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Browning Light 12 - any good?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by rick_reno, Feb 8, 2006.

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  1. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    My neighbor has a Browning Light 12, s/n 7G94xxx on the gun, the barrel has M83898 and is 30 inches long. It's marked "Made in Belgium" and is in very good condition. Anyone know how to determine what the choke is? or when it was made (I looked at the Browning s/n site and it might be a 1957 gun, but I'm not sure). He'd like to get $400 for it - is this a good price for this gun? I like the way it points, comes up and is on target very fast. He knows I don't have $400, but is willing to let me work it off in snow moving/wood chopping/lawn mowing.
     
  2. Rpriestlyjr

    Rpriestlyjr Member

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    To find what choke it is, look on the side of the barrel for 'stars.' If there are two (left side, I believe) then it is Modified.
    It is a very good gun, and I can't complain because I hace one myself (paid $100 a year ago, also in very good shape).
    If you want to get him down, take it to a range with him and have him prove that it will function properly with all size shells. Have him show yo uhow to change the friction piece around for magnum shells.
    If it works flawlessly in both configurations, offer $300 and see how far he comes down from that. A bit of haggling can get yo ua better price.
    Just make sure it works correctly and you will have a very nice shotgun.
     
  3. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    I noticed some instructions inside the forearm for heavy, light and medium loads. Some kind of printed sheet they stuck in there. We can try it out in the backyard.
     
  4. Rpriestlyjr

    Rpriestlyjr Member

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    Yep, you'll have to remove the barrel, then the brass friction ring and either replace on either the front or the rear of the magazine tube for either light or heavy loads. Check out www.browning.com and you can download the owners manual for free. The site can tell you prettymuch everything, even the date of manufacture.
     
  5. texagun

    texagun Member

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    I have a Browning Light Twelve that I purchased new in 1956. The serial number is 3G22XXX. Don't know if that will help you date yours or not. I think the serial number vs. mfg. dating can be found in the Blue Book of Gun Values in the back pages. They are excellent shotguns and well-worth the price your neighbor is asking. Mine was ordered with the Poly Choke direct from the factory and it has been a very versatile gun, good for everything from quail to geese. Be sure and download the manual and read it carefully to learn how to set it up for the loads you will be using. You can also get on Browning's website (www.browning.com) and they will send you a manual in the mail.



    BrowningA-5Light12SideView.jpg


    BrowningA-5Light12Closeup.jpg
     
  6. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Back in the bad old days we used to call the monstrosity on the end of your barrel a 'soup can'.
    It would knock a hundred bucks off trade in right off the bat because nobody wanted to buy a gun with a Poly Choke.
    Fools,
    That 'soup can' was the best thing going for multiple choke options prior to the interchangable choke tubes.

    How many people want a Belgian Browning with a 30 or 32 inch full or extra full choke barrel today?

    I have cut more than a few down to 28 or 26 inches and installed Colonial thinwall choke tubes in them.
    I make the customer sign an agreement to not shoot steel shot loads through the barrel before I do the work too.
     
  7. Oldnamvet

    Oldnamvet Member

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    Texagun,
    That is one sweet looking shotgun. It is obvious you have taken VERY good care of it. I should have looked so good when I was 50!:D
     
  8. Rpriestlyjr

    Rpriestlyjr Member

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    So true, that the PolyChoke is kind of ugly, but a great thing to have. Don't have to worry about much with it. Except Xtra Full is right next to Cyl. Messes up a deer pretty good.
     
  9. EVIL5LITER

    EVIL5LITER Member

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    The polychoke knocks more than a hundred bucks off a gun. This past gun show I saw two very nice Sweet Sixteen's going for about 600-800 under what they would just because of the polychoke.
     
  10. cajun47

    cajun47 member

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    do they still make browning shotguns that look like that?
     
  11. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    No, Browning stopped making the Auto 5 a decade ago.

    My Dad owns the same gun pictured above, complete with Poly Choke. It's a nice shotty.
     
  12. Regolith

    Regolith Member

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    My parents own a Browning Auto 5 Light 20. Pretty nice gun, but I could never hit anything with it. Its my mother's, so it was fitted to her. I used it in my early teens before I was big enough to handle a 12 gauge.
     
  13. Big Az Al

    Big Az Al Member

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    Light 12 for 400

    I bought my first light 12 almost 30 years ago, I paid $378 for it,

    I see plenty of A5's 12ga light or standard move thru a couple of shop's here, at anywhere from $400 to $600. They have all been in as good a shape as the one pictured above.

    Me I like the problem children so to speek, craked stock, no finish, somenut filed off the checkering, just plain sad. These usually for 199 to 350, and heck I like them what can I say.

    Let your goodwill, be your guide, and if you only feel you can pay so much and that to high tell him and let him have a chance to test the market, if you get for less doing that, offer him a beer and then enjoy the gun!
     
  14. Always A Soldier

    Always A Soldier Member

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    I have a Browning Light twelve that i have shot all my life. it belonged to my grandfather and then my father and so forth. where is the best place to find another gun of this kind. it dont have to imaculate but operational. if anyonje can help me with this it would be appreciated greatly.
     
  15. rbernie
    • Contributing Member

    rbernie Member

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    Gunbroker and AuctionArms always have some on auction.
     
  16. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    It must have been pretty good.

    It was in continous production longer then any other shotgun design, before or since. (1903 - 1999)
    The design was used by FN Browning, Remington, Savage, and others.

    That didn't happen because it was a bad shotgun!

    Over
     
  17. jlv08

    jlv08 Member

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    They are great shotguns and one of the few that's been out of my reach financially.

    Not that I could not have been able to afford one but ,to me , just to nice of a gun for me to trudge in the mucky muck here in the Va. tidewater in search
    of Bucky Tinemeister.:D

    For that I have used Rem.870,Mossberg,Winchester 1200,and now NEF.

    Field grade is as fancy as I get.:)
     
  18. Jazzyla

    Jazzyla Member

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    Browning Light 12- any good?

    I just purchased a Browning Light 12. According to the serial number it was made in 1950. It's in very good shape. How do you determine the choke size? It has one star stamped on the left side of the reciever. It also has FN stamped on the recieved and on the butt plate. Can anyone share information about this gun? The barrel length is 25 3/4 inches long. Also, when loading, I can only get one shell in the gun. I can't figure out the trick to make the shells go into the bottom the gun: It want let me push them into the loading channel. Yes, it fires the one shell that enters the chamber. Thanks a million in advance.
     
  19. orphanedcowboy

    orphanedcowboy Member

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    * designates full choke (F).

    *- designates improved modified choke (IM).

    ** designates modified choke (M).

    **- designates improved cylinder choke (IC).

    **$ designates skeet (SK).

    *** designates cylinder bore (CYL).



    Press the "bolt" release to load the magazine


    Yours is a Full choked gun and a Standard 12, not a Light 12. There is very little difference in them though, lighter relief cut and drilled barrel lug is the biggest difference. Your barrel should be serial numbered to your gun, they stopped that sometime in 1953. Your gun also has a single piece carrier, the reason you must depress the bolt release to load the magazine.

    PM me the serial and I can give you more info on the gun, a specific date of manufacture, date in the warehouse.

    The butt plate is horn and should look like this:

    a2d2aa12.gif

    Yea, I like them too:

    Latest Light 12:

    DSC01222.gif
     
  20. Jazzyla

    Jazzyla Member

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    Light Browning

    Thanks Orphanedcowboy: The serial # is: 298323. The gun is the same as the picture that I assume is yours. When I drop a shell into the chamber and close it, I still can't get a shell to go in from the bottom. What is this gun really worth? No, I do not want to sell it,I'm just curious. As a matter of fact,I am going to refinish the stock,possibly re-blue it and install choke tubes in it. Then again I may leave it as is. One other thing,that safety is a pain in the butt-hard to push on and off. I've oiled it and it is still hard to operate. Other than the few minor problems-I think that it's a great gun. Thanks again, jazzyla
     
  21. Jazzyla

    Jazzyla Member

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    Light Browning

    Opps! Over looked the big print at the top-I pressed in the release bolt and I was able to get a shell into the bottom.Thanks again
     
  22. orphanedcowboy

    orphanedcowboy Member

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    That gun was in the warehouse in the first half of 1950

    Starting serial was 288551
    Ending serial is 306650

    That was roughly 18,000 guns made or about 3000 per month, putting your guns approximate manufacture around February or March of 1950.

    I could be wrong about your gun being Light 12, look at the barrel ring and see if the ring is drilled and the serial matches the gun, if so, it is indeed a Light 12, if it is solid then it is a Standard.

    Your safety probably has 59 years worth of junk in it. Spray it with some good solvent and blow it out with compressed air, it make take several tries to loosen it up good. The front safety is the second generation/style of safety, and is a bit cumbersome to learn and use. I really like that style of safety, once I figured it out it was really a breeze.

    If you have no intentions of selling the gun, value isn't important, and it is worth more in it's original condition. I wouldn't refinish it myself, but that is me. Pictures would be a huge help in assessing actual value if you really want to know.

    This gun was actually made in 1963 based on the 3G serial. They started with the #G/M/V style serial designations in March 1958.

    Example:

    Light 12
    8G = 1958
    9G = 1959
    ect.

    Standard 12
    8M = 1958
    9M = 1959
    ect.

    Magnum 12
    8V = 1958
    9V = 1959
    ect.

    and in 1968 they went to a 2 digit year code, 68, 69, ect until the end of Belgian production in 1976.

    This info is directly out of the Shirley and Vanderlinden book, Browning Auto 5 Shotguns, The Belgian FN Production.

    Another sure sign is to look at the grip checkering, if the two sides of grip checkering are joined like this:

    f1027799.gif

    then is is a very early/pre-1963 gun, if there is a gap it is post 1963
     
  23. VA27

    VA27 Member

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    Years ago I decided I wanted a tough, reliable shotgun. I asked a friend of mine about his, a 1976-mfg Browning Light Auto5.

    It was ugly. It had about 30% of the original blue left. In it's life it had fallen from a helicopter at least twice. The forend had been repaired with JB Weld. The stock was cracked at the wrist and had been wrapped with copper wire and then coated with JB Weld. One little end of the wire poked out of the JB Weld and if you got careless when you shot the thing it would claw a little meat off your face.

    I asked him if had any idea of the number of rounds he had fired through it. He put a pencil to it and figured he had shot pretty close to 270,000 rounds through it, most of those being #1 and #4 short magnum buckshot.

    I asked him if it had ever been in the shop for anything. No problems, in fact he said that he had never really cleaned it. After he finished a days shoot, (100-125 rounds) he would lock the action open, pump AvGas down the barrel, spray it with WD40 and stick it in the case.

    I went right out and bought one and it served me well.

    When my friend retired, the gun was transfered to his replacement and served several more years before being replaced. It did go back to Browning one time. The new guy decided to replace the stocks with synthetic and when he was taking the buttstock off he broke the recoil spring tube (it was rusted to the wood).

    When they decided to retire all the Brownings they tested all available semiauto guns. The only one to go the distance was the Benelli Super 90.

    I went out and bought one.
     
  24. Jazzyla

    Jazzyla Member

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    Light 12

    According to your information-the gun is a light 12. It also has light 12 stamped on the reciever. Thank you so much for the information that you shared. I do have two more questions that I hope that you have knowledge of: (1) I saw an artical that stated that this gun could be converted to shoot 3" magnums. If that is so, how can this be achieved? (2) When I try to eject all three shells from the gun,only the one chambered will come right out. The other two will not kick out like I thought they should. Is there a trick to making them come out easily? I do believe that the cut-off switch is in the correct position. Thanks again
     
  25. orphanedcowboy

    orphanedcowboy Member

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    It cannot be converted, post a link to the article of you don't mind.

    The mag-cutoff lever should be forward. If it is not chambering a round from the magazine, it may be dirty. In it's current condition, flip the gun over and look at the loading port, specifically in the area of the mag-cutoff. There will be a little "knob" keeping the shell from leaving the magazine if it isn't forward.

    If it is forward, it may just need a good "60" year cleaning.

    PM me with your email, I have a couple of manuals that will make this easy for you.
     
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