John M. Browning’s Greatest Hits - Episode 1
A 12-Part Tribute to the World’s Greatest Gun Designer
A robust dropping-block design, the Browning Single Shot (sometimes referred to in some litereature as the Model 1878) was typical of the large bore “buffalo rifles” of the era. It featured a centerline external hammer and a small underlever that did double duty as the trigger guard. The fired cartridge case was extracted and ejected in a single, smooth motion when the lever was opened. A fresh cartridge was inserted by hand, then the lever was closed, the hammer cocked and the rifle was ready to fire. A US patent for the design was granted to Mr. Browning on October 7, 1879.
Winchester Repeating Arms soon introduced the Browning-designed gun as their Model 1885, and since then it has gaining a worldwide reputation as the finest single-shot rifle ever produced. Made in numerous variations and evolutions, it has been chambered in everything from .22 Short to the largest big-bore cartridges of the day. Even today a rimfire version of the Model 1885 remains in the Winchester Repeating Arms product line, and around the globe Browning remains one of the most respected names in firearms and outdoors products.
And to think it all started 140 years ago, in a little frontier gun shop, on a dusty side street in Ogden, Utah Territory…
Copyright Browning, 2018, 2019. 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.