John M. Browning’s Greatest Hits - Episode 2
The Model 1886 – John M. Browning’s Legendary Big-Bore Lever-Action Repeater
In Episode 1 we explored the creation of legendary gun designer John M. Browning first great invention, called the "Single Shot," by the Browning brothers (and also referred to by others as the Model 1878 single shot rifle).
Part of the agreement between Browning and T.G. Bennett, the General Manager of Winchester Repeating Arms for the firearm giant to produce Browning’s robust single shot rifle (soon to be renamed, once again, and known around the globe as the Winchester Model 1885) was for Mr. Browning to take a crack at creating a big-bore repeating rifle.
Winchester’s highly-popular Model 1873, later known as “The Gun That Won the West,” was reliable and rugged, but it was limited to short pistol-length cartridges like the .44-40 Winchester.
Enter the genius of John M. Browning. Even while he was discussing the sale of manufacturing rights for the Model 1885 with Mr. Bennett, his mind was working on solving the big-bore repeater problem.
The lever-action gun that John. M. Browning ultimately designed was outstanding in every respect. It is not unrealistic to say that this big-bore repeating rifle was, to use the modern phrase, a total “game changer.” Patented by Mr. Browning in the autumn of 1884, the new rifle was robust enough to handle the largest cartridges of the era yet was portable enough for a hunter to comfortably carry either afoot or on horseback.
The legendary Model 1886 rifle did indeed prove to be a game changer for both Mr. Browning and Winchester Repeating Arms. The rifle remains popular with collectors and hunters alike, so popular in fact that it remains in the Winchester product line today.
Today's Browning Lever Action.
Copyright Browning, 2018. Written by Browning staff writer Scott Engen. Photos are copyright by Browning and/or Winchester Repeating Arms (used with permission) or are in the public domain or as indicated in the caption.