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John Moses Browning

Inventor of the Semi-Automatic Shotgun

John Browning

With over 30 million firearms based on his designs, John Moses Browning is one of America's most accomplished weapons inventors. Browning invented and patented the gas-operated return mechanism for rifles, which eliminated the need to load each shot by hand. With his invention, every time a person pulled the trigger a new round could be fired.

The son of a Mormon gunsmith, inventor John Moses Browning developed a keen understanding of guns from an early age. In 1879, Brown received his first patent for his breech-loading, single-shot rifle, and upon the death of his father, he and his brother took over the family business.

But Browning was less interested in the act of producing firearms as he was in inventing them. After Winchester got a hold one of Browning's rifles, the company decided to purchase the rights – sparking a 19-year relationship in which Browning would sell them 43 more designs.

Ultimately, John Moses Browning's inventions helped revolutionize the firearms industry in America with some of the country's most commercially successful guns – including the lever-action repeating rifle, semi-automatic shotgun, .22 caliber rifle, the Browning 1919 .30 caliber and M2 .50 caliber machine guns (MGs), and the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). Perhaps his most famous weapon, the BAR was adopted by the military and famously used by soldiers in World War I.

For more information on inventor John Browning's repeating rifle and semi-automatic shotgun inventions, please visit:

Hall of Fame Inventor Profile: John Moses Browning

M-1911 Pistols Homepage