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The barrel lock, located underneath in front of the breechblock finger piece, is pushed forward while the breechblock is moved back about a quarter of an inch.This prevents the extractor from catching during disassembly.This arrangement was only used until 1976, when Browning standardised its serial number identification.The serial number remained at the front but a two letter code now denoted the year of manufacture with a three digit numerical code for the firearm type and grade of finish. 01035RT246 = a .22” Semi-Auto Grade 2 rifle, made in 1976 with the serial number 01035.A “T” prefix was used for .22” Long Rifle and “A” for .22” Short.However, the “A” was changed to “E” for Short and a number added for the year, e.g. From 1969, two digits were used for the year of manufacture, with serial numbers starting with 1000. 69T1156 would refer to a 1969 .22” Semi-Automatic rifle in .22” Long Rifle with the serial number 1156.
In each, he is holding examples of his genius, the unmistakeable FN Browning Auto-5 (the ‘humpback’) and the FN Browning .22” calibre Automatic Rifle.
During the move of production, in 1974, from Herstal to Miroku, Japan, the order of the serial number code was, in effect, reversed.
The serial number now preceded the calibre code, followed by a two figure year code. 1270T74 = a 1974 Semi Auto rifle in .22” LR calibre with the serial number 1270.
However, once again, the coding was revised in 1998 in order to work with Browning’s new database.
The letter code, for year of manufacture, remained the same but, each year the serial numbers would start at 01001, with the three digit code of 212 for the .22” Semi-Auto Rifle.
In recent years, barrels have been available with a ‘cantilever’ scope sight mount that extends back over the receiver, thus ensuring that the alignment of the barrel and scope remain constant.