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Browning 1919-A4 Machine Guns


Browning 1919-A4 Machine Guns


The Belt-fed Browning 1919 A-4 was the U.S. Militarys light machine gun for decades and it can still be found in use around the world. Master Armorer, John Bush, will teach you how this gun works step-by-step, along with complete disassembly, reassembly, troubleshooting, and repairs. You will also see many rare accessories, tools, belt-loading machines, and a number of different caliber conversions including 8mm & .308. We also take you on a trip to the range where you will see how to properly set up the gun on a tripod, and field adjust headspace, as well as close-up views of several different guns firing cloth and link belts. This exhaustive course is over 3 hours in length and covers everything in detail.

If you want the quick course on how to get the Browning 1919-A4 Machine Guns apart, back together, and operating as intended, then this course is for you (if you want the long course, look into our basic 108 hour Professional Gunsmith Course.)

Among the items covered are:



  • The history of the Colt manufacturing relationship with John M. Browning, the inventor of the 1919 Machine Gun, is explored
  • After many design changes to the Browning machine gun, in 1917 the United States Military tested the machine gun that now utilized downward ejection. After 20,000 rounds were continuously fired through the weapon with no failures, there was some skepticism, as they thought this was some type of fluke. Therefore, Browning took out another machine gun and fired continuously for around 48 minutes with no failures and the Ordinance Department was silenced. They knew that they had an extraordinary firearm in front of them
  • During WWI, Colt was busy manufacturing other firearms, including another one of John Brownings designs, the Potato Digger (M1895 Machine Gun.) Thus, many of the 1917 machine guns were manufactured by New England Westinghouse, and Remington. By the end of WWI, 56,608 model 1917s were manufactured for the Military
  • We are shown a variety of tech manuals and other literature for the Browning machine guns
  • After even more design changes were made, the model 1919-A4 was put into production and many other countries adopted this .30 caliber weapon besides the U. S.


Design & Function


  • Top cover, bolt, feed way and the belt holding pawl are shown and feeding linked ammunition is demonstrated
  • The firing sequence is explained and shown via extreme close ups
  • The top covers function is shown and explained
  • The spring-loaded extractor is shown and its function is explained
  • With the use of an oversized training weapon, various parts and their functions are further explained
  • The cocking of the firing pin is demonstrated
  • Belt feeding mechanism is shown and demonstrated
  • Feeding and extracting the round as well as the bolt operation and lock-up are discussed and shown
  • The cocking lever, extractor, T slot, barrel extension, front and rear cam plates, trigger, sear and locking block are all shown, and their functions explained and demonstrated
  • Primary extraction of cartridge case by the locking block is explained
  • The lock frame, barrel extension and accelerator are shown and demonstrated
  • The return spring and plunger are shown and their recoil function is explained
  • The disconnecting action of the trigger is discussed (This is a safety of sorts, because it will not fire out of battery)




  • Field stripping is shown and demonstrated with just a cartridge (the only tool needed). Caution is given in regards to the driving spring (which is under heavy compression) in the back of the gun after the back plate is taken off
  • Stripping the receiver is demonstrated
  • Muzzle booster and barrel jacket are shown, and information on their functions is given
  • Front and rear sight disassembly is demonstrated. Zeroing the weapon is also explained
  • Lock frame disassembly is demonstrated
  • Bolt and firing pin disassembly is shown and demonstrated
  • Barrel extension disassembly is demonstrated
  • Top cover disassembly is demonstrated
  • Pistol grip information is given


Cleaning & Lubrication


  • AGI cleaning & lubrication methods shown, along with the reasons for their use
  • After cleaning, dry with air gun, or in the oven on Warm ~185-200 degrees (metal parts ONLY)
  • John lubricated using the AGI method




  • Barrel extension reassembly is demonstrated. Manufacturers marks are shown and discussed
  • We are shown an insert in the face of the bolt. Manufacturers began using this procedure so that the bolt would not have to be junked if the bolt face was damaged from gas leakage in the primer
  • Bolt reassembly (firing pin, sear, sear spring, extractor, cocking lever) is shown and demonstrated
  • Lock frame (accelerator, return plunger & spring, trigger plunger, trigger) is shown being reassembled
  • Top cover (spring, feed pawl, feed lever, stud and retaining screw) reassembly is shown and demonstrated
  • Muzzle booster is shown being installed on the front of the barrel jacket
  • Pawl and its spring are shown being installed into the receiver


Model Differences


  • Various barrels are shown and compared
  • Various barrel extensions are shown and compared
  • The differences and similarities in British and American lock frames are shown
  • Various bolts are shown and compared
  • Different styles of top covers are shown and compared
  • Various pistol grips/back plates and their evolution in design are shown and compared


Final Assembly


  • Top cover installation is shown and demonstrated
  • Field stripping reassembly is demonstrated
  • Head spacing is demonstrated and explained
  • Front sight installation is demonstrated
  • Safety checks are demonstrated and explained
  • Setting head space using gauges is demonstrated and explained (specs are given)
  • The semi-auto Browning 1919 is shown. The similarities and differences between the semi and full auto versions are explained with parts both inside and outside of the firearm
  • The dummy Browning 1919. The side plate is shown and its design is explained


Range testing


  • The .30-06 model is tested and head spacing is checked at the range. Charging the weapon and the use of the tripod is demonstrated. We also get to see how to clear a jam and what to do when there is a failure to feed. Immediate action drills are demonstrated. Caution is given not to leave a live round in the chamber, as we do not want get a cook off
  • The .308 model is shown being firing in long and short bursts
  • The Israeli .308 (1919-A6) model is shown and fired at the range. This model uses a butt stock and has a bipod




  • Accessories are shown and discussed (a special tool for unscrewing the muzzle booster, a blank firing device, a carrying handle, chamber inspection mirrors and other special tools and gauges are all shown and explained)
  • The Shaw-type link loader is shown and demonstrated
  • The cloth type loader is shown and demonstrated


Final Thoughts


  • John summarizes the bulk of information found in this intensive Armorers course and goes over other important safety guidelines


If you noticed how often the terms "explanation" and "demonstration" are used, you may be getting some idea of why this course is necessary for any Browning 1919-A4 owner, or someone who intends to be.


How much does your Professional Course cost? The answer can be found in our intro pack. We recommend to anyone considering our Professional Course that they get the Introduction to Gunsmithing Packet as this packet includes a video with a sample gunsmithing lesson. It also includes an Enrollment Form that lists the costs of each Course level available as well as the material covered in each level.

Do I have to pay $7 s/h on each retail video? No, we discount shipping on multiple video orders. The new website calculates shipping based on weight and destination. In most cases, the actual shipping is less than listed in the catalog.

Is there a time limit to complete your course? No, our course is self-paced. As you complete sections of the course and submit your tests, we provide certification of completion for that portion of the course.

Can I become certified by taking your retail courses? Answers vary. If you are intending to purchase all the videos in our Law Enforcement Armorer's Course, for example, as long as you buy the test separately you can obtain a Certification as a Law Enforcement Armorer once you complete the testing successfully. Otherwise you would need to purchase one of our certified professional courses in order to obtain a profession Gunsmithing certificate.

What does your Professional Gunsmithing Course Introductory Lesson cover?The Introductory Lesson is one hour and includes complete information on how to get started Gunsmithing. You will also learn how to insure reliable auto-pistol feeding and how to prevent jams, checking and adjusting "range" on Smith and Wesson revolvers, how a gas system works on a Colt AR-15, AR-7 trigger repairs, timing and understanding cartridge stops of a Remington 870 and much more! 

Are your Courses guaranteed? Yes! The American Gunsmithing Institute is proud to offer a 100%, "Bulletproof Guarantee." We are so sure of the quality of our Courses and products that you may return any item purchased directly from AGI for a full refund (less shipping) for up to 90 days after purchase date. Defective DVDs and videos will be replaced for up to 1 year. The only question we will ask is: "How did we fail you?"

Does AGI offer other Certified Courses aside from the Professional Gunsmithing Course? Yes. We also offer a Certified Machine Shop Course, complete with Lathe, Mill and general Machine Shop instruction. Additionally AGI offers a Certified Welding Course and a Certified Locksmithing Course.

What do the Disassembly/Reassembly Courses cover? AGI offers D/R Courses that clearly demonstrate the complete process of disassembly and reassembly step-by-step. The Courses use close-up views to provide comprehensive instruction. Each DVD Video Manual covers one specific model or family of firearms and is indexed to help the user quickly find the information that they are looking for. At the price of only $19.97 each (plus s/h), these video manuals are must have support information for anyone who owns one of these firearms.  

What do the Armorer's Courses cover?AGI's Armorer's Courses teach you how to disassemble, maintain, repair and reassemble your choice of the 51 guns featured. These videos are packed with exclusive information and are equal to a complete Factory Armorer's Course! While our Disassembly/Reassembly Courses contain invaluable information, our Armorer's Courses contain so much more. Master Gunsmith and AGI Instructor Robert "Bob" Dunlap explains design and function using exclusive factory cutaway firearm models, giving you close-up details of the internal functions you would not otherwise be able to see. All AGI Armorer's Course DVDs include a FREE printable schematic!    

Are your Instructors experienced in their fields? Absolutely. Master Gunsmith and AGI Senior Instructor Robert "Bob" Dunlap is a widely respected authority in the firearm industry and spent over 35 years as the senior instructor at Lassen College's internationally known Gunsmithing School. Master Gunsmith Gene Shuey is a world class custom gun builder, former world class competitive shooter and current trainer specializing in 1911 and Glock pistols, IPSC limited and open class guns, and high-end custom rifles. Darrell Holland is a well known custom rifle builder, writer and lecturer who is always inventing new performance shooting products. Ken Brooks is a graduate of the renowned Gunsmithing program at Lassen College and continues his journey by working full time for Bob Dunlap. Gene Kelly is the President of AGI and the Gun Club of America. He graduated from Lassen College's Gunsmithing program and worked as a Professional Gunsmith prior to founding AGI. T.R. Graham is a NRA Certified Pistol Instructor and is a known authority, author and Gunsmith specializing in Glocks and other handguns. Master Armorer John Bush is an AGI Instructor and a consultant to manufacturers and importers of military firearms, and is certified as an Expert Witness in firearm cases.