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Posted by PSE_KILLER_1976 on February 23, 2010, 12:13 am || Total Votes: 1

Deep cleaning your Browning Gold 

The Browning Gold – no other shotgun has shooters so divided. There's a strong contingent of shooters who love the gun. And just as strong a contingent who'd love to throw the gun in a lake. When I first looked at buying one, I heard from both camps. 

Author: Antone Oseka

Deep cleaning guarantees pertitle=ance in the field.

"Never buy a Browning," one friend told me. "I had one once and it jammed all the time. It never cycled the shell right." 

A different hunting partner, carrying his Gold to one of our favorite duck spots, said, "It's the best gun I've ever owned. All I had to do was clean it right and it's never once jammed on me."

Since both hunt with me in western Nebraska, and both are serious waterfowlers, it wasn't a change in environment or hunting situations that caused the gun to act differently. What I found was that one little statement, "All I had to do was clean it right and it's never once jammed on me," made all the difference in the world.

While the Gold comes in many variations, all of us were shooting the Gold Hunter 3-1/2" 12-gauge model. That's the gun I worked on for this article. Here's how confident I am this process can make a difference: I didn't do this to my own gun for this article – I did it on my boss's Gold, which he said hadn't cycled properly from the day he got it. I had already done it on mine, and a couple others. It made a difference on all of them. One thing to keep in mind: This is just a cleaning process, not a repair. If you're a sporting clays shooter who uses his gun a lot, you might want to do this twice a year. For the average hunter, going through this cleaning process once a season should be plenty.

The first thing I want to look at is a statement in the Browning Gold owner's manual under Initial Cleaning: "Various exposed metal parts of your new gun have been coated at the factory with a rust preventative compound. Before assembling your shotgun, clean the anti-rust compound from inside of the barrel, receiver and the action-chamber areas." For many shooters, this is where their problem begins. They don't open the owner's manual before taking the gun in the field. They assume a new gun should be ready to shoot right out of the package. Since it's never removed, this anti-rust compound holds the three G's that cause cycling problems: grease, grime and gunpowder residue.

One last piece of advice taken from the Browning owner's manual: BEFORE STARTING DISASSEMBLY PROCEDURES, VISUALLY INSPECT THE CHAMBER, FEED MECHANISM AND MAGAZINE TO BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN THE SHOTGUN IS COMPLETELY UNLOADED. POINT THE BARREL IN A SAFE DIRECTION. MAKE SURE THE SAFETY IS IN THE "ON SAFE" POSITION.

Here are the tools you should have handy for this process: No. 1 Phillips screwdriver, awl or small punch driver, 3/4" socket on 3/8" ratchet with short extension, green 3M pot scrubber, Gun Scrubber®, gun cleaning solvent, small brush (like an old toothbrush), canned air, old towel, rags, patches, short gun-cleaning rod, 12-gauge Hoppe's BoreSnake™ and spray-on dry lubricant.

Cleaning the gas piston.

A pair of latex gloves also could be a help to keep your hands clean. This process is a little messier than routine gun care. I expect you'll find parts that are packed with grease. That grease is what we want to remove, and then apply a dry lubricant that won't hold gunpowder residue. If you want to keep your hands clean, those gloves can help.

First, start by laying down an old towel – something you can get dirty. It's also convenient and easy to use to wipe down pieces that might need it. Remove the magazine cap, forend, barrel, gas piston, gas sleeve and sleeve spring.

You want to start by checking the gas ports in the bottom of the barrel and the gas piston. Both should be clean and free of debris. If they aren't, this is a good time to clean them. Keeping these parts clean is especially crucial on any gas-operated autoloader. In fact, I'd put this down as routine maintenance you should be doing after firing it. It's as critical as keeping the barrel clean and well maintained. Any excess lube on these parts should be cleaned off. 

View into stock with butt pad off.

Extending from the receiver forward will be the magazine tube. It's important to keep the carbon buildup off the tube for the gas piston to slide freely. To do this, use some of your cleaning solvent with the green 3M pot scrubber. You want this surface as clean and shiny as possible. Then take the 3M pad and scrub the inside of the gas piston. On the bottom of the piston is an anodized-aluminum nut. You want to pay special attention to it. Use the 3M pad to clean it thoroughly. As a final step, spray inside the gas piston with Gun Scrubber and set aside. It should be dry and ready for reassembly when the time comes. 

Once the barrel is off, the rest of the gun is a little easier to manage. Flip it over and start by removing the butt pad. There are two holes in the pad that have screws holding the pad to the stock. Back each screw almost all the way out of the butt pad, or until you feel it release from the stock. The top screw is at a slight upward angle, so if you're having trouble finding that one, angle your screwdriver up about 10 degrees to catch the head of the screw.

As you remove the butt pad, you're going to see the recoil-spring tube. At the end of it is going to be a nut, spacer and oblong stopper that holds the stock on. It's this tube, and the pieces inside, that we're going to focus on cleaning. Use the 3/4" socket on a 3/8" ratchet with a short extension to remove the nut at the end of the tube. The extension is handy to let the ratchet handle move freely. It also is handy for another job later in the procedure. Once you take the nut out, the stock should slide right off. If you look down inside the stock, you can see grease and residue in the tube of the butt stock where the recoil-spring tube is. A 12-ga. BoreSnake works well here to clean that area thoroughly. Just run it through a couple of times and that part should be done. If you don't have a BoreSnake, you can use an old rag and run it down the length of the stock a couple of times to clean it out.

Browning Gold parts

Use solvent to clean the stopper, spacer and nut from the end of the recoil-spring tube. Set those aside for reassembly. Thoroughly clean the outside of the recoil-spring tube. Again, it should have gunpowder residue and grime on it. All of that can, and should, be removed. Any leftover grease here could migrate back into the recoil-spring tube and recoil-spring follower, and you'll be repeating this process sooner than normal. Once the outside of the tube is clean, you're ready to work inside it and the receiver.

Release the bolt to its forward position by depressing the carrier release button and cautiously closing the bolt. Don't let the bolt slam forward without the barrel on the gun or you could damage the receiver. Take the trigger mechanism out by using the awl and pushing the trigger pins out. The trigger assembly should come free and just slide out of the bottom of the receiver. Clean the trigger assembly thoroughly with your solvent, brush, Gun Scrubber and canned air. All of the visible grease and grime should be cleaned out. DO NOT TAKE THE TRIGGER ASSEMBLY APART ANY FURTHER! That type of work is for a certified gunsmith. Just clean the outer portion.

Once your trigger mechanism is out, you can remove the bolt. The bolt is easily removed by depressing the cartridge stop and pulling out the bolt handle. Once the handle is removed, keep the cartridge stop depressed and slide the bolt out of the front of the receiver. This gives you a good, clear field of view to see down the recoil-spring tube into the receiver and check it for the three G's.

At the end of the recoil-spring tube is a small pin. This pin holds the recoil spring in the tube. You want to block the end of that tube with your hand so the spring doesn't shoot out, then use the awl to push the pin out. Pull the spring out. One end should be forked to hold tightly to the pin. The other end should hold the recoil-spring follower, which is the main culprit for a lot of your problems. If that follower is covered in grease, grime and gunpowder residue, it doesn't slide in the tube properly and doesn't give the bolt the power it needs to force the next shell into the receiver.

If your recoil spring comes apart from the follower when you take it out, it's easily put back together. The end that has been bored out goes toward the receiver and the rounded "nub" end fits into the end of the spring. You'll see the pieces come together properly because the bolt-slide link fits into the bored end of the recoil-spring follower.

To clean the recoil-spring tube, it's best to use a cleaning rod with solvent and a couple of patches. You can run the cleaning rod through the tube to start eating away at the grease and grime. This part should be fairly dirty. Any excess gunpowder residue should have been caught in this tube, making the grease dark and dirty. Make sure you clean the inside of the tube thoroughly and give it a second to dry before attempting reassembly. 

Reinserting the recoil spring.

Clean the spring with solvent and a small brush, then use Gun Scrubber. Pay attention to the inside of the spring as well as the outside. Any grease held inside the spring will eventually migrate to the outside and gum up the action again. Besides having the tube especially clean, you want to thoroughly clean the recoil-spring follower. It should be free of all grease, grime and gunpowder residue before reinstalling it in the tube. If this piece isn't clean, you'll be repeating this process sooner than you would like.

Wipe off the remainder of cleaning solvent and let it dry. Use a dry lube to lubricate the bolt rails (a great time to do this with the bolt out), recoil-spring follower and recoil spring. Once the lube is dry, you're ready to reassemble.

Start by reinserting the recoil-spring follower and spring into the recoil-spring tube. Again, the rounded "nub" end of the follower should fit into the end of the spring, and you should be able to install this as one piece. Once you get the spring nearly compressed into the tube, use the square end from the small extension of your ratchet to push the forked end of the recoil spring deep enough to reinstall the pin. You can do this with your finger if you don't have an extension. It does take a little timing and patience to accomplish. If you're having problems with this part, you might need a helper to push the spring in while you install the pin. 

Reinstalling the bolt.

Once you get the spring back in, you can reinstall the bolt by first sliding in the bolt-slide link. You want to align the bolt-slide link with the recoil-spring follower and then reinstall the bolt handle. Depress the cartridge stop and reinstall the bolt handle, paying attention that after the handle is installed the cartridge stop pops back out into position. You should hear an audible click. You'll know it's installed correctly when you pull the bolt back and feel the recoil spring engage. If they're not lined up properly, the bolt will float in the receiver with no resistance, or you won't be able to move it at all because the bolt-slide link will prop itself against part of the receiver. 

Now you're ready to reinstall the trigger mechanism. Simply match up the holes on the receiver with the holes on the trigger mechanism and slide the pins in. Make sure at this point that the bolt is locked back in the open position. Hitting the carrier release button will cause damage in the receiver when the bolt slams forward without the barrel on the gun. Having the bolt open also helps when you reinstall the barrel.

Slide the stock over the recoil-spring tube. Then slide on the stopper, spacer and nut. Tighten it all with the 3/4" socket. Reinstall the butt pad and all you have left to put on is the gas-piston assembly and barrel, a process you should already be familiar with from your routine maintenance. When reinstalling the gas piston, since you cleaned it, make sure you use a little bit of lube on it so it moves freely on the magazine tube.

Following this process gives you peace of mind knowing that if there is still a cycling issue, it's not because your gun wasn't cleaned properly. It also gives you a chance to discover cycling problems because of a worn out or broken part. Either way, you'll know your gun is never "too dirty."

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Comments:
Comment by PSE_KILLER_1976 on February 23, 2010, 12:15 am
This is a great article on gun cleaning of a browning gun!
Voted up

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