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Top Shot Firearms – John Browning M1918 BAR Browning Automatic Rifle

| History, John Browning | February 16, 2012

John Browning with his BAR

If you have seen our 2 cents blog before then you know we are huge fans of John Browning. I personally believe he was the greatest firearm designer of all time, and for that reason we decided to put together a bit of History on the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle BAR since it is featured on Top Shot’s Season 4.
 
The M1918 BAR was not John Browning’s first automatic firearm, but it was his first lightweight portable automatic rifle. Previous automatic designs of his that hit production were the Colt-Browning M1895 “Potato Digger” and the M1917 Browning Machine Gun. The problem with the M1895 and M1917 was that they were extremely heavy. As the United States entered World War I, there was serious demand for a lightweight automatic firearm for trench warfare.
 
That demand would be supplied thanks to John Moses Browning. His answer was the M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle, or BAR. It was chambered in .30-06 Springfield and had a firing capability of 650 rounds per minute. All the while maintaining the famous reliability and durability John Browning was known for. Most importantly, it was portable enough to be transported by a single soldier.
 
One of the more interesting bits of history on the M1918 BAR is that Val Browning, John Browning’s Son, was one of the first soldiers to put it to use in WWI. Val Browning would later follow in his father’s footsteps and design firearms, just as John Browning had followed in his father’s footsteps.
 
Multiple US Patent Drawings for the M1918 BAR and variants:
 


 
 
The YouTube video below is courtesy of ARMS VAULT
 

Hiram Maxim invented the Machine Gun and Silencer, but not both…

| History | February 4, 2012

Maxim Silencer

Many people believe that a single man by the name of Hiram Maxim invented both the first portable fully automatic machine gun and the first silencer.
 
Unfortunately they would be incorrect because Hiram Maxim is actually two different people. There was a Hiram Stevens Maxim and Hiram Percy Maxim. Hiram Stevens Maxim was Hiram Percy Maxim’s Father.
 
The Father, Hiram Stevens Maxim was the inventor of the first fully automatic machine gun, the Maxim Gun. He was also responsible for many other non-firearm inventions. There are two sets of Maxim Gun Patents shown below, US Patent 447524 and US Patent 459828. It always amazes me how detailed these drawings were. Fair to say they were not using CAD software back in 1891.
 
Hiram Percy Maxim was the inventor of the first functional and commercially available silencer. Like his father he invented both firearm and non-firearm related items. I found it very interesting that Percy came up with the gun silencer because of his work designing small engine mufflers.
 
One final point of interest is that the Patent actually refers to it as a silencer and silent firearm. Today people are quick to correct you by explaining the proper name is not silencer, but the more acceptable (and realistic) term of suppressor. Hopefully this little bit of trivia will help you in some future argument. Don’t worry, in all our patent research we haven’t found anything to suggest a magazine should be called a clip.
 
The Maxim Gun and Maxim Silencer Patent Drawings:
 


 

John Browning Patent 678937 – M1917 Browning Machine Gun

| History, John Browning | October 5, 2011

The Model 1917 / M1917 Browning Machine Gun was a recoil powered automatic firearm. It was granted US Patent 678937 on July 23rd, 1901. This patent was applied for on June 19th, 1900. So why was this Machine Gun given the name Model 1917 when the model number usually mirrors the patent year plus or minus one year? The name is actually based on the fact that this firearm was not adopted for use until 1917. The design sat around for years until the US Military found itself in need of some high power high output firearms. Along came the Model 1917 after spending some years in hibernation.

A key feature of the M1917 is that it was a water cooled machine gun. This was a factor in the weight and thus restricted some applications. The 1917 eventually morphed into multiple other versions / variations including the M1919.

Another key feature that should be mentioned is that this patent has a right side ejection of spent rounds where the M1917 would adjust it to bottom ejection.

John Browning Patent 660244

| History, John Browning | October 5, 2011

This is a Machine Gun Feed Belt loading machine, which as it implies loads the rounds into the cloth belt. During this period of John Browning’s machine gun designs he was using a fabric belt for feeding the rounds. Even later models like the M1919 benefited from this form of feed belt rather than metal links. The feed mechanism had a claw that would pull the rounds into the breech.

John Moses Browning applied for this patent on November 15th, 1899. He was granted US Patent 660,244 for this design on October 23rd, 1900.

John Browning Patent 544659

| John Browning | August 13, 2011

John Browning US Patent 544659

This was another of his Gas Operated Machine Gun patents and it used a belt fed mechanism for the rounds.

United States Patent 544659 was granted to John Moses Browning on August 20th, 1895.

He had applied for this patent on June 17th, 1893.

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John Browning Patent 544658

| John Browning | August 12, 2011

John Browning US Patent 544658 Browning Peacemaker

A Gas Operated Machine Gun.

John Moses Browning was granted US Patent 544658 on August 20th, 1895.

He had applied for this patent on March 15th, 1893.

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John Browning Patent 544657 – Colt-Browning M1895, The Potato Digger

| John Browning | August 9, 2011

John Browning US Patent 544657 Potato Digger Browning Peacemaker

The Colt M1895 Automatic Machine Gun was a gas operated machine gun.  This was one of John Browning’s first Automatic Firearm Designs.

Reviewing his patents it is technically his second Automatic design, but the first to be produced and used in service.

The Colt M1895 was also known as The Potato Digger and the Browning Peacemaker.

John Browning was granted US Patent 544657 on August 20th, 1895 for the Model 1895.

He had applied for this patent on November 7th, 1892.

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