Browning A5 shotguns are now shipping to dealers. If you’ve been champing at the bit to get your hands on this classic shotgun reinvented with modern materials and modern design now’s the time to start shopping around. Expect to see them on sale shortly.
The new Browning A5 was announced last year as a spiritual successor to the wildly popular, albeit aging Browning Automatic 5, also known as the Auto-5 or just simply A-5. The design, also licensed to Remington and Savage, was designed in 1898 and was in production for most of the 20th century, from 1902 to 1999, with a few gaps in between.
For 2012, the new A5 has little in common with the original model, and that’s not a bad thing. While revolutionary at the time of conception, the Auto-5 is complex by modern standards—not to mention difficult and expensive to produce—and the recoil-controlling friction ring system can’t handle a wide range of loads without risking damage to the shotgun, so it must be tuned properly before taking it out shooting.
The new A5 uses an inertia-operation recoil system, based on proven Benelli designs. Not only is it simpler, it can go from heavy 3-inch magnums to light shot—as light as 7/8-ounce loads—without having to make any adjustments. Browning calls this the Kinematic Drive, and guarantees it for five years or 100,000 rounds. Despite these changes, the A5 maintains the original look with the squared-off “humpback” receiver.
The A5 is being offered in four different basic models, the classic wooden-stocked “Hunter” model with a brass bead front sight and an ivory bead at the midpoint in the barrel and a deep glossy blue finish, the modern “Stalker” version with polymer furniture, a fiber-optic front sight and a matte black “Dura-Touch” finish, and two Mossy Oak camo versions, with your choice of “Break-Up Infinity” or “Duck Blind” patterns. Both camo versions also have the Dura-Touch finish applied and come with fiber optic front sights.
All new A5s come with other modern shotgun features you expect from a company like Browning. They have shim-adjustable stocks for both drop and cast with spacers to add up to 3/4-inch of length and recoil-dampening buttpads. They have lengthened forcing cones to prevent shot deformation and better wear properties when used with steel shot and come with three “Invector-DS” chokes (full, modified and improved cylinder). These chokes are sealed at both ends to prevent fouling from locking a choke into a barrel. And they all come with their own hard case.
The A5s will initially be offered in three barrel lengths, 26, 28 and 30 inches. You can see the detailed features and specifications on Browning’s product page here (.pdf) or see more about the individual shotguns here. Browning also set up an interactive product page here.
These are premium shotguns and naturally don’t come all that cheap. The MSRP for the A5 Stalker is $1,400 and $1,560 for the other three models, although we expect them to have real-world prices much closer to $1,000-1,200. If that’s out of your price range, don’t worry, Browning made so many of the original Auto-5s that you can find those for much less.
But if you want a truly modern Browning automatic shotgun, a shotgun that brings modern design together with John Moses’ timeless style, whether you’re looking for a drag-through-the-mud hunting shotgun or fleet and featured competition gun, you may want to stop by your local gun shop and check out the new A5. It is not likely to disappoint.