Browning: One Man's Impact


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Eustachius234
August 15, 2009, 11:31 AM
Thought y'all might find this article interesting:

http://www.thenewamerican.com/index.php/history/american/1478

On a particular fall day in 1889, the members of the Ogden Rifle Club of Ogden, Utah, were out in force. The men were target shooting, but doubtless found the brilliant fall colors of aspens and oaks on the high peaks of the Wasatch Range a distraction.

Enticing too were the flocks of migratory waterfowl wheeling overhead and grouse calling in the brush. But all rifles that day were trained on paper targets, although one of the competitors, an unusually tall man with stern but handsome features, was having trouble concentrating on hitting the mark. As his good friend Will Wright took a shot with his rifle, the taller man noticed how a clump of desert weeds in front of the rifle was knocked back by the blast from the gun.

It was not the first time the tall man or any of the spectators had seen such an event; the big bore rifles fashionable on the Western frontier always produced a formidable muzzle blast. But the tall man, who was, at age 34, already an accomplished gunsmith and firearms manufacturer, found himself for the first time taking notice of the muzzle blast and pondering what it meant. Every discharge of a gun released a tremendous amount of energy, much of which was dissipated in the blast out of the muzzle. Now the tall man found himself wondering whether that burst of energy could somehow be put to use.

Unable to concentrate any longer on the competitive shoot, the man called his two brothers and left the shoot. Asked for an explanation, he said only, “An idea hit me — biggest one I ever had.”

On the way back to town, the tall man began thinking aloud, explaining to his two brothers his belief that the energy from the muzzle blast might be harnessed somehow. “It might even be possible to make a fully automatic gun,” he surmised, “one that would keep firing as long as you had ammunition.”

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