Battle of the Giants – Browning Sues Smith & Wesson Over Rotary Magazine

    Typically, the larger companies do not file intellectual lawsuits with one another for a myriad of reasons.  Both, typically with competent and expensive attorneys, find it prohibitively expensive to defend intellectual property against a similarly sized opponent. This, of course ignores the marketing side of it which is typically never positive.

    As such, lawsuits are typically only used in a strategic sense or in a tactical one where the outcome is almost certainly victory. As such, the recent filing by Browning to defend a rotary magazine patent is an interesting development.

    The patent in question is 8,745,912, which covers a rotary type magazine. Its substantially different than the 10/22 magazine, which uses a formed cylinder. Instead, Browning’s patent covers the use of a single paddle to follow rounds through a track inside the magazine. Its a nifty solution, considering the magazine can be machined or molded to easily handle rimmed cartridges.


    The magazine design is oriented for bolt-action rifles, of which Browning contends that Smith & Wesson is infringing on the design through their subsidiary, Thompson Center. Specifically, Browning asserts that the Compass Rifles, released in early 2015 use Browning’s design.

    As per usual with intellectual property suits, Browning is asking for unspecified damages.

    This will be interesting to follow. With big lawyers and big budgets, it could either get nasty if Smith & Wesson determines it has not infringed or gets quietly resolved behind closed doors if they determine their application does infringe (or at least its less expensive to settle than fight).

    Nathan S

    One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

    The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.