Browning HiViz Bird Buster… “start of a” review

Shooting clays is about pointing, not aiming. So, in principle, one can say that there is no need for aiming devices on shotgun. Do a 10 sec google and you will see the endless debate and opinions about this subject (cf. neutral vs. bright beads, the middle bead debate, etc).

I shoot a Winchester Sporting Select II, it has a white front and middle bead. I have found this middle bead convenient for practising my mount. Middle and front bead alignment give me a quick check for mount. If you can’t get the mount right, there is no point is wasting a shell by putting a whole in the sky. Once I start swinging that gun, I noticed that I’m in general not aware of those beads (and when I am, the orange substitute pigeon often escapes a horrible death).

I’m happy with my gun and its white neutral beads, but I’ve always been intrigued by the bright fiber beads you find on many sporting guns. Do they distract (and make you wrongly aim)? Or do they subconsciously assist your brain in crushing those orange disks?

Browning HiViz Bird BusterWhen I saw the “Browning HiViz Bird Buster” – magnetic clip-on sights with bright fiber pipes – that seemed a cheap way to try the “bright bead” and cool my curiosity.

Mounting the Bird Buster is easy (they snap on with strong magnets, and stay in place when a shot is fired), visibility is good, but I’ve noticed that they sit quite high. So the “new” front bead sits much higher than the fixed bead. Clearly, this was going to affect POA/POI (Point of Aim / Point of Impact). So, I went out to pattern my gun (note it’s a sporter so shoots about 60/40). The figure below shows the results.

As expected the shotgun pattern shifts downwards with the Bird Busters, ending up in a 50/50 to 40/60 configuration. Which seems very inconvenient to me, because this requires you to completely cover up the clay when shooting. Note that if I could raise my stock (comb), I could get the gun with the raised sight, back on the same pattern. My Winchester however has a fixed comb.

With this result, my enthusiasm has faded and I didn’t try the “Browning HiViz Bird Buster” with “live” clays yet. I should, because probably mounting this sight will probably not even matter, because I’m not really conscious of the beads when swinging… which at the same time makes this whole “bright bead” thing pointless 🙂

Shotgun Pattern with/without HiViz


Browning Hi-Power (GP) doesn’t fire – bent sear lever

Recently, I had a problem with my old Browning Hi-Power: about 10% of the time, it didn’t go off. I could use all the force I had on that trigger, nothing happened. Racking the slide always solved the problem.

browning-highpowerFirst I checked if maybe something was wrong with the safety or whether the gun went into full battery (maybe the recoil spring was worn). My next idea was that the trigger spring (48) was a bit worn out and didn’t push the trigger lever (46) snug against the frame anymore (my Hi-power has the mag safety removed which allows more side-ways travel on the trigger lever). If that was the case, the trigger lever would be hitting the slide when pulling the trigger rather that the sear lever (30). In a correct functioning Hi-Power, when the trigger is pulled, the trigger lever pushes the sear lever (in the slide), which in turn pushes the sear (in the frame), releasing the hammer. But also that didn’t check out, because when the gun was blocking I still could pull the trigger quite far, further than I would have been able if the trigger lever was really stuck on the slide.

Finally I found out that the problem was cause by a bent sear lever (30). The trigger lever pushed the sear lever correctly, however that being bent, it just bearily reached the sear, resulting in a failure to activate it about 10% of the time.

I’ve bent it back for now, the gun works perfectly again, but that quick fix will only temporarily hold I guess. I’ll have to buy a new sear lever. I thought I would share this for all Hi-Power fans out there who run into this annoying problem.