SOLD FOR: $1800
Make: Fabrique Nationale for Browning Arms
Model: Auto 5 Magnum
Serial Number: 72V4082
Year of Manufacture: 1972 (https://www.browning.com/support/date-your-firearm/auto-5-semi-automatic-shotgun.html)
Gauge: 12 gauge, 3” Shells
Action Type: Long-Recoil, Semi-Automatic, Tubular Magazine Fed Shotgun
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “BROWNING ARMS COMPANY ST LOUIS Mo. & MONTREAL P.Q. / MADE IN BELGIUM” and with a series of Belgian proofs. The right side of the barrel is marked “BROWNING AUTO_5 / ** SPECIAL STEEL 12 GA. SHELLS_3″_28 / BROWNING PATENTS”. The left side of the receiver is marked “Magnum / ® / BROWNING” with a bust portrait of John M. Browning, the underside has the serial number. The receiver, tangs and trigger guard have tasteful Grade I engraving.
Barrel Length: 28”, Vent-Rib
Choke: Modified, Fixed
Sights / Optics: There is a silver-colored bead at the front of the rib. The top of the rib is checkered and the top of the receiver is serrated to reduce glare.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are a two-piece checkered walnut set with a flat-bottom pistol grip, straight comb, finger grooves running the length of the forend and a ventilated brown rubber Browning recoil pad. The forend has only a few scattered minor marks. The buttstock has a few light nicks, scuffs and scratches with a couple of more notable nicks in the belly. There is a dark spot on the right of the stock which is some sort of very stubborn residue. There are no chips or cracks. The checkering is well defined. The LOP measures 14 1/4” from the front of the trigger to the back of the recoil pad. The pad has minor wear and is still fairly supple. The stocks rate in about Very Good-plus overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with no erosion.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 97% of its metal finish. There are a few scattered minor nicks and scratches and a couple of spots of faint surface oxidation. The action shows minor operational wear. The screw heads are sharp. The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in Fine-plus 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 1972 with Grade I engraving on the receiver and tangs. It is a Magnum model, chambered for 12 GA. 3” shells and has a 28″ barrel choked Modified. This is a nice example of a 1970s Auto 5 Magnum. 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!