3 Browning Rifles Perfect For Deer Hunting This Fall
Over the decades, Browning has built a hunting rifle for every pursuit. We can’t help but look back on three of our favorite Browning long guns in three different actions – bolt, lever, and semi-automatic. Let’s go.
Bolt Action: Browning High Power Safari
Modern hunters gravitate to the A-Bolts, X-Bolts, and any number of souped-up, ultra-accurate new Browning bolt-action rifles. In the family of classic bolt guns, though, it’s impossible to ignore Browning’s FN High Power long guns. Made in Belgium, Browning debuted their FN High Power around 1960 with three distinct grades: Safari, Medallion, and Olympian.
The bread and butter of that line is the Safari, essentially built around FN’s venerable Mauser design. Though the Safaris are not generally regarded as the most accurate of Browning’s rifles, don’t let anyone kid you about their reliability and capability in the hunting woods. Even at the base end of the High Power family, Safari-grade rifles demonstrate stellar fit, finish, and attention to detail.
Our test Safari is an older rifle showing signs not only of its hunting age but also the effects of Browning’s salt-wood debacle. Not all folks dig the old high-gloss stocks, but I do. So this one has been properly sealed to retain the original wood. Since it’s a workaday hunting rifle, I opted not to re-blue the metalwork. There are quality iron sights, a three-position safety, and a surprisingly crisp trigger. It easily shoots minute-of-deer-heart groups, runs smooth, and drums up sweet feelings of nostalgia in the deer woods.
Lever Action: Browning Model 71
Before you go getting all riled up, the more available and logical choice in Browning-produced lever actions would indeed be the proven BLR, or Browning Lever Rifle. But when we had a choice between that and the stunning, engraved, thumping Model 71, can you really blame us?
Sure, the Model 71 is almost too collectible and expensive to fire, but they also shoot. Heck, the Model 71 isn’t even Browning’s original run. Rather, it’s a remake of sister company Winchester’s model of that same number, which itself sprang from Winchester’s venerable Model 1886. Those are long bloodlines with a history of success and John Browning’s design prowess. Produced for only two years, Browning turned out around 3,000 Model 71 rifles in 1986 and 1987. They host a hooded front sight and adjustable semi-buckhorn rear on the 24-inch barrel.
Most of these beauties were signed by their hand-engraver. Chambered for the .348 Winchester, the rifles were manufactured in Japan and show exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail. Because of this, they’re seen as much more collectible than shootable today, but we just couldn’t help but put a few rounds through the beauty. For those willing to take that Model 71 into the woods, this rifle makes as fine a hunting companion as it does a wall hanger.
Semi-Auto Rifle: Browning BAR
While the military’s Browning BAR M1918 light machine gun may first come to mind, it’s Browning’s BAR semi-automatic hunting rifle that has the hearts of so many American hunters. Produced for over 50 years, BAR gas-driven autoloaders have ranged from early Belgian-built, walnut, and blued-steel gems to more recent synthetic Stalkers and current modernized Short and Long Tracs.
They’ve come in almost every major hunting caliber, from light recoilers to belted magnums and short mags. These rifles use a detachable box magazine on a hinged floorplate. They appeal to hunters seeking rapid follow-up shots as well as the reduced recoil of a gas-operated repeater.
Our test model BAR Long Trac from the Guns.com Vault is chambered in .30-06 Springfield, built in Belgium, and assembled in Portugal. It shows off matte-blued steel, hardwood furniture, and a detachable box magazine that swings free by depressing the mag release. There are no iron sights on this particular rifle, but the Nikon scope is all we needed on the range to punch out nearly the same hole in a deer’s heart target at 100 yards. That kind of accuracy is impressive in most rifles, but especially so in a semi-automatic.
No matter your choice of classic Browning rifles, it’s difficult to go wrong with the quality shown in guns like these that have stood the test of time. Choose your favored action – bolt, lever, or semi-auto – and one of these nostalgic Brownings is sure to help create some hunting memories.