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History And Development Of The Browning Machine Gun

Updated on January 19, 2017
John Browning with a BAR
John Browning with a BAR
Water cooled M1917
Water cooled M1917
M1919 .30 caliber
M1919 .30 caliber

Browning Machine Guns

Browning machine guns were invented by John Browning. John Browning was born in Utah in 1855 and his father was a gunsmith. At an early age, John Browning began to design and build weapons. Throughout his life he acquired 128 patents for various firearms. John Browning is considered the major inventor and innovator of semi-automatic and automatic weapons.

John Browning designed or developed operating mechanisms, such as, the lever action, slide action, recoil and gas operated auto-loading mechanisms. The basic operations of an auto-loading weapon is to use the "recoil" (backwards force) or the gases of fired ammunition to operate mechanisms that reload new cartridges. Here are a select few of some of Browning's machine guns and the development of those machine guns, used in World War I, World War II and later.

M1917

The Browning M1917 is a water cooled machine gun, with recoil action, which used "fabric belt" fed .30-06 cartridges. It saw action, that began late in World War 1 and lasted up until the Korean War. Categorized as a "heavy machine gun" it could fire 450 to 600 rounds per minute based on the model.

M1918 BAR

The Browning Automatic Rifle ( BAR) was categorized as a "light machine gun" that was used by individual soldiers. It was gas operated and used the .30-06 cartridge. It had an effective range of up to 1,500 yards. They used a 20 round magazine and could fire up to 300 to 650 rounds per minute depending on the particular model.

M1919

The Browning M1919 was categorized as a "medium" machine gun that fired a .30-06 cartdrige. It was a recoil operated, belt fed, air cooled machine gun. It was capable of firing 400 t0 600 rounds per minute. The M1919 was mounted on various military equipment. It was used for aircraft, infantry use and as an anti-aircraft weapon. It had a range of 1,500 yards.

M2 .50 Caliber

The Browning M2 .50 machine gun was very similar to the M1919 in design, function and use except for the larger cartridge being .50 caliber instead of .30. It was designated as a "heavy machine gun" and could fire from 485 to 1200 rounds per minute. It utilized a short recoil operating mechanism and had a belt fed, feed system. It has been used since World War II and up until the present time. It's sometimes called "Ma Deuce or a fifty cal". The M2 has an effective range of over 2,100 yards and a maximum range of 7,400 yards.

M1917
M1917

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