John Moses Browning vs. Eugene Stoner

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Justin, Aug 21, 2015.

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  1. TRX

    TRX Member

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    "Stoners design allowed the bolt to engage directly to the barrel, thus cutting out the middle man (the receiver). I think that design was revolutionary and took some thinking on his part."

    It's a screw-on breechblock. That's a Browning design. When he drew up the FN 1900/Remington Model 8 he used an improved design, not the old one Stoner copied.
     
  2. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    I find it amusing that immediately after my post, this discussion basically turned into an exercise in synchronized point-missing.

    I didn't dispute the number of designs that Browning engineered, nor did I dispute that they were good designs, at least for their time.

    But what strikes me as fairly cool about the AR-pattern rifle is that it has evolved and diversified and evolved and diversified to the point where it exists as a perfectly acceptable choice for nearly every niche that a rifle can be used for.
     
  3. Nom de Forum

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  4. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    Pretty much exactly the ones it did generate.

    Trolling? Moi?

    The crash course in JMB-derived designs that resulted kind of suggests otherwise.

    Ok, so you got it, you just disagree. Fair enough.
     
  5. Ash

    Ash Member

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    The bulk of all pistols other than Walther-based designs such as the Beretta on the market, including Glocks, are Browning-based. Indeed, Browning was designing a striker-based high cap pistol when he died, decades before Gaston got in on the act. Sure, there are rare rotationally-locked designs, but Browning's designs are the absolute kings.

    His lever guns are still in production. He is the father of semi-auto shotguns, over-under shotguns. His .50 caliber machine gun remains standard. He designed pistol and machine gun rounds. He had original designs from pistols to rifles to shotguns to automatic rifles to heavy machine guns to cannons to cartridges to be fired in them.

    Stoner ranks more with Kalashnikov than with Browning. Serendipity made the AR capable of multiple roles, not design genius.
     
  6. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    I think its pretty unanimous that Browning was the greatest firearms designer due to the number, variation and success of his designs. Ash's analogy comparing Stoner to Kalashnikov is very accurate IMO.

    The point that I am missing is believing that the AR's success is due to "Serendipity".

    Stoner led a team to design a battle rifle. After modification it was adopted by the military and infiltrated the civilian market with huge success.

    The design is accurate, dependable, relatively cheap to manufacture and adaptable for many uses in the shooting sports and self defense. I can't see where luck had anything to do with that.

    Laphroaig
     
  7. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    This is exactly the point of my original post. The AR-pattern has fundamentally changed rifles and has managed to make a name for itself in everything from law enforcement to precision competition as a result.

    While Eugene Stoner likely could not have predicted some of the permutations his design would take (after all, who would have envisioned the AR10 as a viable, if not niche shotgun platform?) I have a hard time believing that he was somehow completely unaware of the inherent modularity of the design.

    Heck, here's a photo of a prototype belt fed AR in .308:

    loaded.jpg

    More information here:
    http://www.c3junkie.com/m16/ciener_bf/oldbeltfed.html

    And here:
    http://www.historicalfirearms.info/post/115063687196/inventors-their-guns-eugene-stoner-the-ar-10
     
  8. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    You could certainly make a reasonable case that Browning's 1911 is to pistols what Stoner's AR is to rifles; a design so useful that it shows up pretty much everywhere.

    Again, you're pointing out the prolificness of his design, but all of those, especially the rifles you've mentioned, are purpose-built. While the Ma Deuce is a great design, it has approximately zero applicability to anything outside of a military context.

    The lever-action designs are nice, and all, but functionally obsolete, even for modern use cases that call for a manually-operated rifle.

    The ultimate point with Stoner's design is that it's a purpose-agnostic design that works extremely well for just about anything you could care to do with a rifle.
     
  9. Nature Boy
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    Nature Boy Contributing Member

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    Maybe the true genius of the designer is represented in the influence, originality, longevity and flexibility of his designs. Both Stoner and Browning are phenomenal in that regard, but Browning was just so much more prolific. Saying that doesn't take anything away from Stoner.

    Edit: We should also take a moment and give thanks that they were both on our side
     
  10. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Conversely, who knows how many brilliant designs Stoner would have come up with if he had lived before Browning.

    In point of fact, that's one of the things that really set John Pedersen apart in the world of gun designs; he managed to develop many ingenious and successful gun designs in spite of Browning's patents, actually earning him JMB's praise. But Stoner came after both of them, and gun design was a pretty cluttered canvas at that point. Not much room for something truly innovative. I mean, how many truly revolutionary developments have we seen since Stoner? Nigh all of the advancements in small arms (particularly successful ones) have had to do with materials and manufacturing methods, with relatively few tweaks to the designs themselves. Nothing really new in terms of operating systems, though.
     
  11. entropy

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    The M1891 Mosin Nagant still serves with various Russian and former Warsaw Pact militaries as the PU sniper rifle. Also several Middle eastern countries stiil have them.
    Just like some of the SPECOPS types in our military like to keep using the M1911, some high speed, low drag Russian units use PU rifles instead of SVD's, SV-98's or VSK's. Guess there's traditionalists in every army.

    That beats the M2 by thirty years.

    Oh, and my vote goes to JMB. Stoner designed a couple good weapons, (AR-10, AR-15, Stoner 63) but as other posters have noted, Browning designed every type of firearm; hunting rifles, a military rifle, pistols both civilian and military, & shotguns. Many of his designs ushered in the semi-auto as more than a curiousity. And as is mentioned in a concurrent thread about a new service pistol, JMB was sent down by G_d himself to design the M1911 for not just the USMC, but all the US armed services. ;) Congress forgot that around 1984. :cuss:
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2015
  12. Nom de Forum

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    Serendipity is not a synonym for “luck”. It has several definitions but the simplest is “fortunate happenstance”.

    Justin in his thread starter wrote “The genius of Eugene Stoner was that he designed a single gun for many applications.” This is not an accurate statement. At the time the AR-10 was designed the U.S. Army was looking for a rifle (the term “battle rifle” did not exist as a description) to replace the Garand, Carbine, SMG, and B.A.R. I do not see any evidence Stoner had the intention to create a rifle that had a receiver that would be a platform for creating pistols, SMGs, .458 SOCOMs, National Match rifles, Sniper Rifles, etc., etc. It is Serendipitous that after Fremont and Sullivan (not Stoner) resigned the AR10 to be the AR15 a series of extraordinary events occurred that allowed the AR series to survive as a design long enough for other people to realize how adaptable the receiver is for creating versions Stoner never proposed or likely imagined when creating the AR-10 in the early 1950s. What evidence I see for Stoner designing differing versions occurred at about the time the AR-10 and FAL lost the competition to what would become the M-14. These versions appear to have been done in the hope of selling the AR-10 to the Dutch. Other than a belt fed version they were very simple versions: a shorter barrel to create a carbine, installation of a scope to create a “sniper rifle”.

    My comments are not intended to disparage Stoner or the AR series. I am huge fan of both. My rifle is an example of Stoner's ultimate AR design, the K.A.C. SR-15.
     
  13. Nom de Forum

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    He probably was not "completely unaware of the inherent modularity of the design", but he was initially designing a rifle not a weapon system and in my opinion it would be an exaggeration of his prescience to say he had any idea of the extent his rifle would become a weapon system.

    BTW, the specific weapon in the photo you posted appears to be something Stoner did not participate in creating. I am trying to locate the source, but I believe this is not a product from the Armalite/Fairchild era.
     
  14. Nom de Forum

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    What evidence do you have that Stoner designed it to be a “purpose-agnostic design”? Interesting coin of phrase by the way. Did you come up with the term “purpose-agnostic design”?
     
  15. Laphroaig

    Laphroaig Member

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    Maybe the happenstance was fortunate due to the excellence of the design, that's all I'm saying.

    Laphroaig
     
  16. Nom de Forum

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    I agree that excellent design was necessary for it to be the right design in the right place at the right time to survive long enough for it to have the opportunity to become what it has. There was never much wrong with the design other than the early execution of it, and the failure to understand what it required to be reliable.
     
  17. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    It's impossible to prove what a person who is now deceased did or didn't know more than a half century ago, but I think it's disingenuous and insulting to suggest that a man as brilliant as Stoner couldn't envision what his design was capable of. That's not far removed from the anti argument that the founder' couldn't have imagined more advanced weapons than the contemporary flintlock guns.

    Moreover, while it's modularity is one of the greatest attributes, the real genius is the gun's simplicity. How many other weapons can be assembled with so few tools? How many can be broken down into two halves or change configuration with just the push of two pins? How many locking breech rifles can have their barrel and/or bolt replaced without needing to be headspaced?

    JMB, Pedersen and many others have had great designs, sometimes many great designs. But Stoner was in a class all his own. His creation is the equivalent of an automobile that can be reconfigured as a coupe, sedan, wagon or pickup with a 4, 6 or 8 cylinder engine in less time than it takes to replace the clutch in a typical vehicle.
     
  18. Nom de Forum

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  19. jeepnik

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    Melt that puppy in about a minute.
     
  20. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Argumentum ex silentio. You'll have to do better than that.

    If the components are in spec, headspace will be in spec. Parts manufactured outside of tolerances causing problems is certainly not a design flaw.
     
  21. Nom de Forum

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  22. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Stoner still created one design. That's it. He modified it a bit, but that is it. That it got used across many spectra is irrelevant. Browning's designs might have been specific in their use, but in their use they were the best of all designs in which they competed. The A5 was superior to any other automatic shotgun. His pistol designs remain the single greatest used in the world, long after his death.

    Stoner came up with one design that ended up being great and with multiple uses (though no single AR excels at all at once). However, it remains one design. Browning's designs were the best in a number of fields. He didn't just have one good design and a number of also-rans. He had the best in just about every field of its day - the best rifle, the best general purpose machine gun, the best heavy machine gun, the best auto shotgun, the best over-under shot gun, the best pistol (in many categories), the best hunting rifle. He also came up with more currently-used cartridges than any other designer. Stoner didn't even come up with one.

    And, in Stoner's design, the AR-10 was a failure. The evolution of the design, the AR-15, wasn't even Stoner's. His design was a failure. The modification of his design was a success.

    As to lever guns being obsolete, that is a matter of opinion. They can still rapidly be brought to bear, deliver an accurate and effective shot, and subsequent shots are rapid. In hunting, they are just as effective as ever and hardly obsolete.
     
  23. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    JMB. Truly an iconic genius in our realm of interest. Sure there have been other before and after Sam colt, Horace smith, Daniel wesson, Oliver winchester, mannlicher, garand, stoner, you could even say George Kelgren. But none of those others has the broad spectrum AND the technical innovation attributed to them.
     
  24. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    :scrutiny:

    Playing a very tenuous game of semantics there.

    Different chamberings may not have been a priority or have even factored into the two-halves receiver design, but it's pretty easy to see the advantage of a "one size fits all" that actually does because it is so easy to change the configuration. Do we really think it's a coincidence that the XM177/CAR-15 came to fruition almost as soon as the M16 was officially adopted? Or that Stoner's design incorporated the ability to so easily separate the halves for any other reason than the fact that having two or more versions of a gun did not require completely different guns but only upper half assemblies?

    Yes, mission configurable modular gear that is nearly amorphous at it's root is a more recent advent, but the value of modularity dates back a lot further. It simply took awhile for manufacturing technology to make it feasible.

    That's called tolerance stacking, and proper design accounts for it. That is why you will have a base spec like +/- 0.003 unless otherwise noted, and then specific parts or cuts on parts that are +.001/-.004, +.005/-0, etc.

    At no point have I said that it is impossible for an AR to have incorrect headspace, or that headspace shouldn't be checked. What I said is that it doesn't need to be set during assembly of the rifle; if it is incorrect, then either the barrel or bolt is rejected and another used. Much faster and easier than a requirement to hand set headspace on each and every gun. And that is the modern doctrine for virtually all manufacturing; it's more efficient and economical to manufacture 1,000 of something per hour and have 7 rejects than to make 500 per hour with zero rejects. The former gives you 493 more of whatever it is in the same amount of time, and the rejects are either recycled or written off.
     
  25. MachIVshooter
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    MachIVshooter Contributing Member

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    Did Gene Stoner kill your dog or steal your girl, Ash? I get that not everyone holds a given person in high regard, but sheesh...........
     
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