SOLD FOR: $3830
Make: Fabrique Nationale
Serial Number: 72360
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 “FABRIQUE NATIONALE D’ARMES DE GUERRE HERSTAL BELGIQUE / BROWNING’S PATENT”, “ACIER SPECIAL” and with Belgian proof marks, the bottom has Belgian proof/inspection marks. The left of the magazine lug is marked “72360”. The bottom of the barrel extension is marked “360”, the top of the barrel extension has Belgian proofs. The top-front of the forend is marked “72360”. The bottom tang inlet of the wrist is marked “72360”. 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, “72360” with an inspection mark. The side of the bolt has Belgian proof marks and “2360”. The right of the bottom tang is marked “72360”. The shank of the stock mounting screw is marked “2360”. The receiver has foliate engraving.
Barrel Length: 29 1/2″, Solid 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 two-piece checkered walnut with finger-grooved forend, straight wrist, straight comb and horn FN Browning Automatic buttplate. The stocks have scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. There are some more notable marks in the right of the forend, a scratch behind the wrist checkering on the right and a scrape at the rear edge of the buttstock on the right. There are two cracks in the bottom-rear of the forend. There are a few spots of pooled finish. The checkering is generally well defined. The LOP measures 14 1/4″ from the front of the trigger to the back of the buttplate. The plate has scattered light wear with some small losses around the edges. Overall, the stocks are in Good-plus condition as refinished.
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 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at all edges. Most of the balance is in fairly evenly scattered minor surface oxidation. There are some scattered minor nicks, scuffs and scratches. The action shows operational wear including wear on the bottom of the barrel in front of the forend. There are a couple of spots of residue on the top tang which appear to be from the stock’s finish. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in about Very Good 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. 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 is an example of an FN made gun marked for sale outside North America, a 16 gauge made in 1929. It has an engraving pattern which differs a little from the standard Browning Grade I. The gun looks like it has served its previous owners well over the last century, with honest wear consistent with its age. The serialized parts match, the gun retains a decent bore and strong mechanics. 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!