Info about circa-1970 Browning Safari bolt action rifles?

Discussion in 'Rifle Talk' started by twofer, Jul 25, 2007.

  1. twofer

    twofer Member

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    Hi All,

    I've become interested in the Browning Safari rifle. They have a Mauser action made by FN in Belgium, have beautiful wood, and have a high quality fit and finish typical of a Browning product. Except for the salt-cured wood issue, they should be a great rifle. In other words, if you can avoid the salt wood examples (which is relatively easy to do), the Browning Safari should be an outstanding rifle.

    However, if the Browning Safari is as good as it seems it should be, why don't we hear more about these fine old rifles? There are stacks and stacks of books about the Winchester Model 70, but almost nothing about the Browning Safari. Gun cranks get teary-eyed and wistfully stare off into the distance when you mention the Winchester Model 70, but the majority of shooters have barely heard of the Browning Safari.

    Were the Browning Safaris bad shooters, despite the pedigre? Did they have poorly made barrels which dragged down the FN made Mauser action? Did being made outside of the good ol' USA doom them with the rifle shooting crowd? Were they just too expensive, despite their high quality, to ever have garned much of a following in the hunting fields?

    I am looking forward to hearing any facts, personal experiences, and speculations . . .

    --twofer
     
  2. wwb

    wwb Super Member

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    re: Info about circa-1970 Browning Safari bolt action rifles

    Not certain.... that was a long time ago, and my memory is kinda foggy, but I believe they were a Sako design, manufactured by FN for Browning, and the "Safari" was just a fancier grade.

    At that point in history, I lived in Colorado and was in the market for an elk rifle (my Minnesota lever-action .30-30 fell a little short). I recall considering the plain-jane grade, but then came across a deal I couldn't refuse on a pre-64 Winchester M70 in .264 Win Mag.
     

  3. luv2safari

    luv2safari Moderator

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    re: Info about circa-1970 Browning Safari bolt action rifles

    The true Browning Safari rifles were fantastic rifles, manufactured by FN. They had a couple of variations, but they were made on FN 98 type actions, some with a long extractor, and some with a shorter extractor.

    Almost all of the Brownings suffered from the salt-wood era, and the FN Safari rifles were some of the worst affected. There is NOTHING wrong with the FN Safari rifles, save some have salt-wood stocks, which rust and corrode the metal.

    The only objection I had regarding the Safaris was their weight; they were heavy.

    If you can find one, and they don't get sold often, make sure you check for any rust at the stock area, and check the serial number to find out whether it was made during the salt-wood period.

    The FN Safari Browning was the last real rifle Browning built, IMO. Sako built some Browning "Safari" rifles during the same period; they were on medium and short actions. They are good rifles, but I prefer the CRF FN Brownings, hands down.
     
  4. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    re: Info about circa-1970 Browning Safari bolt action rifles

    I have had the pleasure of owning an FN Browning Safari. Mine had the Sako action, and was in .243.

    This was an excellent rifle, in all respects. I thought it was better finished than the pre-64 M70's. Mine had a great trigger, and was certainly accurate with the right loads.

    I eventually traded it for a Mannlicher-Schoenauer...just didn't have room in the gun safe...and I couldn't justify two .243's.

    Just FWIW...

    bluedsteel
     
  5. Dave375hh

    Dave375hh Active Member

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    re: Info about circa-1970 Browning Safari bolt action rifles

    The Browning Safari's in short calibers like .243, .308 etc were made on a Sako action. The long action rifles were made on the FN 300 mauser style action. All were assembled in Belgium. They ended production of them in 1976. The salt wood scare hurt them even though only a small # of them had salt wood on them.

    As far as accuracy is concerned I have a .375 HH, with a four digit serial number, that shoots my hunting loads into 3/4" at 100yds for three shots. After three shots you can't touch the barrel. I once shot 300 gr Hornady RN into two back to back 3 shot groups of .505 & .390.

    I believe the end of the Safari's was due to an end of the agreements with Sako, and FN for the actions.
     
  6. luv2safari

    luv2safari Moderator

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    re: Info about circa-1970 Browning Safari bolt action rifles

    Dave,

    I misspoke. Medium and short action Safaris were built on Sako actions is what I meant to say. You're absolutely correct.

    Both flavors beat the h@ll out of the new ones, IMO. But, I'm an old reactionary. :wink: