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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am hoping that one of the Browning experts may be able to answer a question or two for me, regarding a gun that belongs to a friend of mine.

The gun is a 12 bore, Fixed Choke,O/U, and the barrels are marked "Fabrique Nationale Herstal Belgique " and "Browning Patent"

The serial number is 8J3RP01428

From what I have found so far, RP is the date code, which equates to 1978., and "J" designates the model.

Does anyone have information as to what a "J" model type is, please?

I believe that the 8 is usually the second number of the year of manufacture, but what of the 3?

Would it have been classed as a "Superposed"?

Handling it, I would say it is a trap gun, although it would seem that the fixed chokes have been opened up at some time in its life. It is a little tired, has had a lot of use, and has not been well cared for.

Any help will be most appreciated.


Steve.
 

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Steve,

Great question - I hope to learn what the 'Letter' designations in the first 3 character codes mean, one day. I'm not an expert.

I believe it is safe to say the gun would be classed as a Superposed.

Regarding the 3-digit prefix......

First Numeral - The product codes for the Browning engraving patterns in a similar format and similar period began with the numbers:
2 = Grade I
3 and 4 would have ='d Pigeon and Pointer Grades, but they were not a standard catalog offering during this time.
5 = Diana Grade
6 = Midas Grade
7 = Exhibition Grade
My contention regarding the first digit '8' (thus far) is..........8 = all FN Grades (exception: Browning Waterfowl Series)

Letter (2nd position in the prefix) - Browning used the letters B, C, E, F to denote 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 skeet models (respectively). I have also seen the letter 'B' in codes for FN guns as well, and is usually a 27.5" Broadway Skeet whereas the Browning code for a Broadway Trap is '9'. There was no Broadway Skeet in the Browning line - except by special order.

The numeral '8' followed by letters G, H, and J were used for the Browning Waterfowl Series guns Mallard (1980), Pintail (1981), and Black Duck (1982) respectively. There was to be a Canvasback and a Canada Goose edition (and may have been distinguished by K and L) but they were never produced. This left those 2 letters, 'available.

There is no 'I' presumably because it would be confused with the number 1. 'P' was used in the 'Presentation Series' and (I believe) for standard grades offered in the P- era that were not available as a catalog item.

So, other than the letter 'B' , FN used the letters J, K, and L as the 2nd character in their codes (or prefixes). I believe the actual product codes (that do not appear in the serial number) are at least 4 to 8 digits long as would appear on the box.

All 3-digit prefixes (or codes) in this format appear to end with the numeral '3'.......both Browning and FN. I have no explanation.

Conclusion: The '8' is for FN models. I have actually seen a '9K' prefix in an FN serial number - which is for a special FN model called 'Time'.

I believe the letters B, J, K, and L are designations for different frame configurations......Standard, Lightning, Special Chasse, and Special Chasse Side plate (or Exhibition). I know '8L3' is the prefix for many Special Chasse side plate models I've encountered.

I do not know how (or, 'if') the various barrel lengths and stock configurations were designated.......yet all the 8B3 guns I have recorded are 76cm 12mm rib Trap style (#6) or Parcours (205 & 206).

There were other prefixes ('863' and '893') for FN guns - perhaps in different periods for the standard patterns. I haven't thoroughly investigated this.

So, like you - I am hoping an expert will offer some definitive answers to this mystery. 1977 - 1978 was a challenging period of transition least of which would include re-structuring of product codes and prefixes under one roof, for concurrently produced guns for 2 different sales markets.

Now - Is your friend's gun a 70cm, 76cm or 81cm barrel with a 8mm, 12mm or 16mm rib?
And - What grade is it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Steve,

Great question - I hope to learn what the 'Letter' designations in the first 3 character codes mean, one day. I'm not an expert.

I believe it is safe to say the gun would be classed as a Superposed.

Regarding the 3-digit prefix......

First Numeral - The product codes for the Browning engraving patterns in a similar format and similar period began with the numbers:
2 = Grade I
3 and 4 would have ='d Pigeon and Pointer Grades, but they were not a standard catalog offering during this time.
5 = Diana Grade
6 = Midas Grade
7 = Exhibition Grade
My contention regarding the first digit '8' (thus far) is..........8 = all FN Grades (exception: Browning Waterfowl Series)

Letter (2nd position in the prefix) - Browning used the letters B, C, E, F to denote 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 skeet models (respectively). I have also seen the letter 'B' in codes for FN guns as well, and is usually a 27.5" Broadway Skeet whereas the Browning code for a Broadway Trap is '9'. There was no Broadway Skeet in the Browning line - except by special order.

The numeral '8' followed by letters G, H, and J were used for the Browning Waterfowl Series guns Mallard (1980), Pintail (1981), and Black Duck (1982) respectively. There was to be a Canvasback and a Canada Goose edition (and may have been distinguished by K and L) but they were never produced. This left those 2 letters, 'available.

There is no 'I' presumably because it would be confused with the number 1. 'P' was used in the 'Presentation Series' and (I believe) for standard grades offered in the P- era that were not available as a catalog item.

So, other than the letter 'B' , FN used the letters J, K, and L as the 2nd character in their codes (or prefixes). I believe the actual product codes (that do not appear in the serial number) are at least 4 to 8 digits long as would appear on the box.

All 3-digit prefixes (or codes) in this format appear to end with the numeral '3'.......both Browning and FN. I have no explanation.

Conclusion: The '8' is for FN models. I have actually seen a '9K' prefix in an FN serial number - which is for a special FN model called 'Time'.

I believe the letters B, J, K, and L are designations for different frame configurations......Standard, Lightning, Special Chasse, and Special Chasse Side plate (or Exhibition). I know '8L3' is the prefix for many Special Chasse side plate models I've encountered.

I do not know how (or, 'if') the various barrel lengths and stock configurations were designated.......yet all the 8B3 guns I have recorded are 76cm 12mm rib Trap style (#6) or Parcours (205 & 206).

There were other prefixes ('863' and '893') for FN guns - perhaps in different periods for the standard patterns. I haven't thoroughly investigated this.

So, like you - I am hoping an expert will offer some definitive answers to this mystery. 1977 - 1978 was a challenging period of transition least of which would include re-structuring of product codes and prefixes under one roof, for concurrently produced guns for 2 different sales markets.

Now - Is your friend's gun a 70cm, 76cm or 81cm barrel with a 8mm, 12mm or 16mm rib?
And - What grade is it?


You see, I just knew this would not be straightforward.:D

I only managed to handle this gun on Sunday, for a brief period, so most of my description has been from memory, other than noting the serial number. However, I will be shooting with my friend on Sunday next,so I will take a few pictures and measurements, which may help to clear the muddy waters.

Thank you so much for your reply.


Steve.
 

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You are welcome. I see the answer to one of my questions - in the title of the thread. It is an A1 Grade.

I'll look forward to whatever additional information you can retrieve. Based on other '8J3' records in my database, I would not be surprised to learn it is likely a 30" Broadway (16mm or 12mm) Trap model.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You are welcome. I see the answer to one of my questions - in the title of the thread. It is an A1 Grade.

I'll look forward to whatever additional information you can retrieve. Based on other '8J3' records in my database, I would not be surprised to learn it is likely a 30" Broadway (16mm or 12mm) Trap model.

Cheers!
It was the owner of the gun who told me that it was an A1, so I am assuming that it is. Let's see what the photographs tell us on Sunday.


Steve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
An update, with pictures.

The owner of the gun bought it with him today, to our local clay ground. Not only was I able to snap a few pictures, but he was good enough to let me shoot it.

Pictures:

Barrels are 29 7/8"



Rib is 12mm



Hiding under the top lever, along with the serial number, a letter S is visible. There may be more, but it is under the lever..



There are stampings onthe underside of the barrel flats, but my old eyes could not make it out.



Basic stamping on either side of the barrels





Action.



Forend



Stock






Steve.
 

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Awesome! Thanks for the photos, Steve.

Based on the style of the forearm (‘tulip’), this is a Special Sporting 206 modele. The 205 has 70cm x 12mm barrels. The Special Trap #6 has a semi-beavertail trap forearm.

Im still working on the meaning of the prefix/code.
I believe Browning adopted a different prefix system than FN, aside from ‘8’ being unique to FN.

I’ve noticed that the ‘8L3’ doesn’t even distinguish a difference in 12ga and 20ga guns, either. I know of a couple of side plate models with ‘78 year codes that are separated by 23 digits in the 7500 serial range. different gauges.

Maybe I’ll eventually learn something if I keep digging.

Nice of the guy to let you shoot the gun. You’ll be ‘hooked’ now.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Awesome! Thanks for the photos, Steve.

Based on the style of the forearm (‘tulip’), this is a Special Sporting 206 modele. The 205 has 70cm x 12mm barrels. The Special Trap #6 has a semi-beavertail trap forearm.

Im still working on the meaning of the prefix/code.
I believe Browning adopted a different prefix system than FN, aside from ‘8’ being unique to FN.

I’ve noticed that the ‘8L3’ doesn’t even distinguish a difference in 12ga and 20ga guns, either. I know of a couple of side plate models with ‘78 year codes that are separated by 23 digits in the 7500 serial range. different gauges.

Maybe I’ll eventually learn something if I keep digging.

Nice of the guy to let you shoot the gun. You’ll be ‘hooked’ now.

Cheers!


Thank you once again for your input.

The stamped S under the top lever intrigued me, so I cropped the picture.



Is it my imagination, or do I see a partial "star" stamp to the right of the S. The mark often used to denote choke constriction.

I did shoot it OK, but I will stick with my Zoli. :D



Steve.
 

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The asterisk can also accompany a single capital letter as part of an inspector’s code for the many milling operations on the frame.
 
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