Browning A-5


December 24, 2002, 05:25 PM
Just so no one ever mistakes my preference, I think more highly of my Browning A-5 Shotguns than any others.

I have several in 12ga, one each in 20 and 16. I have taken deer, hog, duck, geese, squirrel, rabbit and assorted vermin with the Brownings.

I know that my Wingmaster, and my Mossberg 590 are better for HD than the 12 Mag Browning, but that one too sits ready, stuffed full of #1 Buck.

Just my preference of course, others may vary.............. :)

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December 25, 2002, 01:27 AM
would make a decent HD gun. Especially the riot and trench variants. And there was a Savage model that was also an Auto 5 clone, too, but I don't know if Uncle Sam bought any of those for his GI's.

I do know Uncle Sam bought some of these for his troops in the Vietnam timeframe, just not with black synthetic stocks:

(Remington Model 870 Mark 1)

Dave McCracken
December 25, 2002, 04:55 AM
A-5s are nice guns,and picking one as a "Serious" shotgun leaves one at little disadvantage compared to a Big Four pump.

I noted several A-5s around during a brief jaunt to Southeast Asia in 1970. Some Model 11s also.

Colonel Askins' memoirs include some work done with the Border Patrol while armed with a Model 11 with a mag extension, early high vis sights and Navy issue 00, IIRC.

December 25, 2002, 01:02 PM
Got a bunch of it. My dad worked for an Army/Olin ammunition plant, the guards used it for their patrol shotguns. (No rifles allowed on a 16 square mile facility with powder magazines spread hither and yon) Funny that they carried Remington buckshot. It was my household load for a while, too. Until somebody told me it was worth more left alone than in my 870. :D

December 25, 2002, 09:12 PM
G98 I shot several boxes of the Rem military buckshot thru my first shotgun, an Browning Automatic 5. Hard kickin stuff.

December 29, 2002, 08:31 PM

I could not agree with you more! It's dang hard not to pick up my Brownings! Althougth I do have a little Mohawk 48 Remington 20 Ga. that just trips my trigger for quail! :D

Marshall :)

Captain Bligh
December 29, 2002, 10:03 PM
The first new shotgun I ever bought was an A-5 Light 20. I paid $200 and change for it in 1969. I've hunted and busted clays with that gun up until about 1999 when I switched to an 870. There is no more natural pointer for me than the A-5. Mine still looks as pretty as the day I bought it. It's really appreciated in value over the years but I'd never part with it. It will be a hand-me-down to one of my sons and probably to one of his.


December 31, 2002, 05:49 PM
My 12-ga Browning Auto is Ser. No. 263, last patent date on the straight tang receiver is 1903, made in Ogden, Utah. Was my completely reliable (and productive!) duck and goose gun until the late '70s, when I moved away from northern California and put it into the gun safe. I sure gave it a lot of use during the ten years I used it! I suppose if anything ever breaks on it, the more modern parts wouldn't fit.

January 2, 2003, 09:52 AM
Thought this thread would be a good place to ask this question. I have a friend that has a A-5 3" mag. He said he cannot get anything but the 3" to cycle his action and asked me if there was anything he could do. I have shot A-5's over the years but never owned or worked on one. I have however lusted over them, just couldn't afford one. Just something about the Belgium humpback. My 1100 has done me well over the years though.


Captain Bligh
January 2, 2003, 12:35 PM
Mine is chambered for 3" but I'll wager a guess. The A-5 has a friction ring on the magazine tube that is placed ahead of or behind the spring according to different loads. My guess is that your friend has the ring in the wrong position. Refer to the owner's manual.

Who out there has a better-informed opinion?


Snake Jenkins
January 2, 2003, 06:20 PM
On a magnum 12 A-5 you need to remove the top brass ring and the next two steel ones. Then you can shoot 2 3/4" shotshells and 3" magnum steel shot through the gun. As you can tell I also enjoy shooting my Brownings and am lusting for a Sweet Sixteen with the screw in chokes.


January 3, 2003, 07:41 PM
There should be an illistration on the inside of the wooden forearm, remove it and see what is shows you.

January 3, 2003, 09:47 PM
My prized A-5 was originally a wedding present for my dad in 1953. It has taken literally thousands of quail, doves, pheasant, rabbits, squirrels, and chukkar. I woudn't trade it for any other shotgun, period.
I went to Browning's website and downloaded the complete owner's manual in PDF. It gives complete instructions on adjusting the friction rings for different loads.

January 4, 2003, 09:46 AM
Thanks for all the replies on shooting regular ammo in the 3" mag. Took your suggestion and went to Brownings website and downloaded the owners manual. I will pass this information on to my friend.

Ron :)

Will Beararms
January 4, 2003, 09:58 AM
In my view it is the greatest shotgun ever made and it's demise allowed Beretta and Benelli to take over the market.

August 5, 2005, 12:23 AM
I bought a light 12 we/ 30" full ribbed barrel at Swamp Lagoon, Noath Kackalackey in the PX in 1967. Cost $157. Had bbl shortened and some kinda choke put on. Sold it a few years later to a friend who I would like to track down.

Recently walked into a local shop and asked what that Browning looking thing was up in the rack. Truned out to be a light 12 and a Jap 3" magunum w/ full choke 30" and modified 28". $595. What the heck - I left a deposit as I can always sell one barrel and replace with a commercial or ream out chokes and re-fit that end. I might even get the other if it's around at month's end. Heavier gun would be nice for some kinda trap shooting. I wonder if some of the commercial barrels can be made with 2 3/4" chamber on a mag barrel - will ask one provider. On the other hand if you can get a 2 3/4 to work and follow that with a second mag hull it should be possible to get a one-two close and far punch for some specific task.

When I got the Light I though the hump was a bit obtrusive but as the literature said it did, in fact, line up well. Also have a Remington 11 w/ same shape. My first shooting w/ the gun was at the base skeet & trap range. I was at a skeet setup. The left house fired an' ah swang that long pipe with some likely lookin' lead - damn massacred that bird which surprised the heck out of me. Was able to do a passable job at skeet and had lots of fun with trap which was more like artillery shooting. In short order I could relax and let the bird go wherever it wanted - sometimes I fired under the long ones knowing the charge would be there when the bird dropped it. I have fond memories of the gun and the place.

I must get more of these things and have a barrel and gauge for every occasion.

August 5, 2005, 07:51 AM
In my view it is the greatest shotgun ever made and it's demise allowed Beretta and Benelli to take over the market.
It is my view that Beretta and Benelli CAUSED the demise of the Auto 5, particularly Benelli. Steel shot regulations might have have a hand in it too because Browning doesn't recommend any of the Belgian guns be shot with steel.

As for greatest shotgun ever made I don't think so. It was the greatest autoloading shotgun a century ago but there are better shotguns in that category on the market today. Unlike the A5, they don't regularly crack forearms, need fussy little rings to be changed for heavier loads, are easier to take down and maintain and you can restock them at home.

An earlier thread reviewed some of these quirks of this design. If you consider owning one be prepared to live with them.


August 5, 2005, 06:45 PM

October 18, 2005, 02:21 AM
:evil: Each time I buy a new shot gun it never feels like the yes THE A5
I just picked a new one....Well an old one.
Anyone out there have any suggestions for a full reblueing.:rolleyes:
For S150. its not new its not blue and it needs a butstock. but I love her

October 19, 2005, 03:03 PM
What's the going price on one of those light 20's?

October 19, 2005, 03:16 PM
What's the going price on one of those light 20's?

It depends greatly on whether it's Belgium, Japanese, the shape it's in, configuration, etc.

Go to GunsAmerica and click on Browning shotguns, you'll see a variety. ;)

February 2, 2006, 10:59 AM
I just started my fierce love of firearms, kind of a late bloomer but better than never. My first gun was a 12 guage model 50 bolt action springfield marlin. My wife then informed me she still had a gun at her dads from when she was younger and used to hunt with it. She had no idea what kind it was, and when she brought it home it turned out to be a browning a5 japanese made in mint shape. I can count on one hand how many times i have shot my bolt action 12 guage since then, what a sweet gun!

February 4, 2006, 02:18 AM
Funny thing, A young lad in his early 20's sold me a 95% A-5 Light 20 Magnum VR 28" built in 1969. He was paying off his credit cards befor going to 'the sand box'! He wanted $400 and I gladly handed him that and another $50 (because I didn't have another $100!!!) . I have a couple A-5s already a light 12 also made in 69 and an OLD one with an Ogden address! I recently traded another 12ga off so I had room for this un!
Anyway, I was shocked to see an illustrated instruction sheet still readable inside the forearm as to friction ring positions!It is uncut and will remain so as I can take 20 gauge recoil and won't probably be using magnum loads.I wish it had a loose modified constriction instead of the full choke. What is the easy way to get the choke opened up a bit and maybe the forcing cone lengthened? Anybody know a reasonable place out this direction I can send the barrel to?

February 6, 2006, 01:14 PM
There should be an illistration on the inside of the wooden forearm, remove it and see what is shows you.

I know a guy who Browning hired just for that purpose. He used to carve little diagrams on the inside of the wooden forearms, but he got tired and quit, haven't been any carvings since. Browning figured it was cheaper and easier to put it on paper and call it an "owners manual".:rolleyes: :rolleyes:


February 6, 2006, 02:23 PM
The A-5 is a great gun. Objectively, I agree with PJR that the Benellis are easier to maintain and have fewer "problem areas". Subjectively, I like the way my 1930 16ga (NOT a "Sweet Sixteen") carries and it has proven deadly on quite a few birds.

February 7, 2006, 10:18 AM
seems to me that benelli should stick to manufacturing there higher end guns. The working man Nova has the loudest and loosest action of any gun I've put to my shoulder. Give me a New England Pardner pump for $150 over the Nova

February 7, 2006, 11:20 AM
Actually, the Nova's fore-end rattle isn't any worse than many Mossbergs I've handled. Heck, they even fit me well. My hangup is with the trigger.

February 8, 2006, 09:08 AM
The sweetest 20 ga I've ever picked up was my brother-in-law's Browning A-5. Man was it nice! Because of it I went out and purchased a 12 ga A-5 for waterfowling, but man that thing was heavy and a real chore to break down. There were areas in that gun I felt I'd never get to and that would present rust problems. Since I couldn't afford to hire a sherpa to carry the gun and clean it I decided to sell it.

Bought a Benelli SBE instead and recently sold it to purchase a Beretta Xtrema2 for rust inhibition properties.

I think the A-5 is a GREAT gun. But the design was old and had been eclipsed by others. Furthermore, it stopped selling in significant numbers because of the competition. But I still shoot my brother-in-law's 20 ga every chance I get. Plus I don't have to break the darn thing down and clean it!!

February 8, 2006, 01:35 PM
My dad has an A5. It is a beautiful gun and a blast to shoot.

But as far as everyone knocking durability, either that A5 is an exception or people are blowing things out of proportion. My dads A5 used to be my grandfathers, it was built sometime in the 1950s. Not once has it ever been broken down, and it was realied on several times per week for food for about 35 years. It was my grandfathers primary gun and killed countless pheasant, squirrel, rabbit and other critters. Never a problem.

And again, it has NEVER been broken down. My fathers and his fathers philosophy is/was don't field strip unless it stops . While that is not my philosophy by a long shot, the A5 has yet to miss a beat.

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