Water-Themed Art Deco FN/Browning B25 Shotgun

The B25 was introduced by FN in 1925; the last of John Browning’s designs and the first successful over/under sporting shotgun. The one we are looking at today was created as a presentation piece for the celebrations in 1939 for the inauguration of the Albert Canal between Liege and Antwerp. As part of the festivities, the city of Liege hosted an Exposition of Water showcasing water-related technology – and FN was part of that Exposition.

The gun was embellished in a wonderful Art Deco style, with its engraving done by Felix Funken, who would go on to head up FN’s Custom Shop in the 1950s. Instead of checkering for the grip as one might expect, the wood is instead carved to emulate waves on water, creating a very interesting effect.

This shotgun is part of the Liege arms museum’s display of civilian arms, and I’d like to thanks them for taking it out of their display so I can show it to you! If you are in Liege, stop in and see the museum.

10 Comments

  1. A beautiful piece of work! I notice it has double triggers. I think the Browning Superposed would switch to a single selective trigger, the inertia of the first shot resetting to the other barrel.

  2. Important to remember that Browning was first a “sport” shooter (his family had to shoot well to eat well), then a gunsmith’s son (and thereafter a gunsmith himself), and finally a designer of guns. His designs all seemed to start with the shooter’s convenience, then the ease of maintenance and repair (or like the A5, minimal need for repair), and finally ease of manufacture. The superposed gun was designed first and foremost to shoot well (better than a side-by-side), as anyone would find who actually dared shoot this beauty.

    You don’t see many Deco-style gun decorations but you could say some guns themselves of the period were Deco designs — the Savage pistols, the Hi-Power, some of the Sauer products — form follows function plus an interesting proportion of blank space to fine detail — checkering, slide grip surfaces, curvatures, etc. If you compare them to Deco architecture some of the parallels are astounding.

  3. Browning’s son, Val. Browning had the honour of developing the modern single trigger mechanism which works on ” two pull” system that means; first; intentional and second; unintentional, first firing the gun and second doubling it. This is caused through the recoiled gun first striking the shoulder and rebounding, second forwarding and striking to the trigger finger. All modern single trigger doubles has two mechanisms as first changing the to be fired barrel, second preventing the doubling. Barrel transition may be accieved both mechanical or inertial but preventing doubling,is all made by an inertial pandula swinging backwards as disconnecing trigger and hammer connection at instant of gun’s rebounding from the shoulder. This is the invention of Val. Browning and nearly standart at all single trigger doubles. This means, free from the barrel transition mechanism, all single trigger double guns carry an inertial disconnector.

  4. Do we know that the blank side plates were NOT intended to be for some presentation or dedication that didn’t happen (resulting from that ultimate failure of the League of Nations)?

  5. Unless there’s a golden retriever flushing a roughed grouse from the thicket, it’s not proper shotgun etching. Perhaps the Belgians should be informed of that. I can understand their mistake however, as there’s not much of a firearms industry there. Keep trying Belgium…and good first attempt! If you want to roll with the big players in the firearms game like Canada or Trinidad, get with the times and etch properly.

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