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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been reading the forums for a while and the folks at this site seem pretty knowledgeable. I was hoping you could help me figure out a little more about my shotgun.

I've got a 20 gauge A5 that I've had for over 15 years. My father bought it used and gave it to me as my first shotgun when I was a kid.

I got curious as to what year the gun was produced and I can't figure it out from the Browning site. To be honest I'm not entirely sure that the gun is a Browning.

The reciever is completely plain (i.e. it doesn't have the engraving pattern that appears on most A5s). The reciever doesn't have any markings on it other then the serial number shown below (i.e. no "Browning," "Light Twenty," etc. or even a buckmark). It does have a gold trigger. It has the speed load and magazine cutt off feature. The butt stock may be non-original becuase it feels a little like plastic while the fore end is definately wood. The butt plate has "Browning" written vertically on both sides and "FN" in the middle. The barrel is a Japanese "special steel" with a fixed choke.

The serial number is stamped just above the loading port for the magazine. It appears exactly as shown below:

NZ FN
84XXX

The "NZ" and "FN" markings are a little crooked. What I mean is that they're not straight across like the "84XXX" number.

Any thoughts as to when this gun was made? I wouldn't think it's very old but the plain reciever is something I haven't seen on my other A5s or any A5s I've seen. Is it a Browning or is some other company that produced the A5 design?

Thanks for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
O.K. after looking through my "Browning Auto 5 Shotguns" book (not sure how I missed it before) it appears that the gun is a 76 or 77 model.

However, I can't find any information on the plain reciever.
 

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I agree with you on the date of Manufacture, 1976 - 77. ~Can't say for sure since you did not include your entire #.
Could be some models were left very 'basic' as this was the time production was being changed over to Japan.

My source, The Shirley & Vanderlinden book says there were four different models of 20 gauges produced at this time, one model having the prefix NZ FN preceed the serial number, but it doesn't go into any detail on what made each model unique.

Pull your butt plate off and you should find your stock is wood, only with a thick coating of bullet proof varnish.

I kind of like the plain receivers, they have the 'old style' look about them.
Ross
 

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I know of a similar "NZ-FN" marked gun that was brought back from Japan in very early 1976. The gun was purchased at a BX near Kyoto in January of 1976 and the military import/personal effects papers reflect this. This is the only modern A5 that I have ever seen without the light scroll engraving of a modern grade I A5. It is a nice gun and the inside of the reciever and barrel ring are identical to a 20ga Lightweight.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
rer, I believe we're looking at the same book. I thought it was funny that they listed the different codes but didn't have any information as to what the codes ment. I looked again at the actual serial number and it looks like the gun is a 77 model, which is pretty cool since that's the year I was born. I'll have to take the butt plate off and check the wood. Like you said, whatever's on there is pretty tough.

A5guy, thanks for the story. I was hoping that someone else would have come across one before. I always figured it was a Light A5 since it has the 2 3/4" chamber but I've never had the chance to compare it to a Light A5 with the traditional scrolling. Thanks.

Anyone else have any additional thoughts?
 

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My ZNFN84000 20 gauge gun is a Superlightweight. I don't know what it would be if the Z and N were transposed. Put a magnet to your receiver and/or trigger guard and see if it is aluminum like mine is. 1977 is the date I figured mine was made by researching in Shirley and Vanderlinden. My receiver is also unengraved. There was more than one grade of Superlightweight, the basic one unengraved but all grades quite ugly because of the sandblasted aluminum receiver and, at least in my case, terrible wood and wood finish.
 

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NZ was used two ways for two apparently unrelated reasons...

On the later guns when Browning used a letter code to represent the year of production the letter N was the number 9 and the letter Z was the number 1. There for there are guns with the code NZ that were made in 1991, they will also have the model number for the gun (example: 161 = 20 ga Mag)

AND (as in the example in this string) there are other 20 ga guns that used NZ in the serial number that were produced between '69 and '77 and we don't know why they used that prefix.

By the way, ZN makes no sense in a serial number as the number 19 is not a year that included 20 ga production.

Jeff
 
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