July 23, 2013

Designing the Browning Cynergy -- Ten Long Years

Designing the Browning Cynergy

I saw an interesting piece on the history of the Browning Cynergy in a recent email from the company. Excerpts follow:

Gun designer Dwight Potter passed along some of the most interesting historical aspects in the development of Browning’s Cynergy.

Its roots lie with the original B-25 Superposed, designed by John M. Browning in 1928 and finished for production using a single trigger with barrel selector by his son Val Browning by 1939. As the story goes, production costs hurt the Superposed in the marketplace during the late 1960s, so the design was taken to Browning's partner, the Miroku Company in Japan, and in 1971 the Citori over and under joined the Browning lineup.

Dwight Potter, Browning Senior Gun Designer, holding a Cynergy in the Browning model shop.

However, in the early `90s the idea of a complementary gun to the Citori was being discussed by all the Browning design teams in Belgium, Utah and in Japan. In 1994, at a management retreat in Alaska, the world-wide team determined to begin exploring ideas. Independent design projects began and in 1996 the teams came together in Belgium to discuss three basic ideas.

First was a design with a reverse-type hinge system presented by Joseph Rousseau, a master Browning gun designer from Belgium, now living in the foothills near the Browning offices in Morgan, Utah. The second was a low profile receiver concept being worked on by the experienced Browning designer Joseph Mardaga, one of the R&D team in Herstal, Belgium. Third was a design featuring a double firing pin concept specifically created to provide exceptionally fast lock times.

About this time Dwight Potter, an engineer and avid hunter, joined Browning as a gun designer in Morgan, Utah. Potter had worked for many years prior designing robotic manipulators . . . telerobotics systems used on everything from submarine manipulators to animatronics at some of the world's most famous theme parks.

By 1997 the Cynergy project became official under the code name of "Sheik" and Potter was put on the project full-time as lead designer, working closely with Master Browning gun designer, Joseph Rousseau, who was now the firm's VP of Research and Development. The entire Browning "brain trust" team of gun designers, master model makers and even the marketing/products team began making contributions to the direction and details of the new design.

The Cynergy design was to be based on the reverse hinge concept put forward by Rousseau several years earlier, and it was Potter's job to design all the internal mechanisms. This took over two years of concentrated design work resulting in the first prototype coming out of Browning's model shop in Morgan, Utah in 1999. By 2001 Browning partner, Miroku, had produced the first design verification prototypes.

"The design is clearly non-traditional," Potter explained. "Using the mono-lock hinge design put unique demands on the system. For example, when the action opens up, the strikers must cock by a `pull' rather than a `push.'"

Working closely with Rousseau, Potter designed the Cynergy's reverse striker system which assured very fast lock times. He created a striker type ejection system and integrated a toggle-type safety/selector. Potter's design assured good function with the mechanical triggers via an ingenious design utilizing an inertia block that prevents doubling while preserving exceptionally fast lock times.

In 2004, the new Cynergy was introduced to the public at the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) - a full decade after the original ideas were discussed in Alaska. The Cynergy represents the first major rethink of the over and under concept in nearly a century.