Why do you love your old school A5 so much?

Discussion in 'Browning Auto A-5' started by Ranger6, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. Ranger6

    Ranger6 .270 WIN

    Had a new member ask me why we love our A5’s so much? I thought of many reasons but thought it would be interesting to see what others think.
  2. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 .30-06

    I was always curious about them since noticing their distinctive shape when I was a kid. Many years later I finally bought one. At the time, although I knew quite a bit about John Browning, I didn’t know much about the gun or his relationship with with FN.

    My new gun (1947 12 gauge) was covered with hieroglyphics. Searching the internet trying to decipher them was frustrating. The history on the Browning website was contradictory. The best advice I found was to buy the Shirley & Vanderlinden book. Much additional knowledge was gained from reading “Sauerfan’s” postings on Shotgun World.

    While doing the research I also needed to work on my new gun. Disassembly isn’t straight forward but with the help of Art Isaacson’s videos I learned, and developed an appreciation of JMB’s masterpiece.

    To finally answer the OP’s question, I like history. New guns are just tools to me. And the Auto-5 has a lot of history. So much so that I started collecting them. Most of my guns wouldn’t be considered “collectible”. But it’s a reference library of production from 1903 to 1984.
    win7stw likes this.
  3. Nigel Martin

    Nigel Martin Copper BB

    It’s everything Rudolph said. For me, I started out thinking I could never like the “humpback”, I loved my late ‘60’s Rem 1100 for its curves and it was the first shotgun I fired as a teenager. I love my O/U’s, using anything like a semi-auto for game is frowned upon in the UK, unless pigeon shooting with mates. But just handling the Auto5 completely hooked me, it’s a “proper” piece of engineering, it’s a seriously and cleverly designed piece of kit - JMB was truly an enlightened genius. There’s a simple pleasure in taking it down to its components and putting it back together again. And people are curious when you take it to the range. Had a Krieghoff owner watch me break some clays a few weeks ago and ask to have a go with my 1965 world market, Plain Jane, 12 gauge, he shot left handed and didn’t mind the spent shell skimming past his nose, he had a huge grin on his face after the first round - everybody who handles the Auto5 ends up wanting one, simple!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
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  4. Ranger6

    Ranger6 .270 WIN

    Wanted to post my reason for the love of the A5. I agree with Rudolph31. I do like old things that have history. It really is more then just the a5 history, but my own history with the a5. It was my first shotgun that I shot and owned. I have killed more game with an a5 then all the others combined. It is by far the best looking semi auto out there today. If maintained correctly it won’t let you down when needed the most. I can’t explain it to anyone that hasn’t handled an a5 but it just feels right when brought to the shoulder. You don’t have to work at it, do anything special. Point and shoot. Clearly JMB knew what he was doing. Every time I shoulder an a5 it brings back fond memories of my grandfather, that was the greatest influence on who I am today. And it certainly brings a smile to my face when shooting skeet and my old, faded and heavily used shotgun out does a high dollar one. I always get asked” how old is that thing”. Depending on the one that I got that day, it might be 110 years old. Their mouth dropping is worth a million dollars.
    win7stw, Rudolph31 and Nigel Martin like this.
  5. Rudolph pretty well hit the nail on the head. The other thing for me was that my Father quail hunted with an A5 when I was a little boy. I could not wait to get old enough to shoot it. Once I did the obsession was complete.
    win7stw, Ranger6 and Rudolph31 like this.
  6. win7stw

    win7stw .410

    When I was a teenager I worked construction and saved up to buy an A-bolt and a BPS. I hunted one year with the BPS and then one day my dad surprised my brother and I with Magnum 12’s. He bought three of them so every year on opener the three of us use our old A5’s. They don’t get much use anymore but I love the way they look and handle. We usually care a 16 or 20 gauge over under these days. Shot my first 25 at trap with my magnum twelve.

    The other reason I love the A5 is that it is a mechanical masterpiece. It blows me away that it was designed in 1898 and is still going strong. I’d love to go back in time and see the equipment they were manufactured with. I’d also love to see the craftsmen hand checkering and engraving them. They are elegant, you can’t find that type of quality on today’s guns.
    jlp, Rudolph31 and Ranger6 like this.
  7. win7stw

    win7stw .410

    Forgot to mention I started with a 20 gauge Coast to Coast master mag aka Mossberg 500. The Browning’s were a huge improvement.
  8. Bill Idaho

    Bill Idaho .410

    As I stated in my introductory post....because A5s have a soul, unlike all other guns.
    Rudolph31 likes this.
  9. Pamlico

    Pamlico .22LR

    My appreciation of Old A5's began in my boyhood days in the sixties. My father loved to Quail hunt and he was not a rich man but he was a talented man who hunted with other financially successful hunters. My Father's shotgun of choice was a 16 gauge Remington # 11 , which I still own and is prized by me. The others who hunted with my Father all owned Browning's. When I was lucky some days my Father would take me along on the hunts. I always admired the Browning A5''s and way back then I decided I wanted to own one. Today Every time I handle a Remington Model 11 or a Browning A5 it takes me back to the time with my Father carrying his 16 gauge.
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  10. Bill Idaho

    Bill Idaho .410

    I think I have it figured out finally.......if I just don't go into gunshops, I would quit buying A5s.

    Two more followed me out to the parking lot a few days ago. A nice 1958, and a pretty nice 1966. Both full chokes, both Light-12s, for a screaming deal.
  11. Bill Idaho

    Bill Idaho .410

    Nope, didn't work. As soon as I got to feeling better, I decided to go to Boise and check out a couple of LGSs. As I drove past a nearby gun shop, they apparently had their tractor beam set to maximum because when I got near, I couldn't stop myself from pulling into their parking lot. Once I got that far.....resistance was futile.
    I "rescued" a 16Ga. (I rarely give a 16 a second glance) that needed to live the rest of its life warm and clean. 1929, so it is a short chamber- but I don't care, I doubt if I ever actually shoot it. I will tear it down and do a detailed cleaning/inspection internally, and decide if I want to sink any money into it.
  12. win7stw

    win7stw .410

    Since you rarely give 16's a look you should send it my way. I have been looking for a short chambered gun.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2019
  13. Bill Idaho

    Bill Idaho .410

    Short chamber 16s are commonly laying on gun show tables around here for usually no more than $400 or so. In the grand scheme of things----relatively nice A5s.
    Rumor has it, and I have read on various forums that Cabelas stocks short (2 9/16") 16 gauge ammo on their shelves, but unless they carry it marked as something entirely different, or got it in within the last week or so.....not in Boise. Sportsmans Whorehouse doesn't carry any.
    I would probably entertain the thought of adding a 16 gauge to my herd, but if I ever did decide to, it would have to be a standard (2 3/4"), which puts me up into the Sweet Sixteen class. Noticeably more money.
  14. Fairbanks007

    Fairbanks007 Copper BB

    As most have said, it's the history and the engineering. For me, it started back in the 70's with my buddy's dad carrying an A5 on our hunting trip. That man had excellent taste in firearms, and was something of a father figure to me. When I saw a Belgian Light 12 on Gun Broker for what I thought was a steal, I had to get it. Every time I handle it I have to smile. It reminds me of my buddy's dad and all the things he taught me.
  15. Bill Idaho

    Bill Idaho .410

    Like I mentioned in my earlier (actually one of my first) posts, personally I feel that A5s have their own soul. Something about their history, weight, balance, shine (or lack there of), fit, just their overall "feel". Unlike virtually any other firearm, an A5 reaches into my soul. It's a strange affliction. With each part machined, rather than stamped, ( I know, I know, the later ones had at least one stamped part), it is a true reflection of craftsmanship. While a newer firearm is made from 95% stamped parts, and I suppose can feasibly run as long as an A5, they are merely an assembly of.......... stamped parts. The hand fitting of machined parts, on a grand scale as the A5s were made ---for essentially one hundred years(!)----is truly incredible.
    Whenever I see one at a gun show, something in me wants to "save" it from ....something. Maybe just so it can stay in good company in one of my safes with all the other A5s.
    Recently I decided to find three A5s, each made in the same years as my three kids, and after a complete total restoration , I will present each child with a "as new" A5. The only fly in that ointment is two of the three will have to be.......gulp, dare I say it out loud......Japanese, due to two of them being born in 1980 and 1983. Oh well.
    On many occasion, while I am at one of the ranges shooting either 5 Stand or Sporting Clays, I will notice a gaggle of guys standing around the shotgun racks filled with high dollar over-and-unders. There seems to always be a bunch surrounding my A5 (only once did I see someone else's A5 on the rack.) Guys would always come up to me and strike up a conversation about "that ol' Browning". I always try to get them to pop off a few rounds with one. EVERY time, they smile and say they were pleasantly surprised. This often times coming from guys with$10,000 shotguns!

    I need help.
  16. Ranger6

    Ranger6 .270 WIN

    You are in the right place for help with your sickness. We all are infected, matter of how bad, most are beyond help, but at least you will fit in just fine round here.

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