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Auction Date: December 4, 2015

Lot 86: Scarce and Significant John Moses Browning Falling Block Rifle

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Scarce and Significant John Moses Browning Falling Block Rifle
Estimated Price: $10,000 - $16,000
Item Views 282 Bid Activity Average
Serial #Scarce and Significant John Moses Browning Falling Block Rifle ManufacturerBrowning Arms Model1878
TypeRifle Gauge42 Catalog Page45
Barrel34 Inch Octagon FinishBright Grip
Stockwalnut ClassAntique RatingSee Condition
DescriptionJohn Moses Browning worked in his father's shop as young as the age of seven and quickly learned the nuances of gunsmithing. His father encouraged him to explore new ideas, and, at the age of just 23, he started his own shop in partnership with his younger brother Matthew where they manufactured an estimated less than 600 single shot rifles of his design between 1878 and 1883. The design was covered by his first of many firearms patents. Arrangements were made in 1883 for Winchester to manufacture the rifles on a larger scale. The refined version was manufactured as the famous Model 1885. These early Utah rifles mark the beginning of Browning's long and highly influential career and laid the groundwork for his long relationship with Winchester that led to the iconic lever action models 1886, 1892, 1894, and 1895 rifles and carbines as well as the Winchester Model 1887 and the Model 1897 pump shotguns. He then went on to produce a number of designs manufactured by other companies including the famous Colt Model 1911, Browning Hi-Power, Browning Auto- 5 shotgun, Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR), and .50 caliber Browning machine gun. Winchester made a costly mistake when they severed ties with Browning in 1898 over the new royalty arrangement he proposed for the Auto-5. The rifle has a blade front sight and an adjustable sporting rear sight. Ahead of the rear sight it is marked "J.M. BROWNING OGDEN U.T. PAT.OCT.7.79." At the breech it is marked "228" on top and "TON" on the right (additional letters may be concealed by the receiver). "28" is marked on the right side of the breechblock. The rifle very closely resembles the later thick side, high wall Model 1885s. It is mounted with a smooth walnut forearm and a straight wrist stock with a rifle buttplate.

ConditionFair. The rifle has been heavily cleaned and is bright with patches of light-mild pitting. The wood is fair as repaired and reoiled with numerous dings and scrapes. The action functions fine and the markings are crisp.
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