Ok, so this gun gave me chills. I feel like I say that a lot, but I really mean it…every time.

John Moses Browning (1855 – 1926) is regarded as one of the greatest—if not the greatest—firearms designers in history. He was one of 22 children. His father, Jonathan Browning, designed a small rifle as well as a seven-shot repeater that he custom-made for family member George Browning. But the first firearm that John Moses Browning designed, at 23 years old, was the Browning Model 1878 Single Shot Rifle. Browning Brothers out of Ogden, Utah, was a relatively small outfit, consisting of John Browning and his three brothers. They produced about 600 Model 1878s, until Winchester entered the picture.

In 1883, Winchester Repeating Arms got ahold of this single shot rifle. Thomas Bennett, the Vice President of Winchester at the time, met with Browning and paid him $8,000 for the right to produce the concept. This gun became known as the Winchester Model 1885 Single Shot Rifle. This deal started a long and exclusive relationship with Winchester that would ultimately end at the turn of the century over the Browning Automatic 5 Shotgun. Browning worked for Winchester, Fabrique Nationale, Remington, Colt, Savage, and several other companies.

John Browning designed more than 80 firearms during his lifetime. The pictured firearm was later modified by Browning for another patent, but it is the prototype serial number 1 that started it all. And in the wise words of Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that.”

To see the previous Gun of the Week—a F__eltman Pneumatic Machine Gun___—_click here. Stay tuned for a new gun next week. For more information, check out the Cody Firearms Museum page here, or follow the Cody Firearms Museum on Facebook and Twitter.