Engraved Browning FN Auto-5 A-5 A5 16 GA Semi-Automatic Shotgun, 1929 C&R

SOLD FOR: $3175

LSB#: 220420RE007

Make: Made by FN in Belgium for Browning

Model: Auto-5

Serial Number: 70834

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1929

Gauge: 16 Gauge, 2 9/16” Shells

Action Type: Long-Recoil Operated Tube Magazine Fed Semi-Automatic Shotgun

Markings: The left of the barrel is marked “BROWNING ARMS COMPANY OGDEN UTAH / CYLINDER 16 SPECIAL STEEL” and with Belgian proof marks, the bottom has Belgian proof/inspection marks, the right is marked “MADE IN BELGIUM”. The left of the magazine lug is marked “70834”. The bottom of the barrel at the rear and the bottom of the barrel extension are marked “301”, the top of the barrel extension 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, “70834” with an inspection mark. The side of the bolt has Belgian proof marks and “834”. The left of the bottom tang is marked “70834”. The shank of the stock mounting screw is marked “0834”. The receiver has early FN type IV pattern factory engraving.

Barrel Length: 25 1/2″, Solid Rib

Choke: Cylinder Bore, 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 two-piece checkered walnut with finger-grooved forend, straight wrist, monte carlo comb with cheekpiece and ventilated orange rubber Hawkins recoil pad. The stocks have scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches, more in the buttstock than the forend. There are two short cracks at the rear of the top tang and three thin cracks right next to each other at the left-rear of the bottom tang. The checkering is well defined. The LOP measures 14″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the recoil pad, 13 1/8″ to the back of the wood. The pad has scattered wear and discoloration but remains fairly supple. Overall, the stocks are in Good-plus condition as not original to the gun.

Type of Finish: Blued

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The bore is semi-bright. There is some scattered minor erosion in the bore.

Overall Condition: This shotgun retains approximately 94% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. There is some scattered minor wear and faint surface oxidation in the receiver, most notable in the tangs. There is a spot of wear at the muzzle. There are a few other scattered minor marks. The action shows minor operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in Very Good-Fine condition.

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. This example is a 1929 vintage high-grade gun with an early FN Type IV engraving pattern having bird and dog hunting scenes on each side. The gun looks like it has served its previous owners well with light wear in the metal and a little more in its replacement stocks. Whether you’re looking to add to your Browning collection or want a classy 16 gauge field gun, this will be a nice addition to any safe in America. Please see our photos and good luck!

Engraved Browning FN Auto-5 A-5 A5 16 GA Semi-Automatic Shotgun, 1929 C&R
Engraved Browning FN Auto-5 A-5 A5 16 GA Semi-Automatic Shotgun, 1929 C&R