Wednesday, October 22, 2014

John Browning For Western Wednesday...!

The Wild West might have been much wilder if it weren't for the inventions of one Mr. John Browning.

Thanks to his many firearm improvements and patents, weapons became easier to use for both the novice and experienced. Truly he was the "father of the modern firearm!"

Jan 21, 1855:
Gun designer John Browning is born

John Moses Browning, sometimes referred to as the "father of modern firearms," is born in Ogden, Utah. Many of the guns manufactured by companies whose names evoke the history of the American West-Winchester, Colt, Remington, and Savage-were actually based on John Browning's designs.

The son of a talented gunsmith, John Browning began experimenting with his own gun designs as a young man. When he was 24 years old, he received his first patent, for a rifle that Winchester manufactured as its Single Shot Model 1885. Impressed by the young man's inventiveness, Winchester asked Browning if he could design a lever-action-repeating shotgun. Browning could and did, but his efforts convinced him that a pump-action mechanism would work better, and he patented his first pump model shotgun in 1888.

Fundamentally, all of Browning's manually-operated repeating rifle and shotgun designs were aimed at improving one thing: the speed and reliability with which gun users could fire multiple rounds-whether shooting at game birds or other people. Lever and pump actions allowed the operator to fire a round, operate the lever or pump to quickly eject the spent shell, insert a new cartridge, and then fire again in seconds.

By the late 1880s, Browning had perfected the manual repeating weapon; to make guns that fired any faster, he would somehow have to eliminate the need for slow human beings to actually work the mechanisms. But what force could replace that of the operator moving a lever or pump? Browning discovered the answer during a local shooting competition when he noticed that reeds between a man firing and his target were violently blown aside by gases escaping from the gun muzzle. He decided to try using the force of that escaping gas to automatically work the repeating mechanism.

Browning began experimenting with his idea in 1889. Three years later, he received a patent for the first crude fully automatic weapon that captured the gases at the muzzle and used them to power a mechanism that automatically reloaded the next bullet. In subsequent years, Browning refined his automatic weapon design. When U.S. soldiers went to Europe during WWI, many of them carried Browning Automatic Rifles, as well as Browning's deadly machine guns.

During a career spanning more than five decades, Browning's guns went from being the classic weapons of the American West to deadly tools of world war carnage. Amazingly, since Browning's death in 1926, there have been no further fundamental changes in the modern firearm industry.

It's amazing to see that not many changes to his designs have been made over the years. I reckon it's like they say...if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Temps in the high 60's, so it's pleasant


Mamahen said...

Obviously a brilliant man :))

Chickenmom said...

Wonder if any of his first rifles are still around? 55 and breezy here - might get a little rain later. Just happen to have some apple pie to share!

linda m said...

Love this story! Shows how a little ingenuity can go a long way. And I love the statement you made - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Would love to sit on your patio as it is only 36 degrees here right now. Should be sunny and high of 55 today. Thanks for the apple pie Chickenmom.

Sixbears said...

I buddy of mine works as a firearms engineer and they are still, in many areas, just refining old designs.

Another cool wet morning, inside by the woodstove.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Like you said Mr. Hermit, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
That he was, without a doubt!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Phyllis...
If they are, they would be worth a fortune!

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey Linda M...
The man's mind was always working, I reckon!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Sixbears...
Guess they know a good thing when they see it, right?

Thanks for dropping by!

Hey Dizzy...
Seems to be a good practice to follow.

I appreciate you coming over today!