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Old December 19, 2009, 11:29 PM   #1
Carter W.
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A couple Browning A-5 problems.

Hey guys, I'm new here, and am hoping I could get some insight on a few problems I have with my 16 gauge Browning A-5 shotgun.
This gun was my grandfather's gun that he gave to my uncle for his sixteenth birthday. (sweet sixteen ) So it's a relatively old gun. In it's mid 40's years old or so. Now, down to business.

The first problem might not be a problem with the gun, but it seems to be that it won't eject the spent shells fully, or even at all sometimes. They are the right sized shells, 2-3/4 in, but once they've been fired and the ends unfold they aren't short enough to fit out the ejection port. Sometimes they come halfway out and get pinched, other times they stay fully in the chamber, and working the bolt will just move it back and forth. Could this be a problem with the ammo, which is old itself? Or could it be that the gun just needs a good cleaning? (I have lubricated the friction ring)

Secondly, It almost seems that I don't have the speed loading system mentioned in the A-5 manual. For some reason the cage on the bottom of the receiver (the carrier?) refuses to move unless the bolt catch button is pressed, which makes reloading a bit harder than I expected. Any help here?

Lastly, sorry if I sound like a newbie, that's because I am. I don't know much about guns as I am just getting into them, so any help is greatly appreciated!
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Old December 19, 2009, 11:45 PM   #2
rbernie
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The speed load feature is only on Auto5s made after 1955 or so. A quick check of your serial number will tell you when yours was made. Does it have a crossbolt safety behind the trigger or a sliding safety in the front of the trigger guard?

I presume that you've verified that your barrel and receiver are sized for 2 3/4" ammo? First off - does the bolt retract fully rearward? Can you remove the barrel and verify that the ejector stub is still on the barrel extension?

Pics of the barrel extension would be helpful.
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Last edited by rbernie; December 20, 2009 at 10:33 AM. Reason: spelin not so gud
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Old December 20, 2009, 12:08 AM   #3
DG45
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Some 16 gauge Browning Auto 5's apparently had 2 and 9/16 inch chambers. See a thread on this same shotgun forum dated Dec 2, 2009 about Auto 5's.

This doesn't mean that your gun has a 2 9/16 inch chamber, it just means that unless you've seen 2 3/4 inches stamped or rollmarked on your gun barrel somewhere, it's a possibility you should be aware of.

(The way you measure the length of a shotgun shell is AFTER it's been fired. In other words a 2 and 3/4 in shell is somewhat shorter than 2 3/4 inches before it's fired.)

If you're not sure about your guns chamber size and don't know how to measure it yourself, take it to a professional gunsmith and have him measure it for you.

PS Welcome to the forum.
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Old December 20, 2009, 01:04 AM   #4
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FYI, not all 16 ga Browning A5 shotguns are "Sweet Sixteen" shotguns. If it is a "Sweet Sixteen", it is rollmarked on the left side of the receiver. All "Sweet Sixteen" shotguns are 2-3/4" chambers. 16 ga Brownings made before WW2 are 2-9/16" chambers, but you said the shotgun is 40 years old (or is that when he was given the shotgun?). Sure sounds like a 2-9/16" chamber issue, but it may be something else.
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Old December 20, 2009, 01:38 AM   #5
Carter W.
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I couldn't find that thread you're talking about... sorry, probably just me being blind again.
And yes, I know not all of them are Sweet Sixteens, and this one isn't, for the obvious reason that it doesn't have sweet sixteen printed anywhere, and no golden trigger etc.
After checking the serial number, it seems to be from around 1954-5, and It has a sliding trigger, forward is shoot, rearward is safe. Also, I actually can't find the chamber size printed anywhere, I just assumed that it was 2-3/4 because it seemed to be the standard chamber.
And there is a different number on the inside of the fore grip, if that means anything.
Pictures:
What I *think* is the serial number, but I've heard it's confusing to find sometimes...


Barrel extension:


The bolt:

Last edited by Carter W.; December 20, 2009 at 02:02 AM.
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Old December 20, 2009, 10:25 AM   #6
Goatwhiskers
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Having to press the carrier release button is normal, live with it. I suggest that you take it to a good 'smith and have the chamber depth checked. That safety ahead of the trigger is a strong indicator, considering the symptoms the gun is showing that you have a short chambered gun. You could have it converted, or you could get your local shop to order you some short ammo---I'm pretty sure there is some being imported. Goatwhiskers the Elder
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Old December 20, 2009, 10:29 AM   #7
shortwave
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Early Production Auto-5 shotguns chambered in 2 9/16" were produced from 1903-1939 and should be inspected by gunsmith prior to firing.

If you`ve confirmed yours was mfg`ed in 54-5 it will be considered a Mid Production Auto-5--FN and is chambered in 2 3/4". These were produced from 1952-1976. Yours should have the 'round knob' pistol grip and a black buttplate thats marked "Browning Automatic" with "FN" in a center oval.

Quote:
Or could it be that the gun just needs a good cleaning
Short answer- YES.
After barrel removal, find the two small holes(gas ports) located on bottom side of barrel. They`ll be drilled into the barrel just inside of the steel mounting ring thats welded to barrel that slides over receiver. MAKE SURE THOSE HOLES ARE OPEN. I use Hoppe`s #9 with pipe cleaners for mine. Get`em good and clean.


Also it would be advisable to replace the rubber o-ring thats located on the tube by the friction ring. Don`t know o-ring dimension`s on the 16 ga. but I`m sure someone here will know. Get the RIGHT size. O-rings can be bought at any hydraulic parts store and some hardware,auto parts store.

These are the two areas most prone to needing attention when you have cycling problems given the rest of your 'hardparts' are not damaged.

Do a search on this forum for a parts breakdown for your shotgun. I`m sure there`s one on here or a link that would be helpful.

If you don`t know how your 'old ammo' was stored. Buy new namebrand ammo.

Finally, Welcome to TFL. Glad to have you. Post pic. of whole gun. We love looking at them.

Last edited by shortwave; December 20, 2009 at 10:35 AM.
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Old December 20, 2009, 10:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
After barrel removal, find the two small holes(gas ports) located on bottom side of barrel. They`ll be drilled into the barrel just inside of the steel mounting ring thats welded to barrel that slides over receiver. MAKE SURE THOSE HOLES ARE OPEN. I use Hoppe`s #9 with pipe cleaners for mine. Get`em good and clean.


Also it would be advisable to replace the rubber o-ring thats located on the tube by the friction ring. Don`t know o-ring dimension`s on the 16 ga. but I`m sure someone here will know. Get the RIGHT size. O-rings can be bought at any hydraulic parts store and some hardware,auto parts store.
Um, the Auto5 has no need for gas ports nor should it have any rubber o-rings - they are strictly mechanical designs. Late (Japanese) Auto5 barrels can have gas ports that are blocked off by the barrel ring, presumably because Miroku/Browning shared barrel blanks between the Auto5 and their gas guns. Those holes are blanked off specifically because they don't actually do anything on the Auto5. If anyone has an Auto5 with rubber o-rings, well, I would suggest that they find the yahoo that put them there (and likely gunked up the works as a result) and give 'em a good talking-to.

Quote:
What I *think* is the serial number, but I've heard it's confusing to find sometimes...
That is the serial number, and it's always been stamped on the bottom of the receiver by the mag tube (at least since the thirties, which is the oldest one that I own).

Your serial number looks early - very clearly pre WWII, and by a good bit - if I understand the Browning serial number history correctly. I seem to recall that they were up to SN 228,000 by 1939 for the 12ga models, for example. That raises the very strong possibility that you have a 2 9/16" chamber. You will want your chamber checked.

You will also want to verify that the ejector on the left wall of the barrel extension is still intact.
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Last edited by rbernie; December 20, 2009 at 04:09 PM.
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Old December 20, 2009, 01:00 PM   #9
Carter W.
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Based on Browning's Auto 5 list thingy it seems that it's a '52-56 model?
I'd guess from the stampings on the receiver that it was made by FN, which was after 1952... but I could still be wrong. It doesn't have a black butt plate, it has a pad over the back. (unless the butt plate is under that?) I'll get some more pics up for yall to look at
And about the ejector... it still worked, it could eject un-fired shells out fine, just not the spent ones.







More to come...

Last edited by Carter W.; December 20, 2009 at 01:13 PM.
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Old December 20, 2009, 02:49 PM   #10
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FWIW

That 16ga Browning A5, SN 86995 {yours), falls into the SN range of 82751 to 90500 for 16ga A5's made in 1930.

You have a short-chambered gun, which includes not only the chamber, but also the feeding mech dimensions.

The Western Field recoil pad is an aftermarket replacement for the original BP.

All Browning A-5's were made either in Belgium (FN) or Japan (Miroku).

.
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Old December 20, 2009, 03:37 PM   #11
Carter W.
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Wow thanks a lot! I really wasn't expecting it to be that old!
So, I'm assuming since it must be a 2 9/16 chamber, I could use a 2 1/2 shells since they're even smaller? If I can use those, I'm thinking of buying from here but I was wondering what the different weight load means, and does. (1, 3/4, or 7/8, oz.)

And I suppose I should have it checked out by a gunsmith before firing it again?
Thanks a bunch for all the help you guys!
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Old December 20, 2009, 05:37 PM   #12
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Polywad, http://www.polywad.com/

also has low-pressure loads for older guns - both RST and them make quality ammunition
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Old December 20, 2009, 08:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Um, the Auto5 has no need for gas ports nor should it have rubber o-rings
WOW, I blew that one. Your right rbernie.

The mind is a terrible thing to waste

CarterW, If you ever get an old Remington 1100, follow my screwed up instructions
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Old December 20, 2009, 09:31 PM   #14
Carter W.
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Quote:
WOW, I blew that one. Your right rbernie.

The mind is a terrible thing to waste

CarterW, If you ever get an old Remington 1100, follow my screwed up instructions
Will do! Thanks for the attempted help anyway!
About Polywad, it says the that the low pressure ones won't operate most autoloading shotguns. Does anyone have any experience using them in an A-5, or any autoloader?

I really appreciate all the help from you guys.
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Old December 21, 2009, 03:28 AM   #15
DG45
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I'm not a gunsmith or a lawyer and any advice I give is worth no more than what you're paying for it, but man what you've got there is a Browning A-5.

These are generally considered to be the armored tanks of the shotgun world. Their toughness is legendary. But sure, let a gunsmith look at it. It is an old gun after all, and safety certainly comes first, but I'd be amazed if there was anything wrong with it that required low power shells to be used. I have a 12 gauge Remington Model 11 which is practically the same gun as a 12 Ga. Auto-5. My Model 11 was manufactured in 1938 and I shoot full power 2 3/4 in shells in it all the time. Now maybe FN steel is weaker than the steel used in Remington Model 11's, I don't know, but I think both of these guns are supposed to be tough cookies.

But hey! Maybe I'm missing the point. (I'm usually the guy who doesn't get it.) Maybe what you're saying is that all 2 1/2 inch shells you can find are low powered?

If so, look harder. I think I've seen full power 2 1/2 inch shells.

By the way, that's a nice looking old gun!
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Old December 21, 2009, 09:37 AM   #16
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2 1/2" commercial shotshells will most likely work in the A5 you have because 1) It's a mechanical, recoil-operated gun, not a gas-operated one that requires a certain amount of gas to operate, and 2) given it's age, it's likely the recoil spring (around the mag tube) has lost some of it's resiliency/strength.

If they won't operate your A5, the remaining shells can be put to good use by any short-chambered 16ga SxS or drilling's owner.

You don't necessarily need low-pressure ammo, but you DO need 2 1/2" or 2 9/16" length ammo - neither of which are currently made in strong enough loads to harm a gun in sound condition.

Be careful, if you remove the forend - as they're relatively fragile & prone to cracking at the rear end.
many found with cracked forends are also usually found to hane a weak recoil spring - which allows the barrel ring to slam back too forcifully against the receiver/spring.

.

Last edited by PetahW; December 21, 2009 at 09:43 AM.
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Old December 21, 2009, 04:35 PM   #17
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Can the Early production A-5 chambered in 2 9/16" be converted to 2 3/4"?

Reason for question is cause in the 2008 Standard Catalogue of Firearms- 18th edition there`s a note that says:

For 16 gauge not convertedto 2 3/4" chamber deduct 30 percent.
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Old December 21, 2009, 10:28 PM   #18
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You can modify the carrier on the old ones to make them speedload, I have done it to a few but I think it ruins the uniqueness and I am sure JMB rolled over a few times.
Don't forget with the correct shells you might have to clean the oil off the magazine tube for the friction ring, try and see first. Tighten the nut on the forearm as tight as you possibly can with your fingers and you shouldn't have much to worry about on the forearm cracking, most of those cracked from loose nuts.
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Old December 21, 2009, 11:54 PM   #19
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Quote:
Based on Browning's Auto 5 list thingy it seems that it's a '52-56 model?
Based on Browning's number list thingy, it is a 1929 production shotgun. The "H" under the serial number is an inspection mark.
http://www.proofhouse.com/browning/index.html
Quote:
It has a sliding trigger, forward is shoot, rearward is safe.
That's the safety, not the trigger. Pre-1930 A5s had a front-to-back sliding safety mechanism. After that, they changed to a cross-bolt safety.

Since it appears to be a 1929 production shotgun, it has 2-9/16" chambers. You can shoot 2-1/2" shells in it, but you will have to set the friction rings accordingly.
Quote:
Can the Early production A-5 chambered in 2 9/16" be converted to 2 3/4"?
Yes, it is a fairly straightforward job, and at one time fairly common, involving replacing the ejector with a 20 ga 3" ejector, machining the ejection port larger, and modifying the forearm to allow 3/16" further barrel movement. It will set you back about $250-$300 if you can find someone who still knows how to do the modifications.
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Old December 22, 2009, 01:40 AM   #20
DG45
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There's an Italian shotgun shell manufacturer that makes a shotshell that can be used in old 16 guage A-5's. From what I can see, 16 guage A-5 owners like you are exactly the target market for that shotshell. The company has a few USA distributors or you can order online. The following statement is an excerpt from the first of the two hyperlinks shown below. (It is the last paragraph in the first hyperlink):

"The other B&P shell I’d like to call special attention to is their “F2 Classic” 16 gauge load, a 1-1/16 ounce, 1280 fps shell that is one of the best balanced, best performing 16 gauge shells on the market. As an added bonus, it is also a 67mm hull that can be used in 16 gauge shotguns with chambers as short as 65mm. If you are a fan of the Browning A-5 or old 16 gauge doubles, you might remember that some of the earlier 16 gauge A-5’s came with 65mm (2-9/16 inch) chambers. This is the shell that allows use of all those A-5’s as originally manufactured, without any modification. As for the rest, the best bet is to prove things to yourself. For more info, visit www.bandpusa.com." Check out their product guide.

http://www.chuckhawks.com/b-p_shotshells.htm

http://www.bandpusa.com/reference.html

Last edited by DG45; December 22, 2009 at 01:52 AM.
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Old December 22, 2009, 10:56 PM   #21
PetahW
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BTW - If you EVER get the urge..........

This from Browning.

DO NO USE ANY STEEL SHOT LOADS: The Belgian-made A-5, Superposed, Leige, and other Belgian Over/Under models, Double Automatic, American-made A-5 and all other models not listed in category 1 or 2.

Note: Belgian Auto-5 barrels are interchangeable with the new Invector barrels which are made in Japan. With this new Invector barrel installed on the Belgian-made Auto-5 receiver, steel shot loads can be used.


Early A5 barrels are thin, and steel shot will ring them at the choke.

.
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Old December 23, 2009, 08:34 AM   #22
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If the gun is a 2 9/16 chamber and not converted, 30 percent less than the 2 3/4 guns?? If a hack converts the gun to 2 3/4 inch then you chance lossing even more, a hacked gun is worth maybe 30-40 percent of an original.

I have passed on several nice shotguns at attractive prices because someone HAD to engrave their drivers license on the side of the reciever.
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Old December 23, 2009, 09:22 AM   #23
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Wonder if Browning would do the conversion?
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Old December 23, 2009, 02:19 PM   #24
Carter W.
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I'm not planning on getting it converted (it's not exactly mine, anyway) I just plan on ordering some 2 1/2 inch shells to use with it.
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Old January 4, 2010, 07:34 PM   #25
TheVillageIdiot
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Don't Judge Shell Size by Ejector Port Opening

The correct way to measure the length of shell that will fit the gun is to measure from the face of the breach block to the front opening of the ejection port. The Auto 5 early versions were designed to tumble the shell out, not eject it like modern semi auto shotguns. Lots of discussion as to why it has this design and I won't repeat them here. Basically, if the breach bolt is more than 1/4 inch below the rear opening of the ejection port, you have a 2 3/4 inch shell gun.

What really matters is how your barrel is stamped. My 16 gauge Auto 5 clearly has the 2 9/16 inch ejection port, but the barrel is clearly stamped "special steel - 2 3/4 inch shells". You can have the breach of the barrel checked by a professional gun smith (note - professional) who can verify what length of shell can be safely fired from your gun. A lazy and dangerous way to test the length of shell is to take an empty 16 gauge hull and ream the opening so that the folds are completely open and the same diameter of the case sides. If the hull fits correctly into the barrel and you can close the bolt and the firing pin will work, then your gun can probably take a 2 3/4 inch shell.

Also remember that the friction ring can be adjusted for light or heavy loads. Some A-5's have the instructions for the orientation pasted inside the fore stock. Otherwise, the Browning web site has the manual with clear pictures. Adjust the ring orientation and see if it makes a difference.

Last edited by TheVillageIdiot; January 4, 2010 at 07:39 PM. Reason: forgot one item
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