View Full Version : Browning Auto-5

February 13, 2008, 02:14 PM

Got a couple questions regarding one of these that I own. FWIW, it is capable of magnum conversion and has a barrel that slides back to absorb recoil... not sure if that is standard for all models.

-How can I tell the difference between a Belgium made or a Japanese made?

-I've seen some in local gun stores selling for approx $250. I was under the impression that these shotguns are worth more than that, with Belgiums being worth more than the Jap versions. What is a true, fair price?

Night Watch
February 13, 2008, 02:39 PM
The recoil system is the same on all A-5's. No you cannot convert a standard A-5 to a Magnum A-5. These are separate models. I just sold a cased, 30 year old, Belgium-made, 20 gauge, magnum A-5 with two vent ribbed barrels for $1,800.00; and, I already miss it! ;)

James K
February 13, 2008, 09:07 PM
The A5 has what is called a long recoil action. When the gun is fired, the barrel and bolt recoil together clean to the back of the receiver, at which point the barrel is released to go forward, pulling the fired shell away from the bolt and kicking it out the port. When the barrel reaches its forward position, the bolt is released to go forward, chambering the next cartridge.


February 13, 2008, 09:25 PM
There are so many different models. Several different safety types. Some made in Belgium, US and Japan. The light twelves with vent ribs made in Belgium are the most valuable 12 ga. The sweet 16's probably bring most of all. And, the 20's usually bring a little more than the 12's. Cutts Compensators, recoil pads on non-magnums, and other alterations hurt the price.

Must be a dog to be selling for $250.

February 14, 2008, 02:11 PM
How can I tell the difference between a Belgium made or a Japanese made?
1- On the barrel, directly in front of the chamber, it will say 'Made in Belgium' or 'Made in Japan'.
2- The Japanese A5s have stocks that are about 50% thicker than needed, Belgian A5s are typically thinner through the comb with light, graceful stocks.
3- Japanese A5s typically have very dark wood, most Belgian A5s have wood that is lighter colored, sometimes almost blond.

I've seen some in local gun stores selling for approx $250. I was under the impression that these shotguns are worth more than that, with Belgiums being worth more than the Jap versions. What is a true, fair price?About 18 years ago I sold a beater "boat gun" for $450, at the last gun show I went to I saw a nice condition Belgian Browning with an extra barrel for $350. Prices on A5s has come down considerably over the past 10 years, with an average shooter selling for about $300-$400, rougher guns less, nicer or rarer ones more.

There are more popular auto shotguns for hunting, and there are nicer shotguns for trap/skeet/sporting clays, but IMO an A5 is a work of art no matter what condition it is in.

James K
February 14, 2008, 09:12 PM
Not really on topic, but everytime I think about the A5 I remember the guy who came into the shop one day, straight from a farm auction. He had the worst looking, most beat-up A5 I have ever seen. Further, it had been kept in the chicken coop (farmers kept a gun in the chicken coop because that was where they were likely to find a hungry fox), and was covered with real, honest to gosh chicken[color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color][color=#FF0000]█[/color]. The whole gun was rusty and the aforementioned substance had eaten away a lot of the stock wood.

He bragged that he had finally outbid a couple of other guys and taken this prize for only $450. He asked me what I thought of his auction acumen and the value of the gun.

I just pointed at the rack, where we had A5s brand new for $249. He turned an interesting color and fled; we never saw him again. I hoped he was happy with his purchase.


February 14, 2008, 10:10 PM
I have had a pretty nice A5 Light 12 on Gunbroker for a while for $500 minimum. No takers. I would probably be better off to keep it anyway. I could have gotten $600 for it a few years ago.

Occasionally a seller will put a Belgium barrel on a Japanese gun and try to sell it as Belgium. The serial numbers on the bottom of the receiver on the Belgium model is larger than the Japanese. To be safe, check the serial number. I think the Browning website has a serial number search on A5's. I know I have done it somewhere.

February 14, 2008, 10:37 PM
On that note about barrel swapping, another thing to watch for is that while the gun may go together with the new barrel, it may fail to lock up properly or jam if it hasn't been fitted to the bolt housing properly (headspacing issue.) This will particularly happen if there is a significant gap between manufacturing dates and the barrels have not been fitted by a competent gunsmith. You may have to trim the locking surface on the barrel extention sleeve (if the bolt won't lock) or buy a new one and recut the sleeve if there's too much slop with the bolt. This is mainly something to be aware of in cases of the "quick cash" sales where the seller is trying to sucker the buyer into getting his "better" grade gun; while it CAN happen the majority of A-5's are modified correctly by a professional. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

February 19, 2008, 09:29 PM
Without an A5 I'd be out of business for hunting. I learned to shoot with my Dads and I can't hit a damn thing with anything else. I'm pretty deadly with the A5 though.:)