February 2014

Elk Rifle Workup: Browning’s BAR Safari in 338 Win. Mag.

This well-appointed big-game rifle was nicely made and executed. We really could not find much wrong with it. Also, Bushmaster has packaged one of our favorite rust protectants in a kit.

We had the loan of a Browning Safari BAR semiauto rifle in 338 Win. Mag. and had a chance to try it out in very cold weather here in Idaho. The Browning BAR sporting rifle has been in production since 1967. Originally made for Browning by FN in Belgium, they are now made in Belgium, but as our test rifle indicated are assembled in Portugal. Our first inspection of the big rifle showed it to be well made, with great attention to detail, excellent bluing on well-polished and flat metal, and with attractive, though pseudo, engraving on the sides of the action. The wood was decent, though certainly not fancy, most likely chosen for strength in some areas rather than eye-stopping beauty that might show cracks from slight abuse. The glossy stock finish was impeccable. The stock design was classic and hand-filling in its dimensions without being club-like.

The checkering was unbelievable, quite fine and nearly perfectly done. The forend was wrapped with enough excellent checkering to cover six rifles, and the pistol grip also had an abundant amount of it on each side. If we owned this rifle, wed rub some linseed oil into the checkering and brush it out with an old toothbrush, which is one of the best ways to preserve what looks like bare wood on the checkered areas. The fine checkering served us well in the cold to help get a good hold on the rifle.

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