TexasMac's Web Site
By Wayne McLerran
Last updated 11/8/16

For those of you considering the purchase of a used Browning or
Winchester 1885 High Wall BPCR, especially one listed for sale via an
Internet web site, it might be helpful to share some of my experiences
while buying and selling close to 200 of the rifles to date.  Although
the Winchester BPCRs are relatively new and produced in much
smaller quantities, they are identical to the Browning BPCRs.  
Therefore, the same issues and comments will apply once used rifles
come up for sale.

For the most part I have found that firearm sellers are honest, but
will always be unscrupulous sellers, and Internet-based sales
does not provide the opportunity to handle and check out a firearm
prior to sending substantial funds.  Since BPCR shooters tend to know,
or at least know of, each other through matches and the several
online discussion forums, there’s less likelihood of dishonesty, but I
can attest to the fact that it
does exist.

The Browning & Winchester BPCRs have rather complicated actions,
meaning that many rifle owners, buyers and sellers do not have the
expertise to disassemble and adequately determine its condition.  And
many of these firearms are repeatedly purchased and sold prior to
ending up in the hands of an actual shooter; therefore the seller may
be unfamiliar with the intended purpose of the firearm being sold and
not aware of the correct accessories that originally sold with the
rifle.  A good example is a firearm retailer selling a rifle on

A few years ago, when first buying and selling firearms, I purchased
two Browning BPCR rifle from separate sellers via two of the well-
known Internet firearm sites.  After receiving the rifles it quickly
clear that the condition of the rifles were intentionally
misrepresented.  Both sellers refused to accept the rifles back, issue a
refund or admit to false representation.  One rifle had the forearm
bedded (glued) to the forearm hanger and barrel.  The rifle had been
represented as like new
and required a lot of work and a new forearm
to return it to original condition.  The other rifle had a “ringed”
chamber.  The seller had specifically indicated the chamber and bore
were like new.  The barrel
had to be “set back” and rechambered.  
Afterwards, after taking plenty
of photos and documenting the
problems, at every opportunity over a period of several months, I
identified the sellers by name and address
on various Internet firearm
discussion forums.  By the way, although
they may advertise
otherwise, do not expect the firearm listing sites to
aid buyers in
these situations to any degree.  They may make a weak
attempt to
resolve the situation, but their main goal is to cultivate a relationship
with sellers and continue to collect sales fees.

Following is a list of conditions and problems I’ve run into while
purchasing used Browning’s for resale; conditions that were not
identified by the sellers.  None were factory problems, but the direct
result of shooter abuse, ignorance or intentional misrepresentation by
the seller.

•        The ringed chamber mentioned earlier.
•        Pitted bores – one was obvious.  The other required a bore
scope to identify.
•        Forearm bedded (glued) to the forearm hanger and barrel –
mentioned earlier.
•        Both mainsprings shortened, which resulted in the hammer
intermittently catching in the ½ cock position when fired.  Required
time and work to identify problem and mainsprings were replaced.
•        Damaged front sight required some machine work and
replacement of the spirit level vial.
•        Cracked front sight spirit level vial, and vial housing end cap
missing (very common).
•        Front sight insert nut forced into the housing and cross-
threaded.  The threads were cleaned up and nut replaced.
•        Front sight insert nut epoxied into the housing, ruining the front
sight.  I can only imagine this was done because the nut was cross
threaded and the threads destroyed.
•        Dings and scratches, some very deep, in the metal and wood
which were not described in the listing or mentioned by the seller.
•        Cracked stocks, usually around the wrist and tang.  Although I’
ve received at least 5 rifles with stocks that were clearly cracked or
broken during shipping; a couple were clearly cracked prior to being
shipped.  Unfortunately this is somewhat of a common problem and
one of the worse to run into since the shipper resists accepting blame
and the seller resists refunding the rifle fee and shipping costs.  To
have the factory replace a stock costs over $500.
•        Several with “McGee” trigger modification, which were not
mentioned by sellers.  Some resellers were most likely not aware the
modification had been made by the previous owner.
•        “McGee” trigger modification incorrectly installed that
damaged the threads for the stock through-bolt.
•        J&B trigger modifications which were broken off.  Required
drilling out the modification and replacing with an original trigger pull
adjustment screw and spring.
•        A couple of rifles with stocks that were crudely coated with a
shinny varnish or lacquer.  Had to strip and properly refinished.
•        Several had filthy actions and some internal corrosion which
would have been impossible to clean without completely disassembling
the action.  Routine proper cleaning would have prevented this.
•        One broken sear spring.
•        Many damaged rear soule sight base screw heads.
•        A couple of damaged rear soule sights with missing parts.
•        One rusted rear soule sight required disassembly and some
parts replaced.
•        Rusted rear soule sight base bottom, which was still attached to
the tang with banged up screws.
•        Scope base mounting screw twisted off in the hole.  Had to be
drilled out & threads cleaned up.
•        Rear soule sight base screws staked in place.  Had to cut off
the heads & drill out the screw shanks.
•        And this one really caught me by surprise.  Barrel was loose and
rotated in the receiver while disassembling the action and trying to
figure out why the lever and extractor hung up.  Barrel was removed,
threads checked, barrel installed properly and headspace checked.  
No more problems.  Assuming the rifle did not leave the factory in this
condition; most likely someone switched out and did not properly
install the barrel.

If you are seriously considering a Browning or Winchester BPCR, it’s a
good idea to become as knowledgeable as possible about the rifles
prior to purchasing one.  As many of you know, I’ve written and
published a book on the rifles.  Although it does not discuss the many
“owner created” problems noted above, it provides a complete history
of the Browning BPCR and covers in detail the functioning of the
action, including design and manufacturing issues.  A large section of
the book also discusses the complete disassembly and reassembly of
the action.  More book details and ordering information are available
on this site at
Browning BPCR Book and Book Ordering Information.

Hopefully your BPCR will arrive in the condition you expect?  I can
guarantee you that some will not.  In this business just like any other
there will always be a “shyster” or two attempting to separate you
from your hard earned money by intentionally misrepresenting a
firearm or, more likely, someone lacking the knowledge to properly
evaluate and describe the condition of the firearm being sold.  Caveat
emptor (let the
buyer beware) is certainly a term to keep in mind
when purchasing
firearms over the Internet.

Wishing you great shooting,