Tippman’s Half-Scale .22 Rimfire Browning 1917 Machine Gun

In 1983, Dennis Tippman formed a company to manufacture half-scale functional replicas of Browning machine guns – the 1919 and 1917 specifically. He built these as both fully automatic and semiautomatic (the semiauto design being approved by ATF in 1984) as new machine guns could still be registered in 1983. They were chambered for .22 LR rimfire ammunition, making then cheap and easy to shoot. In 1985, he added an M2HB replica, also in half scale, chambered for the .22 Magnum cartridge.

Tippman’s guns were excellent replicas of the originals, including accessories like tripods and even a few .22 caliber belt-loading machines. However, when the machine gun registry was closed in 1986, he left the business, selling it to FJ Vollmer. Tippman would move into paintball markers, and the company name is much better know for those today outside of a small community of machine gun enthusiasts.

Vollmer would eventually sell the company in 2001 to Eric Graetz and Lakeside Machine, who continued production of the semiauto versions, as well as offering post-sample automatics ones. This example is one of Graetz’ production, serial number 001 from when the company moved to New Haven Indiana.

Sold for $14,950 at the December 2019 RIA Premier auction.


  1. Any semi-auto (would be) machine gun is kind of lame. But this one is sweet. Looks like lots of love for mechanisms went into it.

    • Add a crank-fire mechanism and you can cycle like mad without breaking the rules. Just be sure elevation gear and/or traverse gear on the mount are cranked as well, or the thing will spray wild and not hit your intended victim-umm, target. Just kidding!

      • I wonder how the “authority” would see it if was a Gatling type, as you say. If with NO, than you can call coffee grinder a machine-gun 🙂

        • Hand-cranked guns are manually actuated, and such cannot be counted as “automatic” machine guns as defined by “multiple shooting cycles per trigger-pull.” Each turn of the crank may provide MULTIPLE pulls on the trigger, but the gun’s action cycles only ONCE per mechanical trigger-pull. Ergo, a hand-cranked “machine gun” is not an “automatic machine gun.” Did I mess up?

  2. I’d love to see a series on forgotten paintball guns. some were rather interesting, and I don’t think there is much of a collectors market.

    a tippman smg-62 or smg-68 could be a lot of fun for someone who couldn’t own guns for whatever reason, or traditional full auto was out of their price range.

    • Me too since I know so little about them. They are not true weapons but they may lead to training with real ones. They surely have plenty of history behind them.

      • I think the absence of regulations helped innovation with paintball guns. the main limitations were the propellant gas (CO2 or high pressure air) and the projectiles themselves, which by nature were fragile.

        sure, the sport is mostly dead now, one of the few uses for paintball guns now is as a anti-riot instrument firing pepperballs. but there is always something to be learned from interesting mechanical devices.

        • Absence of regulation is always helpful to innovation and progress. That is how we arrived to everything noteworthy we have.

  3. Tippman is back in the gun business. He makes Rolling Blocks and .22 lr AR type guns. The Micro Elite Pro Pistol is awesome.

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