Genuinely curious: How good a shot was John M. Browning?


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BHPshooter
March 28, 2005, 03:48 AM
Naturally, it would stand to reason that the grand master -- John Moses Browning -- was a pretty good shot... but is there any documented material telling what kind of shot JMB was? I'm intensely curious.

Wes

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bshepherd
March 28, 2005, 10:15 AM
I know he did a lot of shooting with shotguns. In John Ross' novel Unintended Consequences, JMB refers to himself as a 95% trap shooter while watching Ad Topperwein doing some incredible shooting with a BAR. May not be true but sounds real good.

Bridger
March 28, 2005, 10:17 AM
I don't know if I'd make that assumption. Lots of guys like to tinker with things but that doesn't necessarily mean they are good at using them.

harvester of sorrow
March 28, 2005, 01:06 PM
According to "Browning: American Gunmaker," he and his brothers were very active trap shooters. I got the impression that they were pretty good.

cookekdjr
March 28, 2005, 02:12 PM
I know Browning and his brother routinely won shooting competitions. I believe they were rifle competitions.

Gatofeo
March 28, 2005, 02:35 PM
I recall reading, perhaps in John Browning's biography, that he often carried in his pocket the 32-caliber Colt Model 1903 pistol that he invented.
I seem to recall that he was a good shot, hitting small rocks with it as he went for a walk in the Wasatch Mountains behind his Ogden, Utah home.
It's been years since I've read his biography but I was given the impression that he was a good shot with all he invented. His prowess with shotguns is perhaps best documented.

FRIENDLY
March 28, 2005, 05:47 PM
I believe he grew up in a period when if you shot and missed you may go hungry so he learned to shoot accurately.

BHPshooter
March 30, 2005, 02:48 AM
Thanks for the info. :)

Wes

ACP230
March 30, 2005, 09:11 AM
"Sack the rifles boys, I've got an idea." John Moses Browning.

According to the movie American Gunmaker JMB and his brothers were out practicing with their rifles when he noticed the muzzle blast moving grass in front of their rifles muzzles and figured the gas could be used to cycle a rifle's action.

He and his kin practiced, so should have been good shots.

Rembrandt
March 30, 2005, 01:24 PM
....an implication could be made that he wasn't proficient, explaining why he designed so many autoloaders and machine guns....(needed more than one shot) :) .....just kidding

RyanM
March 30, 2005, 02:00 PM
According to the movie American Gunmaker JMB and his brothers were out practicing with their rifles when he noticed the muzzle blast moving grass in front of their rifles muzzles and figured the gas could be used to cycle a rifle's action.

Never seen that movie, but IIRC, it was actually he noticed that muzzle blasts could kick up dust clouds when firing prone. From that he made a modified lever-action rifle with a steel "sail" next to the muzzle which would pivot and work the action when the blast pushed on it (I assume he reversed the direction in which the lever had to move?). Then he got the idea to drill a hole in the barrel to vent off gas instead, but still kept the sail-and-rod-and-lever mechanism, resulting in the Model 1895 "potato digger." Then on noticing that all the moving doo-dads under the rifle made it hard to shoot prone, he hit on the idea of a piston and cylinder gas operated system, which is still being used in a ton of rifles.

ACP230
March 30, 2005, 07:52 PM
Unless you are in deep Kunai grass, if there's grass in front of the muzzle you are generally shooting from prone.

Matt-man
March 31, 2005, 01:38 AM
There are a couple of passages in John M. Browning: American Gunmaker that give one an idea of his shooting skills:
John had time to spare. He spent it walking the streets. While walking he came upon a shooting gallery, managed by a pretty girl in a fringed buckskin shirt and a big Buffalo Bill hat. He went in. As he put it, "I never could resist a .22."

There were four Model 90s [pump-action .22 repeaters] on the counter. John picked up one. There were no prizes, but for a perfect score the girl awarded an equal number of free shots. John began firing and kept firing, without a miss. He was having the time of his life, pretending surprise that his luck should last so long, and watching the expression on the girl's face. Twenty-two shorts were at that time fifteen cents a box. John went through two boxes before the girl refused to fill another magazine.

"Mister," she said, "do you think that's fair? I'm trying to make a living here."

John laughed so heartily that the girl broke into laughter too. He complemented her on the condition of her establishment and her care of the rifles, laid a dollar on the counter, and started out, tipping his hat. As he passed through the door the girl yelled, "Good-by, Mister Oakley. When you get home give my best regards to Annie."

During the 1890s John and Matt Browning and two other Ogdenites, G.L. Becker and A.P. Bigelow, were Utah's premier live-bird team. Known as the "Four B's," they later made national history at the traps as a squad of four.

BHPshooter
March 31, 2005, 02:13 AM
Thanks, Matt-man, that's some informative stuff!

I gotta get that book...
Wes

sturmruger
March 31, 2005, 11:15 AM
That does sound like a fascinating book. I am going to check Ebay now.

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