View Full Version : WWII Remington 11/Browning A5 (Brownington?)

June 2, 2012, 10:51 PM
There's an earlier thread (http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=468191&highlight=american+browning+disassembly) that addressed the same issue I had, but it's older. No biggie, but you may not like my thoughts.

The dis-assembly of every A5 and model 11 involves driving a pin out of the bolt by putting a punch through an assembly hole on the left side of the receiver. The pin falls out of a notch cut on the bottom of the ejection port. Every model 11 and A5 has this setup, except the Brownington and I think I know why. The bolt, I believe, was never meant to be dis-assembled or removed. On the left side of the receiver, there is an assembly hole. With the bolt in the correct position, there is a pin visible. Here is where trouble sets in. The pin doesn't go all the way through the bolt. Once the pin was driven into the bolt at the Remington factory, it had no way to get back out.

Why do this?

It's no secret that Remington was not keen on building mod 11's for Browning, and I can't blame them. No one wants to build product for their competition. This may have been just a little kick in the teeth as payback. I can't prove my payback theory, but there is no mechanical way possible to remove the bolt without destroying something.

June 3, 2012, 11:45 AM
Did Remington ever make model 11's for Browning? If so, I didn't know that. I suppose that it was a wartime situation. My Remington Model 11 was made by Remington and my Browning A5 was made by Browning in Belgium. And I always assumed that the Savage version of that shotgun was made by Savage.

June 3, 2012, 01:07 PM
During The Great War, Belgium was occupied by Germany. This meant that the Belgian FN plant was unavailable to produce civilian firearms. After the war, FN was able to resume producing Brownings. No A5 shotguns were produced the the Great War. When WWII started, Browning didn't want the same situation, so they went to Remington and asked them to produce a model 11 with the Browning logo stamped on it. Remington accepted the deal since they had been making money from that Browning design for thirty years, but they weren't happy about it.

Browning A5s have been produced for Browning in Belgium and later Japan. The brief relationship with Remington makes the WWII era A5 the only A5 produced in the US. As a result, this particular model is sometimes called the "American Browning."

June 4, 2012, 09:38 AM
FWIW, the American Browning, built by Remington 1940-47, is actually a modified Model 11, with a separate SN range with either "A", "B" or "C" as a SN prefix:
A5000-A19450 (16ga)
B5000-B43129 (12ga)
C5000-C16152 (20ga)


June 4, 2012, 11:16 AM
It's no secret that Remington was not keen on building mod 11's for Browning,
Really? John Browning took his design to Remington after Winchester refused his terms when he offered it to them. The only reason FN got the design was that the president of Remington famously died while John Browning waited to speak with him. So John Browning took the design to Belgium to FN, who were producing his 1901 pistol. In 1940, Remington and Browning contracted for the building of modified Model 11s as Browning Auto-5 shotguns, so I would assume they were keen on building them for Browning. Money talks, you know.
During The Great War, Belgium was occupied by Germany.
The Great War was World War 1, 1914-1918. Yes, Belgium was invaded by Germany in WW1, but what does that have to do with the German occupation of Belgium in 1939? Because that's when the production was interrupted, you know. Production was not interrupted during WW1 because Browning was trying to figure out how to sell the shotguns they already had on hand.
No biggie, but you may not like my thoughts.
In discussions of historical facts, it's usually not a great idea to speculate out loud.

James K
June 4, 2012, 01:22 PM
It depends on the gauge. The 12 gauge has the notch in the receiver. But the 20 does not because the pin in the smaller bolt clears the edge of the port without a notch. The same is true of the Belgian guns. I don't recall whether the 16 gauge has the notch or not; maybe someone else can help on that one.

Edited to add:

I am both amazed and amused by the "wild blue yonder" ideas that can arise from a simple and obvious engineering change. How did the idea arise that the Remington guns were not meant to be disassembled or that there was some kind of "war" between Remington and Browning?

Just FWIW, Browning was an independent inventor. Once he had an idea and a working model, he took it to whatever arms company would give him the deal he wanted, whether that was a flat purchase of the patent rights, a royalty arrangement, employment as a consultant, or some combination of those. Usually that involved the company lawyers writing the patent applications, and sometimes the company regretted that. Browning first offered the Auto 5 to Winchester, and their lawyers drew up and filed the patents for him. But he fell out with Winchester over royalty arrangements and took the gun to Remington. But Marcellus Hartley, head of Remington died while Browning was waiting to see him and Browning decided to go to Belgium and have them produce the gun.

Later, when Winchester wanted an autoloading shotgun, poor T.C. Johnson, Winchester's in-house designer, had to work around all those neat, tight patent specifications that Winchester's own attorneys had drawn up so carefully.


September 14, 2012, 03:10 PM
I know this thread is older, but I feel the need to say mea culpa. I was wrong.

My American Browning 12g is now on the workbench with the bolt removed from the receiver and disassembled. This particular receiver has no notch at the bottom of the ejection port. When I got the gun it was packed full of grease. Between the lack of a notch and the excessive grease, I could not see the assembly pin on the bolt. The only reason I can now see the pin on the right side is that I've been trying to clear grease out of the receiver, of course with the bolt in place. I saw what looked like dirt on the bolt, but it would not come clean. I then realized the dirt was in fact the pin.

To remove the bolt, it was necessary to use the smallest punch in my possession (as I could not get a more appropriately sized punch between the receiver and bolt) to push the pin backwards toward the left side of the receiver. Once the pin cleared the outside of the receiver, I could grab it with pliers.

Again, I was wrong. I've seen many requests online for this information, but nothing indicating how to remove the bolt from this particular variant of the A5 design.

September 14, 2012, 04:59 PM
Hey! maybe the posters here can help me...does anyone have the magazine retainer screw (an extra one) that they can part with? I need one badly!

James K
September 14, 2012, 08:59 PM
The name doesn't ring a bell. What is a magazine retainer screw and where does it go? (Picture if possible, please.)


September 14, 2012, 09:16 PM
Later, when Winchester wanted an autoloading shotgun, poor T.C. Johnson, Winchester's in-house designer, had to work around all those neat, tight patent specifications that Winchester's own attorneys had drawn up so carefully.

And the resulting work-around gun that Winchester shipped was the 1911 or "Model 1911 SL" (not to be confused with the 1911 pistol of Browning's design). Outwardly, the 1911 had similar lines to the Auto-5... but the similarities quickly ended there.

The Winchester 1911 came to be known as "the headbuster" or more popularly, "The Widowmaker" because of how it had to be operated, thanks to the design's inability to use features in the Browning/Winchester patent for the Auto5.

The gun was cocked by grasping a knurled area on the barrel and pulling rearwards. There was no operating handle on the breech block. Many hunters and shooters found it was less awkward to put the gun butt-down on the ground, and push down on the barrel. This often meant that their heads or chests were over the muzzle - hence the name "widowmaker."

It was also known for splitting stocks from the recoil.

In hindsight, we can see why Winchester has gone out of business several times over their history. It seems that they can't see the larger picture of their business... letting JMB walk out the door with a design they had already patented for him was perhaps one of Winchester's most stupid moves.

September 14, 2012, 10:25 PM
You all must have different A5's and Model 11's than I do. My 12,16, and 20ga Brownings and M11's all have the notch cutout, including my RAS, predecessor to the M11. Even the 1902 made FN Brownings have it, they are missing the MC though.

Powder if you are talking about this screw in front of the bolt release, you are in bad shape. You will probably have to have someone make one for you.