Browning A5 Magnum to shoot dove loads

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by Steelshot Scott, May 30, 2017.

  1. Steelshot Scott

    Steelshot Scott Senior Refuge Member

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    I have acquired an A5 magnum after many years of searching for just what I wanted. My first requirement was that it be a real A5, not the new one. When I was young, my first cousin had a collection of Belgian A5's, one for every application. He had a 20 gauge for quail and dove, another twenty, for squirrel and rabbit. A Sweet 16 for wood duck in the early season. Two twelves, a heavy twelve for deer and a A5 magnum for late season duck hunting. Our family was not rich, this was a significant expense for him, he worked hard to get them all. But he loved the A5, his sweet sixteen was the most prized of them all. He died many years ago, but I have always remembered his love for his A5's. As far as he was concerned, it was the most perfect gun ever fielded. I had always hunted with with Winchester pumps as a boy(my other uncle believed the only gun ever made for duck hunting was the Winchester Model 12).

    I had been looking for a A5 for many years. I wanted a classic A5, but I wanted a Japan made Miruko model with invector chokes so I could shoot steel. I had done research on this, turns out the Japanese made guns were actually made to much tighter tolerances and out of harder steel. I know this is blasphemy to Belgian Browning fans, but if you shoot steel in a Belgian Browning you risk damaging the gun(unless you replace the barrel). I didn't want a beater, I wanted a beautiful A5, but I was unable to pay the amount most people wanted for one in the condition I wanted.

    I found one at a good price. The gun was unfired, bought and put in a gun cabinet. It has the beautiful, deep mirror finish blue of the Miruko made Brownings, not a scratch on it(a few minor dents in the wood). During my many years of searching, I had seen about 10 years ago a thread between 2 A5 enthusiasts. It concerned being able to shoot dove loads with a Magnum A5. Conventional wisdom(and the official Browning position) is that it will not work. But this guy's info was that you could take the recoil spring out of a Light 12 and swap it out with the heavy spring in a Magnum gun and it was a seamless transition. The magazine tube was the exact same length in both guns, the friction rings were identical also. The only difference was the main recoil spring. He stated he had been shooting his Magnum A5 like this since the 1960's and never had a problem.

    I bought a Light 12 spring(NOS) for $15 and tried it out. It works perfectly. By adjusting the friction rings I have the recoil down to the softest shooting 12 gauge I have ever fired. It's function is perfect, not one jam or failure to feed. I have been going to the skeet range at Seymour Johnson for the last 3 weeks(closer to home than Camp Lejeune). I am going to Lejeune this weekend(can't get the skeet range this weekend at SJ due to a prior booking). I can't wait for dove season. I will use this gun for dove and early season wood ducks.
     
  2. Conewago duck'n

    Conewago duck'n Senior Refuge Member

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    So just to be clear, you kept the same friction rings in the gun and only swapped out the spring?
    I've done some target shooting with my a5 magnum, but it is a single shot with the magnum spring. Would be nice to shoot a little skeet with it before the season.
     
  3. olepal

    olepal Elite Refuge Member

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    bill cooksey likes this.
  4. Steelshot Scott

    Steelshot Scott Senior Refuge Member

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    On my gun, with heavy dove loads(1 1/8oz) I swapped the spring(still available for sale, NOS for about $15) and used the existing friction ring setup. The friction rings are identical between both guns. Spring, one friction ring, beveled ring, friction ring and friction ring(omitting the last beveled ring and friction ring). The gun cycles so softly it is unbelievable and function so far has been flawless.
     
  5. creedsduckman

    creedsduckman Elite Refuge Member

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    I shot a mag 12 auto 5 for a few years right out of high school. Pretty much same as you, all the old timers shot them so that's what I wanted. If memory serves all I did was take the 3" rings out and shoot a few boxes of high brass shells through it to break it in and don't recall having any problems with any loads after that. I got tired of always having to swap rings and eventually switched to beretta and benelli. They are great guns though, still have a couple I will break out on occasion to shoot dove with.
     
  6. Sunklands

    Sunklands Elite Refuge Member

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    I've found with my belgium Auto 5 magnum that most watefowl loads have to be shot with only one friction ring. I have shot steel shot out of it for years but nothing larger than 1's. Most of the time I'm shooting 1 1/8oz 2's and occasionally 1 1/4oz. I did have some cycling issues with the second ring (magnum) in with some steel 3" loads. I don't recommend shooting remington hypersonics out of any auto shotgun and particularly the auto 5. I have a Carlons tru choke in my belgium barrel and its shot great for years. I also have a 20 gauge magnum and a 20 gauge light auto 5. I've owned 1100's, 1148's, super x, sx2's, a Benelli M2 and the old auto 5's are superior. The amount of steel in that receiver says it all.
     
  7. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor Flyway Manager

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    That's because the guns were designed to handle up to 1 7/8 oz lead loads which is a big difference from 1 1/4 oz steel loads which is about as heavy as you get with 3" steel loads. Your never going to equal the amount of recoil force between the two so you have to adjust.
     
  8. Steelshot Scott

    Steelshot Scott Senior Refuge Member

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    We have always called it the A5. Wikipedia states "The Browning Automatic 5, most often Auto-5 or simply A-5, is a recoil-operated semi-automatic shotgun designed by John Browning" .

    Everyone I knew called it the A5 for as long as I can remember. This new gun is not a A5. It has nothing in common with the John Browning design other than the name.
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  9. Sunklands

    Sunklands Elite Refuge Member

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    I maybe all together wrong on this but, it seems to me that Browning was wanting someone to produce his A5 design and was turned down by Winchester and possibly others here in the states. Taking his idea to a foreign country that is already has an established gun maker (FN), was probably his most cost effective move. I don't think at the time, a gun being made in Belgium had any better quality than a gun made here, but I can guarantee that it was alot cheaper labor. Unions were organizing alot in northern factories around this time and the cost to produce may have played a factor in why the A5 was made in Belgium well after its proven reliability had been established. There's not alot of manufacturing that leaves this country on the count of quality. Most of the time its a cost savings thing. Just my .02.
     
  10. lax

    lax Elite Refuge Member

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