1969 Browning FN High-Power .270 Olympian Grade Bolt Action Rifle

Made in Belgium 1960-1974

Fabrique Nationale d’Armes de Guerre (FN) in Liege Belgium manufactured these guns from 1960 to 1974 for Browning Arms Company. The rifles were based on the FN commercial Mauser action. The model was known as the High Power, which is confusing today since everyone thinks of the 9mm Hi-Power pistol by that name.

These rifles were issued in three grades: Safari, Medallion and Olympian. The Safari or standard grade gun was made in the plant at Liege, Belgium while the two higher grades were made in the Custom Shop in Herstal, Belgium. The Olympian grade rifles required many hours to complete by master gunsmiths, master checkerers and carvers, and master engravers.

Browning High-Power Bolt Action .270 Olympian Grade Rifle
Hand Engraving by Masters

The engravers of my 1969 specimen are F. Marechal, A. Bee and J. Bague. The receiver, floor-plate and trigger guard are chrome plated in satin finish that has deep relief animal scenes engraved, as well as deep scroll work on other metal parts.

The Market in 2023

In my market search this morning, I found 27 of these guns being offered for sale. Ten of those guns were chambered in .30-06, the most common caliber. While only one was chambered in .284, the rarest caliber.

  • 10 were chambered .30-06
  • 4 were chambered 7mm
  • 3 were chambered .300 Win Mag
  • 3 were chambered .308 Norma Magnum
  • 2 were chambered .270
  • 1 was chambered .22-250
  • 1 was chambered .338 Win Mag
  • 1 was chambered .284 Win
  • 1 was chambered .243
  • 1 was chambered .375 H&H Magnum

The average price was $13,143 with the highest price of $29,995 for the very rare .284 Win. that was in New Unfired Condition. The gun was manufactured in 1966 with the Short Sako Action. All scenes were engraved by A. Marechal.


The lowest priced gun was one of the .300 Win Mags at $7,500. This particular gun showed scuffs, scratches and dents. The retaining bar for the bolt release showed a slight bend. To top things off, this gun had the serial number after-market added, engraved in amateurish chicken-scratch on the bolt. Assumably, the orginal owner's initials were engraved on the gold plate of the pistol grip.

Source: Guns International - Browning Belgium Rifles - Olympian

Serial Number
Serial Number

Further Research

After combing through my library and scouring the internet, I found a letter from the Browning Historian, Glen H. Jensen describing a gun with a serial number 1,032 after mine. My gun's serial number is 52440L69 and the gun with serial number 53472L69 sold wholesale for $490.88 on May 19, 1970 to Sportland Inc. in Lansing, Michigan.

Author inspecting the Browning Rifle
Gold Not Brass

Of all the guns I've owned that had a plate to engrave your initials, this is the only one that is solid gold. To learn what the retail price of the gun was in 1970, I went to the 24 hour campsite website and asked if any of the members had bought one back in the day.

Member 260Remguy replied that he had the 1969 Shooter's Bible. He said, "page 87, #60, shows that the prices were between $574.50 and $599.50, depending on the caliber." He further stated, "that would equate to between $4,785.59 and $4,993.84 in 2023 Dollar Values."

Browning High-Power Bolt Action .270 Olympian Grade Rifle
1969 Olympian Grade High Power Browning

One cannot write about a Browning shotgun or rifle from this period without at least mentioning the Salt Wood debacle. As everyone likely knows the story, I won't go into detail other than to say that for a period of time (1966-1971) Browning used salt-cured walnut stock blanks to cure them faster and cheaper than air drying or kiln curing.

According to my research, all so-called salt-wood stocks were Claro Walnut (California Black Walnut) and primarily showed up in the Safari and Medalion grades of the High Power, T-Bolt rifles and Superposed shotguns.

Inspecting the Browning High-Power Bolt Action .270 Olympian Grade Rifle
Inspecting the Stock

Properly photographing long guns has always been an issue for me. My iPhone 14 Pro Max does a good job, however, the differences that show up with varied lighting sure can show contrast.

Inspecting the Browning High-Power Bolt Action .270 Olympian Grade Rifle
Inspecting the Engraving

If I didn't already own this gun, I would be shopping for an early (1960-1964) gun for sure! Given my market research, what does the price history of these guns look like?

  • 1970 - $500
  • 1980 - $1,000
  • 1990 - $2,000
  • 2000 - $4,000
  • 2010 - $8,000
  • 2020 - $16,000
  • 2023 - $13,143

These guns have held their own very well in the context of hunting rifles. Occasionally, you will find one of these guns priced for a quick sale. If you are considering making a buy in this price range, the Olympian Grade High Power might be the right gun for you.

In my efforts to learn as much as I could about this gun, I read a great deal about the 98 Mauser. The Mauser Model 98 had become so popular worldwide, that FN made refinements to adapt the gun to the civilian market after the Second World War. These guns with the FN improvements became known as the Commercial FN Mauser.

When Browning Arms contracted with FN in 1959 to produce this line for them, the Browning version would have one mechanical (cosmetic too) improvement over the Commercial FN Mauser. It was designed with a flush bolt stop, eliminating the protruding bolt stop housing.

"54 years later and the bluing is still mirror-like."

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Disclosure: “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”


In Terms of Quality, Reliability and Beauty... How Can You Top This?

Perhaps a custom-made rifle in the price range of say $35,000 today could touch this. If you are just not into the wood checkering and carving and the engraving, then another gun might appeal more to you.

"Admittedly, I always loved the simplistic beauty of the Colt Sauer rifles of the late 70s and early 80s."

However, this 54 year-old work of art has won my heart. An elderly gentleman who was an avid collector died with more than 100 guns in his collection. His son, who was about my age inherited them all and wanted nothing whatsoever to do with them. One by one, they were being sold off by a local gun dealer. I was fortunate to acquire this one!

The young gun store employee filling out the paperwork for my purchase asked me what the model number of the gun was. I told him it did not have a model number. He wrote "NMN" on the paperwork.

Before my transaction was complete, an older employee came over and reviewed the paperwork that the younger man had completed. He asked me, "so this is an older gun that has no serial number?" "It has a serial number", I replied. He asked, what does this "NMN" stand for? "No Model Number", I replied.

Author with Browning Bolt Action Rifle
Author with 1969 Browning High-Power

This was likely the first and last Browning High Power Bolt Action Rifle to be sold at this gun store.

It is true that this gun is for all intents and purposes, an FN gun with the Browning name on it. Just as the Colt Sauer guns were J.P. Sauer and Sohn rifles with the Colt name on them. For an American made gun, you would have to look to Weatherby or the Pre-1964 Winchesters, and then, you will never find anything close to this (in my opinion).

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