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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I always wanted a browning A-5 but never got around to getting one before they were discontinued. I still see them on the used market though and I still am interested in one.

I don't want a safe queen, just a good shooter in average condition. Will probably opt for a 12 gauge. An older belgium made would be fine but a newer japanese model called a light twelve would also be fine with me. I am open to it having choke tubes, but a fixed improved or modified barrel could be acceptable as well.

My question for anyone who ever owned one of these shotguns-- were these "high maintenance" guns or were they relatively trouble free? Is there anything particular to look for when buying used?

Thanks for any advice.
 

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Liberal Bane
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Mine was built in 1953. In 2002 part of the recoil spring/link assembly broke. It cost almost $100 dollars to fix it. I'm trying to put away $2 dollars a year for the next time it breaks.
 

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I have a Remington 11. It's pretty much the same shotgun with a few minor differences.

Be aware that forearms are sometimes cracked from over tightening the forearm nut. If get one you probably would want to replace the recoil spring and the friction rings, too. They are cheap and can be found at Brownells.

When the friction rings are set up for the right loads, these shotguns are soft recoiling.
 

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I've never owned one, but back in the day, they were the gun everybody down home wanted, if they didn't have one. Those old farmers and construction workers worked their guns. They rode in gun racks in the back of pickups all year. Ducks, bucks, groundhogs, crows...you name it, they used those Brownings. I suppose they cleaned them, but some of them you couldn't tell it.

Those of us who couldn't afford them, told people we didn't like them. :whistling:

I do remember seeing some with cracked forearms.
 

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I've had 5 or 6 A5s. They are heavy, and in our cold weather they tend to jam if you use the wrong oil. To shoot heavy loads you have to configure the springs one way,and another way for light loads. I went to Remington 15 years ago and it was like a light bulb going off. And about 10 years ago I went to Benelli and it was like stepping into the sunlight after being in a cave. LIGHT WEIGHT!!!

A5s are basically the 1911 of the shotgun world. No, that's not a good thing...LOL
 

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FYI, my grandfather bought a matched set of Remington M11s in the late 1920s (12, 16, 20ga). He hunted and shot skeet regularly with them from then until he died in 1970. Since then, I have used the same shotguns to hunt and shoot skeet as well. The 12ga has seen pretty heavy use and I would hate to even try to estimate the round count except to say 'many thousands'. The original forearm broke a long time ago and is a known issue. I have two factory replacement forearms, and currently have had it in composite furniture since 1990.

Aside from the forearm, springs, and friction rings, nothing has ever been replaced on these guns to my knowledge. John Browning's design will keep shooting for my grandchildren and probably their grandchildren. I see Benellis break every month.

FYI, John Browning sold the exact same design to Remington, Savage, and FN of Belgium. Until about the late-1930's parts were interchangeable between brands. FN sold theirs under the 'Browning' label.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all replies so far. I am a 1911 fan and a general fan of Browning designed firearms. I am just feeling that I need one for my collection to be complete. With that said, I am a shooter, not a collector so I don't want something I would have to baby. If the A5 is a workhorse type shotgun, I am more intrigued than ever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
weight for me won't be much of a consideration since it will be more of a truck gun as opposed to one I will be packing all day. In fact, I consider weight a plus in that it means the gun is made the old fashioned way with real wood and steel.

my main curiosity was what the mechancial track record of these guns are and do they come pretty reliable off the shelf.

Thanks for all replies.
 

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Browning is going to start making the A-5 again sometime next year.
 
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