Browning recoiling barrel action.


April 23, 2014, 11:47 PM
I am a tad bit obsessed with the action of the rem11/auto5 action. I currently own m11 and rem 11-48 (threaded for tubes now) and want to acquire more guns with similar actions, but I do not want to limit myself to the world of shotguns. What other weapons employed the same basic recoiling barrel design?

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April 24, 2014, 12:00 AM
Johnson Semi-auto 30-06 from WWII is a neat one

As are the Browning .30 & .50 cal machine guns.

Then the Remington Model 8 & later Model 81.


April 24, 2014, 12:33 AM
I can speak for the Remington Model 8. It was my first centerfire rifle. Mine was in .35 Remington and it was very dependable.

Jim Watson
April 24, 2014, 12:38 AM
Agreed, your best bet on a reasonably available long recoil rifle is a Remington 8 or 81.
Look for a .35, it is the only caliber for which ammo is reasonably available.
The only .300 Savage 81 I know of was not real reliable.

April 24, 2014, 01:43 AM
The 8 is a classic, but has its deficiencies.
As a collector piece, great gun.
As a user, I find mine annoying to load & not that easy to shoot.

Agree on the 35 Rem caliber, still ammo available for it.
Can't use five-shot stripper clips, mag only holds four.

There's a reason why the long recoil system was not one of Browning's greatest successes & not a widely copied principle. :)

April 24, 2014, 04:46 AM
Somehow I went almost forty years without ever seeing, reading, or hearing about the Model 8. When I found out about them, I thought they were so nifty I immediately bought one.

It was made in August of 1914. In a few months I'll take it to the range for a special shooting session...

Jim Watson
April 24, 2014, 09:47 AM
Gee, Denis, two of the three I have had personal contact with did just fine. We never could figure out the .300 Savage, but the .30 and .35 run just like Mr Browning intended.

Remington sold them for about 40 years before bringing out the 740 which offered gas operation, .30-06, and lower production costs.
FN built some for the small European market in autoloading sporting rifles.

I don't think there are many "widely copied" auto hunting rifles. Unless you count ARs and AKs faked up to look like sporters.

Jim K
April 24, 2014, 05:37 PM
A bit of apples and oranges here. The Browning Auto 5 shotgun (aka Remington Model 11 and other names) is a long recoil action. That means the barrel and bolt recoil together the full length of the receiver, then the barrel is unlocked and driven forward by its own spring, ejecting the fired case, before the bolt is released to come forward and pick up a fresh round. The same system was used in the Model 8 and 81 rifle, as well as in the Frommer Stop and Frommer Baby pistols.

The Johnson rifle, and the Browning machineguns (except the gas-operated BAR light machinegun) are short recoil operated. That means the barrel and bolt recoil locked together for only a short distance before the bolt is unlocked and allowed to go to the rear alone for extraction and ejection; a fresh round is picked up on its return. The bolt then re-engages the barrel and they go into battery together.


April 24, 2014, 05:59 PM
I need one of each. Maybe more. Never even heard of the frommel. I'm off to look them up.

April 24, 2014, 09:09 PM
There's a reason why the long recoil system was not one of Browning's greatest successes & not a widely copied principle.

JMB considered the Auto-5 his greatest achievement.

Coming from someone who either invented or improved just about every firearm design used today, a century later, that's saying something.

Jim K
April 25, 2014, 12:44 AM
The long recoil system never got far in handguns and rifles, but it was the most common and popular autoloading shotgun system in the world before gas operation began to take over a decade or so after WWII. It must have had something going for it.

Just for your interest:

When I worked in a gun shop, I could tell how the friction rings were set just by putting the butt of the gun on the floor and pushing down on the barrel. One day, an elderly gentleman came in with a problem. He had taken his Auto 5 down to clean it and it wasn't working right. I quickly determined that the problem was the friction rings and started to take the gun down to correct the problem.

The man stopped me. "I must be going nuts," he said. "I thought that barrel moved."

I assured him his sanity was intact and described how the gun worked. He had owned and hunted with that gun for 35 years, and never knew the barrel moved!


April 25, 2014, 02:35 PM
Franchi 48ALs are long-recoil also... very nice shotguns.

April 25, 2014, 08:54 PM
He had owned and hunted with that gun for 35 years, and never knew the barrel moved!Thats funny right there!
I don't care who ya are! :D

Wonder how he got the mag cap off to mess it up without pushing the barrel back?


Jim K
April 25, 2014, 09:53 PM
On most of them, you don't need to move the barrel to get the cap off; with the bolt back, you just use enough force to get past the detent ball. The neat thing is that you can operate the bolt without the barrel moving, so for normal loading and unloading the gun feels like a gas gun. I have no idea what he thought the barrel return spring was for, but a lot of folks really don't know how their guns work.


April 25, 2014, 09:58 PM
Jim K almost said it right...a lot of folks don't understand how to clean their gun to understand how their gun works. It baffles me the number of "junk guns" that just need a little TLC (take-apart, look-over, clean)

April 25, 2014, 10:01 PM
Out of the rifles have similar friction rings to the shotguns? Seems like they would have to have something but maybe not the configurable setup the scatterguns use.

April 25, 2014, 10:33 PM
Unlike shotgun shells.
Rifle cartridges for them were only loaded in one or perhaps two bullets weights producing very similar recoil.

So there was no need for adjustable friction rings to make them work with any ammo made for them. (IE: Light loads, Heavy loads, Magnum loads, etc)


Jim K
April 25, 2014, 10:59 PM
Remington produced a line of rimless cartridges for their semi-auto and pump rifles, paralleling the Winchester line for their lever actions. .25 Remington = .25-35; .30 Remington = .30-30; .32 Remington = .32 Special. The ballistics for the Remington cartridges were nearly identical to those of the Winchester cartridges. The .35 Remington had no direct Winchester equivalent, and it is the only one of the line still being made.

I may be wrong, but the only other company I can recall that used the Remington cartridges was Standard, which made its gas operated Model G and pump Model M in all of the Remington calibers.


April 26, 2014, 08:36 AM
On most of them, you don't need to move the barrel to get the cap off

You're sure gonna have a surprise when the last thread of the cap comes loose and the barrel, spring and fore-end go flying off into space ... you're also going to need to push the barrel back into the receiver to reassemble it!

April 26, 2014, 11:16 AM

I keep mine pretty tight too, to prevent the common forearm cracks caused by a loose mag cap.

I'd have to use Channel-Lock pliers to get mine off without pushing the barrel back to relieve some tension.


Jim K
April 26, 2014, 09:13 PM
Even if you hold the barrel to keep it from jumping or push it in a bit to relieve tension when dismounting, that does not really convey the idea that the barrel moves back three inches when the gun is fired. When I pushed on that barrel, I moved it back all the way; that is when the owner expressed astonishment.


April 26, 2014, 09:39 PM
that is when the owner expressed astonishment.

He'd have been a little stymied by a Win Model 1911 then... :eek:

Where, oh where is that bolt handle?

April 26, 2014, 09:41 PM
Hahaha. I bet that's a really common question when one of those hits the shelf. Kinda like the takedown Brownings that have the bolt underneath.

Jim K
April 26, 2014, 10:14 PM
I have actually fired a Winchester 1911. I don't know why, but it has (or seems to have) a lot more recoil than the Browning. It has a heavy buffer that I have been told breaks and is now unobtainable.

The reason for the knurling on the Winchester barrel is very simple: Browning's patents covered the idea of a cocking handle. The really ironic point is that Browning first offered the A5 to Winchester, which had purchased so many of his other designs. But he had figured out that he had a real winner and wanted royalties (so much per gun) rather than just selling the rights, as he had done in the past. Winchester refused, so Browning took the design to Remington. Unfortunately, the president of that company had died unexpectedly and no one was in a position to deal with Browning. So he took the idea to FN, with which he had worked earlier.

But before Browning and Winchester parted company, Winchester's patent attorneys, assisted by one Thomas Crossly Johnson, a company designer, had drawn up the patents for the auto-loading shotgun. So when The company wanted an auto-loader to compete with the A5, it was poor "Tommy" Johnson who was handed the task of figuring out ways to get around his own paperwork! Talk about regrets!


Jim Watson
April 27, 2014, 09:03 PM
the only other company I can recall that used the Remington cartridges was Standard

Not counting the .35 Remington, which was a standard offering from Marlin, Thompson Center, and even briefly from Winchester, all I can come up with is the Stevens Model 425 lever action.

Jim K
April 28, 2014, 06:35 PM
True on the .35 Remington, and yes, I did overlook the Stevens 425. The .35 was pretty popular because it has (or once had) a reputation as a "brush buster" and so was very popular for eastern deer hunting.


April 30, 2014, 10:23 PM
I remember a Winchester shotgun from many years back that was long-recoil operated. Don't remember the model number offf hand, but remember that it had a knurled pattern on the barrel near the muzzle.

Bob Wright

Ah! Found it ~ The Winchester Model 1911 shotgun.

Jim K
April 30, 2014, 10:45 PM
I wrote a bit on the Winchester 1911 in #24. Apparently 1911 was a big year for gun inventors.


May 2, 2014, 12:54 PM
I was talking to my gunsmith this morning and mentioned the Winchester M1911, and he pointed out two in his racks.

Bob Wright

Jim Watson
May 2, 2014, 02:08 PM
The 1911 Winchester was followed by the Model 40, made after the Browning patent including a cocking handle expired. But it was kind of a dud. prone to breaking stuff.
Winchester replaced all they could get back in with Model 12 pumps.

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