Old Browning A5 picked up today, some questions


October 3, 2009, 04:10 PM
So went to the gun show today and had some cash burning in the ole pocket.

Saw an old A5 pattern 12ga. made by Remington for $230 on a private party table, but kept looking.

Bought some 223 ammo, and since I couldn't find anything else to buy, went back towards the table to offer $220 on the Remington.

On the way I ran into a couple carrying two shotguns, one was a Stevens 12ga. side by side and the other a Browning Auto 5 12 ga.; both with $250 price tags.

I took a quick look at the A5 and offered him $200 which he quickly took, saying these were some inheritance items they wanted to get rid of.

I don't know anything about Browning Auto 5's. This one has a bright clean bore; almost no bluing left, and very little pitting.

The forend and stock don't match. The English style stock appears to be walnut and has had a repair done to it on the left side.

So do I have junk or does this old gun have some value? Based on minimal research, it looks like it might be a pre-war model made maybe in the late 1920's.

Hope the pics. can shed some light.

I think this was the 3rd in a series of 5 butt plates that were used by Browning.

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October 3, 2009, 04:33 PM
Go to the Shotgun World forum and scroll down to Guns I.D. & value and/or to the Browning forum. They have Browning experts that can provide a lot of good info. Enjoy your old(it is old) Browning A-5 as they are great guns.

Dave McCracken
October 3, 2009, 05:44 PM
Not junk. Fair market value around here would be $200-300.

Old A5s in less than great condition are neither scarce nor high priced. They ARE great shooters, though.

Many of these have forend wood that's cracked. A fairtomiddlin' smith can fix most cracks so they are not visible and line the wood with a thin layer of epoxy. Or , wood and synthetic stock sets are available.

As with all old shotguns,a visit to the smith before firing is mandatory.

I see this as a great project gun. A wood refinish, metal conservation and some TLC could restore this to a treasure.

In your shoes, I'd get the smith's opinion, then, assuming all is OK, I'd fire it with lead shot loads.


October 3, 2009, 05:54 PM
Also the time is ripe to order new action & recoil springs, and friction pieces from Brownell's or Browning parts department.

Browning will no longer support the A-5 with parts after the first of the year.


October 3, 2009, 06:10 PM
Listen to RC, these old guns NEED springs and friction pieces to be safe/reliable.
With out #s I can't be exact but that is a very old A-5 most likely pre WW1. The rear stock is likely original as the tang is made for a straight grip and I don't think these were available after WW1. Also the lack of orniments on the receiver shows it to be before 1930s.
I thint The gun is kewl with that straight stock. Take her apart and put in new springs and properly positioned for load new frictionpieces and clean and lube the action, including the stock spring. Have a gunsmith or you can check the loack up pieces for cracks and proper engagement and the same for the firing pin (get a spare now too!) and fire some field loads at first. Make sure both stocks were put back on tight after you remove them as they will crack if nottightened snugly.
Hey does it say Browning Ogden Utah on the barrel? It may be an FN not a browning imported gun.

October 3, 2009, 07:23 PM
There are a couple of things that worry me with this gun

It has a 2 piece carrier and the front trigger guard safety.

The front safety ended in mid 1951, IIRC and the 2 piece carrier didn't start until about 1954.

Based on the serial # 59596 it was made in first half of 1923.

I would definitely have a gunsmith check it prior to firing it, just to make sure it is safe.

You got a deal on the gun, I would pull the stocks and look for serial numbers on the wood, and the barrel, if original, it will match the receiver.

October 3, 2009, 07:28 PM

Over and over and over I see you so deep in gun knowledge, what is your background that you have learned so much?

October 3, 2009, 07:38 PM
Thanks guys for the replies.

There doesn't appear to be any cracks on the forend plus it may be newer than the gun since it doesn't match the stock, which may be original.

Gordon, the 5 digit S/N is visible on one of the pics. The barrel also has a 5 digit number, but it doesn't match the gun.

One source I found suggested that it was made in 1927.

No Ogden Utah on the barrel. :scrutiny:

Thanks for the parts and inspection suggestions. I've never had a firearm this old before.

October 3, 2009, 11:06 PM
I have a Browning A 5 in 12 ga. with 3 sets of barrels. Purchased in late 1960's or early 1970's new. 30 inch F and 26 inch IC with vent ribs and a slug barrel. Great shooter- has killed its share of deer, grouse, pheasants, ducks, crows, clays, etc. The stock finish glazed- cracked I had to refinish it. Still is a great firearm. Found it to be to heavy to carry chasing grouse, when they were available.

October 4, 2009, 02:16 AM
The 2 piece Speed feed carrier makes it a real winner as far as a user ! You are very lucky indeed as these parts are usually over $100 these last 20 years.

October 4, 2009, 03:23 AM
Please replace that Phillips head screw while you are at it.

October 4, 2009, 09:23 AM
"acier special" = special steel. Nice to see an old one like that with all the proof marks on it.

November 24, 2009, 04:58 PM
You have a F&N made Auto 5 likely sold in Europe and then brought to the US. F&N produced all the Browning Auto 5s in Belgium until they moved production to Japan in 1976. F&N was licensed to sell some for themselves outside of North America. It was manufactured in 1923 and if the numbers on the reciever, barrel, and both stocks don't match then it's been put together from parts. The butt plate is made from horn and the holes in it are from a parisite eating the horn. Even the main screws on the reciever should match the first four digits of the serial number. The proof marks on the barrel from back to front are: Proof of Liege, 12 Ga, firing pressures verified, proof house controller, smokeless powder, and date code. There's a great book about these guns - Browning Auto 5 Shotguns, The Belgian FN Production. I'd have a gunsmitth look at it, put a new friction ring/spring kit from Midwest Gun Works and let her rip!

November 25, 2009, 02:07 AM

if you are at all doubtful of how to take the guts apart on a A5 send it to these guys for a rebuild. taking an A5 apart can be a a serious nightmare

do order one of their spring kits. the friction cone and recoil spring are easy replacements.

cool old gun. im not a fan of the push saftey but i do like the englidh stock.

November 25, 2009, 04:45 PM
Download this parts catalog:

Gun Parts Price List (http://media.browning.com/pdf/parts/2008_browning_parts_pricelist.pdf)

Order your parts directly from Browning, just placed another order today and specifically asked about them discontinuing the parts for the Auto-5 and the woman said they had no plans to any time soon.

January 24, 2010, 10:46 AM
woodsjk is on the ball there,have a fn browning auto 5 myself, great gun, but get a gunsmith to look it over first, enjoy :)

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