1920's FN SA-22 short only top loader - RimfireCentral.com Forums

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  #1  
Old 06-21-2019, 08:09 PM
dave bulla

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1920's FN SA-22 short only top loader



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Hi all.

Just looking for some info on a gun for sale locally. It's marked "Fabrique National D'Armes de Guerre-Herstal-Belgique" followed by "Browning's Patent Depose". "22 short smokeless"

It has the hole in the grip for top loading. Has takedown feature. Works smooth, feels tight, locks up solid. Bore looks perfect. Only issue is the stock finish on the right side looks like it got wet at some point. Blue looks beautiful except the butplate had some freckles. Shop Pender believes finish is original but I showed pics on another forum and one person was convinced it's a refinish. Lettering is clean and crisp still. I'm undecided. It's an awfully good finish for the age. Which I'm told is 1920's because it's a top loader instead of side loader.

Anyway, looking for info. Have not bought it yet and will have to do it within the next week if ever.

Any good info and history or trivia welcome. I'm trying to learn all I can I'm the next couple days.

Store is going out of business within the next week or two. Gun was on consignment for $1,000 for nearly two years (very small town area, not much business) currently at $600 but he says he'd take $500. Condition is excellent
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:11 PM
dave bulla

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Couldn't quite fit all the pics in one post. Last one here is the bad side of the stock. Would be an easy fix but it is what it is.
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Old 06-22-2019, 01:13 AM
gashtyke

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The barrel at least looks to me like the original factory rust blue. I love the ones I have---they were nicely fitted and finished and have a spartan look by modern standards--- just as JMB designed them.
The step-elevator sight suggests post war production. Nice gun. Can't comment on the price.
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  #4  
Old 06-22-2019, 05:01 AM
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Collectible Quality, I donít know. But it sure is interesting Sure itís worth $500 . If you want a semi auto 22short. Your only other choice is a new one . A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.
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Old 06-22-2019, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Toomany22s View Post
Collectible Quality, I don’t know. But it sure is interesting Sure it’s worth $500 . If you want a semi auto 22short. Your only other choice is a new one . A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush.
This. (and it was never a $1000 gun,plain Jane FNs don't have that kind of juice, so don't let that make you think that it's a screaming bargain) Browning guys might want it for a curiosity, but they really want the Browning brand.

Top loader production did continue into the post war period. Not positive, but I'm inclined to say that it is original finish.

Last edited by Camster; 06-22-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 06-22-2019, 03:37 PM
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I tend to agree with the previous posters, that the op's rifle of interest is most likely a POST-WAR production FN Automatic TD 22 rifle. I have a PRE-WAR FN Automatic TD rifle as shown below:


Note that the box is probably for a Post War rifle.







If you look closely, you will see that they both feature the top loading design. You'll also note that the forearm on my rifle has a narrow splinter type profile where-as the OP's rifle has a slightly different profile with a reverse angled tip that is more typical of a POST-WAR 50's design.

The OP's rifle was most likely produced between 1945 and 1956 when Browning Company began importing them into the US. Prior to 1956, FN was precluded from selling these in the US because of an agreement that John Browning had made with FN when he licensed FN to produce them. John Browning had retained the sole rights to sell this rifle design within the US and he subsequently licensed Remington to manufacture the design as their Model 24/241. Remington discontinued the Browning designed Model 24/241 rifle in 1956, so Browning company was free to began importing FN rifles under their name. The Browning imported rifles from FN had a revised loading port (side loading vs. top loading) similar to the Remington Mdl 24/241 rifles and a different rear sight (wheel sight), so the OP's rifle was definatly produced prior to 1956.

It is hard to say how the OP's rifle came to be here in the US. It could have been purchased by a US Serviceman stationed in Europe, or perhaps a commercial US importer brought it over here as a personal firearm. None-the-less, they are not common here in the US. My example was probably a WWII bring back produced in the 1920's/1930's.

The OP's rifle appears to me to be all original and in excellent condition, however, I would check the buttplate for corrosion, or a re-blue if the buttstock was indeed damaged by exposure to water.

I agree, that a $1000.00 list price was totally unreasonable. IMHO $500.00 would have gotten my interest, however, I already have a nice example of a Pre-Browning imported FN Automatic .22 rifle and I would have still tried to get it down a bit more if possible. If not, then I would snag it anyway because you'll not see another similar example for a long time, but that's me:-) Also, to put it in perspective, CDNN was selling Japanese manufactured Browning ATD-22 rifles in .22 short a few years ago for around $599.00 with either walnut, or maple stocks, and the Chinese knock-offs imported around 1991 by Interarms, can be had for around $250-$300 on the used market.

It would make for a nice addition to a collection, however, as a shooter, it has a vulnerability that should be acknowledged in that there are three holes drilled through the pistol grip area (buttstock attachment via the pistol grip, magazine tube, and loading port). There isn't much "meat" left in the pistol grip, with it's small cross-section and these areas of losses to resist any substantial abuse, and that makes the pistol grip area very weak point and prone to breakage.

HTH

Last edited by kaynine; 06-29-2019 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 06-22-2019, 05:56 PM
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If I saw that at a local gun show for $500 I would buy it. Most Belgian SA-22's I see are at least $450 for a halfway decent one. Nice ones are $650+ around here. I don't see many top loaders.
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Old 06-27-2019, 07:14 AM
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While these early models do not appear too often in the U.S., they are not considered to be rare. Matt Eastman's book, Browning Sporting Arms of Distinction 1903-1992 refers to this as the Model "A" (Model "B" loads from the right side of the stock) and states that "F.N. produced almost 200,000 of these little rifles for export all over the world."

Following is a link to a copy of the original factory manual for the rifle

http://www.hbsa-uk.org/knowledge-and...utomatic-rifle
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Old 06-27-2019, 07:19 AM
BBlount
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Sorry, the above link doesn't appear to work, try this one

http://www.hbsa-uk.org/knowledge-and...utomatic-rifle
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Old 06-27-2019, 09:46 PM
A square 10
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i really like that and i would be a buyer at that 500 or less range as much as it interests me at 1000 it will stay where it is , just sayin , i do like the rifle - the cartridge - concept and i would be a seriously interested buyer if that was presented , but do not let my thinking sway you from your decision beyond the considerations you normally have
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