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Auction Date: December 4, 2015

Lot 85: Browning Arms - 1878

Sold for Browning Arms - 1878
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Scarce and Significant John Moses Browning Deluxe Falling Block Rifle
Estimated Price: $18,000 - $27,500
Item Views 215 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Browning Arms - 1878 ManufacturerBrowning Arms Model1878
TypeRifle Gauge41 Catalog Page44
Barrel34 5/8 Inch Octagon FinishBlue/casehardened Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionJohn Moses Browning was born in Ogden, Utah, in 1855. By the second year of the Civil War, he was working his father's shop repairing firearms. By 1878 Browning had developed his first firearm design and began producing them in a small shop along with his younger brother Matthew. By 1883 when the patent was sold to Winchester, the brothers manufactured less than 600 rifles by most educated estimates. A hundred or less are believed to still exist. The design was covered by his first of many firearms patents. The refined version was manufactured as the famous Winchester Model 1885. These early single shots are significant in that they were the launching point of Browning's highly influential career as a firearms innovator. He went on to produce a number of designs manufactured by Winchester and other companies including multiple lever action rifles, pump action shotguns, the Model 1911and Hi-Power pistols, Auto- 5 shotgun, Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), and .50 caliber Browning machine gun. This rifle is even rarer than most Browning single shots in that it is fitted with a deluxe round knob butt stock and forearm while most had standard straight grip stocks. The grip and bottom of the forearm are checkered. It is equipped with a German silver blade front sight and a Winchester folding ladder and notch rear sight with "1876" on the top. It is marked "BROWNING BROS. OGDEN, U T" in one line behind the rear sight and in two lines on the breechblock. The top of the barrel at the breech is marked with the serial number.

ConditionGood. 60% of the fading blue finish remains on the barrel. There is a bright section under the forearm and a brown patina forming on the balance. There is some light spotting and several dings and scratches throughout. The wood is good as refinished. There are four steel pins in the wrist, some faintly visible repaired cracks near the upper tang, some bruises and scrapes, and a slight hairline crack on the right side of the forearm near the tip. The vast majority of the oil finish remains, and the recut checkering is crisp. The action functions fine, and the markings are clear. Do not let the multiple J. M. Browning rifles in this auction lead you to believe they are common, these rifles are rarely ever seen and are missing from even many of the most advanced collections. Only a hundred total are believed to still exist and few have deluxe wood.
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