View Full Version : Looking to buy a Browning A5, please advise

April 23, 2009, 10:23 PM
I've been reading a lot of threads on here and it seems the Browning A5 is one of the best choices for a quality semi-auto shotgun.

I was hoping to get some advice on what traits I should look for when picking my A5 out. I'm leaning toward the 12 gauge.

What year range?

Belgium vs. Japanese?

Other advice?

Any feedback is much appreciated...thanks!

April 24, 2009, 01:41 AM
Buy the Magnum 12 if your going to buy one in 12ga. I have both Belgium and Japanese, both are quality shotguns, maybe the wood is a little better in the Belgium ones but not always. Check for cracks in the forearms at the receiver traveling parallel with the barrel and check for cracks in the stock near the tang area. Some of the very last Japanese models had black screws in the forearm, up on the magazine cap end. Also if you want the screw in invector choke your going to have to get a Japanese model. Expect to pay about $700 for a good used Magnum 12 though, the better the shape the more the money. If you wanted to save some money and didn't have to have a magnum or browning but wanted the A5, go find a Remington Model 11. They are a bit cheaper and exactly the same except they don't have the magazine cutoff.

April 24, 2009, 12:35 PM
Yeah I'm definitely feeling the 12 ga magnum. I like everything I've heard about the A5's but just out of curiosity would a newer Browning or Benelli be a better choice for shooting on occasion and keep the A5s in the gun collection?

April 24, 2009, 12:52 PM
....check for cracks in the stock near the tang area....

I've been wanting an A5 for a long time. It seems that about 50% of the ones I look at have cracks in that area where the grip comes up to the receiver tang.

April 24, 2009, 01:10 PM
yep. mine just cracked. need a new one. but its definately a good shotgun to go with. i have a light twelve and to say the least the slug barrel makes it the most accurate slug gun i own.

April 24, 2009, 01:12 PM
If I were in the market for another I'd get a Belgian Magnum 12 with good wood, then replace with synthetic for use. They're heavy though versus some of the modern gas operated guns, but I still prefer an A5 to anything for green timber duck hunting.

April 24, 2009, 03:08 PM
I like the Auto5 - for a gun of its time / but honestly - the newer Brownings or Benellis are much more refined shotguns these days.

I'm not saying the A5 is a bad choice - but they come with some issues on cycling, maintenance, stocks or forends that crack ...

On the inexpensive end of semi-autos these days ( in gas guns, the Beretta 390 or 391 is a solid gun) - not that the Browning gold or their new maxus? - and you'll have a number of choices new and used for under $1,000.

On the inertia guns Benelli is leading the pack in my mind. My personal favorite is the Super sport - but now you're at about $ 1,875 for a new one / but there are other models too.

It depends on what you want to do with it - but casual shooting, a little bit of everything - I would recommend a Benelli or a Beretta probably.

Jeff Mulliken
April 24, 2009, 04:18 PM
If you want a classic they are a great choice. I have a large pile of them. But though I am a fan I dont have any trouble giving the advice........If you just want a dependable gun and are only going to own one get a modern gun, either Benelli or Beretta.

If you go for the classic dont buy a Magnum Twelve as your first. They were not made to cycle anything lighter than a 2 3/4" mag shell. Many can be made to cycle lighter loads but it's hit or miss. Assuming your going to want to shoot a variety of loads a Mag just aint the right gun.

A Light Twelve is a better choice. It will cycle everything on the market in a 2 3/4" 12 gauge hull. It will be lighter to carry in the field and will cost you less than a Mag.

If you want to shoot steel shot you'll need one of the later Japanese made Auto-5's with invector or invector plus chokes. The older guns are not compatable with steel shot.


April 25, 2009, 05:42 AM
If this is your first gun my advice is to not get the Magnum 12 version. There is not much a 3" shell can do that a 2 3/4 cannot. Most of your shooting is going to be with the light stuff and the Mag doesnt like cycling it. Sure your going to get isolated reports of someone whos Mag 12 cycles everything but thats just it. If I were to get another A5 it would be the 20 gauge because they are lighter and better handling. They cost about 200 more than a comparable 12 though.

If you are not caught up on the 12 ga (I wouldnt be) you can get the Franchi AL-48 new which is the same function as the A5. It only comes in 20 and 28 gauge though. It is a very light capable gun.

There is no practical difference between the Belgian guns and the Japanese guns. Many are realizing this and the prices have become nearly even on comparable models of them.

April 25, 2009, 08:16 AM
>>I'm not saying the A5 is a bad choice - but they come with some issues on cycling, maintenance, stocks or forends that crack ...<<

I'll second that. I recently got rid of a very nice Light 12 cuz it just wouldn't cycle reliably. And yes, I know all about the ring placement, cleaning issues etc., but it still wouldn't work to my satisfaction, so out it went. My Benelli's, on the other hand, always cycle reliably. :)