A winner for the keen beginner
The Medallist was a well-designed shotgun for the entry-level mass market, says Charles Smith-jones
There can be very few people who have not heard of the Browning Arms Company. Founded in 1878, the company quickly developed a deserved reputation not just for the manufacture of sporting and military firearms but also for a wide range of fishing tackle and other sporting goods. Co-founder John Moses Browning is widely regarded as one of the world’s most prolific inventors of firearms and his name is synonymous with quality.
It is, however, important to recognise from the start that the Browning Medallist was never actually made by Browning — it was simply distributed by the company. Early production of the Medallist was instead done by the Italian shotgun manufacturer Zoli to Browning specifications, but for reasons of cost and over-complication of design soon switched to FIAS — better known as Sabatti — another Italian company.
Specifically giving the gun the name Browning seems to have been a commercial decision taken to elevate its image on the open market.
The name, however, is not a real issue. The Medallist has always been a robust and well-designed shotgun intended for the mass market as an entry-level budget model. Apart from the very earliest ones, which tended to be a little over-complicated, the action design quickly evolved to become much more straightforward and reliable.
The single trigger uses a sear system to switch between barrels. The transfer to the second sear is operated by an inertia mechanism driven by recoil. One shooting fault that I have noticed, especially among beginners, is that if the gun is not firmly seated in the shoulder when fired, the transfer will not take place and as a result the second barrel will not fire.
The safety is conveniently placed in the usual location on the top strap and it doubles as a barrel selector. While the safety catch is non-automatic, it can easily be converted