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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a like-new, in the original box, Browning Model 71 from a fellow in New Mexico, after UPS managed to separate the two boxes and send the rifle via Scanton, PA.  3 weeks in transit!

But it was worth the wait!  The gentleman said that he had fired it 9 times, but you couldn't tell that by me.  It looks brand-spanking new.  WOW!

It is the earliest of the re-introduction of the 86s that have been issued by Browning and Winchester.  It does not have the tang safety, but is a faithful reproduction of the Winchester Model 71 standard grade.  It has a very nice piece of wood that is nicely finished in an oil finish that is as good or better than the 86ELs.

It has a 24" barrel, with a 1/2 magazine.  It has the steel butplate, with the top coming to a point and being inlet into the top of the stock after being bent over.  Nicely done!

It weighs 8 lbs. 4 ozs, so it feels heavier and bulkier than the EL.  It is also longer, and with a higher comb it has a different feel.  Both are good, but different.  I would guess that the higher comb is where the reputation arose for kicking so hard.  I will find out.

It is drilled and tapped for a receiver sight, and I will add one shortly.  Most likely a Williams Foolproof.  (You know, just when you get something to be fool proof, along comes a smarter fool&#33<!--emo&;)--><img src="http://beartoothbullets.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wink.gif" border="0" valign="absmiddle" alt=';)'><!--endemo-->

I also got dies, brass and bullets in the deal, so all I have to do is load some rounds and go shoot.  (I just realized that I do not know if the .348's will fit into a 550 shellplate for a .45-70, but I guess I will also determine that.  I can always use the Rockchucker.)  I have several powders and loading information from several articles and a couple of manuals.

To top all of this, the gentleman has invited me to hunted elk in New Mexico in November, if we can draw the tags.  I plan on being there!  With the rifle, ready to shoot.

I.m up!

dclark
 

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Congratulations! that sounds like a beautiful rifle. I've seen a few 71's around here from time to time, but they are always priced beyond my reach. Oh well, hope you draw the elk tags too!    ID
 

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dclark,
Sounds like you really got a gem.  I drooled all over those when they first came out.  If I ever see one at a halfway decent price now, it'll find a nice new home amongst Ruger No. 1's, Brownchester 1895, and other assorted fine firearms I've managed to hold onto over the years.  Congratulations, if you ever decide to sell, send me a personal message!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Cub,

In 1902 Winchester introduced the .33 Win cartridge for the 1886 rifle, the first smokeless powder cartridge for the '86, and began a standard configuration called "lightweight."  It was a 24" barrel with a half magazine and shotgun style buttplate.  That was continued until 1935, as the only cartridge available for some years.

In 1936 Winchester replaced the .33 Win lightweight with the Model 71.  It was the same configuration, but with a higher comb stock, heavier forearm (designed by Townsend Whelan, I am told).  There were also a number of 20" barreled carbines built.  That action had a few changes also incorporated into it:  Coil mainspring vs. flat mainspring; tapered locking lugs; and one other that I don't remember at the moment.  They also introduced a new cartridge - .348 Winchester.  Where the .33 was a necked down .45-70 case with a .338 bullet diameter, the .348 was based upon the old .50-110 case, which was introduced in 1887 in the 1886.  The .50-110 case has the same rim diameter as the .45-70 case - .610", but has a larger body - .553" vs. .505.  The .348 case was shortened from 2.4" to 2.25", but it gives considerably larger capacity.  It was restricted to 44,000 cup pressure, but still was more powerful than the .33.

The .348 had 3 loadings over the years: a 150 grain bullet at 2,800 fps; a 200 gr. bullet at 2,500 fps; and a 250 gr. at 2,400 fps.  Judging from modern loading data, those numbers were probably optimistic.  The only surviving load is the 200 gr. loaded by Winchester, although the .348 was loaded by other companies over the years.

The rifle gained a good reputation as a short-range timber rifle for elk and bear.  It also gained a reputation for punishing recoil.  You will find many that have had a recoil pad installed.  They do not appear to have been installed for greater length, as those I have seen are nearly all at the same length of pull.

The rifle was discontinued in 1958 after a run of less than 50,000.  In 1986, Browning, when it was separately owned from Winchester, "re-introduced" a "Model 71" that was made by Miroku of Japan.  It was an exact copy of the standart grade Winchester, with really close tolerances and decent wood.  There was also some carbines made and some deluxe models (high grade).  The high grades were "silver colored" and lazer engraved, with a shiney finish on the stocks and forearms.  (I don't care much for either, but they are pretty.)  There were a total of 18,000 made, I believe.

The rifle I found is a standard grade that is like-new, in it original box.  You see a few around, but not many.  The same with the Win. 71.  A few collector grade rifles at high prices are seen, but not much under a grand.  Mine was, with dies, brass and bullets.   So it was a good deal and a rifle I have sort of looked for over years.  I missed one last year that had 3 extra holes drilled in the left side for an offset scope mount that was somewhat popular in the 1950's.  I hesitated and another fellow bought it as I thought about it.  So, this replaced that.

Hope that helped.

dclark
 

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I just bought a grade 1 carbine Browning 71.  It hasn't arrived yet, and I don't remember what kind of sights were put on these.  Nearly bought a matching pair (carbine and rifle) years ago, but finally passed on them cause they were high grade.  Can anyone describe the factory sights for me?
 

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Muleskinner,
Hooded front sight, Buckhorn rear. You will want a Reciever sight to get the most otta this one!
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Muleskinner,

I will interested in hearing about the "71" when it arrives.  I have a Lyman WB66 receiver sight on mine at the moment (that I borrowed from an 86EL) but will replace it with a Williams FP71 when I can get one ordered.

I have developed one load that seems to shoot well, but I have not tried it at 100 yds yet.  Its been too windy around here.  200 gr Hornady, 65 gr. RL 19 seated to 2.820 (which just feeds) shot 4 into less than 1 1/4" at 50 yds the other day and seems to keep doing that.  The recoil is tolerable.

There is an article in Hanloader 214, Dec 2001 about the Browning 71 and the author, Steve Gish develops a good number of loads.  If you need a copy I would be willing to send a copy.

Hope its as good as mine.

dclark
 

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Thanks guys,
I'll post my impressions of the new rifle when she gets here.  I've kind of gotten bitten by the classic lever gun bug.  Sold my Marlin guide gun (too loud for hunting use).  This M71 will be my summer saddle and elk guiding gun.  The 1895 and 1886 will see deer and moose hunting duty.  Don't know if I'll ever touch my bolt actions again.  Well, there's always antelope.
 

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dclark,
I have a question for you. I read your last post and noticed that you found a load with RL#19. Another reader in Alaska uses this powder also. I was curious how clean burning you found it to be, and what your velocities are. I have not had good results, accuracy wise with anything faster than imr-4350. I'm at a near maximum book load(imr-4350) and velocities are much slower than published and quite dirty burning.To date i have not used powders slower than 4350.Just looking for another opinion before i buy another powder type(RL#19)
Thanks ,
Scott
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Scott,

I have just run about 40 rounds thru using RL-19 and find virtually no residue in the barrel.  The velocities are as high as 4350 loads from articles and books.  I like the powder, having just used it for the first time.

Look at the Handloader article in Dec, 2001 by Steve Gish.  He noted the same thing; I am only confirming what he said.

dclark
 

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Having bought a 20" bbl carbine, I would think that a slightly faster burning powder might be in order.  Goin' to the "big town" (Riverton) tomorrow.  Will pick up some R19 or IMR4320 if they are out.  Beggars can't be choosers in Wyoming.
 

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Muleskinner,
After having used imr-4320 myself and after having read many loading articles on the .348, as well as having friends who have used it, i would definately "pass" on this powder. Many people swear by imr-4064,imr-4895 in the .348. I myself have been using imr-4350 although i plan to try dclarks suggestion of RL-19.(Handloader as previously mentioned, has some "new" data with slower powders. Good article.) Not trying to tell you what to do, it's just that many have been disappointed with 4320. Good loading!
Scott
 

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Scott,
After checking the burn rates of powders, I took your advice on the 4320.  Picked up some R19 and some extra 4350 (can always use that).  Also looked for some 4381 load data, but could not find any.  Its kinda between the R19 and 4350.  Got plenty on hand.  Any experience with 4381 and the .348.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Got a chance to chronograph the loads in the 71 .348 today.  The 200 gr Hornady with 65 gr of RL-19 are travelling at 2502 fps average for 4 shots.  They are very consistant in velocity with a SD of 8.  The shot into a group of 1 1/4" for three shots.  ( I recorded one that was not shot for group.)  Looks like a real good rifle!  But it also kicks off the bench.

dclark
 

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dclark,
That cinch's it..............off to the shop i go for Rel19! Sounds like a good plend of speed and accuraccy.
Scott
 

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Got my Lyman 66 WB mounted on the 71.  Looks like it will fit the 1895 too.  Only misgiving is the knobs.  Has anyone used this sight with a scabbard?  Is it apt to get moved by ridin' on the leather?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mule,

That was my concern with the WB 66, although I did not consider the scabbard.  I am inclined to go to the Williams FP71, which has fewer protrusions.  The settings can be locked by set screws.

dclark
 

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Well its Friday.  My peep sight is installed and I will be headin' for the range tomorrow or Sunday if the wife puts up a stink.  Got just about a flavor of everything to test.  After talkin' to other 71 owners and readin' (thanks agin to DClark), I'm thinkin' that WW760 or R19 will be the powder of choice.  You guys will get the low down soon as I get back, sore shoulder and all.
 
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