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 Post subject: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:26 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 10:00 am
Posts: 328
Location: South Dakota
This guide is for the Browning A5 16 gauge only. Browning 12ga numbers began with number 1 in 1903. The 16ga number 1 began in 1909. The two sets of numbers are different. A common mistake I have seen in many, many, gun shops and online sites is to assign the 12ga serial number date to a 16ga.

I compiled this quick reference serial number guide for dating 16ga Browning A5s and the Auto 5-3 Shot, by serial number. I decided to share it here since this is where much of my limited knowledge came from.

The serial number and dates are approximations only. These dates were gleaned primarily from Sauerfan's timeline and the Shirley/Vanderlinden book. Details about dates, transitions, exceptions, and other nuances can be found in the Shirley/Vanderlinden book, Browning Auto 5 Shotguns.

I took the liberty to use the Calandar Year Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 for the X series. FN used the Fiscal Year July-June. Other factors need to be taken into consideration to properly date your gun. I found what I thought was a very early 1948 Sweet Sixteen based on the serial number. Browning informed me the gun left the factory in 1955.


1909
1 - 3200

1910 to 1914 There is only vague info about 16 ga SNs in SV (page 74) for the time 1910 to 1914. SNs 3201 – 15000 were invoiced between 1st Jan. 1910 and 30th June 1913. Last shipped before the outbreak of WWI was SN 19642.

1915 to 1918 No production due to German occupation of Belgium during WWI.

1919: 19671- 20500
1920: 20501 - 22237
1921: 22238 - 24050
1922: 24051 – 26000

1923 Barrel Address (US market) BROWNING ARMS COMPANY OGDEN UTAH BROWNING’S PATENT
26001 – 28400

1924: 28401 - 35650
1925: 35651 – 40010 (app.)
1926: 40011 (app.) - 51600
1927: 51601 - 57900
1928: 57901 – 65100

1929 Ventilated barrel rib (as an option) and barrel address change.
65101 – 82750

1930 Barrel Address (US market) BROWNING ARMS COMPANY ST LOUIS MO
82751 – 90500

1931
90501 – 94000

1932 Introduction of the three shot Auto 3 with shorter magazine tube and shorter forearm marked “Browning 3 Shot”
94001 – 96072

1933
96073 – 96143

1934 Receiver legend Now with BROWNING and John M. Browning’s bust between “TRADE” and “MARK”
96144 – 99500

1935
99501 - 103500

1936 The "Sweet Sixteen" was released but limited to a test market.
103501 – 105850

*1937* Introduction of the “Sweet Sixteen” sale to the public. Barrel Rib four possibilities in 1937: none, solid (hollow) rib, ventilated rib with X posts or matted finish for Sweet Sixteen (SV page 98) Barrel Ring as before or drilled with three holes on the barrels of Sweet Sixteen Safety Gold plated (Sweet Sixteen only) Trigger Gold plated (Sweet Sixteen only) Misc. “Sweet Sixteen” not separated by SN. No serial number distinction between the Sweet 16 and the Standard 16 gauge A5s.
105850 – 111000

1938: 111001 – 118200
1939: 118201 – 126123
1940: 126124 – 126175

****1940 – 1953**** "A" Prefix serial number on the side of the receiver, American made Browning by “Remington Arms.”

1944-1948 Post war Liberation guns, Serial number 128117-128646
"are so out of sequence there is no way to establish accurate production dates" S/V p76
[b] 1944
: 126201
1948: 131738

1947 Post war Belgium made “X Prefix Series.” No serial number distinction between the Sweet 16 and the Standard 16 gauge A5. This is the “unmarked” Browning, era of the Sweet Sixteen.

These are among the rarest of the A5 Sweet Sixteen but are priced as standard 16 gauge A5s in value guides. This is the first year of standard production of the 2 ¾ inch chambered 16 gauge. It is also the last year of the non-engraved sweet sixteen. The popularity and success of the Sweet Sixteen from 1937 through 1947 earned it a permanent place in Browning marketing as the 1948 engraved “Sweet Sixteen.” 1947 is also the only year the 3 shot 2 ¾ 16ga was marketed in the USA. Getting one of these extremely rare original factory issued guns at a standard gun price is a trophy in itself.

1947 – 1953 “X Prefix Series”
1947: X1001 - X13666
1948: X13667 - X23501
1949: X23502 – X34600
1950: X34601 – X43700
1951: X43701 – X59400
1952: X59401 - X77700
1953: X77701 – X99999

1948
Introduction of the “Sweet Sixteen” in script engraved on the receiver. Prior to 1948 no sweet 16 was factory engraved “Sweet Sixteen.” Glen Jensen, Browning Historian takes the position that the true “Sweet Sixteen” was born when the receiver was engraved “Sweet Sixteen” in 1948. He acknowledges the lightweight A5 16 gauge guns produced between 1937- and 1947 are in fact Sweet Sixteens and identified as such in the factory issued catalogues. If the serial number records archived at Browning indicate the non-engraved guns are a Sweet Sixteen, Glen Jensen will issue a letter on Browning letterhead with an official seal for a fee authenticating the gun as a “Sweet Sixteen.”

1953 – 1954 A - Series "A" in front of or above the serial number. These guns were a transitional series between the X and the below R/S marked guns.
A1-A958

1953 - 1957 R = Standard Weight, S = Sweet Sixteen
1953:
S 01 – S 3700
R 01 - R 3100
1954:
S 3701 – S 24850
R 3101 - R 20800
1955:
S 24851 – S 49350
R 20801 - R 48750
1956:
S 49351 – S 72300
R 48751 - R 74700
1957:
S 72301 – S 99908
R 74701 – R 99999

1957 – 1958 Second series of "A" prefix
A Serial Number 01 November 14, 1957 and T Serial Number T229 November 24, 1957
1957-1958 A or T #01 – 10900 A Indicated Sweet Sixteen and T indicated standard 16

1958 – 1967 The single digit precedes the S and R. 8S,8R = 1958, 9S, = 1959, 0S = 1960, 7S =1967

***1958-1977*** FN High Grade Lightweight Series May include the letters following the serial number "SAC,B,F,N,Z" S/V p81
***1958 #001-17595 These will have a small two digit (year 59 = 1959) number following the serial number. Some have shown up with the entire year stamped instead of the two digit year code.

***1966 - 1977
***17595 - 26022


1964 was the last year of the “R” (4R) Standard Weight A5 16ga.

1968 – 1976 The two digit year precedes the S. 68S = 1968, 76S = 1976

1976 Japanese Production Began, however, FN still produced Browning “Made in Belgium” shotguns into 1984, SV p65. The serial number coding system changed to the serial number preceding the date code. Serial began with 1000 – 99999 followed by the model code 221 Sweet Sixteen and 171 Superlight 16 and two letter year( T=6, R=7, P=8). see Browning Website

1976
1000 221 RT – Sweet Sixteen
1000 171 RT – Superlight Sixteen
1978
1000 221 RP – Sweet Sixteen
1987
1000 221 PR – Sweet Sixteen


Last edited by Goad on Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:43 am, edited 21 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Browning 16 gauge serial number dates
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 6:45 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:22 am
Posts: 2985
Location: East Mountains, NM
Very nice. Perhaps add it as a post to the timeline thread, like Martin did with the proofmark info.

Your effort is appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning 16 gauge serial number dates
PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2004 9:02 pm
Posts: 1297
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Good stuff! Many thanks!
Dave

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http://www.thegunowner.com


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 12:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Posts: 15
Wow. Just bought a 1926 Browning A-5 16 ga today, serial number 421XX. The owner said the barrel was modified by a Browning to add a ring between the barrel and receiver so that it shoots 2 3/4 ammo. It also has a choke "thingy" and a new pressure plug? that is set for low-base ammo. It was set up for his grandson, who outgrew the gun and went into Rem 1100 12 ga. I owned two Sweet 16's when I was in my late 20's - early 30's, but I don't remember anything about the pressure plug adjustments.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 3:04 pm
Posts: 1
I have one of the 1947 "X" 16's, X108xx. It is definitely a stealth. The barrel has the matching S/N, 108xx. I wonder what the matching S/N's do for the value to a collector?

MM


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 08, 2012 4:17 pm
Posts: 274
matching serial numbers are a must for guns before 1953 when they stopped doing this.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Posts: 15
MrMisfit wrote:
I have one of the 1947 "X" 16's, X108xx. It is definitely a stealth. The barrel has the matching S/N, 108xx. I wonder what the matching S/N's do for the value to a collector?

MM


If you remove the butt stock, the serial number is repeated there also.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:29 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2009 9:58 pm
Posts: 155
Location: Western TN
Thanks for taking the time to pull this information together.

Some of the earliest ones imported in 1923 had the barrel address "Browning Brothers Company Ogden Utah".

I have one and know of 2 others.

Will


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 3:20 pm
Posts: 15
My 1926 has Browning Arms Company Ogden Utah. It would be interesting what the 1924 and 1925 models had.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Grafton, VA
bump for another great post


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Grafton, VA
*doink*


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:25 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Grafton, VA
uno mas


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:28 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Grafton, VA
Last bump unless someone else thinks this is important too.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 11:09 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 10:00 am
Posts: 328
Location: South Dakota
Does anyone know anything about the 1936 Sweet Sixteen ?

Has anyone seen one?


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 5:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 16, 2013 10:23 am
Posts: 46
Location: "This world is not my home I'm just a passing thru..."
1936 Sweet Sixteen test market gun, all original, matching numbers

http://www.16ga.com/forum/viewtopic.php ... sc&start=0


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 12:34 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:16 pm
Posts: 2
So, if I have a 16 gauge and the serial number starts with X561, that is a 1951, correct? I am sorry to ask a silly question. I am not familiar with this gun or any antique shotguns. My husband inherited it from his grandfather and we are trying to find out more about it (not to sell it, for personal knowledge).


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:50 am 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 10:00 am
Posts: 328
Location: South Dakota
Hi, Welcome to SGW. Dating these old guns are at best an educated guess. The dates listed here are based on records/logs with the range of dates. I found three different lists but these dates seem to be the best. My experience has been that you are correct in guessing along with us that your gun is dated 1951. It may have in fact have been produced in 1951 but left Browning one to three years before or after 1951. It gets complicated as to why some were early or late. Thanks for the opportunity to answer a great question. Please feel free to ask other questions you may have on that gun.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2013 12:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2013 11:23 am
Posts: 1
Goad wrote:
Hi, Welcome to SGW. Dating these old guns are at best an educated guess. The dates listed here are based on records/logs with the range of dates. I found three different lists but these dates seem to be the best. My experience has been that you are correct in guessing along with us that your gun is dated 1951. It may have in fact have been produced in 1951 but left Browning one to three years before or after 1951. It gets complicated as to why some were early or late. Thanks for the opportunity to answer a great question. Please feel free to ask other questions you may have on that gun.


My first post.

Thank you for putting together this information. Could you please explain how a gun could have left Browning one to three years before it was "produced"? I am interpreting "produced" as actually manufactured, which must not be right because then it would be an impossibility.

My father just passed away and gave me his shotgun. Its serial number is S 63661, which puts it into the year 1956. However, my father always told me that he got the shotgun as a high school graduation present, which would mean sometime around 1949 or 1950. And I am fairly certain that I have a picture of him, misplaced right now, that show him with the shotgun in the earliest 50's.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2013 4:47 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Fri May 18, 2012 10:00 am
Posts: 328
Location: South Dakota
Hi Ronyahski,
Thanks for your response and question. The date discrepancies are due to three factors: 1) The FN factory stamped serial number, 2) The FN/Browning inventory date, 3) The Browning shipping/sale date.

I now own 7 collectable (to me) Browning A5s. I have called the Browning historian on each to discover all I can about each gun including when the gun left the Browning factory. No factory records could be found on three. The Browning historian informed me of the dates four of my guns were sold and shipped from Browning. I have letters on Browning letterhead on three of my guns.

Of the four guns with factory records, two had serial numbers that matched the published serial number dates listed in The Book "Browning Auto-5 Shotguns" HM Shirley, Anthony Vanderlinden. One gun left Browning one year after the published serial number date. One gun left Browning two years before the published serial number date.

The gun that left Browning a year later is easy to explain. It was manufactured in Belgium and had the serial number stamped in 1946. It was shipped to the Browning warehouse in November of 1946 and has a serial number date 1946. It was sold and shipped from Browning to a customer in 1947. The letter dates the gun as a 1947 gun. It is a contender for the earliest (lowest serial number) A5 Light Twelve made. The A5 Light Twelve was not available until 1947. This was all during the first year of production after WWII. This gun was held in the Browning warehouse until someone ordered an A5 Light Twelve. A gun configured a certain way may sit in the warehouse, weeks, months or years until that configuration was ordered. As I mentioned earlier in my post I found a 1948 serial numbered gun that left Browning in the 50s.

My other gun was custom ordered. The special custom order was sent to the Belgium FN factory by Browning 1935. There were thousands of barrels, receivers and other parts on hand and in stock at that time. In 1935 parts were made years before they became a finished gun and logged into Browning inventory. In 1935 my gun was made with the most recent available parts. These parts were stamped with a serial number that would normally have made it into the 1938 inventory as a complete gun. In 1935 the Belgium custom shop took the fresh parts and assembled the gun with the custom configuration and shipped it to Browning in the 1936 inventory. This gun was received in the USA Browning warehouse in 1936 with a 1938 serial number. The letter from Browning shows the special order configuration and date it was shipped to the customer, early 1936. This type of scenario is outlined in "The Book."

Some owners/collectors declare the serial number date. Some owners/collectors declare the Browning factory issue date. Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Browning A5 16 gauge serial number date guide
PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 4:27 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Grafton, VA
Otra Vez


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