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#532829 01/03/19 04:21 PM
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I just got a 50's vintage 98 Mauser with a barrel by Johnson Automatics in .270 Winchester. I've seen these barrels before but know nothing about them. Any information will be helpful.


Bill Ferguson
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I found a discussion of the Johnson Co.on this site from a few years ago. It was very helpful.


Bill Ferguson
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What I remember of an article on Melvin Johnson was that in the early 50's, he went to work for Winchester as a designer and some sort of advisor. An agreement with John Olin at the time was made that Winchester purchase his 'Johnson Automatic Rifle Company' and what ever parts, inventory, ect remained of it.

(That inventory and parts were later bought by Numrich from Winchester, which then sold the entire lot to Winfield Arms. Winfield had bought and imported the Dutch contract Johnson rifles from Holland and the small lot of USMC remaining rifles that Johnson bought back from the USMC after WW2.
Winfield was in the Johnson Auto Rifle Biz.Both Military and Sporter types)

While Melvin was working his 'job' at Winchester, (now relieved of the Johnson Automatics Rifle Co of WW2) he also ran a small gunsmithing shop (out of his home I believe) in Hope Valley, RI.
Here he concentrated on rebarreling and restocking mostly WW2 surplus MAusers into sporters. He supposedly made the bbls and were marked Johnson Automatics.
270Win was one of his favorite calibers for those, if not his favorite.

He had many business contacts and was not shy about finding outside sources to make parts and bbls for his projects.
When the Chilean Gov't placed and order for 1000(?) of his Model 1941 SemiAuto Rifles in 1943(?) but in 7mmMauser cal,,be attempted to get the Hoffman Rifle Co of Amarillo to make the bbls for them. Just business.
So perhaps the bbls on his small shop custom projects were from an outside source,,I really don't know. But he was certainly knowledgeable enough to have either made them himself or known enough people to have them made for him.

The Johnson Automatic Rifle Co of WW2 era did make replacement bbls for 1917 US Enfield rifles that went through rebuild in US Arsenals. MArked JA at the muzzle,,2 groove. I don't know if they made replacements for the 1903 or other US small arms also.

That's about what I recall. Interesting man, career, and weapons designs.

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Kutter, Thanks for your input. I hope to get to the range soon and give this barrel a trial. My definition of a good barrel has always been one that shoots well regardless of who made it or who owned it previously. This one seems to be in almost unused condition so I'm hoping it works well.


Bill Ferguson
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Johnson arms was sold in the late 1950s to Benko Alexander who built most if not all of johnsons custom rifles. the barrels in most cases where of Timkin steel. They also made barrels in a bantom weight and light weight.I have a 7x57 built on a 98 action.I also have the last serviceable 30 calib. bantom weight that was available and never fitted to an action.Johnson Arms became Gartman arms in the 1950s and was housed in Wrentham Ma. Eric Hertzog also done work for gartman arms.there is much more to this story. They built 2 custom rifles for the shar of iran and his wife one in 30-06 one in in 270 they where engraved by Alvin white.when the guns left the house they had several hundred of ammo with them.

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I can remember advertisements, during the middle 60s, for an importer selling Johnson Automatic rifles, as I recall in 30-06, 270, or 7x57. This was before the 68 law and many importers/dealers were advertising in American Rifleman, and I can't remember which one.
Mike

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Thanks for more information. This particular barrel is very slender, 22" long, and has a wider section about 2" long at the muzzle. I've never seen this feature before. I'd guess its purpose is to keep the rifle from being too light at the front end. I post results when I get a chance to shoot. Weather doesn't always cooperate this time of year.


Bill Ferguson
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Buddy has a sporterized Johnson Automatic rifle, believe it was a Dutch contract gun, his Grandfather used it for deer hunting ONE time, then went back to a Winchester 100 in .308, said the Johnson blurred his vision for too long after the shot.
He, friend, that is, wishes it hadnít been sporterized.

Best,
Ted

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rockey mntn bill what you have is a bantam weight barrel the reason the barrel is heavy at the muzzle is because the torque on that slim barrel could not be regulated the stock should be fully bedded from receiver to end of stock. if properly done these barrels are superb I was hoping someone would find use for the one I have. not many exist today. if I was younger I would activate this barrel to a 98 action. I failed to mention these barrels went under extensive tests to fail them there never was a failure I was aware of.

Last edited by pod; 01/05/19 10:47 PM.
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pod, That's an interesting idea. As it came to me, the metal was not well fitted to the wood. Before I do any shooting, I'll straighten up the inletting. Thanks.


Bill Ferguson
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