York Guns Ltd, proud to be one of the first companies to sign into the Browning Premium Dealer scheme, and continue to be one of few that hold this status. We’d like to take this opportunity to share some history of Browning and the founder John Moses Browning with you…

John Moses Browning transformed the firearms industry with his innovative designs for sporting rifles, handguns and machine guns. Many of his creations remain in use after more than 100 years. John Browning known as Americas greatest inventor of firearms learnt his trade from his father Jonathan Browning, (1805-1879) who was also a gun-maker. Setting up business in Ogden, near Salt Lake City, in 1825.  John Browning spent most of his time in his father’s gun shop and cobbled together his first gun at age 10 from spare parts.

Browning Arms and FN Herstal

In 1880, Browning and his brothers opened the early version of the Browning Arms Company, then known as J.M. Browning and Bro. Guns, Pistols, Amunition & Fishing Tackle, in Ogden, Utah. Following his early collaborations with the Connecticut-based Winchester Repeating Arms, Browning expanded his business overseas in 1897 by authorizing Fabrique Nationale of Herstal, Belgium, to manufacture a 32-caliber semi-automatic pistol.

Since 1907, and at FN’s request, John M Browning had granted the right to use his surname as a trademark, thereby emphasising the common interests and goals that linked his family to the company. He never gave the same permission to any of the large American companies that had commercialised his first inventions, and the full significance of this decision would become apparent over the following decades.

Browning’s Famous Gun Designs

Winchester Model 1885

In 1879, Browning received his first patent, for a single-shot rifle. Four years later, he received a visit from T. G. Bennett, vice president and general manager of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company. This marking the start of a 19-year collaboration between Browning and Winchester. His first patent became the basis for the Winchester 1885, reputed to have one of the strongest actions of the time.

Winchester Model 1897

Browning introduced the first pump-action (or slide-action) shotgun in 1893, though it was unable to process the smokeless cartridges that were becoming popular. He made the adjustment for the Model 1897, which also featured the now standard “takedown” design that allows the barrel to be removed. The 1897 later proved a highly effective weapon for Allied forces during WWI.

Browning Auto-5

The Auto-5,  marked one of the first collaborations between Browning and Fabrique Nationale of Belgium. This is marked as the first successfully mass-produced semi-automatic shotgun in the early 20th century. It was based on a Browning patent in which the barrel and bolt recoil together following a shot, with the bolt remaining behind to eject the spent shell before moving forward to chamber a new one.


Also known by other names, including the Colt 45, the M1911 is a short-recoil, single-action hammer-fired pistol. It served as the U.S. military’s standard sidearm from 1911 until 1985, while proving immensely popular among civilians, as well.


The Browning B25 over-and-under shotgun became a twentieth century world-class benchmark in the manufacturing of hunting and sports arms. This is due to the combined efforts of father and son, as well as the technicians of Herstal, Almost 400,000 were produced in Belgium over a 45 year period, 65% of which were destined for the North American market.

Frequently envied and sometimes imitated by competitors, the B25 has never been bettered. More information can be found here

Browning Factory

The B25 has been handmade entirely in Belgium since 1931 and is the flagship of The John M Browning Collection.
The gunsmiths of the National Fabrique at Herstal can carry out practically any customisation work our customers require. These firearms are entirely assembled, adjusted and engraved according to the specifications of our clients around the world.




Customers can view our gun and accessory Browning collection on York Guns website, please click here