John Browning tests an early version of his M2 .50-caliber machine gun, which helped win the Battle of Britain. The Union Station John M. Browning... View Enlarged Image
John M. Browning was a man who knew how to deliver.
When Winchester Repeating Arms wanted new firearms, he worked intensively for two years starting in October 1884 and produced 11 innovative designs. Other inventors would take two years to develop a single gun.
"If there was ever a man who was focused and remained that way until a project was completed, it was John," Scott Grange, director of public relations and shooting promotions for Browning/Winchester Repeating Arms, told IBD.
"His creativity and focus was superhuman, and nothing could seem to distract him."
Browning eventually held 128 patents covering 80 guns, including the legendary Model 1892 lever-action repeating rifle (Annie Oakley's favorite), the Colt .45 automatic pistol (which became the standard U.S. military sidearm) and the .50 Browning machine gun that armed millions of Allied infantry, tanks and aircraft in World War II.
Browning (1855-1926) grew up in the pioneer town of Ogden in northern Utah. His father was a gunsmith, and young John was able to take a rifle apart and put it back together by age 6.
A year later he started working in the family shop, and at 10 he made his first rifle from scraps.
When John was 13, a customer came in with a damaged rifle and left it after buying a reconditioned one. "I decided to take the gun apart down to the last small screw, even though the parts were mashed and twisted together," Browning recalled. "I examined each and discovered that there wasn't one I couldn't make myself."
He attended school until 15, then worked full time in the family business doing repairs and producing custom firearms. When his father died, 23-year-old John took charge and a year later received his first patent, for a superior single-shot rifle. With his younger brother, Matthew, as a partner, he set up a factory where they could turn out two a day. They were on the way to building Browning Arms Co.
In 1883, a salesman for Winchester Repeating Arms of New Haven, Conn., bought a secondhand rifle from a gun shop in the area and gave it to the vice president, T.G. Bennett.
Bennett was so impressed, he went all the way to Ogden and offered $10,000 — worth $236,000 today — for the gun rights.
Read More At Investor's Business Daily: John Browning Revolutionized The Firearms Industry With Innovations - Investors.com