Browning Citori over and under shotguns offer a solid value for the money. Whether it is configured for sporting clays, or for an upland hunt, the Citori is a great gun. With extended use, some shooters will report minor problems that can be solved with simple fixes. Perhaps the two most common problems are light primer hits in the under barrel and a weak top lever spring. In this post, we’ll look at how to replace the top lever spring, hammer spring and firing pins.
Before we get to work, please read the following disclaimer:
The contents of Rifleshooter.com are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. Rifleshooter.com and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.
Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.
Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.
Working on an over and under shotgun requires a great deal of attention to detail. Unlike many modern sporting shotguns that are adorned with plastic furniture and tough field finishes, your typical over and under has a deep blue finish and a fine walnut stock. These require care in handling and selection of tools.
Care must be taken with tool selection in general and with screwdrivers in particular. Use of the wrong screwdriver will result in a damaged screw head and ruin the look of the shotgun. I like to have a lot of screwdrivers on hand for this and use the Brownells Master Screwdriver Set along with the Brownells Magna-Tip Professional Super Set. Between these two sets of screwdrivers I can find a tool that perfectly fits the head of the screw I am working with to ensure that I don’t damage it.
This is the gun we’ll be working on in the post: a 20 gauge Citori White Lightning. The customer had issues with reliability of the bottom barrel. After taking a look at the gun, we decided to install new springs and longer firing pins.
We ended up purchasing a kit from JP Products to install. The kit includes two new firing pins, a new top lever spring, a bottom barrel firing pin return spring, and two firing pin springs.
To access the inside of the action, the stock needs to be removed. I use the correctly sized Brownells gunsmith screwdriver to remove the screws from the butt plate. For this and other parts I remove, I immediately place them in thick plastic bags to prevent damage or loss.
Next, the trigger guard screws are removed.
On the Citori, the trigger guard needs to be rotated out of position so it can be removed.
The stock bolt can now be removed with a long screw driver. We use this shop-made tool to remove ours.
The tool is two pieces of square stocked welded together with a screw driver blade ground into the bottom of the “T”.
Replacing Browning Citori Firing Pins
The firing pins of the Citori are retained by a splined pin. The splines are located on the same side of the receiver the firing pin is located. The punch in the image above shows the location of the bottom barrel firing pin. This pin should be driven out from left to right. I like to start pin removal with a starter punch and follow with a pin punch. The bottom firing pin has a return spring, this is not found on the top firing pin. When I fit the firing pins I like to check that their protrusion is adequate and that the pins move freely within the firing pin channels.
The top, or over, barrel firing pin retaining pin is shown with the punch in the image above. This pin is driven out from the right side of the receiver to the left.
Replacing a Browning Citori top lever spring
The kit we are using includes a new, more powerful top lever spring. The new spring (above, right) is shown next to the original spring (above, left) in the image above.
The top lever spring is retained by a top lever dog and top lever dog screw. To remove the spring, the dog screw is simply removed along with the dog.
When installed, the top lever spring fits over the boss located on the end of the top lever dog as shown in the image above.
To install the new top lever spring, I like to start threading in the top lever dog screw just a little bit. Then I use a punch to push the new spring into place. As the screw is tightened, the spring is brought into alignment with the top lever dog.
Changing Browning Citori hammer springs
The hammer springs are located behind each hammer. The spring is guided by a spring plunger that is held in place under tension. This could be pried out, however, I modified a set of pliers to remove the springs. Each spring is simply compressed, removed and then replaced.
The pliers started life as a cheap set of 10″ tongue and groove pliers. I then machined and ground them to the shape above. I found this design by Rod Henrickson on YouTube. You can find the video here.
When the gun is back together I like to test fire it to make sure everything is working right. This gun is now ready for years of continued service!
If your local gunsmith doesn’t work on the Browning Citori, you can reach my shop, 782 Custom Gunworks LTD, here.