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  #1  
Old 10-04-2021, 02:05 PM
Traptinkansas
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Two Biggest Problems with the SA-22



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Many of us do things with our rifles that aren't covered in the instructions contained in the Browning User Manual. Some of us learn "by guess and by gosh", from our own mistakes, or from tips shared by others. For whatever reason, Browning has chosen to include information that most users would benefit from in the:
SA-22 Field Service Manual

For example, on page 5 under the instructions for Disassembling the "Barrel Lock Assembly" there is an exploded view and a warning about "pushing the barrel lock toward the muzzle":
Caution: Do not let the spring and plunger fly out of the Barrel Lock while removing.
There two special notes on page 7. The first pertains to reassembling the Barrel assembly and adjusting the depth that its breach must extend into the Receiver:
Caution: The barrel must be positioned to the Receiver so when they are in final position, less than one Barrel thread width exists between the Barrel breach and the end of the [Receiver] Cartridge Guide. The Barrel cannot be positioned too far into the Receiver but it can be positioned too far outward resulting in a gap between the Forearm and Receiver after final assembly.
So before the final assembly, you should already have the adjusting ring backed-off enough to allow the barrel breach to go as far into the Receiver as it possibly can. You don't want to arbitrarily engage some of the interrupted threads and use it as a jam nut to hold the Barrel breach and Receiver too far apart.

The second note is under the heading "Barrel Lock Adjustment and Final Assembly":
NOTE: Adjustment at this point should only be one or two notches in the Barrel Locking Ring one way or the other. Adjusted properly, there should be no noticeable play between the Barrel and Receiver
Most of the SA-22 owners whose barrels come loose or have failure to feed issues could fix those problems if Browning would include that information in the Users Manual.

Last edited by Traptinkansas; 10-05-2021 at 10:35 AM. Reason: Fix typo
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  #2  
Old 10-05-2021, 11:33 AM
monty52
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Yes,and in my experience that is why so many browning auto 22s have the barrel lock spring plunger missing.
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Old 10-05-2021, 06:47 PM
roddy

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Hmm...I always thought the biggest problem with the SA-22 was the burning hot brass down the shirt sleeve thing.
Other than that, no complaints here. The notes/warnings above would make a good addition to the owner's manual, though.
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Old 10-05-2021, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by roddy View Post
Hmm...I always thought the biggest problem with the SA-22 was the burning hot brass down the shirt sleeve thing.
Other than that, no complaints here. The notes/warnings above would make a good addition to the owner's manual, though.
Touche! I have a 68 Belgian I that I bought in 68. Never had ANY of the problems mentioned above.
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Old 10-06-2021, 09:48 AM
HIghstandardguy
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One other issue that I haven't seen elsewhere; be careful shooting them when wearing shorts. The sharp edge of the exiting shell casing can cut a nice little half moon in your leg. Don't ask me how I know.
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Old 10-06-2021, 01:22 PM
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For me, the biggest problem with the SA 22 is the stock dimensions. When I use the iron sights I have to crunch my cheek down on the comb to get low enough to see the sights. Even then my face is forced a little away from the stock.

That is why I sold my Belgian SA 22. The iron sights were uncomfortable and the grooved receiver wouldn't let a scope hold its zero if you took the rifle down. In fact the scope zero would wander even if you didn't take it down.

My Japanese SA 22 with the barrel mounted scope is much better from a practical standpoint.
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Old 10-06-2021, 02:01 PM
Traptinkansas
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Originally Posted by Happy Kaboomer View Post
Touche! I have a 68 Belgian I that I bought in 68. Never had ANY of the problems mentioned above.
I'm glad to hear it. But I buy and restore these old guns all the time. There's no shortage of frustrated owners who don't know how to correctly takedown, reassemble, and check the proper adjustment of the locking system (to include making sure there isn't too much of a gap between the breach and cartridge guide when you are done). They just blame the gun and give up when they can't get consistent groups, keep the barrel from getting wobbley, get failure to feed or light firing pin strikes after cleaning and oiling everything in sight, or come here looking for sources of missing parts. They leave them to gather dust in the closet or sell their lemon to someone else. If you've never heard of those things, just search the forum archives here for posts on those topics.

Last edited by Traptinkansas; 10-06-2021 at 02:15 PM.
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Old 10-07-2021, 12:02 AM
old 39

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I've seen a few SA 22s on the used gun rack going very cheaply. This is because somebody had tried to assemble the gun by holding the butt stock and cracked the pistol grip. This can be easy to do since it is hard to get a grip on the receiver if you have a scope mounted.

That's why all new SA 22s come with a red sticker on the receiver warning about this hazard. Browning must have fielded a few complaints over this.
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Old 10-07-2021, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by old 39 View Post
I've seen a few SA 22s on the used gun rack going very cheaply. This is because somebody had tried to assemble the gun by holding the butt stock and cracked the pistol grip. This can be easy to do since it is hard to get a grip on the receiver if you have a scope mounted.

That's why all new SA 22s come with a red sticker on the receiver warning about this hazard. Browning must have fielded a few complaints over this.
More about someone not retracting the breechblock when they disassemble the gun.

My big head makes the open sights difficult to use. Mine has always been scoped. I am the original owner of my 1968 example. Had many others over the years, IIs, IIIs and shorts.
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  #10  
Old 10-07-2021, 09:10 AM
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Toomany22s
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Missing springs and detents on a Norinco , got me a good deal at Cabellas a few years ago, $20 in parts , and a little work turned it into a fine shooter.

Then the mag tube unscrewd its self and i couldn’t get more than 4 rounds in, or the follower to lock in, fortunately an easy fix , with a big screwdriver

I never wear shorts or button cuffed shirts to shoot,nor sandals

I also leave my Norincos assembled, and use the td function only for cleaning.

Yes , Iknow they prolly arent as good as the brownings, but Ive got 2, for less cost than 1/2 a Browning, and Im happy with their performance.
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  #11  
Old 10-08-2021, 07:40 AM
Antonio

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Originally Posted by Traptinkansas View Post
I'm glad to hear it. But I buy and restore these old guns all the time. There's no shortage of frustrated owners who don't know how to correctly takedown, reassemble, and check the proper adjustment of the locking system (to include making sure there isn't too much of a gap between the breach and cartridge guide when you are done). They just blame the gun and give up when they can't get consistent groups, keep the barrel from getting wobbley, get failure to feed or light firing pin strikes after cleaning and oiling everything in sight, or come here looking for sources of missing parts. They leave them to gather dust in the closet or sell their lemon to someone else. If you've never heard of those things, just search the forum archives here for posts on those topics.
Exactly how/why I got mine. Uncle's father bought this FN one brand new in the early '60s and managed to test it ONCE before putting it away due to exactly the same reasons. Took it to a "gunsmith" that couldn't figure why it was malfunctioning and spitting gas and lead bits all around so family stored it for the next 50 years or so until I got it. Spring was missing and lock was damaged beyond use but the rest of the rifle was in mint condition, so after replacing those parts and setting the take-down assembly properly and tight it worked perfectly.

To me the take-down system isn't a very good design to stand long time repetitive taking apart and reassembly unless being very careful. Mine is seldom separated and is as tight as possible, while accurate enough to hunt small game with open sights.

Its other main flaw is being so nice. Hard to carry it into the woods without fearing dropping it or damaging its great wood and metal finish, something I don't feel with other even more expensive rimfire rifles.
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Old 10-08-2021, 11:04 AM
HIghstandardguy
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Back in the 60s i bought an SA-22 because it weighed SO much less that a Marlin 39A. I didn't know much about firearms them so I sold it because it kept jamming. Fast forward a few decades and I bought a Norinco ATD cheap when Walmart was closing them out. I've never had the slightest issue with it.
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:12 PM
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I agree that those Norinco rifles shouldn't be scoffed at. It's like my Rossi clone of the Winchester model 62. The wood isn't the nicest but the fit and finish of the rifle itself is not all that bad.
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Old 10-08-2021, 12:42 PM
Traptinkansas
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Originally Posted by Antonio View Post
Exactly how/why I got mine. Uncle's father bought this FN one brand new in the early '60s and managed to test it ONCE before putting it away due to exactly the same reasons. Took it to a "gunsmith" that couldn't figure why it was malfunctioning and spitting gas and lead bits all around so family stored it for the next 50 years or so until I got it. Spring was missing and lock was damaged beyond use but the rest of the rifle was in mint condition, so after replacing those parts and setting the take-down assembly properly and tight it worked perfectly.

To me the take-down system isn't a very good design to stand long time repetitive taking apart and reassembly unless being very careful. Mine is seldom separated and is as tight as possible, while accurate enough to hunt small game with open sights.
Yes, that's the sort of situation that I was talking about. I bought and old FN SA-22 two years ago that had been pawned and was being sold as a parts-only gun. It would have only needed the follower, pin, and springs - and to correct the fact that the forearm retaining stud had been installed backwards (which creates a large gap between the receiver and forearm). But unfortunately, it looked like the previous owner had used pliers or pipe wrenches on the receiver and locking ring trying to tighten the connection between the barrel and receiver (stupidity is beyond the scope of a warning note in the owners manual). So it cost me an additional $20 for a new locking ring and a few hours peening, draw filing, and polishing out the tooth marks on the edge of the receiver. Here's some before and after photos:













I break mine down, store them, and reassemble them all the time. That really doesn't require any changes or adjustment of the locking ring. It doesn't cause a great deal of wear and tear either. John Browning used the same idea of an adjustable locking sleeve with teeth, a sleeve lock, and sleeve lock screw on the takedown versions of the Model 1897 pump shotgun. But you have to break the gun down to see those parts and get at the adjustments. As a result, many owners never tampered with their settings.

Last edited by Traptinkansas; 10-08-2021 at 12:44 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 10-08-2021, 06:49 PM
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That looks much better...nice work!
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