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

This is Lot 1578 in the upcoming RIA December 2019 Premier auction.

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.

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