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 Post subject: A5 Questions / Value
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 10:26 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:19 pm
Posts: 96
Location: SF Bay Area
Hi, I went hiking with a buddy today and he has just inherited his father's firearms which his dad bought at the PX while serving as a Marine in Japan during the 70's.

My buddy is more interested in the pistols and rifles. But he also has a 70's era 12ga Browning A5 made in Japan. It appears to be a safe queen (see pic's) but is a basic model (basic wood, 2.75" only, not a Light 12, no rib). I do not know the fixed choke size yet.

My brother in law's both have Light 12's and I have always wanted an A5. I have 5 shotguns but mainly shoot my SBE II hunting and my Citori 725 Sporting for targets.

Three questions:
-After shooting / wanting Light 12's am I like likely to be disappointed in a standard 12 without a rib's performance? Beautiful condition is not everything.
-I assume I cannot shoot steel in a 70's era Japanese A5?
-Finally if I buy it, what is a fair price for him / me? I'm suspect he will give me a deal but I don't want to take advantage of him.

I would use the A5 for trap, occasional pheasant club and dove. But it would not be my primary gun for anything. Thanks in advance for your help.

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 Post subject: Re: A5 Questions / Value
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2020 11:01 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:52 pm
Posts: 563
Location: Michigan
Only thing I can add is that's a real nice gun, wish I could run across an old one like that.


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 Post subject: Re: A5 Questions / Value
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:50 am 
Limited Edition

Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 6:04 pm
Posts: 475
To the first question, I think it's really a matter of the rib more than the gun. If you're going to miss the rib, that's an issue. But if everything is set right, it should cycle 1-1/8 target loads. If you want to go lighter there are adjustments that can be made.

Steel shot is a strange business. It wasn't designed for it, and by that standard no steel shot. Realistically, assuming it's a mod or more open choke, steel shot probably won't hurt it (the barrel should be harder than the shot) but why chance it? The modern guns are steel friendly.

The price probably depends a bit on your relationship to the owner. If everything is as it appears (which looks very good) but the basic model, I'd probably put it around $800 to $1000 on a used rack.


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 Post subject: Re: A5 Questions / Value
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 9:07 am 
Crown Grade
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Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2013 10:41 am
Posts: 2980
Location: Missouri
The standard weight 12 was discontinued in 1970, so this gun should be marked Light Twelve on the receiver. However, those made in Japan are said to be heavier than the standard Belgian models.

The choke is marked by the asterisks on the side, and yours looks to be Modified, but the picture might be cutting out another mark.

I personally feel that ribs are superfluous on an Auto-5, but YMMV.

$800-$1000 is a good retail price range.


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 Post subject: Re: A5 Questions / Value
PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:30 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 2:19 pm
Posts: 96
Location: SF Bay Area
Thank you both. I guess I will wait and see what my friend suggests. But it sure is pretty.


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 Post subject: Re: A5 Questions / Value
PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2020 7:34 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 2:54 pm
Posts: 310
I hope You are able to strike a deal on that beauty. Mine is a '71 light twelve I bought a few years ago . they are heavy to carry but for plain shooting mine is nothing but fun. on the light setting mine will cycle 1 oz loads with a few drops of oil on the mag tube.
If you haven't seen it Randy Wakeman has a video on u-tube about the Auto-5. a lot of information on U-tube. Good Luck.




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