SOLD FOR: $1810
Make: Fabrique Nationale for Browning Arms
Model: Auto 5, Sweet Sixteen
Serial Number: S7577
Year of Manufacture: 1954
Gauge: 16 Gauge, 2 3/4″ Shells
Action Type: Recoil Operated, Semi-Automatic, Tubular Magazine Fed Shotgun
Markings: The left side of the barrel is marked “BROWNING ARMS COMPANY ST LOUIS Mo. / * SPECIAL STEEL 16 GAUGE – SHELLS 2 3/4″”, with Belgian proof marks and “54112”. The right side of the barrel is marked “MADE IN BELGIUM”. The bottom of the barrel has Belgian proof/inspection marks, “X”, “G” and “811”. The top of the barrel extension is marked “G / 811” and with Belgian proofs. The top of the forend in the barrel inlet is marked “T”, “3”, “U” and “G”. The left of the receiver is marked “Sweet Sixteen” above the flat and “BROWNING” above a bust portrait of Browning on the flat. The right of the receiver and bolt have Belgian proof marks. The bottom of the receiver in front of the loading port is marked “S / 7577”. The receiver has Grade 1 engraving. The left of the bottom tang and the bottom tang inlet in the wrist are each marked “S7577”.
Barrel Length: 27 1/2″, Vent-Rib
Choke: Full, Fixed
Sights / Optics: There is a silver colored bead at the front of the rib. The top of the rib and receiver are checkered for glare reduction.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are a two-piece checkered walnut set with a round-bottom pistol grip, finger grooves running the length of the forend, straight comb and a black hard rubber FN Browning Automatic buttplate. The forend has a cluster of nicks and scratches at the left-rear with a small loss in the lip at the rear which fits inside the receiver (concealed when assembled). The buttstock has some minor handling wear in the checkering, one notable scratch on the right-rear and a few other scattered light marks. There are no cracks. The checkering is well defined. The LOP measures approximately 14 1/8″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has light wear with a few tiny losses around the edges and well defined lettering. Overall, the stocks are in about Very Good condition.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Original to the parts. The barrel is not original to the gun.
Bore Condition: The bore is bright with no erosion.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 97% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning lightly at some edges. The action has minor operational wear. Otherwise, there are only light handling marks. The screw heads range are sharp . The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in about Fine condition as not parts original.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. A wooden magazine limiter is installed in the magazine tube, easily removed out the front. 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 1954 and is a desirable “Sweet Sixteen” model with Grade I engraving on the receiver and tangs. It is chambered for 2 ¾” 16 Gauge shells and has had the barrel replaced with a 27 1/2″ vent-rib barrel choked Full. The gun appears to have been well cared for, in Fine condition despite being nearly 70 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!