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 Post subject: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:24 pm 
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I just purchased a sweet 16 in unfired condition but was told at the skeet range that these guns although very well built have a very short service life and should be used for hunting not skeet shooting where a large number of thousands of rounds will be fired.

Their reasoning was that the tongue and groove barrel received tracks soon wear out on these guns.

Now please do not respond to this post unless you actually have had the "real experience" of shooting several thousand rounds and all through just one example of these guns say a light 12 a5 or sweet 16 not several thousand rounds through say a half dozen of them. I am interested in a reply from someone with real experience on this.




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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 6:29 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 7:34 pm 
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The Remington model 11 is the original American gun built on the Browning patent for the long recoil shotgun. That and the FN A5 made in Belgium had the longest production run/history of use, of the many guns made licenced on that patent.... None of them had a reputation as being long lived Skeet, or earlier as Trap guns.

I believe there is a reason....Trap shooters or later Skeet shooters do not generally mourn the wearing out of their guns....but at the same time don't usually repeat the purchase of a gun that won't hold up.....especially if it is anything more than extremely inexpensive (in comparison low initial cost is what makes the 1148 the exception...lots were bought and worn away at the shooting games).

I own a standard weight 16 ga Skeet grade Browning A5 My Father bought in 1950 and used exclusively for hunting until the mid 1960s...He might have shot a total of 100 rounds of Skeet in that time....added to the field shooting he did with it, I doubt the total number of rounds through the gun exceeded 4000 (shots).

With my fathers passing, I began using the gun quite a bit more for Skeet than he ever did....adding it into my mixed regimen of several days a week Skeet & Trap it probably shot three rounds a week most months for several years...As well as continuing to hunt it....

After what I estimate to be another 4000 (shots) for a total of 8000 rounds (shots) I retired the gun from any target shooting...It was indeed showing wear on parts and in my and my gunsmiths opinion it would not hold up to that sort of usage.....
My gunsmith said if I intended to pass the gun along to my Grandson for hunting purposes I should not waste it on targets when I own many guns better suited to and longer lived for that purpose.......
Incidently the lightweight (gold triggered 12 or "Sweet 16) are if anything more fragile than the standard weitht guns due to recoil induced wear and damage.

Bottom line is that nobody at the Trap or Skeet range really gives a tinkers damn what you do with your gun.....
My opinion is that if the gun in question has any significance to you....keep it for hunting....but if not..well then we're back to the value of a tinkers damn........
As far as you wearing out before it does......using it for Pheasants....absolutly.....using it for skeet...well it's all acording to what you call a "lot" of shooting.....surely less than 12000 rounds (uh that's Shots) BUT..of course, this like many things on this forum and the internet in general is OPINION.....so your mileage may vary......Art

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:19 pm 
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bhp9 wrote:
but was told at the skeet range that these guns although very well built have a very short service life and should be used for hunting not skeet shooting where a large number of thousands of rounds will be fired.


That's really a silly statement. Late April Fool's joke or something?

Considering all the wins in the 1920s at live-bird including winning the "1921 Grand Prix de Monte Carlo," a world trap record with an A-5 set at the 1924 Olympics. National Skeet Championships were won by Robert Stack (of Untouchables fame) in the 1930s with a Model 11.

It is too far too many live bird shoot wins, Olympic records, and National Skeet Championships too late for the goof at the club to come up with a theory that now they shouldn't be used for skeet.

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:35 pm 
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Randy; Wouldn't you think the "goof" at the club was advising about comparisons to today's guns rather than the guns of the 1920s or the 1924 Olympics?.....
The goof advised that they don't last as well....not that they didn't work..... Art

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:01 pm 
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No, I'm just reading what was written: "a very short service life and should be used for hunting not skeet shooting."

There's just no basis for any theory of short service life, much less a very short service life. Nor is there any basis for the idea of the "tracks" wearing. You have wings and guides in Beretta 303 / 390s, steel bolt cycling back and forth in a soft aluminum receiver. They run for a very long time as well, but an A-5 has essentially an indefinite life. You can give them new friction pieces every 30,000 shots or so. The stainless steel magazine tube is replaceable as well, though I've never heard of anyone actually wearing one out.

I've been using A-5s for over forty years and have never replaced anything but friction pieces and mainsprings whether it was needed or not and that includes skeet and sporting clays. My great grandfather was a market hunter-- he didn't have pesky seasons to worry about, but he never did wear out his M11. My grandfather's only firearm was an A-5 . . . it still works beautifully. My Dad is 83 years old next week, his A-5 standardweight (which he bought used) was his do everything gun for over fifty years, replacing the Model 97 Winchester he bought with his paper route money. It cycles flawlessly.

Naturally, there are lots of choices (and lots of good choices) and if everyone was in love with A-5s they'd still be making them. There is no autoloader made, at least that I know of, that can claim to be more durable than an A-5.

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:05 pm 
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I'm with Randy. I have and shot the A5's for years. I seen a model 11 that's on it's 4th generation of shooters. They were made for near 100 years. I think the A5 has nothing to prove. It's reputation speaks for it's self.


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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:26 pm 
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Well then in reflection If youse guys believe it that much....I guess I'll examine the idea of using my A5 more....maybe retiring it from target shooting was a hasty decision.....I'll have it examined and evaluated by my now gunsmith......I always liked using it but put it away for fear of damaging it from constant Skeet use.....Art

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"Everyone think like me, Everyone want my woman" Chingachgook (The Great Serpent)
On differences of opinion. As told to me while fishing on wood creek.

More irredeemably deplorable than ever before, & being in the right feels pretty good.


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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:50 pm 
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My original A5 a 12ga, My dad discouraged me from getting into 16ga's, has I do not how many hunting rounds thru it, that number will be somewhere in the thousends, most in the 2 3/4" mag class of loads.

In the last 8 years it has somewhere around 20,000 rounds shot at trap, 3 minor problems happened during that time.

About 7 tears ago I bought another A5, looking for a skeet barrel got the gun for less then a barrel, in the 6 years I have shot that league, 8 to 12 thousend rounds thru it no issues.

I went to a diawa 500 a little over a year ago, alloy frame and all but a good A5 copy, 2 grand or so shells thru it and no issues either. it got me on the trophy board in registered Skeet recently.

I have been told by several old shooters, I would be able to bury several of the newer gas operated auto's before an A5 shows any signs of age, I am giving it a spin!

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:14 pm 
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I have an A5 Light 12 that I have owned since the early '70's. I have no idea how many thousands of hunting, skeet and trap rounds I have put through that gun since then but the gun has been nearly flawless in those 40 years. It will probably still be good for another 40.

Now, having said that, I also own a Sweet 16 and I have shot a couple of hundred rounds, mostly skeet, through it since it has been in my safe. Because it was designed to be primarily an upland bird gun that is what I will use it for from now on. The gun, although somewhat scarce, is not rare but it is my intention to use it for what it was designed for. I do not, however, think for a minute it would not last a very long time as an occasional skeet gun.


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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:29 pm 
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http://randywakeman.com/ConfessionsOfaBrowningA5Fan.htm

The eccentric "bird boy" in Argentina used that A-5 of his for decades-- with no friction piece or bevel ring installed. He felt he didn't just didn't need "that stuff." If someone wants to go on about service life, I suppose an alloy Franchi AL48 might warrant a bit more concern than a steel A-5. I've only owned a few AL48s, so others here can comment on them with far more direct experience than I can. I've not heard much about the "very short service life" of AL48s, either, despite the same long recoil action in a comparatively soft, weak, alloy receiver.

It is possible for parts to wear, you can break an extractor, etc., given enough time and neglect. You can watch Art do a restoration on an old beat-up A-5: http://www.artsgunshop.com/Video/A5Restore1/videoPlayer.htm. Art has done thousands of them, both extremely high mileage and extremely high neglect versions. A worn-out receiver just isn't part of the picture . . . you can check with Art on that one.

One drop of oil on the barrel rails means essentially zero wear-- it just isn't a stressed part. Keep any gunk off the magazine tube, set the friction piece and bevel ring properly (pieces and rings if a Mag 12 or Mag 20), and that's about all there is.

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:56 pm 
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"keep any gunk off of the magazine tube" You're not advising to shoot them with a completly dry magazine tube are you? The owners manual says not to......Art

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More irredeemably deplorable than ever before, & being in the right feels pretty good.


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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:36 am 
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No, gunk means dirt, crud, congealed oil, dryed-out grease, and other unwanted matter. Like mud, ripped up bits of old hunting licenses, and grass. You can find all kinds of interesting materials on old A-5 magazine tubes.

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:02 am 
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bhp9 wrote:
Now please do not respond to this post unless you actually have had the "real experience" of shooting several thousand rounds and all through just one example of these guns say a light 12 a5 or sweet 16 not several thousand rounds through say a half dozen of them. I am interested in a reply from someone with real experience on this.


First, a statement like this is not the way to get started on the right foot around here.

Secondly, there are a pile of reasons why an A-5 makes a lousy skeet gun, but concerns over longevity isn't part of that equasion.

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:41 am 
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lizardbreath wrote:
"keep any gunk off of the magazine tube" You're not advising to shoot them with a completly dry magazine tube are you? The owners manual says not to......Art


My fathers 1962 A5 owners manual said to use a quality 30wt motor oil. I have also been scolded by some on here for putting a light coat of oil on my A5 mag tube. There are some who run them dry. I myself have seen galled damaged mag tubes, although rare. caused from the friction break's digging into the mag tube. There are some that say that's impossible because of bronze being softer then steel. Well, I'll beg to differ. I have seen it first hand as a young inexperienced gun owner. When I was 12-14 years old. I was very good at cleaning my A5's but not always the most knowledgeable on what was the proper type of lubricant for such a job. I used a light spray lube(more like a corrosion preventative then lube). I galled the mag tube in only a few shots. No it was not caused from grit. The tube was clean as a whistle but now had galled groves the length of the tube where the friction break had dug into the mag tube. I will always use a light coating of quality lube with a high film strength on my A5 mag tubes. Browning use to sell a specific oil just for this job. Just a note...I don't hunt in very dry dusty country like Texas or Oklahoma. They tell me grit can get into everything in that country and stop up any gun. In this case, i would maybe use a dry lube if possible but some do run their A5's totally dry. I might just go to one of my doubles, pumps or just stay home on such a day all together. Dust storms and me just might not get along all that well.

Jig


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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:52 am 
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Art covers lubrication in his videos during reassembly. It is a single drop of oil, two little drops of oil if you're feeling generous. It isn't as if a drop is good, then three gallons is better. You can love them to death with oil-- oil soaked and softened forearms, I can't tell you how many A-5's I've seen with the instruction sheet (or what's left of it) inside the forearm just soaked. On little teeny drop of Breakfree CLP is all you need.

Over-oiling and over greasing was such a common problem that when the Double Auto came out, Val Browning decided to tell you never to lube the "mechanism" at all, it was "lubed for life." That is unless you dropped it in the lake or whatever.

A lot of the super-duper lubing with A-5 is to try to get them to cycle with 20 gauge payload shells, etc. Forearms can swell and bind, all problems from over-oiling. That's another reason why the idea is out there that A-5s kick-- over-oiling, combined with improper friction ring set up. More oil, more recoil. A drop is plenty, and even then it is only on the part of the tube where the friction piece can actually move. The part of the magazine tube next to the receiver isn't used and has nothing to do with the function of an A-5 . . . but folks like to slobber all kinds of oil on it anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:22 am 
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Question for Art.

I looked at my forearm to see if it had the instruction paper. It did not, but I found something else very interesting. In the inside rear of the forearm there is a factory square of curved glass bedding. I am wondering if this was done to strengthen the forearm in this area. The "Blue book of gun values" states that these guns are notorious for cracking their forearms under recoil.

I examined a used 16 ga A5 at a recent gun show and just as the "Blue Book" said it had a cracked forearm at its rear.


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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:51 am 
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I have hunted with A5's for along time. Got my first one, a Sweet Sixteen, 45 years ago. I have never questioned the durability of any of my A5's (currently have 9). I also have never hunted in real dusty areas with most of my hunting east of the Mississippi River. However, in the last three years I have done all of my dove hunting in the very dusty area of southern Oklahoma for 15-20 days a year. I have taken 870's, a Benelli and a Browning Gold Fusion to shoot. All of these shotguns are fairly easy to take down in order to give a good cleaning to the inside of each shotgun. However, I am thinking of taking a Sweet Sixteen dove hunting in these dusty conditions this year. Should I take the Sweet Sixteen to either Art's Gun Shop or Midwest Gun Works for a cleaning after this hunting trip? I am sure the gun will have a lot of dust in it after 20 straight days of hunting. I have never considered getting an after season action cleaning of an A5 even after seasons of waterfowl hunting in all kinds of weather. Only had one series of failure to cycle in all those years (a Sweet 16 forearm got soaked in a rain storm and swelled stopping the gun from cycling). A light sanding on the inside of the forearm took care of the problem.

Never cracked or broke a forearm on an A5 in all those years. You just need to properly install the forearm after taking it off.


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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:30 am 
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For those of you that have old worn out A5s, I will pay for the shipping to my place!

I have a number of A5s and M11s. I have hunted some of them for over 50 years. In college I shot in competion, about 900/1200 rounds a week. That A5 Standard field has never been taken down and never failed. It is a 1960 model. My Grandfather's 1927 A5 was first cleaned by a smith after 50 years of duck shooting, live pigeon shooting and trap. It had all sorts of feathers, paper case pieces and a chunk from an old all brass shell (black powder, no less!). I still shoot trap with that gun. I have never had it fail.

Just my opinion, I feel that the major problem with an A5 is two fold. First, only a qualified gunsmith with the correct tools should take the gun apart. Second, the gun must be set up correctly and the major components cleaned regularly.

Bye the way, I would not take much advice from the guys at your club. They know not of what they speak. Many trap shooters do not like the A5 because of it's rigor ejecting empties and I don't blame them for that.

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 Post subject: Re: Durability of Browning A5 sweet 16 ga.
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:57 pm 
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My brother is 55. He can still hunt the same same Sweet 16 he bought used at a hardware store when he was in high school. I've hunted it, too. It can still take ringneck cockbirds just fine.



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