Skip to comments.Happy Birthday John Moses Browning
Posted on 01/21/2012 8:14:24 AM PST by JRandomFreeper
In 1855, John Browning was born. He was a gifted gunmaker that gave us many great weapons that survive to this day.
I am aware of the confusion about whether his birthday was the 21st or the 23rd. So I intend to celebrate all weekend long.
Incredible to think that two weapons, the 1911 and the “ma deuce”, both of which will soldier on well into this century, were designed by a man born 5 years before Lincoln’s election. A testament to Browning’s genius.
Bump to great inventions !
The 1911A1 is the best IMO.
1855 to 1926. He had just finished is last pistol design before his death. FN later introduced it as the Browning Hi-Power. I have a circa 1967 Hi-Power and a Colt series 80 as well as a few other Browning inspired firearms.
He made his first firearm when he was 13. Today, if a 13 year old made a firearm, he'd be in jail.
Our current laws very much constrain freedom and innovation.
There is a book, “John M. Browning, American Gunmaker” which I bought many years ago. I had no idea how many of our famous guns were designed by him until I read that book.
I would recommend it to anyone. Very readable and also well illustrated. Also a fair amount about his Father Jonathan Browning who learned gunsmithing including how to make your own tools while a young man in Kentucky. This was while he was apprenticed to another gunsmith.
Jonathan also had an inventive mind, creating a repeating flintlock which had a bar which moved laterally in the barrel, containing five chambers you could pre-load sort of like a magazine.
Colt 1911 and the Browning Hi-Power. Two of the best designs ever.
Many of his other designs for smaller pocket pistols are also good, but that TRAVESTY the 1968 Gun Control Law keeps them out of the US.
Mormons control gun design.....ping.
I’m planning a trip out west this summer and plan on stopping at the John Browning Museum in Ogden while I’m out there.
Don’t neglect the Win 1894, some examples of same are too old to be considered firearms.
I vote this the scariest looking rifle ever built.
That and the '34 NFA need to be completely removed.
Take the bipod off and lose the carry handle (the way the troops preferred it), and it’s actually kinda sexy.
Bonnie & Clyde’s weapon of choice (cut down version) BAR Rock!
Ditto the BAR, as well as the A5, and a host of Winchester Rifles. And for you 9 mill fans, the Browning Hi-Power. The closest anyone’s come are Ruger, Stoner and Kalashnikov. and except for Ruger, the body of work isn’t even close.
Been there many times when stationed at Hill AFB.... You will love it.
Stay Safe !
Browning should be celebrated as much as Edison for his technological accomplishments. Other than the incandescent electric light bulb, I can’t think of any other inventions that have endured pretty much unchanged for 100 years like Browning’s designs. However, in this gun hating era I don’t see much chance that school kids will learn about his genius.
Not too thrilled with Kalashnikov's politics, but he designed one of the most sucessful rifles in the world.
Actually Browning was in a class all by himself. No one else was even close.
Happy Birthday Mr. Browning, and thanks. I still enjoy the 1100.
I need to get out to Tampa Bay Sporting Clays in the near future.
“As I sit here and type this, my 1911 style autoloader is on the desk. Great design.”
Mine’s inside the waistband, as always. Heading to the range today to commemorate 101 years of great design by this legend. Everything else is just a pistol.
In 1972 the South Vietnamese Marines had just recaptured Quang Tri. There was a pile of captured weapons outside the HQ of the Brigade I was liaison to. From the pile, I picked out a BAR to take home as a war souvenir...after a short discussion with the Senior Advisor, the Major convinced me of the immaturity of my view on the matter. The gun stayed in Viet Nam.
Well that settles it then.
I owe it to history to buy myself a Browning Hi-Power!
JMB may have been the end of the line.
Great idea! If it wasn’t rainy around here, I’d take my Browning Hi-Power and 1911 to the range and send a few pellets downrange in Browning’s honor.
If I remember right, Browning died of a heart attack while working on the nearly complete over under superposed. This was at the great FN plant near Liege, Belgium.
Browning often had disputes with Winchester despite the fact that just about every gun they had made since buying the original single shot from him was a Browning design.
When Winchester balked at giving him a royalty for the automatic shotgun, he took it to Remington. In an odd occurrence, the President of Remington died of a heart attack while Browning was waiting to see him in his office.
Browning then took his shotgun to FN and received a welcome far better than he had from the American gunmakers. He also left them the design for a little .32 automatic pistol. The FN plant was nearly bankrupt and most of the machines idol. Before long they were turning out his .32 automatic pistol in the hundreds of thousands. These were the first guns to have “Browning” stamped on them. For a long time the word Browning was better known in Europe than America.
Of course FN did OK with the automatic shotgun too. For the rest of his life, Browning often had agreements where his designs sold in America were made by Colt and those sold in Europe were made by FN.
Both scary and sexy never go out of style. ;-)
For 1911 fans
The Gospel According to John
Bump that, yarddog...and thanks for the tip on the book. I'm going to start looking for it.
“He held 128 gun patents and designed and built 80 separate firearms 44 of them manufactured by Winchester.”
Winchester became the ‘Gun that Won the West’ ONLY because of Browning selling them his patents. Wonder how successful Winchester would have been without him?
Shamelessly copied from some old message board after a search:
From the book John M. Browning American Gunmaker by John Browning and Curt Gentry, 1964, Doubleday & Co, Garden City, NY
Guns of Johathan Browning (1805-79)
1. Slide repeating rifle, approx. caliber .45; never patented; total number manufactured not known; mfg dates: 1842-6 In Quincy and Nauvoo, Illinois, and 1846-52 in Kanesville, Iowa
2. Clyinder repeating rifle, approx. caliber .45; never patented, total number produced not known; mfg. sometime between 1834 and 1842
Guns of John M. Browning (1855-1926)
1. Single shot rifle (Browning Bros. & Winchester)
calibers from .22 Short to .50/90 Sharps; patent granted October 7, 1879
2. Tubular Magazine repeating rifle
patent granted July 25, 1882; never manufactured, no known models survive
3. Lever action repeating rifle
caliber .45; patent granted August 7, 1883; never manufactured
4. Model 1886 lever action repeating rifle
calibers .45/70, .40/82WCF, .45/90WCF, .40/65WCF, .38/56WCF, .50/110 Express, .40/70WCF, .38/70WCF, 50/100/450, .33WCF; patent 306,577 granted October 14, 1884, and purchased by Winchester same month
5. Model 1890 .22 caliber pump action repeating rifle (Winchester)
patent granted June 26, 1888
6. Model 1892 Lever action repeating rifle (Winchester)
covered under patent nos. 306,577; 465,399 (10/15/1892) & 499,005 (6/6/1893)
7. Model 1894 lever action repeating rifle (Winchester)
patent 524,702 granted August 21, 1894; calibers .32/40, .38/55; in 1895 .25/35 & .30/30 added; .32 Special added in 1902
8. Model 1895 lever action repeating rifle (Winchester)
patent 549,345 granted November 5, 1895; calibers .30 Krag, .38/72, .40/72 Win., .303 British, .35 Win., .405 Win., .30 Govât 1903, .30 Govât 1906, 7.62mm Russian
9. Model 1900 bolt action single shot .22 caliber rifle (Winchester)
patent granted August 29, 1899
10. Semi-automatic high power rifle (Remington and FN)
patent 659,786 granted October 16, 1900; produced as Remington model 8 in calibers .25, .30, .32, & .35 Remington (only 4,913 units manufactured by FN in .35 Rem. as the F.N. Caliber .35 Automatic Rifle)
11. Semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle (FN, Remington, & Browning)
patents 1,065,341-2 and 1,083,384 granted June 24 1913 & January 6, 1914
12. Pump action .22 caliber repeating rifle (FN)
patent 1,424,553 granted August 1, 1922; one of the few Browning guns never manufactured or sold in the U.S.; still in production by FN as of 1964
13. Browning Automatic Rifle (Colt, Winchester, Marlin-Rockwell, FN, & others)
patent 1,293,022 granted February 4, 1919; caliber .30-06
14. .38 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 312,183 granted February 10, 1885; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
15. .30 caliber Government lever action repeating rifle
patent 324,296 granted August 11, 1885; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
16. .45 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 324,297 granted August 11, 1885; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
17. .44 caliber pump action repeating rifle
patent 367,336 granted July 26, 1887; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
18. .45 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 376,576 granted January 17, 1888; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
19. .45/70 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 428,887 granted May 27, 1890; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
20. .44 caliber lever action repeating rifle
covered by same patent as #19; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
21. .22 caliber pull-apart repeating rifle
patent 465,340 granted December 15, 1891; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
22. .45 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 465,339 granted December 15, 1891; sold to Winchester but never manufactured; detachable box magazine
23. .30 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 492,459 granted February 28, 1893; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
24. .30 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 486,272 granted November 15, 1892; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
25. .30 caliber pull-apart repeating rifle
patent 486,273 granted Novemember 15, 1892; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
26. .30 caliber pull-apart repeating rifle
covered under same patent as #25; sold to Winchester but never manufactured; differed from #25 in that it incorporated a safety lock which locked the sear with the hammer cocked and also locked the gun against accidental pull-apart
27. .44 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 499,005 granted June 6, 1893; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
28 .30 caliber swing guard repeating rifle
patent 499,007 granted June 6, 1893; sold to Winchester but never manufactured; works like a lever action with the lever mounted backward
29. .22 caliber rim fire single shot rifle
patent 511,677 granted December 26, 1893; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
30. .22 caliber rim fire single shot rifle
covered same as #29; sold to Winchester but never manufactured; differs with a simple push-rod extractor and different spring arrangement on the breechblock
31. .22 caliber rim fire single shot rifle
covered same as #29; sold to Winchester but never manufactured; differs only in minor details
32. .22 caliber rim fire single shot rifle
same as #29; replaceable firing pin screwed into back of breechblock
33. .30 caliber pump action repeating rifle
patent 545,672 granted September 3, 1895; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
34. .40 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 545,671 granted September 3, 1895; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
35. .236 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 599,595 granted February 22, 1898; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
36. .30 caliber lever action repeating rifle
patent 619,132 granted February 7, 1899; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
37. .30 caliber lever action repeating rifle
covered same as #36; sold to Winchester but never manufactured; two-piece stock and double- row staggered magazine inside receiver;
38. Model 1887 lever action repeating shotgun (Winchester)
patent 336,287 granted February 16, 1886; 10 and 12 ga.
39. Model 1893 pump action repeating shotgun (Winchester)
patent 441,390 granted November 25, 1890; 12 ga., 2 5/8â shell
40. Model 1897 pump action repeating shotgun (Winchester)
Modified takedown version of the 1893; 12 & 16 ga.
41. Model 520 pump action shotgun (Stevens)
patent 781,765 granted February 7, 1905; 12 ga.
42. Model 17 pump action shotgun (Remington)
patent 1,143,170 granted June 15, 1915; 20 ga.; this was JMBâs last repeater-type shotgun design
43, 44, 45. automatic shotguns (FN, Browning, Remington, & others)
patent 659,507 granted October 9, 1900; patent 689,283 granted December 17, 1901; patent 710,094 granted September 20, 1902; patent 812, 326 granted February 13, 1906; 12, 16, 20 & 3â Mag. 12 ga.
46. Superposed shotgun (FN & Browning)
patents 1,578,638-39 granted March 30, 1926; 12, 20, 28, & .410 ga., first produced by FN in 1930, appeared in Browning Arms Co. line in 1931; JMBâs last invention
47. 12 gauge pump action shotgun
patent 345,882 granted July 20, 1886; sold to Winchester but never manufactured; model differs somewhat from the patent
48. 12 gauge pump action shotgun
same as #47; model identical
49. 10 gauge pump action shotgun
patent 356,271 granted January 18, 1887; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
50. 10 gauge pump action shtogun
same as #49
51. 10 gauge lever action shotgun
patent 376,576 granted January 17, 1888; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
52. 12 guage lever action shotgun
covered same as #51
53. 12 gauge pull-apart shotgun
patent 487,659 granted December 6, 1892; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
54. 12 gauge pump action shotgun
patent 552,864 granted January 7, 1896; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
55. 12 gauge pump action shotgun
patent 550,778 granted December 3, 1895; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
56. 12 gauge pump action shotgun
patent 577, 281 granted February 16, 1897; sold to Winchester but never manufactured
57. Early gas-operated firearms
Using a .44 Winchester Model 73, JMB designed a crude gas operated experimental model, precursor to his later machinegun designs; none of his experimental models survive; patent 417,782 was granted March 29, 1892 embodying the gas operation principal; patents on two new gas-operated automatic guns were filed August 3, 1891 and granted March 29, 1892; both guns tapped gas energy from the muzzle, but did so in completely different ways
58. First Browning machine gun and subsequent models
patent 471,783 granted March 29, 1892; caliber .45/70; 600 rpm, fed by fabric belt
59. Model 1895 automatic machine gun (Colt)
patent 544,657 granted August 20, 1895; calibers .30/40 Krag, 6mm Lee
60. Model 1917 .30 caliber machine gun (Colt, Remington, Westinghouse, & others)
patent 678,934 granted July 23, 1901; sometimes known as the Browning Model 1901, it was never manufactured in its original form; Browning changed the ejection from right side to bottom, and increased the rate of fire. These improvements were covered under patent 1,293,021, granted February 4, 1919; .30/06 caliber, 600rpm, link belt fed; water cooled
61. .50 caliber Browning water-cooled machine gun
patent 1,628,226 granted May 10, 1927; caliber .50BMG; 750-850rpm; link belt fed; water cooled
62, 63, 64. 37MM aircraft cannons (Colt, Vickers, & others)
patents 1,525,065-67 granted February 3, 1925; 37mm air cooled magazine fed; 135rpm
65. .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol
patent 580,923 granted April 20, 1897; rights sold to Colt along with 3 others, but never manufactured; gas operated
66. .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol
patent 580,926 granted April 20, 1897; blowback action
67, 68. .38 caliber semi-automatic pistols
#67 patent 580,925 granted April 20, 1897; #68 patent 708,794 granted September 9, 1902; first Browning pistols to employ positively locked recoiling barrel
69. .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol
patent 580,925 granted April 20, 1897; sold to Colt but never produced; first to employ Browningâs grip safety
70. Model 1900 .38 caliber semi-automatic pistol (Colt)
patent 580,924 granted Arpil 20, 1897; caliber .38 ACP; introduced on market in February 1900
71. Model 1900 .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol (FN)
patent 621,747 granted March 21, 1899; caliber .32ACP (7.65mm Browning)
72. Model 1903 pocket .32 caliber semi-automatic pistol (Colt)
patent 747,585 granted December 22, 1903; caliber .32ACP
73. Model 1903 9mm military semi-automatic pistol (FN)
Belgian patent filed before US patent; blowback operated, concealed hammer; caliber 9mm Browning Long
74. .45 caliber military model semi-automatic pistol
prototype of M1911, covered under same patent as #75
75. Model 1911 Government .45 Caliber Automatic Pistol (Colt, Remington, and others)
Patent filed February 17, 1910 and # 984,519 granted February 14, 1911; second patent #1, 070,582 covering details of the mechanical safety granted August 19, 1913; caliber .45ACP
76. .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol model vest pocket (FN, Colt, Browning, & others)
patent 947,478 granted January 25, 1910; caliber .25ACP
77. Models 1910 & 1922 semi-automatic pistols (FN & Browning)
Design completed in 1910, patented in Belgium shortly thereafter; calibers .32ACP & .380ACP (9mm Browning Short)
78. .22 caliber L.R. semi-automatic practice pistol
This model was one of three or four JMB invented in 1915 in response to the US Armyâs desire to have a rimfire practice pistol with handling characteristics similar to the M1911; none were ever produced; some were lost either through theft or disassembly
79. Woodsman .22 caliber semi-automatic pistol (Colt)
patent 1,276,716 granted August 27, 1918; first called the Colt .22 Automatic Target Pistol, in 1927 Colt renamed it the Woodsman
80. 9mm parabellum semi-automatic pistol
Never patented or produced
81. 9mm parabellum semi-automatic pistol (FN, Browning, & others)
patnet 1,618,510 granted February 22, 1927, three months after Browningâs death. First produced by FN in 1935 as the Model 1935
Many of Browningâs original models no longer survive. Some were lost, others stolen, and many were disassembled for later experiments. Not mentioned in the above list are patents for 32 entire firearms for which there are no known surviving models. Browning also invented and patented a device for loading cartridges into machine gun belts.
The Browning Double Automatic shotgun was invented by Johnâs son Val A. Browning while he was president of the Browning Arms Co.
The FN-Browning Light Automatic Rifle, caliber .308, was not a Browning invention, though it bears his name. It was designed by D. D. Saive, Chief of Weapon Design and Development at FN. He gained extensive experience in automatic weapons working with JMB. âIt is not surprising therefore that one finds in this rifle in several places features which first appeared in Browning mechanisms (gas intake and piston, wire-spring-actuated extractor, recoil spring housed in the buttstock) and thus it can be said that the weapon is of Browning inspiration-a natural consequence of more than fifty years of continuous collaboration between the FN and Browning companies.
Yes John was a patriot too. His Son, John Val. Browning took the BAR to France in WWI to test. The war ended before he got the chance to do so in combat.
Browning took a royalty of only a dollar for his .30 caliber machine gun. According to the book, it was worth literally millions but Browning said something like those boys were giving their lives over there and he could not see charging for a gun which was to help win the war.
The M1911 is the closet thing to perfecting you can hold in one hand, the other is beer.
bingo... never happen again
I can think of one (actually two - they tend to come in pairs) other “object” (given being of the proper caliber)....
To be fair, the "Gun that Won the West" was the 1873 Winchester repeating rifle based on the "Volcanic" pistol which was developed when Browning was only 3 years old. Browning took that design and made it stonger, more able to handle large caliber rounds.
I guess I should have specified perfect man-made object.
You are right that the 1873 was the real gun that won the West but it is not very similar to the Browning lever actions at all.
The 1873 was a weak action using a toggle lock. The various Browning lever actions such as the 1886, 92, 94 and 95 all used a locking block similar to falling block single shot rifles except they locked in back. A far stronger system.
Most of Browning’s designs were never manufactured because Winchester (or Colt) would buy the patents just to keep other companies from using them.
It is amazing when you realize that most guns on the market today are based on 1890s designs. The period from the 1850s to 1890s saw an incredible evolution in gun design and manufacturing. In 1867, the muzzle loading cap and ball revolver reigned supreme, yet just 30 years later, Browning had designed the automatic pistol which later became the model 1911.
I'm looking for good prices on components.
My brother, doing his part for JMB day, was hitting most of the gun stores, and he called me to say that 30-30 was going for as much as $2/round. Given that I've got an old box of Winchester marked $8.99, I demured, and told him I would reload.
He did say that Cabella's had good prices on reloading supplies. But that the price on ammo at Cheaper Than Dirt was really high right now.
Two of Brownings inventions are almost totally dominant in all modern firearms. Gas operation and the pistol slide.