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Hey Guys, wanted to see if anyone has any info on the 1919A4 FIXED Model with slotted barrel jacket. It sounds like these were only a prorotype model. See attached pictures. Thinking about doing a build. Were these parkerized or blued in 1937?
 

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PhD in Over-Engineering
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In that time period- before 1941- all 1919A4 models were converted from existing guns. That would include 1917 water cooled, 1918 Aircraft Guns and 1919 Tank Guns as a foundation. No new guns were being produced during that time, so all development was based on the large existing stocks from WWI production, or that just post-war time where the new air cooled Aircraft and Tank models were produced in small quantities. So, the early A4s did have slotted jackets, which were identical to the 1918 Aircraft model. The hole pattern jackets were first adopted in the late 30s. I'd need to confirm the exact date, but I think Sept 6, 1939 is the drawing revision date on that. It's covered in the OCM notes too.

I think the A4s of that period were converted in very small quantities, the very low thousands. Might even be less than 2000 guns. Fixed models like you pictured would be few. Tank design is evolving so much at that point, so fitting of fixed guns was also in development, constantly changing. The reprint of the "Weapon Mounts for Secondary Armament" book has a ton of info and pictures, and I recommend it, as well as Dolf Goldsmith's The Browning Machine gun books (particularly Vol I that covers all the development from WWI forward.)

You can get the slotted jackets- new made reproductions- from BMG Parts Co and from Ordnance Research as well. The other major piece pictured is the vertical back plate. This was introduced on the 1919 Aircraft model, which has a very different receiver construction, but uses interchangeable internal components. Those vertical back plates are not common, but I think APEX may have some. Gun Parts Corp does too, but I don't think they are allowed to open yet, thanks to Gov. Cuomo. When new fixed and flexible guns were produced from 1941 forward, they were using horizontal fixed back plates, with no pistol grip. By the time the 1919A5 was adopted, during the war, they were issued with the short horizontal back plate. That's become harder to find as well.

Last thing that might apply to a very early fixed A4 like that might be the A2 style rear sight base mount. That's going to be tough, as there is no ready-made supply for those as a separate component. It is essentially a BAR base attached to the top cover latch. Before the common A4 rear sight mount was attached to the left side plate, they briefly kept the latch mounted base, but had the optic mount part riveted to the left plate. Shortly after, that optic mount and the rear sight base became the standard, one-piece unit common to the war production 1919A4. While pics and even drawings exist of models like you show, those may have existed only in a handful of examples while development was ongoing throughout the 1930s until final specs were adopted, very late in that decade. I've got pics of an A4 with the WWI receiver still utilized, one with the riveted bottom plate first showing, but with flush rivets, and then it all starts to look familiar. We are looking at early 1936 and forward. So, if you want to match that look, it can be done with some effort and a little money spent.

As to finish, best I can determine it would probably be parkerized by 1937, based on what component drawings are calling for by that time. But I think if you wanted to do one in a blued, or black oxide finish, I would go for it. That was certainly what the base guns they were converting from started with.

I built a 1919A5 based on the prototype from Rock Island Arsenal, as pictured in Dolf's book from the Arsenal image collection. There may have been only one gun just like this, but it's what I copied. Definitely different from the production A5s, which had no rear sight or bracket installed, and the horizontal back plate.
 

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That looks like you are going to have a nice build when done. Like Lucky13 I love the early Browning variants. Good luck on the project and keep us updated.
 

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Thanks Lucky for the very informative post. I picked up one of the A5 kits from Apex, and was looking for the most accurate build. It looks like I need to snag a book, to get more accurate information on these before I start on the build. The kit I got doesn't have the rear sight bracket, so maybe a prototype clone is in order as you have done. I'm anxious to see the picture in the book.
 

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PhD in Over-Engineering
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What you acquired is a production A5, so the lack of rear sight bracket is 100% correct. I am attaching the pic from the RIA Museum below, and this is the gun pictured in Dolf's book. It appears to be a prototype version. Also in the book is a pic of a bunch of A5s at the Arsenal, finished are ready to go. They all have the short horizontal back plate, no rear sight bracket, no front sight. Intended for use in the Stuart Tank, they were not in need of sights, and part of the design revolved around the very tight spacing. This is why, for example, that unique A5 top cover catch system was developed.

I should add that the gun pictured was converted from a New England Westinghouse Model of 1918 Aircraft Gun.
 

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