SOLD FOR: $1975
Make: Fabrique Nationale for Browning Arms
Model: Auto 5
Serial Number: 328750
Year of Manufacture: 1951 (https://www.browning.com/support/date-your-firearm/auto-5-semi-automatic-shotgun.html)
Gauge: 12 gauge, 2 ¾” Shells
Action Type: Long-Recoil, Semi-Automatic, Tubular Magazine Fed Shotgun
Markings: The top of the barrel is marked “BROWNING ARMS COMPANY ST LOUIS MO”, the left is marked “* SPECIAL STEEL – 12 GA. – SHELLS 2 3/4″” and with a series of Belgian proof marks including the greek “delta” character date code. The right side of the barrel is marked “MADE IN BELGIUM”. The bottom of the barrel has a series of proof and inspection marks. The left of the barrel lug is marked “328750”. The top of the barrel extension is marked “8 / 750” and with Belgian proofs. The inside of the forend is marked “328750”. The left side of the receiver is marked “® / BROWNING” with a bust portrait of John M. Browning, the bottom-front is marked with “FN” in oval and “328750”, the right has Belgian proofs under the ejection port. The right of the bottom tang and the bottom of the wrist in the bottom tang inlet are each marked “328750”. The heads of the carrier screws are each marked “87 / 50”. The bolt is marked with Belgian proofs and “750”. The receiver, tangs and trigger guard have tasteful Grade I engraving.
Barrel Length: 29 1/2″
Choke: Fixed Full
Sights / Optics: There is a silver-colored bead on a base at the front of the barrel. There is a groove along the top of the receiver for use as a sighting plane, serrated for glare reduction.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are a two-piece checkered walnut set with a round-bottom pistol grip, straight comb, black horn FN Browning Automatic buttplate, and finger grooves running the length of the forend. The stocks have a few scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches, primarily in the forend. There are no chips or cracks. The checkering is well defined. The LOP measures 14 3/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has scattered minor wear with some worm-holes at the toe. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good-Fine condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright. There is no erosion in the bore.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 96% of its metal finish. The finish is lightly thinning at most edges. The balance is mostly in handling wear on the bottom tang. The barrel has minor wear from cycling, mostly concealed by the forend when assembled. There are a few other scattered minor marks. The action shows minor operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to lightly tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in 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 1951 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, in Fine condition despite being more than 70 years old. This should still make for a great hunting gun for the lucky winner but would also make a great addition for collectors. Please see our photos and good luck!