Retrofitting screw in chokes

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Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 31 Oct 2019, 7:06 pm

Hello all, I have a 1950s Browning Superposed which was originally choked full/full according to the markings. A previous owner has opened up one barrel but it still patterns very tightly.
It's not a collector piece - it's definitely seen a lot of use over the years and has been put away damp some time in the past (probably when we still had a duck season) with subsequent light pitting on barrel exterior. The bores are mirror bright and it's a nice gun to shoot.
I'm considering having it threaded for screw in chokes to improve its versatility as the current full/full configuration is very limiting.
I know I could probably buy a new gun for less money but I'd prefer to avoid going through the whole licensing process again and I certainly couldn't buy a good Browning for the expected cost. If I were to buy a new gun, add an extra $175.00 on top of the purchase price for WA fees plus a new property letter (no cost as family have properties but still a PITA), etc, etc, etc
Does anyone know of a gunsmith in or near Perth that does this type of work?
Cheers, Jim
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 11 Jan 2020, 8:48 pm

Update - don't do it!
I found a local gunsmith who asked me to bring the gun in to measure to see if thin wall chokes could be fitted. He says "yes", I say "do it".
I called today to find out how the job was going and he informs me that it is a stuff-up with the reamer breaking through to the other barrel. Now he's looking for a replacement set of barrels for a 1956 Browning Superposed which will have different numbers to my originals if he can find any.
I'd prefer to keep my original barrels even if they need to be shortened.
I'm sure they will find a fix but I'm pretty disappointed right now as right from the outset I let them know the job was marginal but should have been OK for thin wall chokes so it is a bit of a mystery what went wrong.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 27 Jan 2020, 7:39 pm

Just curious what others would regard as a satisfactory outcome in this case.
I want to keep the original barrels with my gun. The solution appears to be to send the gun to a Victorian gunsmith that specialises in shotgun work who can shorten the barrels and fit a well-known brand of thinwall chokes. After the stuff-up I don't want the local firm to do any further work on the gun.
My suggestion is to pay the original agreed fee and have the local gun store cover the balance of shipping my barrels to Victoria and having the job fixed. That would leave them about $500 plus freight out of pocket. Is that a reasonable request? I'd sincerely appreciate your thoughts.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by bladeracer » 27 Jan 2020, 7:53 pm

Diamond Jim wrote:Just curious what others would regard as a satisfactory outcome in this case.
I want to keep the original barrels with my gun. The solution appears to be to send the gun to a Victorian gunsmith that specialises in shotgun work who can shorten the barrels and fit a well-known brand of thinwall chokes. After the stuff-up I don't want the local firm to do any further work on the gun.
My suggestion is to pay the original agreed fee and have the local gun store cover the balance of shipping my barrels to Victoria and having the job fixed. That would leave them about $500 plus freight out of pocket. Is that a reasonable request? I'd sincerely appreciate your thoughts.



How much damage is there, can the damage be welded up, then have the chokes installed?

I struggle to see why you would pay the guy anything at all for what he's done so far.
Was he going to tell you about it or just hope to find some barrels to put on and hope you wouldn't notice?
They should certainly offer to cover the cost of repairing it at least.
Freight for a set of barrels is probably going to be bugger all.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 27 Jan 2020, 10:26 pm

Repairing by welding etc is not an option as far as I understand. The firm in Victoria advise they don't use reamers to fit chokes and particularly not in a Superposed which are notoriously difficult. They machine the barrels and advise they have "done 100's" without issue.
There is no way to hide a change of barrels and no suggestion that they intended to do so - Browning barrels are numbered to each gun. That's one reason I want to salvage my original barrels. Different numbers would trash any value the gun may still have.
The original agreement was to pay an amount to fit a gun with screw-in chokes. That didn't work out - it's a learning experience for both parties - but I don't want to profit from their mistake, I just want what I agreed to pay for.
Shortening and fitting chokes by the Victorian firm will cost about $900 plus freight. That's a lot less than buying a vintage Superposed for parts that I don't want and I'm prepared to contribute the original agreed amount to get out of this mess with a functional gun.
Last edited by Diamond Jim on 28 Jan 2020, 5:46 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Stix » 27 Jan 2020, 10:42 pm

I dont know enough about the process to comment really...

But is the "stuff-up" due to negligence on their part...?..
Or is there a chance this could've happened with any gunsmith...?
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 27 Jan 2020, 11:05 pm

Stix, I've edited my previous post and it covers your question. Since this went pear-shaped, I've asked around and no gunsmith I can find in WA will touch a Superposed for this reason.
The Victorian mob use a completely different process to fit chokes - machining as opposed to reamers. They are Australian agents for a very well known and respected choke manufacturer and use their proprietary methods, tooling etc.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 28 Jan 2020, 5:43 pm

Hope at least. My LGS agreed to my suggested solution and are sending the barrels to Victoria to have the work done - subject to measurement. Hopefully I will have a favourable outcome in a few weeks time.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by perentie » 29 Jan 2020, 7:31 am

I have an old SB shottie that was shortened to 20 inches. I want it choked so I ordered a set of Manson Choke tools through Brownells. It has the reamer and tap for winchester / Invector chokes.
I will see how it goes DIY. If it works on that I will do my C-More as extra chokes for that are unavailable.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 29 Jan 2020, 1:02 pm

Hi Perentie, I hope it all goes to plan for you. Looking at the process it seems to be pretty straight forward (hence my initial trust in the LGS).

Older Browning U/O guns have particularly slender muzzles so I was limited to thin-wall style chokes. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they can salvage my barrels.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 05 Feb 2020, 11:53 pm

Stix, to follow up, it all comes down to accurate measurement. The barrel thickness of a Superposed after cutting for thin-wall chokes is only about 15 thousandth of an inch. That doesn't leave much room for error and that is why the gun store asked me to bring my barrels in for measurement. They decided they could do the job - it was always conditional on their professional assessment. If it was not viable I was going to have the fixed chokes opened up.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by perentie » 17 Feb 2020, 7:28 am

choke install 07.jpg
choke install 07.jpg (264.13 KiB) Viewed 645 times
Choke fitting tools arrived so just need to get into it.
If anyone is interested in how its done I could start a new thread.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 18 Feb 2020, 12:30 am

I hope it goes well. Just make sure to measure, measure, measure before you take the plunge. If I had a suitable candidate I'd be tempted to have a go at it myself, but not on a vintage Browning Superposed! That's a lesson learned.
The report today is that I should have my gun back in about a week minus an inch or so of barrel but with IC and Mod tubes installed. Hopefully a more usable and versatile gun.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 24 Mar 2020, 12:23 am

I picked up my gun from my LGS today and, while it has been a bit of a saga, I'm stoked with the result. The work done by Miall's Gunshop in Victoria looks great and the LGS did the right thing to fix the problem. To be honest I have ended up with a top quality job at a bargain price. Barrels measure about 28 1/4 inches - I think they were probably 30 inches originally (never measured them) - and do not look out of place at all. The gun now balances absolutely on the hinge pin - that's a fluke. Two Briley flush tubes supplied are marked as safe for steel shot should that ever be forced on us. Now I have to get out and see how it shoots.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Oldbloke » 24 Mar 2020, 5:44 am

Diamond Jim wrote:I picked up my gun from my LGS today and, while it has been a bit of a saga, I'm stoked with the result. The work done by Miall's Gunshop in Victoria looks great and the LGS did the right thing to fix the problem. To be honest I have ended up with a top quality job at a bargain price. Barrels measure about 28 1/4 inches - I think they were probably 30 inches originally (never measured them) - and do not look out of place at all. The gun now balances absolutely on the hinge pin - that's a fluke. Two Briley flush tubes supplied are marked as safe for steel shot should that ever be forced on us. Now I have to get out and see how it shoots.


My understanding is they have a good reputation.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 24 Mar 2020, 9:51 pm

Oldbloke wrote:
My understanding is they have a good reputation.


After the "accident" I called lots of WA stores including one of WA's top gunshop/gunsmith who takes a particular interest in shotguns and was told the only place in Australia they would recommend for this particular job is Miall's. Having seen their work I can't disagree. I thought I might end up with a mongrel dog and it's come back looking like a pedigree pooch. I'm as happy as a Border Collie in a tennis ball factory.
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by wrenchman » 25 Mar 2020, 1:10 am

can you just have the old barrels trimed down and have open open i would go with the new barrels but would be nice to have the old ones to
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Re: Retrofitting screw in chokes

Post by Diamond Jim » 26 Mar 2020, 2:24 am

wrenchman wrote:can you just have the old barrels trimed down and have open open i would go with the new barrels but would be nice to have the old ones to


G'day wrenchman, That's pretty much what I chose to do after the job went south. I definitely didn't want a mismatched set of barrels for my gun.

After being advised of the stuff-up I asked that no further work be done and for my barrels to be sent to Miall's in Victoria for assessment.

Browning stopped making this model gun in the 1970s or 80s - they are only available new as a special order from the Browning Custom Shop and a new set of barrels would be several (many) thousands of dollars.

The initial idea was to source a donor gun and "part it out" with my gun getting the barrels but no indication of retaining my originals. That would have cost in the order of $2500 less the cost recouped from the sale of parts

I also didn't want to gain anything I didn't feel entitled to. To put a gun in for work with one set of barrels and come out with two sets at the store's expense didn't sit well with me.

Miall's offered two solutions. I chose to shorten and machine for tubes. I now have steel shot approved tubes in improved cylinder and modified choke (1/4 and 1/2) and can purchase further chokes to make the gun more versatile than it's previous full/full configuration. I'm very happy with the outcome and very happy with the approach taken by my LGS who will remain nameless unless they instruct me otherwise.

I tried to find the least expensive fix that would be acceptable to both me and the store. In this case that was about $525 (that's retail price, the store may have been given a better rate) plus freight on top of the original quote of $375 that I had originally agreed to pay.

My only gripe is the time to reach a solution (3 months) but that's partly a consequence of living in the most remote city in the world and draconian policies by WAPOL and their requirements for transport of firearms and components into and out of WA.

My gun is perfectly functional and the work done by Miall's is superb - it's 1 3/4" shorter than it used to be but it just looks kind of right to me and balances beautifully.
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