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 Post subject: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:31 pm 
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Location: Hannover, Germany
Gentlemen,

yesterday I brought home a new toy:

Image

Serial number is 1842 and it is the oldest A5 I currently own. Unfortunately, another “project gun” having a lot of issues:

- Barrel not matching (SN 31350 – consequently, taken from a 1909 gun)
- Breech block not matching (probably from the 1909 donator)
- Operating handle not matching (ditto)
- Stock cracked and chipped and lousily repaired (and I don’t know yet, if it can be repaired)
- Original hard rubber butt plate chipped
- Magazine tube loose – it can be unscrewed by hand (!)
- No blueing remaining, pitted

After I picked up the gun from the seller I visited a friend living 10 miles away from the seller. I showed him my newest toy, he grabbed three shells and said: "let's check it out". We went out, I loaded the gun and fired three times.... no malfunctions, just perfect. Honestly, I did not expect it. The gun looks poor and it belonged for decades to a farmer not taking any care for the gun.... but it worked! That’s an A5!

Image

Image

Image

Anyway, beside the issues it has some good points:

Forearm matching and is in not that bad condition

Image

Image
Unusual features:

SN makes it a 1903, but is has already the type 2 safety, as well as an magazine cut-off. Technically, it’s a twin of “deke12ga”’s #2506 shown and discussed here:

viewtopic.php?f=53&t=202856&p=1674208

Features are:

1903 SN
1903 receiver (note the “punch hole” over the screw”)-

But like deke12ga’s #2506 it has later features, like

Type 2 safety
Magazine cut-off

Trigger grouping is matching and has matching SN:

Image

Interestingly, I discovered a feature, I did not notice a while back: magazine cut-off is different, in so far, as the spring is shorter and the back of the lever is smooth in the cut-off position

Image

- while the later ones (even on my 1904 variation SN 12400) have a convex back with a surface over the spring. Additionally, I noticed, the early ones have a shorter spring. Notice the distance between the spring and the magazine stop:

Image

Even in an early (French language) manual I own the spring is shorter. Note the distance between the magazine cut-off spring and the cartridge stop. The border lines are between "E-N" of FABRIQUE-NATIONALE on 1842 and 2506 (and probably on the one from the manual also), while on later guns the lines are between "-N" only - distance is shorter.

Anyway: I hope you’ll enjoy. And I hope you’ll get a feeling, how happy I am with my new toy. Yes, it’s far away from being mint – but it’s very, very difficult to find any pre 1909 made A5 here in Germany. And a 1903 was a dream… OK, I still preferred to get the one with the suicide safety, but for the time being…..

Regards

Martin



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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:07 am 
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Martin,

As always, very interesting! Many thanks for your post and pictures. Wow, a first year A5! I'll bet it could tell some stories!

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:28 am 
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Hi A5guy,

yes, if it only could talk! At least, the gun told me, why FN made the change from fine thread to coarse thread on the magazine tube front: oh boy! You can turn the cap until next Sunday before it will be off. Nine full 360° revolutions. Doesn’t sound much, but make a mark on a normal cap and count the number of turns. Not more than four, I guess (don’t have a normal A5 at hand presently).

Regards

Martin

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:00 am 
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Great job Martin!

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 3:39 pm 
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Quote:
(don’t have a normal A5 at hand presently)


Martin,

I think we're all slowly reaching the conclusion that there's no such thing as a normal A-5. :lol:

Nice find, and another informative post. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Tue Mar 23, 2010 8:15 pm 
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Excellent find how much was it?


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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 1:02 am 
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Tijeras_Slim wrote:

Martin,

I think we're all slowly reaching the conclusion that there's no such thing as a normal A-5. :lol:


Right! {hs#

Especially, when it comes to vintage A5s. There seem to be more exceptions than rules.

16penny wrote:
Excellent find how much was it?
Cheap. It was auctioned on a German auction site (Germany’s Gunbroker) and it was offered as a lot together with three other “dogs of the week” (a wreck of a pre-war sporting Mauser 98, a post-war Sauer shotgun (also in poor condition) and a post war .22 single bolt action rifle). Nobody seem to have noticed what A5 it was. I agreed with the seller on taking just the A5 – the other three will be offered in a new auction.

But the cheap guns can be the most expensive guns. When I calculate the following costs…… a new stock (I don’t know yet, if the original stock can be repaired or not), maybe an other barrel (barrel is pitted inside) and so on. Let’s see.

Regards

Martin

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 9:30 am 
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Whear do you get a replacement straight stock :?:


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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Wed Mar 24, 2010 10:00 am 
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16penny wrote:
Whear do you get a replacement straight stock :?:


Good question. Shouldn't it be possible to repair the original stock (what I'd prefer, of course), a totally new stock will be made by my gun smith.

And now for those who are hot to see photos of a 1903 magazine tube: here they are:

Image

Image

Image

An interesting thing on my newest toy is: the magazine tube can be unscrewed by hand. One of the former owners felt it necessary to ruin the screw on the right of the receiver what screws secured the magazine tube. Now it’s too short to hold it in place. But nevertheless, it’s astonishing the tube can be unscrewed easily. Normally, the tubes are sticking like being welded. The good thing: now I have a sample for making a copy for my 1904 #12400 on which the magazine tube is ruined beyond repair.

Interesting also: the screw of the magazine cut off on my “1903 with 1904 service pack” does not engage the magazine tube, like on later variations not having the screw on the right.

Image

Image


And lastly, a photo of the trigger group.

Image
Regards

Martin

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:11 pm 
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Gentlemen.

For those you are interested in details: here are photos of the magazine cut-off lever of #1842.

Image

Image

The lever is different from the ones used later: it has a flat back, while the later ones have a “rib” on the back (even the one of my 1904 #12400). Not quiet easy to make good photos of such a tiny thing – I hope, the photos are goods enough to see the differences.

Regards

Martin

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 3:08 am 
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I wonder what the V inside a square under the serial number means?

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:28 am 
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Hi A5guy,

A5guy wrote:
I wonder what the V inside a square under the serial number means?


I liked to know that also. It doesn’t seem to be specific to the A5, because it can be found also on other FN products, like the FN Browning model 1900 pistol. On these pistols the V inside a square is present also – at least, on some of these. Seems to depend, when a gun was made. The pistols do have (depending on the SN) the letters V, R or H – in every case inside a square and always on the left side of the trigger guard. Maybe this is just the initial of FN’s quality inspector in charge.

Regards

Martin

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:06 am 
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A5guy wrote:
I wonder what the V inside a square under the serial number means?


Hi A5guy,

meanwhile I found out more, as a friend told me the following:

“V inside a square”: final inspection marking used at FN from 1899 to 1914

The later final inspection markings are:

“V inside a circle”: final inspection marking used at FN from 1919 up to the thirties. Sometimes, the “V inside a circle” can be found together with “V inside a square” on guns made between 1912 and 1914.

“A inside a square”: final inspection marking used at FN from the early thirties to 1940

Info comes from Anthony Vanderlinden’s book about FN pistols. I wonder, why this info isn’t in the A5 book…

Regards

Martin

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:15 am 
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Sauerfan,

Thanks! At first, I thought that it might be a proof inspector's mark but these had an astrisk above them and, as far as I can tell the *V mark was only used by Isidor Macon from 1929 to 1953 in the Liege Proof House.

I have seen the "V in the square on older barrels before and had no clue to what it means. In fact, I have a Cockerel Steel barrel that is so marked.

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 Post subject: Re: 1903 made Browning Auto 5 SN 1842
PostPosted: Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:48 am 
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Great pictures, what a gun to own!




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