View Full Version : Semi Auto Shotgun

Pvt. Pyle
January 19, 2011, 11:59 PM
I am looking to buy a shotgun mainly for pheasant hunting as I have a shotgun for slugs and plan on getting a rifle. So I am looking for a good semi-auto bird gun that I can take all year to the local gun club for trap, sport clays, etc.

I was at a local pawn shop the other day and saw a Browning A-5 for $300. Before I get too far into what gun to buy. Is that something I should buy? Or could be a clone that I need to really look at? If it is a clone what do I need to look at to be able to tell?

Was also looking at a couple 1100's. My mind operates that a shotgun is a shotgun. But I also know you get what you pay for? So should I stay mid price? Or go for something a bit higher that may last a bit longer for something I may possibly be using twice a week for the next who knows how long...

January 20, 2011, 02:20 AM
Since you said you may be using this gun twice a week, I'm guessing it will be mostly for clays. The king of the clays these days is the Beretta gas auto. From the 3901 Standard at $645 to the AL391 Teknys Gold at $2,150, there is quite a variety to select from.

The Browning (and clones) is a fine old design, but shotgun technology has changed in the last 100+ years. For the occasional hunter who will be using his shotgun a few times a year, I wouldn't hesitate recommending a Browning provided they are aware of it's background. My neighbor got a Savage clone last year, shot it once or twice and now it serves as his barn gun. But, you're looking for something more than a barn blaster.

January 20, 2011, 06:35 AM
The Brownings a great gun and will last you for hunting and occasional clay shoots. The 1100 is the same way, I have 1 and its one of my favorite. Same with the 11-87 but for a serios guy a Benelli or Beretta makes a heck of a gun

January 20, 2011, 07:31 AM
The Browning A5 has stood the test of time and always come out on top.
Yes there are newer designs, gas/inerta guns out there and they are good, BUT the A5 always works. Given proper care the A5 will last several lifetimes, and that has been proven already. There are guns made in the early teens and twentys/thirtys that are still going strong being used for hunting on a daily basis.

Digout Randy Wakeman's coments about the A5 you will be impressed.

Just remember to have it taken down for cleaning/lube every 15 years and your go to go.

January 20, 2011, 12:21 PM
The A5 has a different type of operating system which you might to see if you like before you buy. There might be some folks at your local trap/skeet club who can let you try some of the various brands to see which one you like the best

January 20, 2011, 12:27 PM
The Browning Auto 5 - is the gun of my youth ( in the 50's ) and today's technology is far better than the Auto 5's. Today's guns will feed shells more reliably, cycle faster and are easier to take care of.

Like Zippy mentioned - the Beretta gas operated guns have a wide range of options. Browning today, owns Winchester, and both of them are part of the bigger FN family - but today's Browning and Winchester semi-autos are very similar with their "active valve systems" - Browning Silver series / Winchester SX series. You'll find a lot of decent guns in the $ 750 - $ 1250 price range.

On the inerta gun side of semi-autos - Benelli, a subsidiary of Beretta, in my opinion leads that market - but many of their guns are more expensive than the gas guns mentioned above. However, the inertia guns shoot cleaner than a gas gun - and cycle very quickly as well. In a wood stock comparison on an inertia gun / to a wood stock version of a gas gun - the Inertia gun probably has about 25% more recoil. So in Inertia guns - you will often see the preferred models are synthetic or carbon fibre stocks / with built in recoil supression systems - like the Benellli Comfort Tech system. You can't do that of course on a solid wood stocked gun.

You're looking for a versatile gun ...so make sure whatever you pick has changeable, screw in chokes - so you can change the choke for the game you're playing. While a gun choked in IC ( Imp Cyclinder) or Mod ( Modified) may work pretty well for a lot of things - its better to have a gun you can setup the way you want it.

A gun with a 3" chamber is all you'll need / 3 1/2" chambers are favored by waterfowlers - but in reality, most of us get by just fine on a gun with 3" chambers. A gun chambered in 3" - can shoot a shell that is either 2 3/4" or 3" ( fired length ) which are common in 12ga shotshells. Most "target" shells are 2 3/4".

I would pass on the Auto 5 ...its not a terrible gun ...but today's semi-autos are much better guns.

January 20, 2011, 12:27 PM
How right you are, not everyone warms up to the Brownings long recoil system. To me that's what makes the Browning unique.

January 20, 2011, 12:38 PM
This has been talked about a lot. Anyway, I got a Browning Maxus this past summer. Glad I did. It is light enough to carry when dove hunting. I have had it out to the trap/skeet field and I use it for duck/goose hunting.

January 20, 2011, 05:44 PM
If I were going to buy another auto I would go with the Benelli. The inertia system is very simple and trouble free not to mention easy to clean and maintain.

I have an older Browning auto and an 11-87. The 11-87 is a great gun but it is a pain to clean.

January 20, 2011, 05:48 PM
I got about 10 shotguns. If I could only keep one it would be my Benelli super sport.

January 20, 2011, 06:09 PM
Another Benelli Super Sport officinado ....great .... ( I have one in 12ga and one in 20ga ) .....my grandkids think they're very cool ...and most of my buddies think they're ugly ....

but they are great guns ....

These Browning O/U's are still my primary bird hunting, skeet and sporting clays guns ( in 12, 20, 28ga and a .410 ) ...

But I like the Benelli Super Sport a lot ....

Red Tornado
January 20, 2011, 08:53 PM
Technology has come a long ways, but it's still hard to go wrong with an A5. That seems to be a pretty good price if it's in good shape, too. At least what I've seen them go for. I just checked GB and they're less than I was thinking, but $300 is still pretty good.

Plus, for the walnut and steel fans, there's an undeniable cool factor to the Humpback.

If I was getting a semi-auto for all around use, I'd probably look for a Remington 1100 or 11-87. However, the only two semi auto shotguns I have are Remington 11-48s. So, I'm obviously fine with the A5 recoil system.

January 20, 2011, 09:05 PM
There are a lot better than the A5 out there today. No reason to settle for old autoloader technology. I like the brownings as much as the next guy but the fact is there is far better available today.

The recoil of an A5 is heavy by autoloader standards, it is a heavy 12 and in the cold the action has a tendency to slow down substantially. Humping an A5 12 around the pheasant field is not something I want to do for very long.

Look at Beretta, Benelli lines of autoloaders and as a lower cost but very good alternative check out Franchi. A Franchi 48AL in 28 gauge would be perfect for what you describe as your intended use. The 48AL isn't cheap, the Franchi 12's are a lot more reasonably priced.

January 20, 2011, 09:19 PM
Berettas and Benellis are nice, but you owe it to yourself to try out the Winchester Super X2/Browning Gold (same platform, different looks). It can handle a wide range of loadings, and if you are over 5' 10" the ergonomics is pretty darn good. The Browning version comes with shims that allow you to manipulate the cast. They have aluminum receivers and are pure joy to carry in the field.

I was shooting a Beretta O/U when I switched to my Browning Gold Auto. My skeet scores increased by 20% and my 5 stand scores by over 30%. I have also shot one of the old steel receivered Super X autos, and while it is noticeably heavier, it shoots very well for me too.

January 21, 2011, 12:32 PM
The Browning Gold is only made in 10ga ( for the last year or so ...) / so its the Browning Silver series he needs to look at ...if he wants something in the Browning semi-auto lineup in a 12ga these days ....

But there are still some of the older "Gold" models around still new in box too...

Its confusing ---- ( Browning's marketing dept has run amuk / on all of their lines of shotguns ....with something like 26 models of the Citori line alone ...and the changes on the Gold and Silver semiauto, and they cynergy line, etc ....) ........its way too confusing to new shooters in my opinion ....and I love Browning shotguns ...and own about 15 of them ...

January 21, 2011, 11:57 PM
BigJim, I did not know that. Thanks for setting me straight. I must say, that I can highly recommend the older Browning Gold Auto in 12 gauge, though. I have thoroughly enjoyed mine.

January 22, 2011, 10:14 PM

Ok I learned something too. However he can look at the Browning Maxus as I mentioned. It is light enough to carry around and the gas system eats up a lot of the recoil. Even in the 3.5 in version. The 3.5 out of that don't kick that bad

January 22, 2011, 11:13 PM
The recoil of an A5 is heavy by autoloader standards, it is a heavy 12 and in the cold the action has a tendency to slow down substantially. Humping an A5 12 around the pheasant field is not something I want to do for very long.

Yeah, that's why I've had such trouble pheasant hunting with mine for the last 30+ years. The A5 is a fantastic shotgun with a classic John Browning design, kind of like that out of date 1911 .45 auto. Amazing.

January 22, 2011, 11:42 PM
I shoot clays and love the old A-5! I dont know what it is but I like shooting something my grandfather did. There are better shotguns but not with such history. My next will be a sweet sixteen. :D I would go for it and im not a big guy either.

January 25, 2011, 03:18 PM
If I could find an old 12 gauge A-5 that I knew was in good condition for $300, I'd buy it faster than I can type this sentence. Check it out though if you're not SURE its in good condition; A-5's are rugged old guns but nothing mechanical is indestructible, and $300 sounds almost too good to be true for an A-5 in good condition. That's at least $100 less than the lowest price I've ever seen for one around here.

January 25, 2011, 03:29 PM
I have an 11-87 Remington that I like alot, but is it the best ??? I have no idea. The brands that begin with the letter "B" seem to get more fans with shotgunners than other brands,,,,maybe there is a reason.

January 25, 2011, 05:30 PM
"I am looking to buy a shotgun mainly for pheasant hunting as I have a shotgun for slugs and plan on getting a rifle. So I am looking for a good semi-auto bird gun that I can take all year to the local gun club for trap, sport clays, etc."

To me, there is a bit of a contradiction here. I don't believe any gun is particularly great for both upland hunting and clays shooting, because a heavy gun is nice to shoot but less pleasant to carry for hours at a time. People will claim weight doesn't bother them, but most people who have used an upland gun under 7 pounds wouldn't want to trade for a 8-pounder.

A light gun is nice to carry but not ideal for excessive clay shooting. Granted, there are people who are happy using one gun for both purposes, but whether people want to admit it or not, there is some amount of compromise when selecting an upland/clays gun. Seems to me the OP has to decide which is really the primary purpose of the gun before buying.

January 25, 2011, 06:01 PM
My all around shotgun is a Benelli Super 90 with a 28" barrel. I love to shoot this gun. It does kick a little more than a gas operated semi-auto but less than my Browning 0/U. The big plus if you shoot a lot is how clean the gun stays. For me the deciding factor was how it felt to me. It shoulders very naturally for me and just felt better than the others I looked at at the time. Mine came with 5 different chokes.