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 Post subject: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge Bitter Sweet
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:43 am 
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Location: South Dakota
I have a 1947 Browning 16 ga Serial # X129**. I called Browning and they said the only record they had for my gun was it was sold in September of 1947. It has a bronze colored trigger and front safety. It also has three holes milled out of the barrel ring (magazine holder) The barrel is stamped "Made in Belgium, St Lois Mo 2 3/4, ELG in a circle with a star at the bottom and a crown on top, an oval with 16-70, PV, and O KG 923. The receiver and trigger guard are ornately engraved. The receiver is not engraved with "Sweet Sixteen." The wood is excellent and the factory blue is 90+ percent. I bought the gun from Cabelas Gun Library as a high quality standard A5. My research is leading me to believe it is a first production, post war, Sweet Sweet Sixteen. Can you please help me confirm this. How rare is this gun? What is it worth? Thanks Ed




Last edited by Goad on Tue May 29, 2012 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 10:57 am 
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I have one just like yours in about the same condition. It is called the "Standard Sixteen" and is neither as desirable or as valuable as the "Sweet Sixteen". Mine has the so called "suicide safety" which is mounted on the front of the trigger tang. Last time I checked, my non ribbed gun was worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $800. Just recently, I sent the gun to Art's Gunshop in Hillsboro, MO to have it gone through. Art replaces the fatigued springs, and any parts that are worn or broken. I haven't gotten it back yet, but I look forward to shooting it again.

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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:17 am 
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Location: South Dakota
Mine has a solid rib and also has the cut outs in the receiver to reduce weight. The collector community is calling it a Standard but it is a sweet sixteen in every way. I read that they were originally sold as sweet sixteens. I read that the engraving "Sweet Sixteen" on the receiver did not start until 1948. Unfortunately Browning said they dont have the production records to confirm or deny my gun is a sweet sixteen. He did say most produced in 1947 were standard weight A5s. I did get a lecture on franken sixteens. He said a Sweet barrel and gold trigger does not make a Sweet Sixteen. Sooo I took mine apart and was pleased to find EVERY serial number on every part, even some screws, match. I am seriously thinking about forcing the issue with Browning and sending it to them for them to evaluate it themselves. If the only difference between my gun and a Sweet Sixteen is the script engraved on the receiver, I am gonna ask they correct the mistake, engrave it and send documentation.


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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 11:26 am 
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Good luck

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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 1:31 pm 
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Location: Maryland
Or you could weigh it.


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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 2:40 pm 
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"Unfortunately Browning said they dont have the production records to confirm or deny my gun is a sweet sixteen."

Just got a call from Browning. It is a Special order Sweet Sixteen. Letter from Browning will be ordered. He said it is very odd that it was not engraved.


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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:18 pm 
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casonet wrote:
I have one just like yours in about the same condition. It is called the "Standard Sixteen" and is neither as desirable or as valuable as the "Sweet Sixteen". .


His is a Sweet. FN did not put the sweet on the guns till about 1949. I have the same Gun. Drilled barrel, gold Trigger and safety. Its a Sweet just before sweets were sweets.

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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 3:23 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2012 7:45 pm 
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Browning is issuing a letter stating mine is a Special Sweat Sixteen. The very first post war 2 3/4 Sweets were special ordered. He found the documentation on mine and stated it was a "special ordered Sweet Sixteen." He said he did not know why it was not script engraved. Was it an additional option for fee? Somebody has got to know the story on these.


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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2012 9:52 pm 
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What a great pic. Thanks for putting that up.

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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge Bitter Sweet
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 9:57 am 
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Location: South Dakota
My original, "whats it worth?" Question has been answered. I have had it appraised by two gun shops. They both call it a standard 16 gauge only because it is not listed in any published value guide. Both did not seem to have a clue about "Pre-Sixteens" or post war special ordered "Sweet Sixteens." They both offerd to buy it at as a standard. It is NOT for sale.

My original question about how rare are these has not been answered. I read the X series, (1946-195?) was the first post war Belgium production 2 3/4 16 gauge. I read that they began in January of 1947. I also read approx. 50,000 X series 16ga were made. How many were Special ordered "Sweet Sixteens" is a mystery. We do know enough were made to begin a line called the "Sweet Sixteen" and eventually inscribed as such. I am a little confused as to why so little information is published about this issue. I did get the impression, a premium is placed on early engraved Sweets and other factors in later Sweets that make them more desirable. I also read the Sweets were not engraved Sweet Sixteen until 1948. Is this true? If so were they X series engraved Sweets or were the first engraved non-X serial numbers?

1. How rare are these "Ghost" "Stealth" Bitter Sweets?
2. What type of special order X series is among the least produced?
3. When was the last X serial number issued?
Might be just me asking but I am serious curious. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge Bitter Sweet
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 10:27 am 
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According to the book Browning Auto-5 Shotguns, the Belgian FN Production by H.M. Shirley, Jr and Anthony Vanderlinden, (you should get a copy---not cheap) the Sweet Sixteen was offered to US Browning dealers in February 1937 with deliveries to start in May of that year. 1937 was also the year Browning transistioned from Grade 1 to Grade 2 engraving for all the A-5s. Sweet Sixteen was not engraved on the receiver until the 1948 and 1949 production. So it is possible to have a Sweet Sixteen without the words being engraved on the receiver. Early Sweet Sixteens weighed 6 3/4 pounds, had 3 holes drilled in the barrel ring, has a gold plated trigger and safety, 2 9/16 in chamber, additional milling of the receiver and the stock was milled under the butt plate to remove weight. Sweet Sixteens also had variuos prefix letters in the serial number over the years.


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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge Bitter Sweet
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 10:44 am 
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Location: South Dakota
I am most interested in the first production of the 2 3/4 inch 16s. made in 1946-7. These guns have an X prefixed serial number. Three hole barrel ring, gold plated trigger, and milled out receivers. The X series ran into the 50s. Did the 1948 engraved Sweet have an X prefixed serial number?


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 Post subject: Re: 1947 Browning A5 16 gauge Bitter Sweet
PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 12:10 pm 
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The X serialed number guns began with Jan 1947 production. So the 1948 shipment to the FN warehouse in January 1948 started with serial number X13666 and would have the Sweet Sixteen engraving. However, it seems almost nothing is an absolute statement about the A5. When Browning and FN changed anything on the guns, there could be a mixture of old and new in the shipment. The serial numbers and production dates shown in the book are most often shipment dates to the FN warehouse.
The book also notes that non X serial numbers in the January 1946 to June 7, 1947 are so out of sequence that there is no way to establish accurate production dates for the 528 guns produced in that time frame.




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