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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.

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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.


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If built by gartman arms they where bedded and almost always with very nice wood. good luck with it if I can be of any help feel free.bob

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This rifle was stocked by someone who didn't really know what he was doing, but he had the good sense to stop before he did too much. I think it's now bedded well enough to try at the range. I've saved the pieces and shavings I cut off the stock. With allowance for the weight of a medium size paper bad they weigh about 14 pounds.


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bill: your last sentence confused me. how much does the gun weigh? they generally go between 5-6.5 pds. I would love to see a picture of that gun. was there a hallmark stamped on the underside of the barrel?
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Bob, I only meant to say there was a lot of extra wood, actually about half a pound. I don't think there are any other markings on the bottom side than the numbers 270 on the edge of the shank. I'll check again when I have the metal out of the wood. The rifle wasn't anything special to look at-- a WWII Mauser action with a poorly forged bolt handle and an oversize Fajen stock of plain black walnut. What made it appealing to me was that it included a mint Lyman Alaskan scope. Now I'm hoping it will shoot, too.


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If bedded properly it should be an excellent shooter. It obviously wasn't one we built. the ones built by benko where stamped with his hallmark.it was hacked by a bubba.
bob

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Elmer Keith talks a bit about Johnson barrels in his book "Rifles for Large Game".


C Man
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Quit your job.
Turn off the TV.
Go outside and play.
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Here are some pictures of one of Dan's rifles with a really thin barrel.












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rocky mtn bill/ pod,
If the "wide section about 2" long at the muzzle" is the same as on "Dans" rifle above, it looks like a muzzle brake. I looks like those brakes sold by Herter's in the 50s and 60s with typical claims of reduced recoil and increased accuracy.
Mike

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Mike. Mine is a straight cylinder about the diameter of the small section on Dan's rifle. There are no holes in it. It has to be a weight of some kind.


Bill Ferguson
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Bill,
You have seen yours, I haven't; I yield to your superior information.
Mike

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Does it look like the barrel on the rifle in the link below

257 Mauser

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The compensator is marked "The Rex Sha-Cul Pat. Pend.". The barrel is just under 1/2" at the smallest part and is 18 1/2" long without the comp. The gun is marked Kuharsky Bros and of course has one of their scope mounts. Cheek piece sure has a German influence.
Dan

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My barrel is like the one shown in PhysDoc's photo.


Bill Ferguson
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Originally Posted by DanLH
The compensator is marked "The Rex Sha-Cul Pat. Pend.". The barrel is just under 1/2" at the smallest part and is 18 1/2" long without the comp. The gun is marked Kuharsky Bros and of course has one of their scope mounts. Cheek piece sure has a German influence.
Dan

Bumping this to come back later with some pics.
I was Googling for the "The Rex Sha-Cul" and found this old thread.

I have a couple of Johnson Automatics barrels, one .257Rob and a .30-06. Both on Mauser actions.
Yesterday I purchased (unmarked will need to confirm) a .264 WinMag with a Rex Sha-Cul on the muzzle.


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Chamber cast confirmed that the rifle with a "The Rex Sha-Cut" muzzle brake is a .264WinMag.

Top in pic is the .264WinMag
Middle is the 30-06
Bottom is .257 Roberts

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

The .30-06 is a project that is almost complete.
I was planning to part it out, but the barrel is near perfect and getting a profile turned this light is getting harder to do

Came to me missing the action. Bottom metal w/ triggers, stock and barrel were what I purchased.
Barrel is not original to the stock, so I am completing a project someone else started.
Bolt came from a third rifle.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

.257Rob is obviously a long term project, again started by someone else.
Action is (I believe) a 1903 Turkish Mauser with the front ring turned down to small ring dimensions.
They took it even further and lightened the side rail like a G.33/40. My metal 'smith installed the barrel and made lightening cuts below the wood line, again like a G.33/40
With the light profile of the barrel, this will make for a very trim rifle.....if I ever finish it.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

Finally, the muzzle brake on the .264WinMag
I had to remove the brake as this rifle has been sitting a LONG time. The inside of the brake was full of spider webs, dust, grime and other stuff.
Brushes, patches and even compressed air couldn't get it all out. I'm sure the first shot would have cleared it laugh but that seemed to be asking for trouble. wink

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

And that is my addition to a thread that Google led me to find on a forum I first read 25+ years ago.


Mike
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