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View Full Version : Auto 5...No Safe Queen...Question


madmag
December 3, 2010, 11:17 AM
I have modern shotguns, but recently I was doing a major cleaning & lube on my 12 ga. Browning Auto 5 (circa 1935) that has been in closet storage for a while. Whenever I bring my Auto 5 out, after a not shooting for a while, I realize what a great design it is and great to shoot. So, I will take it for a shooting session soon.

I have what you would call a nit-picking question. Browning advertised my barrel as 26", but I notice that when I use modern technique using dowel rod to the closed bolt surface, that it in fact measures less than 25.5".

I know this is a minor issue, but I am always curious about the technical issues. Wonder why the difference? Maybe just different measurement technique in the old days? Maybe just rounding numbers?

Anyone with a similiar Auto 5 that gets the same measurement?

jaguarxk120
December 3, 2010, 07:20 PM
I think it's the metric conversion. 25.1 mm X 25.5 = 640 mm, my Light Twelve has a 27.5 inch barrel, so 25.1 X 27.5" = 690 mm. The guns were built in Belgium, now here's the kicker my extra barrel made in Japan measures 28 inches.

grousehunter49
December 3, 2010, 11:52 PM
You are correct, they measured them in metric. My 1949 A5 30" barrel is 29 1/2" Wonderfull guns.

henryfrapp
December 4, 2010, 04:39 AM
Check the friction rings on the magazine tube. Depending on how they are set up or perhaps they are missing could have an impact on how you are measuring the barrel length.

madmag
December 4, 2010, 10:16 AM
Check the friction rings on the magazine tube. Depending on how they are set up or perhaps they are missing could have an impact on how you are measuring the barrel length.

Good point. My rings are all present, but the setup for low to high velocity will change the reading to the breech bolt a little...I forgot that one.

I think it's the metric conversion. 25.1 mm X 25.5 = 640 mmAlso good point.

grousehunter49
December 4, 2010, 10:32 AM
The shell sets in the chamber in the same place all the time regardless of ring setting, so mesure from the seat rim to the mussel, thats your barrel lenght.

madmag
December 4, 2010, 11:22 AM
The shell sets in the chamber in the same place all the time regardless of ring setting, so measure from the seat rim to the mussel, thats your barrel length.

I understand, but I thought the only legal US measurement is from the closed bolt surface. I think that's what the ATF recognizes as barrel measurement??

grousehunter49
December 4, 2010, 04:13 PM
The bolt rest on the shell no matter where it is ,so the lenght don,t change, if you push the barrel back 1" you are also pushing the mussel back too, so ther is no differance.

madmag
December 4, 2010, 04:25 PM
The bolt rest on the shell no matter where it is ,so the length don,t change, if you push the barrel back 1" you are also pushing the mussel back too, so ther is no difference.

OK, that makes sense.

lamarw
December 4, 2010, 05:16 PM
My old A-5 is of 1939 vintage, and the barrel length is 29 &1/2 inches. It is full choke.

The Serial Number on the barrel, receiver, stock and forearm should all match to be an original gun.

madmag
December 4, 2010, 05:20 PM
My old A-5 is of 1939 vintage, and the barrel length is 29 &1/2 inches. It is full choke.

I also have the longer barrel that is full choke. I figure to make an auto 5 today with the same machining would cost about $10,000.00 per gun.:)

grousehunter49
December 4, 2010, 05:31 PM
My 1949 A5, all ser; match, on the bolt, screws, back and fore stocks, barrel, receiver just in front of shell lifter, Butt blate says automatic Browning with FN in the middle. It even had a rubber slip on recoil boot that I seen in my 1939 stoeger Catalog. And she works like a charm. I lov it. PS mine is 30" (29 1/2) Mod choke.

DG45
December 9, 2010, 01:47 AM
Not to be snarky, but does anyone know when FN moved A-5 safetys from in front of their triggers, to behind them? I ask because I notice one in front of the OP's trigger on what he describes as a 1935-ish A-5, and because I once read someones post on this forum that indicated that A-5's he'd recently seen photos of in an old 1939 catalog still had them as of that date. I almost didn't believe that post until I saw the photo the OP submitted of his 1935 gun here which obviously has that old style safety.

Safetys like that, in front of the trigger, were often called "suicide safetys" and I really wonder when FN finally got around to changing them. Obviously, they were known to be dangerous for a long time before 1939, because Remington changed their Model 11 safetys to a behind-the-trigger button type safety in 1928, and the Model 11 was almost identical to the A-5. Just wondering why FN didn't quickly follow suit.

Scorch
December 9, 2010, 03:14 AM
does anyone know when FN moved A-5 safetys from in front of their triggers, to behind them?
I was under the impression the A5 safety was modified in 1937.
I think it's the metric conversion. 25.1 mm X 25.5 = 640 mm,
Only issue I have with that calculation is that 1 inch= 25.4 mm
So your 28" barrel is actually 27.55". or 70 cm/700 mm.

madmag
December 9, 2010, 10:17 AM
I was under the impression the A5 safety was modified in 1937.

That seems about right. Mine (as shown) does have the front safety. I don't think it's as bad as some say, I have no trouble using it, but I agree the cross safety at the rear is better.

Only issue I have with that calculation is that 1 inch= 25.4 mm

agree.

I did not mention but my A5 is chambered for 2-3/4 shells. Some of the early A5's were chambered for 2-1/2 or 2-9/16 shells. I am glad mine takes the modern shells.

Vane
December 11, 2010, 01:32 AM
I purchased an early (S/N 14xxx) Auto 5 in 16 gauge with the shorter 67.5mm (2 9/16) chamber length, does anybody know if i can shoot brass shells (I expect with a roll crimp) in this? In Europe there are plenty of short shells available, but not so here, and I am ordering some brass shells for my drilling anyway.
Thanks!:D

madmag
December 11, 2010, 11:35 AM
does anybody know if i can shoot brass shells (I expect with a roll crimp)

I see no problem. I have shot all brass 2-3/4" with no issue.

Also, your Auto5 can be converted to 2-3/4" by a gun smith, but I must admit I am not sure of the cost.

It looks like your Auto5 is close to my date. So that would make it circa 1936...plus or minus. From a value standpoint, there is probably a higher demand for 16's than 12's.:)

DG45
December 11, 2010, 10:41 PM
VANE, It depends on the length of the brass hulls you use. First off, I don't see how you're going to roll crimp a brass shotshell, so on that basis alone, I'd buy something 2 9/16 long or shorter for a 2 9/16 chamber. I know Rocky Mountain Cartridge Company used to make CNC-lathed shotshells in 2 1/2 inch for 12 guage. I don't know what RMC makes in 16 guage, but if I were you, I'd check. Realistically, you must fit the full length empty hull into your chamber unless you want a single shot shotgun. (If there is anyway to roll crimp, say, a 2 3/4 inch brass hull, the way you can with paper and plastic, you may actually make it fit and fire, but even with paper or plastic, it would reopen to 2 3/4 inch after being fired, and I don't see how even a paper hulled or plastic hulled shell that was as much as 3/16 inch too long would eject from your autoloader. I think it would jam your gun.)

Vane
January 20, 2014, 06:16 PM
Thanks, got some standard length shells which I will trim to fit and crimp normally.

jaguarxk120
January 21, 2014, 09:25 AM
Eley and Gamebore in England both make 2 1/2 inch shells. If you go to www.16ga.com they list the makers of the shorter shells.