BDA-380 Help Please - Pistolsmith

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Old 06-30-2012, 09:59 AM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Palm Bay, Fl
Posts: 2
Question BDA-380 Help Please

Brand New To The Forum...

Just purchased a Browning BDA-380 nickel plated (used) in great appearing condition. Took it to the range and was quickly dissapointed. It shot poorly at best. At 20 feet it shot about 8 inches high and all over the target left and right. It got worse with increased distance and slightly better closer. It appeared that I lost the front sight in the slide with the nickel plating so I painted the front sight with red nail polish and tried again. Just as poor with accuracy. I have never shot a hand gun with these characteristics before. Every article I have read states the same thing. Gun is great and accurate. I contacted Browning and spoke to a young person who told me that that gun is obsolete and he has no information about it. (WOW!!!) The only thing I noticed was the slide has an extremely tight spring and it is somewhat difficult to pull back. Other then that, it looks great inside and out.

Please, any suggestions or comments are appreciated.

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Old 06-30-2012, 12:23 PM   #2
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 67
Richard, respectfully, did you check the bore? Does it have rifling?

Is the barrel tight to the frame (because it's a blowback, or so I believe, the barrel should be rigidly affixed to the frame)?


Old 06-30-2012, 05:31 PM   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,801
Here's some common trouble shooting checks.

Try different ammo.
Some guns just don't "like" some ammo.

Have someone else shoot the gun.
This may eliminate whether it's the gun or you.
(Don't be offended, I once had a buddy who often placed at Camp Perry who couldn't get a Colt 1917 revolver to shoot. He had me try it and I got great groups. He looked at the gun, and proceeded to shoot a fantastic group).

Clean the gun thoroughly, especially the bore and chamber. Properly lubricate it.

Look for anything that looks "off".
Look for unusual wear or alterations, excessively loose slide, or damage to the critical muzzle crown.

Check the sights for looseness.

Paint the front and rear sights with some flat black paint, or smoke them with a carbide shooters smoke light. You can also buy a spray can of artificial sight blackening. This is like a black soot that coats the sights, but just wipes off with a rag.
This will eliminate any glare from the sights and give a good sight picture on a standard bullseye target.

Shoot off sand bags to eliminate unsteady hold.
Old 06-30-2012, 06:10 PM   #4
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Palm Bay, Fl
Posts: 2
Thanks for the responses...

1. The barrel appears to be as tight to the frame as my Hi-Power. It does not show any unusual ware. The rifling in the barrel is clean and not obstructed.

2. I tried three (3) brands of ammo: Remington, Winchester and Federal. 80, 88 and 95 gr bullets. I used FMJ, Hollow Point and Soft Point. No difference with any of the ammo tried. I had my friend shoot the gun and the result were the same. Tried several positions to gain stability which included a sand bag. The first thing I did when getting the gun was to clean and lube it. It was already spotless inside but did it anyway. The front sight is fixed and built into the slide. The rear sight is for windage only and is tight.
Old 07-01-2012, 05:14 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Jun 2001
Posts: 1,801
About all you can do contact Browning and ask about sending it in to have them take a look at it.
You may need to ask to speak with a supervisor.

If they won't look at it, you'll need to find a good top quality pistolsmith to look at it.
I can recommend Cylinder & Slide Shop, but they're slow due to back log.

DO NOT install a lighter recoil spring. These blow back guns have to have a stiff spring.

If it'll help, here's an owner's manual:
Old 07-01-2012, 10:18 PM   #6
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2006
Location: near Huntsville, Ala.
Posts: 707
You could slug the barrel.

Also examine the crown closely with a magnifying glass. Use a Qtip or other cotton ball to see if it catches fibers when clean.

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