Rock Island Auction Company

Lot 1047: Browning Bros. Small Bore 1879 Patent Single Shot Rifle

Auction Date: September 12, 2020

Rare and Significant Browning Bros. Small Bore 1879 Patent Single Shot Rifle

Price Realized:
Estimated Price: $6,500 - $9,500

Rare and Significant Browning Bros. Small Bore 1879 Patent Single Shot Rifle

Manufacturer: Browning Arms
Model: 1878
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 32
Barrel: 26 1/4 inch octagon
Finish: blue
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 922
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 56
Class: Antique

This rifle was manufactured in John Moses Browning and his younger brother Matthew's shop in Ogden, Utah, c.1879-1883. Some of the components show signs of hand forging and shaping. In 1883, Winchester's Vice-President and General Manager Thomas G. Bennett visited Browning in Ogden and negotiated a deal that led to Winchester purchasing the rights to manufacture Browning's single shot design and a lever action mechanism. These designs were refined into Winchester's famous Model 1885 single shot and Model 1886 lever action and set Browning on a path towards immortalization in the pantheon of great American firearms designers. Had Winchester not manufactured these early designs, many of his ingenious designs may have never been known at all and the firearms industry of today would no doubt be much different given his far reaching influence and the long lasting nature of his designs. The rifle is marked "BROWNING BROS. OGDEN. U.T./PAT. OCT. 7. 79" and "309" and has a globe and blade combination front sight and adjustable sporting rear sight. The inside of the forearm has the matching serial number. The frame is similar to a later low wall frame from a Model 1885 and has an octagonal breech ring and empty taps for mounting a peep sight. The buttstock has a classic iron crescent buttplate.

Rating Definition:

Good with original blue finish in the protected areas, mottled brown and gray patina on the balance, some mild pitting, and darker brown patina and oxidation on the buttplate. The stock and forearm are also good with some cracks in the forearm, minor chips, and moderate wear. Mechanically fine. This is an incredibly rare early rifle from John Moses Browning's shop in Ogden, Utah. This is the design that started his influential career.

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