FN/Winchester/Browning- what's the connection?


May 29, 2004, 09:45 PM
What is the connection between FN, Browning, and Winchester? I've noticed that FN's "Tactical Shotgun" w/ the M-4 collapsable stock and sight rail is nothing more than a pimped out Winchester 1300. FN and Browning make High-Power pistols. What's the deal?

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May 29, 2004, 10:41 PM
FN is sole owner of Browning Arms. All Brownings are made by FN. I believe Winchester is also owned by FN, but I not postive on that.

May 29, 2004, 10:42 PM
Well it is all kind of complicated. Browning is a company mostly if not totally owned by FN. Ditto for Winchester but not winchester ammo which is owned by Olin corp. Browning and winchester are the US and I guess some other places too distributor company for FN but FN sells some of it's own stuff in the US too. But some Browning O/U are made in Japan by Mikurero (sp) for sale in the US.

I kind of think that is the way it is.

This probably doesn't help much.


May 29, 2004, 10:43 PM
There is no Winchester. There is FN. FN builds parts to assemble firearms. Some of these firerms are sold under the FN banner and others are sold as Brownings. The whole shebang is basically run/owned by Beretta. Winchester is basically relabeling Japanese manufactured firearms. The 1300 shotguns are Japanese. FN/Browning has a licensed model in production. Stoeger is back in the import business for many Italian products, revolvers, rifles, shotguns, single and double action semi-autos. It is confusing!

May 29, 2004, 10:47 PM
At the top of the food chain (I think) is the Herstal Group, a big conglomerate. The Herstal Group owns FN. FN owns US Repeating Arms Company, which makes "Winchester" firearms. Winchester ammunition is owned by the Olin Corporation. There is no "Winchester Arms" company per say.

Browning has been partnered with FN for some time, but now I think that FN or the Herstal Group owns Browning outright. I don't know if Browning guns are made in Japan anymore. I don't think Winchesters have been.

May 29, 2004, 10:50 PM
I heard that they were going to close down or had already closed down their Japanese plant. Last I heard on the FN Hipower forum the Belgian government now owns most of FN.

May 29, 2004, 10:50 PM
Beretta owns FN Herstal? :what:

My head hurts...

I was on the FN website and it said they had facilities in South Carolina. I'm just wondering why they don't produce domestic FNC and FALs for the US market.

May 29, 2004, 10:51 PM
Beretta owns FN Herstal?

Um....I don't think so...

May 29, 2004, 10:53 PM
Another question: I know JMB had a close relationship with FN, has Browning Firearms Corp always been owned by FN? And when did FN acquire Winchester- and when did Beretta get the whole package deal?

May 29, 2004, 10:57 PM
I think JMB had a falling out with Winchester and Colt(?) over a design of his that they didn't want and that's why he went to FN. A gunshop guy told me that FN bought Winchester a few years ago, but somebody else on here told me that that's not true.

May 29, 2004, 11:01 PM
IIRC, GIAT (Fra) owned the majority, or at least a big chunk, of FN (Bel) and Beretta (Ita) at onw time. FN owned (at least major part) Browning and Winchester.

Now, again IIRC, Giat divested most, if not all, of its ownership of the two. FN still owns Browning and Winchester but the ties to Beretta, who now also own Benelli, Franchi, and Stoeger as well as looks over Tikka ans Sako, have been mostly cut. Could be wrong on the condition of their relationship though. Also a link from Beretta to Burris some how.

May 29, 2004, 11:35 PM
I was on the FN website and it said they had facilities in South Carolina. I'm just wondering why they don't produce domestic FNC and FALs for the US market.

Hmm... I'd be interested in hearing an answer to that question, too.

Dave R
May 29, 2004, 11:45 PM
Speaking historically, the way I heard it is that it all goes back to John Moses Browning.

Winchester licensed pretty much all the early Browning designs. Then there were some they didn't want to license. Browning licensed those to FN (including the Hi-Power). Somewhere in there, Browning Firearms got started.

So JM Browning tied them all together early. Then all that corporate stuff happened.

May 29, 2004, 11:47 PM
I don't think FN has manufactured any FAL rifles since the 80s. Who knows if they even have the production facilities anymore.

Why don't they make 'em for the civvie market, though? FNCs, specifically?

One guess would be this. Initially, they'd be expensive. And people would say "for the same price I could get an AR-15 and hang all sorts of do-dads off of it". The market seems very unfriendly to any new .223 rifles these days.

Of course, the AR-15 is also a military design, designed to be mass-produced inexpensively, and is often sold by companies that don't make their own parts. That doesn't stop people from shelling out eight to twelve hundred dollars for a new one, and being happy with the price.

But if a US-made FNC cost more than $500 retail, I doubt it'd sell well.

Also, FN, HK, and other euro companies don't seem interested in selling scary guns to the US market. Maybe they're afraid another ban will be put in place and they'll lose money, or something.

May 29, 2004, 11:49 PM
The US facility is FNMI. Look at it here, and drool:
Their Website (http://www.fnmfg.com/)

They are dedicated to, and busy, building MGs and ARs for the military. The don't make FN-design rifles, and have (probably correctly) guaged the civilian market as being too small relative to the government one.

How much do you think we pay for fast-as-you-can shipments of special guns like the Mk46 &48. A LOT I'll bet.

May 30, 2004, 12:16 AM
According to this (http://www.chuckhawks.com/browning_A-5.htm), the FN/Browning Arms relationship began when Winchester didn't want to pay JMB royalties on his newly patented Auto-5 design. So JMB took it to FN in Belgium and they started producing them under the Browning Automatic Arms Company name.

May 30, 2004, 12:41 PM
GIAT sold FN(and Winchester/Browning) to the Walloon Region. IOW, the local government bought it from the French. John

Here's part of an old interview with the head man:

"What are the key figures for the plan?

At the end of 1998, the equity of the group will be US$250m. We do not have any debts. Giat Industries, our former shareholder, had wiped off nearly all the debts when it assigned its shares to the new shareholder. The turnover is stable at about US$400m. During 1998 the group will have reduced its losses sharply. As of 1999, and then in 2000, we will have balanced the books and then will return to profit. At the end of the first quarter of 1998 we were 100 per cent aligned with the plan, an encouraging beginning. The second half of 1998 will break even and 1999 will be profitable with a turnover of $420 and a workforce of 2,300.
What about your new shareholder?

Our majority shareholder was Giat Industries, the leading land weapons industry in France. For financial reasons this group wanted to transfer its stake. The Walloon Region, already a minority shareholder, took over all of the capital, financed the planned redundancy scheme and boosted the operating capital. The operation has received the approval of the European Commission for Competition and the French Commission for Privatisation. In future, the minister, President of the Walloon Region Robert Collignon, has clearly stated that the region would like to have one or more industrial and financial partnerships. The Herstal Group is, therefore, expected to play a role in the industrial restructuring operations to be carried out worldwide."

May 30, 2004, 03:18 PM
Don't know how it works in today's world, but when JMB was alive, it was like this:

His handgun designs were sold to Colt's for sales in North America, and Fabrique Nationale for sales in the UK and Europe. The rest of the world was fair game for both of them to compete.

When JMB finished a design, it was sent to Colt's, who was contractually obligated to file and pay for any handgun patent from JMB in the US. Then it was sent to FN, who was to file and pay for patents in UK and Europe.

JMB (before his handgunning years, I guess) designed MANY lever action rifles and various shotguns and sold the designs to Winchester. When he brought the Auto-5 to Winchester, but wanted royalties instead of an outright purchase, Winchester didn't go for it. So JMB packed it up and went straight to FN, who was more than happy to pay him royalties for the right to manufacture the world's first automatic shotgun. (What was Winchester thinking? :rolleyes: )

What both FN and Colt's decided to do with JMB's designs was another matter: FN never got anywhere with the 1911 design because, being in Europe, just as they were about to pump out a 1911-alike in 9.85mm, WWI struck. The same thing ALMOST killed the Hi Power at the dawn of WWII. Colt's never was interested in the Hi Power design, even though they were provided a pistol and plans by FN, as they were too interested in the 1911. I guess that would be a perfect example of divergent evolution.

I don't know anything about Winchester lately, but it is kind of interesting that there haven't really been anything new (handgun wise) from FN or Colt's of note since JMB's designs have been developed to the furthest extent.


EDIT: Totally forgot all about Browning Arms Co. They were the importers of the HP in North America. They were independent until they were bought out by FN sometime in the nineties. Now, both Browning (FN in disguise) and FN themselves import the HP with their own markings.

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