Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Prototype Browning Lever Action

This Browning designed prototype lever action centerfire rifle has front and rear locking lugs, a design reminiscent of no other Winchester rifle of the late 19th century.

Winchester's partnership with John Browning began in 1883 and lasted 16 years. Browning's legacy at Winchester is marked by the company's most notable late 19th century firearms such as the Model 1885 single shot rifle, Model 1887 lever action shotgun, Model 1897 slide action shotgun and lever action Models 1886, 1892, 1894 and 1895.

Speaking to Browning's success, firearms historian and author R.L. Wilson stated, "No other gun inventor or designer can rival John Browning's string of achievements. He owned 128 gun patents covering eighty different firearms; he sold approximately forty gun designs to Winchester."

Of course, not every Browning patent Winchester purchased made it to the factory production line. The trail leading to even the most successful designs is often steeped in documented and undocumented trials and errors.

This 30 caliber Browning prototype carbine is fitted with a pinned blade front sight and a ladder rear sight marked "1873" and graduated from 2-9. There are no external markings on the rifle. The upper tang is drilled and tapped. The rifle was left in the white. Mounted with a smooth forearm and straight grip stock. There is a single barrel band and a carbine buttplate. The receiver has an exposed hammer and a bolt, which slides back when the action is opened. When closing the action the bolt slides forward to lock. A true one of a kind prototype showcasing Browning's partnership with Winchester.

The action is similar to that found in Browning's patent 492459. Patent 492459 is for a .30 caliber lever action rifle, which was applied for on March 22, 1892, and issued on February 28, 1893. Browning had several lever action rifle patents purchased by Winchester and patent 492459 is one of those patents but was not used in a production Winchester firearm. In fact, Winchester purchased many Browning patents that were not used in production firearms.

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