Sunday, July 3, 2011

John Moses Browning

The son of a Mormon gunsmith, John Moses Browning was born in Ogden, Utah in 1855. Working with scrap metal, he produced his first gun when he was 13. At the age of 24 he patented a breech-loading single-shot rifle.

In the 1890s Hiram Maxim's invention inspired Browning to develop his own automatic weapon. Instead of using the recoil forces, Browning drilled a hole in the gun barrel and used this to tap some of the gas from the propellants in the cartridge back into a cylinder to drive a piston. This piston extracted the cartridge case, reloaded and fired the gun. In 1895 the Browning machine gun was purchased by the US Navy.

From a slow start, demand for Browning machine guns took off when the USA entered World War I and ordered them for the US Army on active service in France.

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