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Anyone chopped an A-5?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by forindooruseonly, Jan 16, 2013.

  1. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Well-Known Member

    So after making this...


    I'd like to maybe work over a Browning A-5 into an SBS. However, I'm not super familiar with them outside of owning a nice Belgium one I occasionally use for hunting. The plan would be the same as before, find a beat down, tired old gun and re-purpose it for a range toy. I'd like the barrel cut just in front of the magazine, and the stock removed.

    I have a few questions, though, as it's not as straight-forward as my SxS and I'm hoping someone can help me out.

    The long-recoil system - is it susceptible to changes in barrel length? I would assume so because the mass of the barrel would be significantly reduced. Will adjusting the friction rings to magnum loads solve this? Is it possible to double up friction rings or replace them with aftermarket ones?

    Does the stock have a throughbolt? Is there going to be any issues forming the stock into a true pistol grip? I don't want to have the stock shortened, as in Bonnie & Clyde's Whippet thing, I want to have a just the pistol grip part left.

    I know there are a couple of knock-offs of the A-5, is there any reason I should look for, or not look for, one of the Remingtons or Savages?

    I'm not super concerned about reliability, or usefulness, or just about anything else practical about it. It would serve no purpose other than just a range plinker, and I wouldn't chop anything that had value to a collector. This will be a long term project, it took me over a year of actively searching to find an Ithaca suitable for what I wanted..

    lol.. I know it's pretty useless, but that doesn't change my wanting one
  2. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    You will need to do *something* - the stock friction rings, even on magnum settings and with a dry magazine tube, will cease to be useful once you get the barrel length close to 18" or so. There are no aftermarket friction ring solutions that I have seen. It may be best to start with a 12ga Magnum (3") - they already have a dual ring setup and I don't know if you can graft that setup onto a 2 3/4" gun without issue. The non-Light barrels are also heavier than the Lights, and older barrels with full/solid ribs are fractionally heavier than plain or vented rib barrels.

    Yes, the stock uses a through-bolt. You would have to custom form a birdshead type grip and (best case) just use a plug and a shortened through-bolt. Like most semiautos, the action spring resides in a receiver tube that extends rearward from the receiver into the buttstock, and that will limit how much of a birdshead style stock you can make.

    Parts availability will absolutely favor the Browning above all other clones/similar guns.
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    I don't know much, but I know this much.

    You can't "double up" on the friction rings because the is not enough room inside there for anything else that isn't already there and still allow the barrel to recoil fully to operate the action.

    The stock has an action tube & action spring & guide rod running through it about halfway to the butt plate so you can't make a pistol grip out of it either.
    That is why the Bonnie & Clyde Whippet was configured the way it was.


    BTW: Most semi-autos have an action spring in the stock.
    Thats why you see very few pistol grip semi-autos of any make & model.

  4. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Well-Known Member

    Ah, bummer. Ok thanks for the info fellas. I guess I'll think hard about whether I want to bother with it - I think the answer will probably be no...
  5. idoono

    idoono Well-Known Member

    Wonderful! It would make me cry if you did that to an A5 unless it was a new one. GL finding another project.

  6. Charger442

    Charger442 Well-Known Member

    1 of 2

    i saw this before and wanted to comment on it but had to think about it some. Im currently rebuilding/restoring a cut-down (19") Savage 720, so i feel familiar with the platform.

    Your clones are going to be the Savage 720 and Remington 11. They are actually built off of JM Brownings patent and were licensed to do so. MOST of the parts interchange between them and the A-5... but a few things do not. They made a ton of these and parts are plentiful.

    If you are getting the barrel down to where the end of the mag tube is, i still thing it would function fine, as far as the recoil spring and friction rings are concerned. Remember, the reason for the recoil springs are to allow the barrel to travel back in the receiver far enough to eject a shell and load another one. Settings set too light, and the barrel will slam into the back of the receiver, kicking harder and causing the all-to-often found cracks in the forearm.

    So, keeping this in mind, with heavy loads and a regular barrel, you would want the most FRICTION from the rings to keep it from slamming the rear of the action. But at the same time you don't want TOO MUCH FRICTION, or else the barrel will not come back far enough to cycle.

    with a shorter barrel, your going to have less mass to keep the barrel in place, but conversely, you'll have less mass slamming down on the recoil spring. Speaking from a physics standpoint, it might be a wash. You could probably adjust for some of this with the correct load, and maybe do some experimenting with pre-compressing the recoil spring, and the order of the three recoil pieces.
  7. Charger442

    Charger442 Well-Known Member

    2 of 2

    BUT...... i dont think thats as big a problem as the "double kick" of firing a long recoil gun.

    (to be continued)
  8. forindooruseonly

    forindooruseonly Well-Known Member

    lol, they made plenty of them, and beat down, crusty ones are pretty frequently encountered. I'm not cutting up a Parker or L.C. Smith, ya know! I do sympathize with your sentiments though.

    Charger442 - I thought about various ways I could mess with springs and friction rings, but I think it comes down till you don't know till you try. To be honest, the battering of the frame wasn't what drove me away from the idea, so much as the spring in the stock, I'd like to have a true pistol grip on it rather than just a shortened stock. If you come up with something, I'd like to hear what your solution to the problems of a shortened barrel are..
  9. rbernie

    rbernie Well-Known Member

    There is no need to speculate or guess - it's been tried, and it's not.
  10. MasterSergeantA

    MasterSergeantA Well-Known Member

    It's not...what? A wash? In what way? (Not trying to argue here...just interested in a fuller explanation. I like to learn.)
  11. Charger442

    Charger442 Well-Known Member

    ok let me see if i can expand upon what i was saying;

    the springs were designed for a factory length gun barrel. that barrel has a particular mass to it. when the shell is fired, the explosion pushes the projectiles out of the barrel and causes an opposite reaction, where the barrel comes to the rear. The force and kinetic energy are calculated using the mass of an object, so if the mass is less in the object (barrel) then the force and energy it imparts onto the recoil spring would be less IFF (if and only if) the acceleration or velocity is constant between the different weight barrels.... WHICH is why i said it MIGHT be a wash.

    so, the spring was designed to deflect a certain distance when energy is imparted on it. if the reduction in mass of a shorter barrel, and the increase in velocity equal the same energy imparted on the spring, then the distance needed to recoil properly should be about the same.

    the wild card in all of this, is the friction rings and how that effects velocity and how it slows it down. i have a theory that for each orientation of the friction rings, there is probably a coefficient of friction that is associated with the energy and velocity imparted on it. Most likely the harder and faster they are hit, the more friction they provide.

    anyway, sorry for nerding up the conversation. i do have a 19" barrel Savage 720 that functions fine. i also have the old springs and friction rings that i replaced on it, so if you want those you can probably play around with cutting coils out of the recoil spring, which would allow you to double up on the friction rings.

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