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GUNS Magazine November 2011 Digital Edition - Page 18

• h O L t B O d I N S O N • no illusion. The 1911-22 is an 85-percent sized version of John Browning’s classic Model of 1911 .45 ACP. Browning’s 85 percent solution. y favorite picture of John Browning shows him M standing in his workshop, holding up his hand and estimating the size of a needed new part between his outstretched thumb and forefinger while one of his machinists has grabbed a vernier caliper and is quickly measuring and recording the distance between those gifted fingers. It exemplifies the mechanical genius he was, not someone hunched over a drafting table, but a mechanic who would file, chisel or machine part-by-part of a new firearm design he could visualize in his fertile mind. SMALL SCALE 1911 The Browning scaled down 191122 is as perfectly proportioned as the full-size 1911, and handles exceedingly well. I can imagine him today standing there at his cluttered workbench which has been recreated at the John M. Browning Firearms Museum in Ogden, Utah, setting out the dimensions of a new Model 1911 chambered for the .22 Long Rifle. That he didn’t, opened up a unique opportunity for Browning’s current engineers to do something especially creative for the 100th anniversary of the United States Military’s adoption of the Model of 1911. What they created has turned out to be a sensational, new rimfire handgun. So let there be a nice drum roll for the introduction of the Browning 191122. According to Browning’s Firearms Manager, Denny Wilcox, the 191122 has been in the hopper since 2008 when work on the concept began. It’s existence up until the 2011 SHOT Show was a well-kept secret. Browning knows how to keep secrets when it comes to firearms in the design phase. I had an opportunity to visit the Browning engineering offices one summer. When you entered an engineer’s office, he either turned his computer off or turned to something less than confidential. It reminded me of the stories of the old English gun trade in which the individual craftsmen would cover up the work on their bench with their apron if anyone approached. Anyway, I don’t think you’d have much luck being an industrial spy in the Browning engineering offices. Ryan Cook, Browning’s Lead Design Engineer, said the first thing they did was to model a full size 1911 in their CAD system. The challenge was to determine what the optimum size should be for a .22 rimfire built on the 1911 design. They began with a full 100-percent rimfire model which was progressively shrunk and prototyped at 90 percent, 85 percent and 75 percent of full size. What finally “felt” right was the 85-percent prototype. What rings true and is remarkable to me is at the 85-percent scale, you can still get all of your fingers on the grip, instead of having your little pinky floating out in space or wrapped under the magazine floorplate. I also noticed that at 85 18 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER 2011

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