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Browning, John Moses

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John Moses
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21.01.1855 Ogden, Utah
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26.11.1926 Lutych
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John Moses Browning was one of the most important designers of small arms of all time.


He was born 21. January 1855 in mormon family in Ogden, Utah. His father Jonathan Browning was a gunsmith. He came from Tennessee, where he was apprenticed as a puškařskému craft, in the year 1852, however, he moved to Utah. Jonathan Browning was a successful gunsmith - well sold, in particular, his repeater pistol and rifle system "accordion" (then, with the sliding block of the cartridge chambers).

Jonathan Browning - father of John Moses Browning
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Young John was the eleventh of 18 children in the Browning family (Jonathan Browning had as a mormon, four wives), and from his youth he showed considerable puškařské talents. In ten years, it began from the father to learn the craft. Despite the irregular and incomplete school education (school could attend only when his father needed help in the shop) won the young John sufficient knowledge especially in mathematics and the other sciences, which could apply in the construction of weapons.

When was John Browning for 13 years, he built the first weapon of its own design - from the front, charging a shotgun. A year later (1869) compiled from the spare parts rifle with a skluzovým finally, as a gift for my brother for his birthday. 1878 and since then started work on the single-shot zadovce with block's conclusion. In April of the following year, also scored a success in personal life, when he married Rachel, Teresa and julia child. About a month later John applied for his first patent, covering the construction of the above-mentioned zadovky. Patent no. 220.271 he was awarded in October, the joy, however, was spoiled of his father's death. Jonathan Browning died on 21. 6. 1879 and management of the family firm he took over, John, together with his four years younger brother Matthew. While John was in charge of the development and production of weapons, Matthew organized the production, led the accounting and taking care of the business side of the company.

Matthew was definitely beneficial for our company. Just under his proposals the company Browning moved on to making weapons in large batches (and despite the fact whether or not the individual adjustments to the weapons according to the wishes of the customer), where it was used for assembling parts on an assembly line. Their first weapon was a repeating rifle .22 caliber, which he handed John a patent in 1882. Both brothers were so confident of success that they made 600 of the rifles before even the first of them offered on the market. The rifle made a big impression on the competition - namely the firm the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, one of the largest american manufacturers of rifles of the time. Company Winchester felt by the company Browning such a danger, that in the summer of 1883 in Ogden rushed mr. T. G. Bennett, vice-president and general manager of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, with an offer of cooperation. Winchester bought the rights to John's first design of the single-shot zadovky, then the company Winchester sold under the designation of the Winchester Single Shot Rifle M 1885 (it was at that time by the way the only jednoranová rifle in production companies). At the same time Winchester bought the rights to the production of Browning's rifles, and at the same time redeem the whole stock of 600 rifles!

At Winchester

Thus began the cooperation of John Browning with the company of Winchester, which was supposed to last another 19 years. His first achievement was the design of the new repeaters on the basis of his patent of 1884. The new rifle became famous under the designation of the Winchester Model 1886. In the following years we added a number of other structures rifles, of which worth mentioning is primarily the Winchester Model 1887 (the first successful american repeating shotguns), Winchester Model 1894 (the most successful single lever rifle of all time – was produced continuously from 1894 to 2006 and the production amounted to a staggering 7 million pieces) and Model 1895 (also, the single lever rifle, but not a pipe magazine below the main, but with a tank schránkovým for the use of modern bullets are projectiles with a sharp point). Produced was over 400 000 pieces of which about 300 000 for the Russian army in the years 1915-17.

Rifle M. 1895 was the last weapon that J. Browning designed for the company Winchester. Browning, increasingly, their attention turned to the development of self-loading and automatic weapons, about which, however, with the Winchesters was not much interested. The disputes culminated in the development of the autoloading shotgun and Browning eventually with the company of the Winchester ended the cooperation.

the Onset of the machines

Your design talent is now applied myself toward the development of the machine gun. Browning is the development of self-loading weapons devoted since 1889. Then focused on the energy use of dust emissions vytékajících when fired out of the barrel. Elementary experiments conducted in the workshop above the store of the family business in the hometown of Ogden. To attempts used the Winchester, where the charging lever joined by a system of levers of the attachment on the barrel (in the first model) or the piston below the main (in the second model) and tested so use the energy of powder gases to re-tension the recurrent mechanism. Their knowledge then used in the design of a machine gun, who then offered to produce the company Colt. The gun has shown interest and started the browning's design to produce under the designation Colt-Browning M 1895.

The machine gun proved itself during the Spanish-american war of 1898; the gun here earned the nickname "Browningův peacemaker" (although much more widely known, was under the nickname "Toppers potato" according to the lever-duty semi-circular movement under the body of the machine gun). Itself Browning, however, with this design solution was not satisfied and started out after the model Hiram Maxim deal with the structures of the machine gun on the principle of short-zákluzu mainly. Own design based on this functional principle was created in 1900 and a year later it received a patent. The U.S. government, however, the new weapon was not interested and so the drawings went to browning's drawer and were oprášeny until after the outbreak of the 1. world war.

However, this kind of getting way ahead of ourselves. Browning now turned my attention to a semi-automatic pistol. The development of modern smokeless střelivin and expansion of the sheathing shots in that time created the conditions for the successful construction of weapons of this type. In 1893, indeed, the first such gun was developed by Hugo Borchardt. Browning your own designs of self-loading pistols boomed almost four years; he worked alternately at home in Utah and at the company Colt in Hartford. Initially devoted to the development of a fully automatic pistol, a practical test of the prototype, however, have shown that the gun is while shooting a dose of almost uncontrollable and the Browning so this idea of the left.

The first patent application related to the construction of self-loading pistols have Browning filed 14. September 1895. A year later, then added three more patents for various design of self-loading pistols. All four patents have been Browning's allocated 20. 4. 1897. It was about the patents no 580,923 (self-loading pistol with the conclusion of the locked hinged latches controlled the pressure of the gases taken from the barrel), no 580,924 (semi-automatic pistol using in its activity, the recoil with the conclusion of the locked barbs joining the barrel and the conclusion; the barrel at the same time performs the function of the barrier, which is controlled by the moving articles below the mouth of the barrel and cartridge chamber), no 580,925 (semi-automatic pistol is finally locked by rotation of barrel) and no 580,926 (self-loading pistol with a dynamic neuzamčeným finally).

Just in the last patent shown interest in the director of the belgian arms company Fabrique Nationale dArmes de Guerre in Herstalu in Liège Hart About. Berg, who in the time of Browning's attempts to find out. He managed to Browning persuaded to cooperate, and 17. June 1897 acquired the license to produce the gun in all countries except the US, according to his patent, on the basis of which two years later started in Herstalu produce a pistol of the FN 1899. So began Browningovo tenure at the company FN, which lasted until his death.

Pistol, the FN 1899 was offered to the belgian army, but had minor reservations and recommended some changes. In addition to the small details (as for instance adding a hanging loop on the handle) were reduced in size, the barrel was shortened from 122 mm to 102 mm, and the cut is also the handle, so the tray now conceived only 7 rounds instead of 8. The resulting weapon is today known as the FN 1900 and immediately experienced overwhelming success. In weaponry it has adopted the belgian army and the FN 1900 became the first self-loading pistol in the world, which became an official part of the arsenal of any armed corps. In comparison with other guns of that time it was a pattern of simplicity and practicality and Browningovo solution unlocked the conclusion, it was considered groundbreaking.Also on the commercial field received the pistol a huge popularity. Were made more than half a million, and that only in the year 1912, when its production terminated in favor of the more modern browning's design.

One of these refurbishments was also the model FN 1910, also on the charge of 7.65 mm Browning also extremely popular weapon produced in large numbers (in both rážích originated almost a million pieces and the production ran until the year 1983!). Just this gun (respectively, the model 1910/12, who used to charge 9 mm Br. To.) used the G. Principle during his assassination on F. F. dEste, so, as you can see, Schweik thinking in the right direction.

a Schematic of the dynamic závěrového mechanism. It consists of mainly associated with the frame of the weapon, the conclusion and the return spring. Description of the activity: After the shot pushes the combustion gases of the bullet forward and the casing backwards. The barrel is closed the weight of the conclusion and the resistance of the return spring. The bottom of the casing pushing on the breech face, and he begins to move backward. The conclusion begins to open and continues his drifting until the rear end. This is the shell casing has been withdrawn from the barrel, and fired výhozným window. Conclusion the way backward compresses the return spring, which in the end again indicate the conclusion to move forward. From the stack is given the next charge, the conclusion is captures, it retracts into the barrel and closes the cartridge chamber. The cycle is terminated.
image Source: the author

It is truly undeniable. Browning was the first to understand that when you use the bullets to a certain power it is not necessary to lock the conclusion of any complex system; came to the conclusion that it is quite sufficient to close the charge in the barrel, only the inertia of the mass itself the conclusion and the pressure of the return spring. This allowed to construct the factory in a simple and lightweight pistol of small dimensions. In later years found a number of followers: a pistol with neuzamčeným dynamic conclusion are constructed today. Browning in addition to your pistol constructed their own four bullets, three of which are still producing (6,35 mm Browning, 7.65 mm Browning and a Browning 9 mm Bc) and not only that – it still belongs among the most popular and widely used cartridges worldwide.

It would of course be presumptuous to claim that Browning invented the functional principle of dynamic conclusion (although to him perhaps independently reached its attempts to). Already in 1892 is left in Europe the principle of dynamic conclusion patent Theodor Bergmann and also began to produce the gun under his patent. His pistol, however, not use the ejector or extractor (casings or not the groove), the ejected cartridge was vymetena from the barrel of the pressure of the gas and in theory should be thrown out by the impact on the next hub in the stack. This principle was, however, very unreliable, the casings are pulled apart because of too great pressure or vzpříčily. The bullets were not in the schránkovém tray in the handle (although this solution is used already in 1893 Hugo Borchardt), but in a solid box in front of the trigger guard and the trigger. On a similar principle operated also in other european pistols and all are faced with problems with a too weak or too strong ammo.

Browning was the first who carefully calculated the performance of the hub in relation to the matter to conclusion. He used the shells with the groove and the extractor, the cartridges placed in removable schránkového the tray to the handle. He didn't need to develop new structural nodes - only ingeniously connected the already existing in a perfectly balanced and functional whole.

Itself Browning, however, preferred another design solution. We have already said that the Browning patented four different basic functional principles related to self-loading pistols. Patents no 580,923 and 580,925 Browning never did not put into practice. Patent no. 580,926 (neuzamčený conclusion) implemented in the factory of FN, however the patent no 580,924 (conclusion locked the barbs on the back of the barrel, odemykaný its decline), which solution alone acted for the best, decided to preserve for his country and has offered it for a munitions factory Colt.

1900 the company Colt started production of the gun Colt M 1900 according to browning's patent. Unlike the FN, however, this time, did not record any resounding success, were made only about 3500 pieces. The gun was from the beginning meant as a business military weapon; for civilians was too big and heavy, the soldiers again blaming too weak a charge. In fact, Browning for this weapon have constructed a new charge of the .38 Automatic that his performance surpassed all the existing bullets caliber .38. The U.S. army however, at that time she had had the painful experience of combat deployment in Cuba and the Philippines, where revolvers, caliber .38 proved to be little effective. Therefore, the medical-military commission to the U.S. army for a new poboční short gun recommended caliber .45.

Browning continued in the development of the gun M 1900 and five years later introduced the gun M 1905, that used the newly designed hub, from which later emerged the charge 45 ACP. The army, however, did not accept even this weapon; recommended Browning on the gun to make additional changes (in particular, in the field of ergonomics and insurance systems). Six years later, he was Browning finished – the result was the legendary Colt 1911. This gun already on The contrary. With. Army adopted with enthusiasm, and what's more, the pistol held out in the service of a staggering 74 years.

It is said that even if Browning nezkonstruoval nothing else, just this one structure alone would have sufficed to bring it into the imaginary hall of fame of the designers of weapons. There is no reason with this statement disagree - gun M 1911 still holds a number of world records: firstly, it is the longest produced gun in the world. In theory, it could be rather gun P.08 Parabellum, however, the manufacture of this weapon was several times interrupted, while the Colt M 1911 to this day.

Second, it is about the most copied design in the world. The gun on the basis of the model 1911 produced worldwide, due to the easy laditelnému spoušťovému mechanism and very good ergonomics it is currently one of the most popular sporting guns.

Third and finally, while it is undoubtedly the greatest benefit of this weapon, its locking system is used today by most modern pistols with a locked in conclusion. Browning your system this time even simpler example – launched a leading article, so the barrel has now fallen only in the back of the cartridge chamber. It was an absolute rarity – the first weapon, in which during the samonabíjecího cycle the barrel changed the location of its longitudinal axis. The initial mistrust was soon averted the performances of the new weapons. While this was a way of locking later modified (in particular, because of the cheapening of production), for example, by replacing the moving the article a fixed backdrop, or the replacement of the broken locking barbs block tting in the výhozného the window, at the time of its inception was stunning in its simplicity and effectiveness.

Pistol Colt 1911 is made just for U. With. Army nearly 3 million units. The production of the various copies and clones today it is not possible to calculate.

Browning, however, at that time did not pay exclusively to the development of the gun M 1911. In the time before 1. world war ii created a number of very successful models of pistols with neuzamčeným in conclusion, both in Europe for the company FN, so in the USA for Colt. The company Colt indeed picked up a tremendous success browning's pistols in Europe, where up to 30. years commonly used label "browning" for any semi-automatic gun, similar to the designation of the "colt" became synonymous with the revolver.

The management of the company Colt correctly estimated that a similar demand for pocket guns with a dynamic conclusion would also be in America. Therefore started negotiations with zbrojovka FN as the Browning had originally put a pistol with a dynamic conclusion for FN and locked for the Colt. Now, however, both factory entered into a territorial agreement under which allowed Colt to sell their products in America and in the Uk, while the FN has remained the rest of Europe. Coltovy pocket pistol with a dynamic conclusion, "flat as a book" how to underline the contemporary advertising material, immediately recorded among american customers considerable success (model 1903 Pocket Hammerless has sold almost 600 000 pieces).

Also in the field of rifles recorded Browning in that time a number of achievements. We have already said that it terminated the cooperation with the Winchester because of his semi-automatic shotgun. T. G. Bennett didn't believe in the commercial success of such weapons. Browning yet constructed the first semi-automatic large caliber rifle and sold her patent to the firm of Remington. Later he offered Remingtonům also my patent on the self-loading shotgun, but the death of mr. Marcellus Hartley, a representative of the firm Remington, the store crashed. Browning, therefore, their patent offered to the company FN. The it immediately bought, for the leadership of the FN was considered Browning for so much of the genius that decided to buy all his patents, although in the moment of need didn't fit into the production program of the company. U FN believe (, and the future confirmed that legally), that in time they will succeed even the Browning's design, which currently is not interested. Due to restrictive measures in Europe, however, the company FN later sold the rights to this gun company Remington.

Browning also in 1913 for Remington constructed a repeating shotgun with the conclusion of the controlled posunovatelným type (so-called pump-action) produced under the designation Model 17 and a year later sporting semi-automatic rifle manufactured as a Model 24.

It is well known that small-bore rifle have been a lifelong love of J. M. Browning, however, the beginning of 1. sv of war přerval his work in the field of sporting weapons.

John Browning and his beloved self-loading small-bore rifle Browning Semi-Auto 22
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Brownings go to war

The U.S. army then, to his horror, found that she has in the inventory of only 1100 of mostly obsolete machine guns and need the situation to be addressed urgently. American designers were invited to submit their proposals. Browning dusted off their patents on the design of the machine gun with a short ... mainly, and introduced two of its construction (in the second case, however, again returned to its original solution with the collection of spalných gases from the barrel) – and both have been accepted into the armament. One of them was a water-cooled machine gun with a short ... mainly produced under the designation Browning M 1917. The end of the war was made nearly 43 000 pieces and the machine gun fought in Korea. Shortly after the war, was modernized and it became the air-cooled variant Browning M 1919. This machine gun became the most widely used american weapons in its class for 2. world war. Machine gun served in a number of modifications as infantry, as the armament of armored vehicles and the like air. In. With. Army it out of the loadout in up to 70. years of the 20th. century and in some countries served up to the nineties.

The second construction, then, the gun was standing on the threshold of the automatic rifle and light machine gun known as the rifle BAR M1918 (Browning Automatic Rifle). Just BAR work on the principle of sampling gases from the barrel. This weapon is produced over 100,000 pieces and served even in Korea, as druhosledová gun in the south vietnamese army even during the conflict in Vietnam. Itself Browning with this weapon was not too happy - a rifle firing from the open end, which předkluz of the shot, the worse the accuracy. It was too heavy for shooting single shots from the shoulder, but again too light for shooting doses (had a tendency to "dance" and was therefore wrong to handle). On the other hand, however, was simple, reliable and a great use for it, what from it was required - apart from the actual "light" machine guns should have a low enough weight to be with her soldier running to attack, silencing points of resistance and provide cover fire for the movement of their comrades.

John Browning showing off his creation - a rifle BAR
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It is worth mentioning that the Browning in time of war refused to leave behind his work for his country to pay.

best of all

After the end of the war, in 1921, then constructed another famous gun – large caliber machine gun known in the US as Browning M 2 the powerful bullet caliber 12.7 mm. The machine gun was originally developed as an anti-aircraft gun, but was later widely used as an infantry weapon (even in the role of the sniper rifles, e.g. in Vietnam), as weaponry vehicles and aircraft, fought in all the wars that the US led and is in the arsenal of today, what is more, At. With. Army still on its delisting in the future not considered – so much was its design timeless. It was produced more than 3 million pieces and the machine gun is still the standard heavy machine gun of several states of NATO.

Browning, however, this velkorážním machine gun did not end, on the contrary headed even higher, at least in caliber. Designed automatic cannon caliber 37 mm, originally intended again as anti-aircraft. Produce, however, began long after his death, on the eve of the 2. world war. The new cannon, designated as M 4, making the company the Colt and the gun became the main weapon of the fighters P-39 Airacobra, P-63 Kingcobra and was also widely used on torpédovkách class PT.

Browning, however, continue to cooperate also zbrojovka FN. The spring of the year 1921 turned his attention to the looming big contract. The French army decided to change its poboční a gun and announced a competition, in which you specify the following requirements: it should go on semi-automatic caliber pistol 9 mm Luger, with a magazine to 15 rounds, with the possibility of the deployment of the attachable stock and adjustable sight for shooting into education. 500 m. the Leadership of the FN spoke to Browning, whether a similar gun could construct. Browning at first refused, saying, that the French demands are unrealistic, the end of the year 1921, however, he changed his mind and started on a new weapon to work.

The situation, however, significantly complicated the patent rights. Browning had to circumvent their own patents used in the Colt 1911 and basically change all the design nodes, while the most important was undoubtedly a further simplification of its locking system with a decrease in the rear part of the barrel. The new, simplified system launched article under the cartridge chamber and replaced it with the backdrop and the fixed pin. The new system is known as "shortcode system Browning" and to this day it uses a number of modern guns. Yet, the gun was quite complicated (in particular, the production) and therefore had to be repeatedly revised. Although the year 1925 when the army tests was impressed by the positive, was not decided on its acceptance into the armaments. Browning continued to work on the gun until the fateful 26. November 1926. That day he was in his office in Herstalu vitiated by a heart attack and died.


Aggrieved by the leadership of the factory FN would expose his body on a slab in the conference room of the directorate of the company. All employees of the factory he then pay our last respects, he held a funeral parade in front of his coffin.

John Browning was at the factory extremely popular. Although he was a multiple millionaire, yet remained until the death of modest man. Even when he was a 1912 belgian king Albert promoted to knight of the Leopold order, yet not allow anybody to call "Sir". Leopoldův order and other honors remained in the drawer of his desk. He, himself, his work did not limit itself only to "clean" work, drawing drawings, etc. with their Own hands in the workshop worked on the production of prototypes and troubleshooting. Although ingenious inventors tend to be known primarily as the eccentric individuals, in the case of John Browning, it was not so. He was known as a great companion and gentle person, who at any time "chat" even the last worker in the factory.

He was the father of 8 children, of whom son Val Allen became the representative of the third generation of armorers from the genus Browningů. Val Allen worked with his father as his technical assistant and generally showing off prototypes of his weapons. After the death of his father Val remained in Belgium and oversaw the completion of his father's projects. In 1935 he returned to Ogden, where he took over management of the family firm.

Browningův son Val Allen at a time when for 1. world war he served in the 79. infantry division. Val holding a successful weapon constructed by his father - rifle BAR. Val was himself a talented zbrojířem and he was granted a total of 48 patents on its design
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The last work of John Browning completed a team led by one of his associates, the future successful designer Dieudonne Saivé. 1928 expired patent rights on the Colt 1911, which Saivému allowed the gun again to rework and simplify. Yet she went because of the global economic crisis into production until 1935. It was the first large-capacity semi-automatic pistol with dvouřadým reservoir received into the armament of several armies. The gun is manufactured to this day and bears the indication Browning HP 35.

John Moses Browning was a remarkable man. Moreover, was not only an excellent designer but also a successful trader. His shot was stunning – designed everything from rimfires, through pistols, rifles and machine guns to air guns. In virtually all areas, which began to pay, scored a resounding success. Only in the US, he granted a total of 83 patents on weapons of all types. Many of his designs are still produced today or became the model of other more modern weapons. No other individual so much did not affect the development of self-loading and automatic weapons as he.


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