You have to be careful on the type of finish you have as Browning used at least 3 with the most common being the high gloss urethane like finish on may of the target guns...you know, the one that turns white when you scratch it. They also used a similar finish in a flat or satin version on certain target guns including the XS Sporting and Skeet models. That is what it looks like you have based on your photos.
On the 525 Sporting guns, they did use an oil finish that shows a lot of grain and does dry out. That is where the Browning refinishing note you quoted applies. I am unfortunately in the midst of re-oiling a 525 now using the Formby's Tung oil option and it is not going well. After two coats it is spotty in gloss level and takes forever to dry (over 24 hours on the 2nd coat).
If your gun has the satin urethane finish like I suspect, you can buff the gloss level up a bit using a little fine abrasive like Rottenstone mixed with Lemon oil or use some auto products like Meguiar's Swirl Remover followed by Mirror Glaze 7 and some stock wax. Be careful not to remove too much finish.
If the finish is in fact a satin urethane, try polishing it out with mild rubbing compound. I use Meguiar's ScratchX on Remington's "mud" urethane with great results.
If it is an oil finish, it can be redone to a glossy sheen. I have a Beretta with what was an ugly oil finish that hid a lot of figure. The photo below shows two guns with that finish with my son's older Beretta of the same model but with a glossier oil they formerly used in the middle. My gun is on the bottom.
I then had a local craftsman refinish my wood with the oil finish he uses. The warm glow and "depth" that resulted is obvious and the cost was quite reasonable. He also added a pistol grip extension made of Buffalo horn.
I would start by trying to polish the finish to a gloss. You can't hurt anything because if the oil is to be redone, it has to be sanded first anyway.
QUOTE: "On the 525 Sporting guns, they did use an oil finish that shows a lot of grain and does dry out..."
That was my experience with a recently purchased Citori 525, the wood was quite dry right out of the box, with practically no luster whatsoever. The gun clearly had a plain oil finish, and for that all I did was clean it thouroughly with some odorless mineral spirits to remove any fingerprints or gun oils, then I put about 6 coats of BLO (boiled linseed oil) diluted 50/50 with mineral spirits, each coat was allowed to dry for at least 12 hrs. then buffed lightly with 0000 steel wool, the resulting finish is quite nice looking IMO. I don't believe the gun in t7731's pictures is an oil finish, it has way too much shine to it for it to be oil IMO, rather, I think it some type of semi-gloss urethane finish, and linseed oil woun't work on that without stripping first, which is a lot of work believe me. I concur with the suggestion of using Meguiars Scratch-X, I know a lot of guys in this situation who have had great success restoring a nice glossy finish to stocks that had become dull over time.
t7731, A modern "oil" finish is not likely a true oil finish at all. Linseed oil is worthless on a gunstock and takes forever to dry. They are "modified" oils. With urethane, driers and other secret stuff. Cheap products like Frombys are not true oils either and I wouldn't use it on a gunstock. A common durable finish is Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil. A modified oil finish that can be dulled or left glossy.
It looks like someone just knocked off high gloss,probably with steel wool.This is pretty common. I have just buffed finish back to a gloss using a polishing wheel and liquid car polish. If any questions how I did it PM me
QUOTE: "Linseed oil is worthless on a gunstock and takes forever to dry. They are "modified" oils. With urethane, driers and other secret stuff... A common durable finish is Birchwood Casey Tru-Oil...."
Well, not exactly. BLO (boiled lindseed oil) is a common gunstock finish that has been boiled to increase it's drying time, and is far from "useless", plus it doesn't contain any "modified oils" either, ie. fast drying urethanes etc. BLO should not be confused with "pure" Linseed oil which can take weeks to dry.
As for Birchwood Casey's Tru oil, it contains a combined mix of roughly 67% Linseed oil & Mineral spirits, plus some "secret" modified oil... LOLL, yeah ok, whatever. I've used the stuff before, and you have to completely strip off any previous finishes down to the bare wood before you apply it, probably due to the "secret" ingredient. If you're gonna go to all that trouble then just strip the old finish and spray on a high gloss Urethane, it will dry faster and look better than any "Magic Oil"
From your pictures it looks like you have a satin finish to me. Go to amazon and buy the following
1. Step one watco rejuvenating oil . Apply according to the directions on the can. What this will do is lift any wax that has been applied
2. Now you can do the following.
A. Apply watch Danish oil , since you do not know if there was a tint to what was applied I would purchase the clear, think they call it natural Apply this with a sponge and let sit for about twenty minutes. DO NOT LET THIS DRY. You will wipe this off when you press your fingertip to the applied oil and it leaves an impression. Wipe all the oil off and buff with clean rag. What I do is use a 1500 grit sand paper when I apply addition coats . A good trick is to take the closed can of oil and place it in a bowl of warm water, what this does is allow the oil to spread easier and penetrate the pores deeper. I did a stock where I probably put on 10 to 20 coats. Good winter project here in the northeast.
B. Once you have put enough coats of oil on buff the stock by hand. Then you will need to buy watco solvent wax. Follow directions on can and buff . This I also apply with a 1500 or better grit sand paper. FYI this wax is also a liquid that goes on easy.
Keep in mind that this type of finish needs to be tended to, it is not like a poly. So every once in a while apply the rejuvenating oil as directed wait as directed on can and the apply some more wax
shoobedoo , Boiled Linseed Oil still takes forever to dry. It was a common stock finish when that was all that was available. It is next to worthless as a stock finish. No one with any sense uses it anymore except someone hung up on nostalgia.. It provides poor protection from the elements and has to be reapplied often. It turns black from handling. If you apply it often for 50yrs you may get somewhere.
Also be careful with the rags you use to apply these finishes; they are subject to spontaneous combustion if left alone or in a container. Painters are well aware of the problems. Not sure what your best solution is; I burn them first.
I agree it looks like someone took the gloss off on purpose..the satin is easier to grip especially in wet conditions...I use Scotts Liquid Gold on all mine..whether its oil or urethane/clear it does a great job taking off grime and crud that can blacken your checkering..I just use a med. soft tEEthbrush on the checkered areas then just wipe off and buff dry with a terry towel...you can get it at any grocery store