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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have inherited a 1938 auto 5 sweet 16, it has vent rib barrel, gold plate on trigger and safety, the barrel ring has holes in it indicating that it is a sweet sixteen according to what i've read.
I would say the gun is in fine condition, used but not abused, engraving shows wear as does the gold plate on the trigger.
estimate on value and any other info would be great. thanks
s# 115861
 

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This is a 1932 gun. Delivery of the Sweet Sixteen guns started May 10,1937. The gun sold for $65.75 with a plain barrel,$69.75 with a solid rib and $75.85 with a vented rib. Both 3 and 5 shot models were offered. The safety was in the front of the trigger gaurd and was gold plated.These early Sweet Sixteens were chambered for the 2 9/16 inch/67mm shells.

Many of these early guns were converted by Browning and others to 2 3/4 inch/70mm chambers. This was done by reaming the barrel and machining the receiver.

If your gun pre-dates the Sweet Sixteen,it may have a Sweet Sixteen barrel. This is often the case. What is the address on the barrel? Is there a serial number on the barrel? What does the gun weigh? It should be close to 6 3/4 pounds or less. I have a first year Sweet Sixteen Grade 3 That weighs 6 pounds 6 ounces with a 26" skeet solid rib barrel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
address on barrel is browning arms company st.louis mo, serial number on barrel matches. as far as the weight, with some careful calibration of my human scale, it is certainly not over seven pounds. bottom of barrel has 168 67 and what looks like a star over the letter L. ok see if you can follow this: special steel 16 ga shells 2 9/16 2 3/4 J kg 772 q* m PV then what looks like a money bag with E LG in it ,THEN what looks like 16 65 inside of a horseshoe. ok i'm getting carried away now.thanks
 

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The star over the letter L is the inspector's code mark. If the address is exactly "St.Louis,M.O." the barrel dates in the 1947- 1958 time period. The PV mark indicates the the barrel was proofed at 50% over the standard load. It also indicates Nitro proof. The L indiactes the prelimnary acceptance for proof. The 16-65 inside the "horse shoe" (atually the Greek letter Alpha) indicates that the barrel is 16 gauge with 2 1/2" chamber. The "2 9/16 2 3/4q*" indicates that the original short chamber has been altered to 2 3/4 inch by "q". The astrik on the barrel indicates that the barrel left the factory with a full choke (this may no longer be the case since the barrel has been to a barrel jocky) The ELG indicates the original proof was done in Belgium(Leige) with a standard black powder load.

I cannot estimate the value of the gun without being sure of the condition and checking the aftermarket machine work done to the gun and barrel. There is little collector interest in any modified Grade I A5 that has been modified. A nice shooter will usually bring in the $350-$450 area.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
ok very good info. here is where we stand now. if the barrel says browning arms compant st louis mo. it would not be a 30's gun you say. the barrel ring and reciever (if that is what its called) both have matching #s to the gun. also where it says special steel 16 gauge shells 2 9/16 looks factory,the 2 3/4 Jn does not. it is a different font and deeper. how could this not be the original barrel?
 

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I have never seen an A5 barrel that was marked "browning arms compant st louis mo". The wording and capitalization are very important in these addresses. For instance "Browning Arms St. Louis M.O." dates the barrel in the 1947-1958 time period while "Browning Arms St.Louis Missouri" dates the barrel in the 1959 to 1968 area.

If the barrel is marked "Browning Arms Company - St Louis,M.O." and the serial numbers match the receiver,you have a 1932 16 gauge Auto 5. The barrel seems to have been modified by someone aftermarket and this may seriously hurt the resale market depending on the quality of the work. You stated that the 2 3/4 inch marking was different from the 2 9/16 markings. This leads me to believe that the barrel job was not done by Browning. You have not mentioned if the receiver has been machined and reblued. If it has not the gun may fail to cycle properly with 2 3/4 in modern (SAAMI) ammo.
 
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