SOLD FOR: $1952
Make: Fabrique Nationale
Serial Number: 94408
Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1927
Gauge: 12 Gauge, 2 3/4” Shells
Action Type: Long-Recoil Operated Tube Magazine Fed Semi-Automatic Shotgun
Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “ACIER SPECIAL” and with Belgian proof marks, the top is marked “FABRIQUE NATIONALE D’ARMES DE GUERRE HERSTAL-BELGIQUE”, the bottom has Belgian proof/inspection marks. The left of the magazine lug is marked “94408”. The bottom of the barrel extension is marked “000”, the top has Belgian proofs. The left of the receiver is marked “FABRIQUE NATIONALE D’ARMES DE GUERRE HERSTAL BELGIQUE / BROWNING’S PATENT DEPOSE”, the right has Belgian proof marks and the bottom-front is marked “FN” in oval, “94408” with an inspection mark. The side of the bolt has Belgian proof marks and “408”, the rear of the charging handle is marked “953”. The right of the bottom tang is marked “94408”. The bottom tang inlet of the wrist has “94408” stamped. The shank of the stock mounting screw is marked “4408”. The receiver has early FN type II pattern factory engraving. The carrier screws are marked “44 / 08”.
Barrel Length: 27 1/2″
Choke: Full, Fixed
Sights / Optics: There is a silver-colored bead in a base at the front of the barrel. The top of the receiver has a sighting plane checkered for glare reduction.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered walnut with finger-grooved forend, straight wrist, straight comb, horn FN Browning Automatic buttplate and a sling swivel in the belly (there is another swivel mounted to the front of the magazine cap). The stocks have a few scattered minor marks. The forend has a few spots of dark discoloration on the left side. There is a repaired crack in the bottom-rear of the forend and there is a crack in the left-rear of the forend. The checkering is well defined. The LOP measures 14 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has light wear with a couple of small worm holes. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished.
Type of Finish: Blued
Finish Originality: Refinished, the charging handle has been replaced.
Bore Condition: The bore is mostly bright. There is infrequent minor erosion in the bore. The chamber has more notable erosion and moderate pitting.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains approximately 98% of its metal finish. The new finish is strong throughout, showing light handling marks. The bright finished bolt and lifter have spots of minor discoloration from oxidation. The barrel has a couple of spots of faint erosion under the finish. There is more notable erosion under the finish of the receiver tangs under the stock. 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 Very Good-Fine condition as refinished and would easily rate Fine but for the pitting in the chamber.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. 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. While Browning received all of FN’s production to be sold in North America and was able to license production to other North American companies, FN also licensed the design to sell under their own name in other world markets. This example is an FN gun made for sale outside North America, a 1927 vintage 12 gauge with a 27 1/2″ barrel choked Full. The gun has been quite skillfully restored, looking great with its new finish strong throughout, though there is some pitting in the chamber. With its straight wrist and Type II engraving, it will certainly display well in your Browning or FN collection. Please see our photos and good luck!