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Browning Auto-5


$400

Browning Auto-5 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun


According to Wikipedia:  The Browning Automatic 5, most often Auto-5 or simply A-5, is a recoil-operated semi-automatic shotgun designed by John Browning. It was the first successful semi-automatic shotgun designed and remained in production until 1998. The name of the shotgun designates that it is an autoloader with a capacity of five shots, four in the magazine and one in the chamber.   

Randy Wakeman, in "Confessions of an Browning A-5 Aficionado" wrote that
The Browning A-5, the most important semi-automatic shotgun ever made, is likely also one of the most misunderstood shotguns, despite its 110 year history. There is an amazing amount of misinformation and misunderstanding about what it was, what it is and what it does. Although at its best in the field, the A-5 won its fair share of National Skeet Championships in the form of the Remington Model 11. Whether an A-5, the license-built Savage 720 or Remington Model 11, or the versions after the Browning patents ran out (Remington 11-48, Franchi AL48, etc.), the A-5 is easily the most influential shotgun ever made...
Many firearms aspire to be lifetime guns, but the A-5 is the genuine article. A-5's have already made the trek through five generations of Wakeman hunting, so I can personally attest that they are more than just lifetime gun wannabees. A-5s are the real deal...
For those that know what they are looking for, the A-5 cannot be bettered. For the reasons described, the FN production from the late 1950's through 1975 or so remains the best of a fine breed.


I received this in a trade from my brother-in-law, who inherited it from his grandfather.

I got this thinking that I was going to take up shooting clays, which is something I never got around to.

Or have the barrel shortened and use it for Zoot Shooting matches (it would be correct for the period), which is another shooting activity I don't have time for.



American Zoot Shooters Association

"Cops and Robbers, 1920s Gangster Style"  Denver Post.  Aug 29, 2011


Here are some ideas for a "retro riot gun" or British L32A1 conversion:

"Shortest Browning A5 Barrel ?" :  www.ar15.com/archive/topic.html?b=6&f=1&t=256095

I have never fired this shotgun myself.  I have a few places to go handgun shooting, but not anywhere I can really go shoot a shotgun that's convenient to get to.

It is a five digit serial number in the 82,000 range, with an M above the serial number.   
According to Browning, this was made in 1957.  The "M" means "Standard Weight"




The top of barrel is marked
BROWNING ARMS COMPANY  ST LOUIS Mo.

The right side of the barrel is marked
MADE IN BELGIUM

The left side of the barrel is marked 
** SPECIAL STEEL -- 12 GA. -- SHELLS ONLY  2 3/4"   [some markings] PV  [some markings] LEG  12-70

The right side of the receiver is marked
*
D
[some markings]
PV
[some markings]

I'll try to get some pictures of those markings when time allows.   I have no idea if there's any significance to them or not.

Overall length is 49 inches.

Barrel (from front of ejection port to muzzle) is 29 1/2 inches.

The finish is very worn at the top, bottom, and rear of the receiver, and on a few spots on the barrel.    I'd say about 70% of the finish remains on the receiver.    Inconsistencies in the photos below are due to lighting and the camera's flash (which produces a glaring reflection).

I have not taken it apart to inspect the internal parts.

There is a gouge in left side of the forearm where it meets the receiver.  Click on picture below-left for larger view.  The butt-plate is cracked and missing a piece.


   



Browning Auto-5 Documentary

History of Browning Auto 5 Semi-automatic shotgun. 
Segment from a Browning documentary.

     

Advertisingfrom pre-WW1 era Russian mail-order hunting supplies catalog 
that offered "New autoloading shotgun, five-shot, Browning system, made byFabrique Nationale".


      

above left:   BrowningAuto-5 shotgun of Belgian manufacture in military configuration, as used by British forces under L32A1 designation.
above right:  Remington model 11 shotgun (a licensed copy of the Browning A-5) set up into special mount to emulate aircraft machine gun. This setup was used by US Air Force during WW2 to train aircraftmachine gunners on shooting at moving targets.        from world.guns.ru


When photographing guns, the pictures tend to make the gun either look a lot better than it really is, or a lot worse than it really is, depending on the light, glare, etc.  (eg, the reflection from the flash may make it look like the finish is worn where it's not, or insufficient exposure may make the finish appear uniform where some is worn).
One of these days I'd like to get a proper studio set up with proper lighting for product photography, but that day is not today.
Hopefully, there's enough pictures below from enough different angles to give an accurate representation of where the finish is and is not worn on this gun.













































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