Buy BROWNING AUTO 5 Online
In my last two shotgun columns I wrote about John Browning’s first two shotgun designs: the lever-action Winchester 1887 and the Winchester pump-action 1897. This month we’ll take a look at his third — the world’s first semiautomatic shotgun, the Browning Automatic 5, most often called the Auto-5 or simply A-5. The name of the shotgun designates it is an autoloader with a capacity of five rounds, four in the magazine tube and one in the chamber.
The Auto-5 was produced continually for almost 100 years from 1900 to 1998 by several makers including FN, Remington (Model 11) and Savage (Model 720). The Remington Model 11 was the first auto-loading shotgun made in the U.S. and was produced from 1905 to 1947.
The shotgun was used to deadly effect by both peace officers and outlaws during the prohibition era and the military bought almost 60,000 Model 11s during World War II.
The Remington was also used to train aerial gunners in World War II. I remember my dad telling me how they would drive around a large circular track with two “automatic shotguns” mounted on a truck, following a second truck launching clay targets. The purpose was for the gunners to get a sense of firing at a moving target, from a moving target, at different angles of attack. He said for a farm kid, it was the most fun he had while in the Service.
The shotgun has a distinctive high receiver, earning it the nickname “Humpback.” The top of the receiver goes straight back level with the barrel before dropping to the stock, making the A-5 easy to identify.
The A-5 can be loaded by placing four rounds into the tubular magazine. Apply the safety. When the bolt handle is retracted it stays to the rear then a button on the right side of the receiver is pushed, chambering a shell and closing the bolt. The shotgun can be “topped off” by placing another shell in the magazine.
The A-5 is a long-recoil action. When a chambered shell is fired, the barrel and bolt recoil together to re-cock the hammer. As the barrel returns to its initial position, the bolt remains behind and ejects the spent shell. The bolt then returns forward and feeds another shell. This type of long-recoil action was the first of its kind and patented by Browning in 1900.