Browning FN Belgian Auto-5 A-5 A5 12 GA Semi-Automatic Shotgun, 1963 C&R

SOLD FOR: $1125

LSB#: 220214AW006

Make: Browning

Model: Auto 5

Serial Number: 3M24428

Year of Manufacture:  1963

Caliber: 12 Gauge, 2 ¾” Shells

Action Type: Long-Recoil operated, Semi-Automatic, Tubular Magazine Fed Shotgun

Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “BROWNING ARMS COMPANY ST LOUIS Mo. & MONTREAL P.Q.”, the right is marked “* SPECIAL STEEL – 12 GAUGE – SHELLS 2 3/4″”, the left is marked “MADE IN BELGIUM” and with a series of Belgian proofs. The left side of the receiver is marked with an R in a circle, “BROWNING” and a bust portrait of John Browning. The bottom-front of the receiver is marked with the serial number “3M / 24428”. The bolt is marked with a proof stamp. The receiver has Grade I engraving.

Barrel Length: 29 1/2″

Choke:  Fixed, Full

Sights / Optics: The front sight is bead mounted to a base at the front of the barrel. The rear sight is a flat surface which covers the length of the receiver, checkered to reduce glare.

Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are a two-piece checkered walnut set with finger grooves on the forend, round bottom pistol grip, straight comb and ventilated brown rubber Pachmayr recoil pad.  The stocks have some scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches with a couple of more notable dings at the top of the forend on the left and at the toe. There is a very thin crack at the bottom-rear edge of the forend. There are no chips. The checkering is well defined. The LOP measures 14 1/2” from the front of the trigger to the back of the recoil pad, 13 1/2″ to the back of the wood. The pad has minor wear, mostly around the edges, but has remained fairly supple. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition and would rate Fine but for the crack in the forend.

Type of Finish: Blue

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright. There is some minor erosion in the muzzle end of the bore.

Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 96% of its metal finish. The finish is generally strong throughout with most of the balance in patches of solid erosion on the barrel at the muzzle-end, mostly on the top and left side. Otherwise, there are only a few scattered minor marks and light operational wear. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in Very Good-Fine condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. There is a magazine cutoff on the left front of the receiver, a safety at the rear of the trigger guard and a bolt release on the right side of the receiver. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.

Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None

Our Assessment: The Browning Automatic 5, most often Auto-5 or simply A-5, is a recoil-operated semi-automatic shotgun designed by John Browning. The Browning Auto-5 was the first mass-produced semi-automatic shotgun. Designed by John Browning in 1898 and patented in 1900, it was produced continually for almost 100 years by several makers with production ending in 1998. It features a distinctive high rear end, earning it the nickname “Humpback”. It is also an important piece of Browning/Winchester history.

John Browning had previously sold his designs to Winchester for lump-sum payments, turning over all of the patents related to a particular model. Winchester had gotten in the habit of having their engineers and attorneys assist Browning in filing for his patents, in order to ensure that when they received those same patents they would be airtight. Browning’s experiences with Colt and FN had convinced him that he would be better off licensing his designs rather than selling them outright, but when he presented this to Winchester, they refused his terms. This ended the relationship between Winchester and Browning.

Browning would eventually license the design to FN in Europe and later to Remington for their Model 11 and to Savage Arms for their Models 720 and 755. These designs went on to be a great commercial success, the first truly successful autoloading shotgun. This Auto-5 was built by FN in 1963 with Grade I engraving on the receiver and tangs. It is chambered for 12 GA. 2 ¾” shells and has a 29 1/2″ barrel choked Full. The gun appears to have been well cared for apart from some erosion on the barrel at the muzzle-end, in Very Good-Fine condition despite being nearly 60 years old. This should still make for a great hunting gun for the lucky winner but would also make a neat addition for collectors. Please see our photos and good luck!

Browning FN Belgian Auto-5 A-5 A5 12 GA Semi-Automatic Shotgun, 1963 C&R
Browning FN Belgian Auto-5 A-5 A5 12 GA Semi-Automatic Shotgun, 1963 C&R