widner's is selling are definitely what I need.

That doubt, and the fact that the rifle I'm working on has the ' volcano crater ' style opening in the base of the stock, is what has caused me to wonder if it is possible that I may have a rifle that uses BOTH the bolt AND a tensioned magazine outer tube ?

I'll go back to another comment of mine from yesterday .... that being that I believe that having the outer magazine tube rigidly attached to the receiver does not appear to be necessary for successful operation of the rifle. Since (from the drawings that are readily available on-line) the new style stock-to-receiver securing method is to depend solely on a tensioned outer magazine tube (there is no separate bolt tieing the two together) then it would seem reasonable that depending on just a bolt to hold the stock to the receiver would be equally suitable.

This afternoon I'm going to a local hobby supply store and see if they have some 7/16 OD brass tubing. I've got some ideas on how it may be possible to fabricate a non-tensioned outer magazine tube although my 'mental picture' is fuzzy on how to provide support to the tube as it exits the base of the stock and also how to provide the securing force to allow the 'Magazine Assembly' (the long tube with the spring inside) to be locked-in-place once cartridge loading is complete. I do have a Magazine Assembly (as opposed to not having received an outer magazine tube with the old rifle) and it has two slight notches (near to the end that will be entering the receiver) which show that it was intended to have two 'fingers' (my name for them) press-in which would provide some restraining force if the Magazine Assembly was suitably rotated such that the notches lined-up with the 'fingers'. Right now I am envisioning either trying to see if the brass tubing might have enough 'spring' to it to allow two notches to be cut when could then be pressed-in slightly to provide the 'fingers' or if it might be necessary to cut two notches to allow some springy beryllium-copper (where I'd find that isn't clear) to press in.

(Of course I may be less advenureous and plunk-down my money on Monday with Widner's and see if what they have is what I need.)
 

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If the stock is held on by a bolt through the pistol grip, then it should be the old style mag tube.

If the stock is held on by the mag tube, then it should be the new style mag tube.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
magazine feed tube design in Browning patent

Mainspring;

I went to John Browning's Patent (# 1083384, dated Jan 6th 1914).

(.JPG dwg attached)

It shows that the outer magazine feed tube was screwed into the receiver but was semi free-floating at its exit from the rear of the butt stock (with a 'ballooned' section of the outer feed tube providing some support and the ' volcano crater ' opening in the butt stock wood).

I'm thinking now that the 'Magazine Assembly' (the long tube with the spring inside), that came with the old Belgian Browning .22 semi-auto rifle that I bought the other day, was probably not original with the rifle as the Browning patent drawing shows the retaining mechanism for the 'Magazine Assembly' to be a transversely mounted 'pin' at the rear of the assembly (which then slipped into a cut-out in the outer magazine tube).

On further examination I've noticed the top accessed ammunition loading port (item 14 as shown in figures 2 & 3). I was reading this evening that the top-access ammunition loading port had allowed for 8 cartridges to be loaded and that it was the later design revision (by the manufacturer ?) to the side-of-the-stock ammunition loading port which increased that to 10 cartridges (by allowing the ' Magazine Assembly ' to be backed-out of the stock a little further.)
 

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Remember, that patent was at the being of the rifle, before all the revisions and variations. That drawing led to the FN produced Type I rifle. I would use it for only for limited info.
 

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.



A point to keep in mind, after your rifle's repaired:

The reason for broken magazine tube and buttstock issues on the Browning-designed takedown Auto-22's is that unknowledgeable folks attempt disassembly (take one down/apart) improperly.

What usually occurs is that ILO holding the bolt slightly to the rear while grasping only the receiver at the rear (after dis-engaging the takedown latch in the forend); those folks attempt to take them down via either by holding the pistol grip (wood ILO metal) or holding the buttstock tucked under one arm, while trying to twist the barrel forend assembly (held from properly rotating by the closed bolt).

The result is damage.



.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Remember, that patent was at the being of the rifle, before all the revisions and variations. That drawing led to the FN produced Type I rifle. I would use it for only for limited info.
I have (pretty well) decided that the butt stock that came mounted to the receiver of this old Belgian Browning .22 rifle is the correct one (i.e. I now think the 'spare' butt stock is from some other manufacturing generation) and so am working to understand the correct attachment method of the outer magazine tube (which I have yet to buy).

I understand that the John Browning patent drawing shows the first iteration of the design but at least insofar as the outer magazine tube, the hole bored through the butt stock, and the long screw securing the butt stock to the receiver, for these parts of the rifle the patent drawing appears to be a one-for-one match. Other parts of the patent drawing show some differences but I'm not concerned about those.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
.

A point to keep in mind, after your rifle's repaired:

The reason for broken magazine tube and buttstock issues on the Browning-designed takedown Auto-22's is that unknowledgeable folks attempt disassembly (take one down/apart) improperly.

What usually occurs is that ILO holding the bolt slightly to the rear while grasping only the receiver at the rear (after dis-engaging the takedown latch in the forend); those folks attempt to take them down via either by holding the pistol grip (wood ILO metal) or holding the buttstock tucked under one arm, while trying to twist the barrel forend assembly (held from properly rotating by the closed bolt).

The result is damage.

.
Hello Rangr44;

Now I see that there are three of us that like this old John Browning .22 rifle design. The reason that I remark on this is that it pleases me to know I'm not the only one. I try to take notice when one of these rifles shows up in the used category (including the Remington Models 24 & 241 from years back) and often I have found that no one else (in the local gun stores) seems aware of the the history of the rifle nor of the fact that those Remington's are of the same design.

Now, concerning your comments about the tendency of the stock to break if a twisting torque is applied while attempting to remove the barrel, in Art Isaacson's YouTube videos he specifically brings that issue up and shows a rifle that was sent in for repair with that problem.

Although I have (thankfully) never experienced that problem ... in the last few days, while learning the details pertaining to the magazine feed tube design and the butt stock to receiver attachment methods, I was studying how slender the stock is right where it jams up to the receiver. There's really not much wood there and from everything I've learned so far, regardless of the butt stock to receiver attachment method (either via a separate long bolt or using the outer magazine tube under tension), the only force that can be mustered to combat rotational torque (when it's applied to the butt stock) is due to the friction between the stock and the receiver where they are held pulled-together (and there's only a few square inches of common area). I think that it can be said that this part of the design is strong enough for normal use but there is no excess strength available to guard against the clumsy (that elegant, slender, design comes at a price).
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Check here to date your rifle ~

The only thing that looks like it might be a serial number are 4 digits stamped on the steel butt plate. From what I see, on the Browning site that you provided a link to, I'm thinking that it probably means that this old rifle was made in 1955 or before (and hence no serial number information is available).
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Look on the underside of the barrel, maybe in front of the forearm.
No serial number on the barrel.

I pulled off the fore stock and found some interesting notation on the underside of the barrel right in front of the locking ring. I'm guessing that these are identification and proof marks :

(stamped lengthwise so that the barrel must be oriented left-right for the text to be read)
- 22L

(stamped so that the barrel must be oriented up-down for the text to be read)
- what may be an outline of a teapot over a capital 'R'
- a 5-pointed star over a capital 'D'
- a prancing stick-figure over the capital letters 'PV'
 
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