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  #1  
Old 08-02-2004, 04:46 AM
TheOklahomaKid TheOklahomaKid is offline
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Tactical mods on a Browning Auto-5?




I recently acquired a pair of Browning Auto-5 12-gauges. They're both in quite good condition, and I intend to enjoy them thoroughly. They're both in hunting trim at the moment. I would like to keep one as a hunting / trap gun, and modify the other for HD / tactical / 3-gun use. Now, I'm not too knowledgeable about shotguns, so I'm curious as to whether the A-5 is a good or viable choice for a combat shotgun. Also, what modifications would be in order for this use, other than an 18-inch barrel? I know the barrel is part of the reciprocating assembly on the A-5, so would the reduction in weight from going to an 18-incher require any other adjustments?

Thanks for the help.
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2004, 05:41 AM
Mus Mus is offline
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Bonnie and Clyde used the A5s on their spree. I think they had theirs shortened on both ends for greater handiness. Dunno if they all were modified the same way or just some of the shotguns in their arsenal.

I have heard them described as "whippets" but I dont know what that word exactly means.
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  #3  
Old 08-02-2004, 05:53 AM
Gary W Trott Gary W Trott is offline
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Dear OKKid,

I'd seriously consider not modifying one of these guns, especially if yours were Belgian and not Japanese made. They are one of the classic shotguns and it would be a shame to chop up the barrel on one. Certain models are also most likely to appreciate in value over the years so you might be sawing off future benefits along with the barrel. That being said I don't think you'd have any problems with a shorter barrel as they made 18 inch versions of this gun. Stay safe, Gary
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  #4  
Old 08-02-2004, 06:37 AM
TheOklahomaKid TheOklahomaKid is offline
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Don't worry, Gary, I have no intention of making any permanent mods to the existing gun. The only way I'll be shortening either one is if the barrels are removable and I can get a spare barrel to cut down... actually, an 18-inch barrel would sort of cut out the middleman. Also, now that I think about it, these shotguns are not technically A-5s. They're Remington Model 11s. I know, there's a difference, but these guns have always been colloquially referred to in my family (they're both family heirlooms... that's why there will be no barrel chopping on the original barrels) as Brownings. Sort of like we all call a Kimber TLE II a "1911." Anyway, does this make any difference about anything substantial? Are parts interchangeable? Was there ever an 18-inch barrel for the Remington?
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  #5  
Old 08-02-2004, 07:24 AM
Gary W Trott Gary W Trott is offline
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Dear OKKid,

To be honest I really don't know about what and how many parts the two guns might share. A shotgun specific forum might help answer that questions and you might try asking your question at http://shotgunsports.com/cgi-bin/web...y=Shotgun_Talk and there is no registration requirement to post. If you haven't seen the Remington history of the Model 11 you might be interested in this http://www.remington.com/magazine/history/m11.htm Stay safe, Gary

PS - I'm pretty sure that Hastings makes barrels for the A5 but don't know if there is an 18" one or if it will fit your Model 11.
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2004, 08:27 AM
Ned Christiansen Ned Christiansen is offline
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There are very few auto shotguns I can get a long with, mostly because I just can't stand having to depress a lifter to load it, plus most of them are not reliable/robust/simple enough for my personal taste. The lifter thing is one of the reasons I like the Browning pump. Even though the A5 has a lifter, I can't help but like them just because of what they are and who designed them. Although they too can be load-sensitive, at least there's a pretty easy adjustment for different loads.

One of the first things I do if I'm trying to make a Rem 11 better is get the Browning 2-piece lifter. This updates the gun so that when the bolt is locked back and the gun is empty, all you have to do is run one into the mag and it automatically releases it into the chamber. Kind of a nice feature as you only have one move to work on whether you're topping off the mag or getting one into the chamber in a hurry. Browning says it won't work but they say that because they're supposed to-- it does work, although it's not necessarily a drop-in. I've only done a few of these but the last one was fairly recently and the lifter pivot holles on the new lifter had to be made larger, no biggie. I also put an LPA rear sight on it which made it look reminiscent of a BAR. The only thing is that the receiver is really thin on top, too thing to hold the sight on with just screws, so I silver brazed it in place.

There should be no problem going to an 18 or 20" barrel on these. You can go to Browning's website and see the exploded views and get the parts-- I'd say get some new springs while you're at it, and a new "clutch" that rides over the mag tube and is meant to give a dragging effect to help slow things down. BTW conventional wisdom is to leave the magtube bone dry-- this is wrong, it should be lubed with 30wt motor oil-- that's what Browning says anyway and that's what I've always done.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2004, 12:46 PM
Bimmercat Bimmercat is offline
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Since it is not being made anymore...even in Japan, the Browning Auto-5s are becoming collector's items. If yours is a Belgian made example and has not already been altered (ie:Poly-Choke, Cuttc Compensator or cut down buttstock), I'd seriously think twice before permanently altering a very collectable shotgun. You'll in essence, be turning a 450-650 dollar item into a 150 dollar pawn shop item - not good.

Japanese made A-5s? Well...they're starting to climb in prices, but will never be worth as much as the Belgian made examples, although they're of the same quality. Your call on cutting up the Jap A-5.

If it is a complete beater, well...go for it. I turned a beater 12 gauge 1935 Model 12 into a riot length defense shotgun and I love it. I would NEVER have done it to an unaltered example, but it was one I got in a pawn shop for 125 bucks that had no finish and a poorly installed Poly Choke and rust. The Model 12 smooth action made for a slick operating riot gun.

The A-5 action is very reliable and would make a good riot/defense shotgun, no doubt. They're stronger than iron. I believe the military contracted Remington for roit length Model 11s between WWi and WWII. the Remington 11 is esentially an American made A-5.

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  #8  
Old 08-02-2004, 01:40 PM
readyfire readyfire is offline
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Damn guys i had bought one from an old man who had a gun shop when i was younger,i took it out and beat it up,fast fired it and loved it.Well i took it out one day and was shooting and the cocking lever broke(snapped right off)shooting +7 birdshot.I wanted to get it fixed but the smith wouldnt do it he said it wasnt worth it and the old man gave me a mossberg 5oo to take its place free of charge.I didnt think they were worth nothin,now i feel bad.It was a fun gun i did love it the 2 weeks i had it,DAMN!
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2004, 03:52 PM
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TimWarner TimWarner is offline
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it's easy to find low end auto-5's used at gun shops, around 200 bucks or so.

I love em for hunting, they pull up nice.


Bonnie and Clyde sawed their barrels off, and shortened the buttstock, and attached a loop of leather, usually an old belt to the butt, so it could hang under your arm and all you had to do was swing it up from under a trenchcoat.

It got the name "whippit" because you could whip it out and up to fire so quickly.
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2004, 06:39 PM
Falboy Falboy is offline
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Ned can you post a pic of your Auto-5 w/ the LPA sight on it? I've got an Auto-5 that I bought from a pawn shop with a chopped barrel and a mag ext. I've been thinking about ghost rings for it. I just couldn't think of anything that would look right. I was thinking about Sage's sights?
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2004, 06:43 PM
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anyone know where to get a mag extension for an auto-5?
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2004, 10:11 PM
Scooter Scooter is offline
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There was an article in USPSA's Frontsight that featured a A-5 tricked out for 3 gun, but most of the stuff was custom. You can get a side saddle from 3gungear. I'm not sure where you would find an extended mag tube.

I say modify it even if was Belgium or a collectable. It's a gun, shoot the damn thing. If I can afford a $70,000 Perazzi, I would take it out into the field on a rainy day and hunt with it. It's like buying a sports car and never taking it past 70 mph.
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2004, 11:24 PM
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It's more like buying a $1,000,000 Jag, and slapping Type R and NOS stickers all over it.
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  #14  
Old 08-03-2004, 02:57 AM
TheOklahomaKid TheOklahomaKid is offline
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Nope, not Belgian, not Japanese, AFAIK not really collectible. US-made Remington Model 11s, both. Keep the suggestions coming; I like what I'm hearing.
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  #15  
Old 08-03-2004, 09:48 AM
Falboy Falboy is offline
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If it's a Rem. M11, buy an ext. for an 870, they're the same threads. That's what I did for a buddy on his M11 after I got my Auto-5, he wanted his Rem. to be a clone of mine. You will have to make a spacer or trim the mag tube as it won't thread quite all the way on to secure the barrel and handguard in the proper location. Man I hope Ned comes up with some pics of his.
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  #16  
Old 08-03-2004, 12:41 PM
AKCowboy AKCowboy is offline
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The Model 11 was made in a riot model. A bit of looking might turn up an original barrel and/or other riot goodies.
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  #17  
Old 08-03-2004, 04:34 PM
Bimmercat Bimmercat is offline
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Scooter,

I never said "don't shoot it"...by all means...shoot the daylights out of it. I have several collectable guns that are very rare and I shoot them all the time. Still, you won't catch me permanently altering a collectable arm that is in an unaltered state.

Its just depressing to see people de-value a nice example of a collectable firearm. Kinda like those chromed Lugers you see in the pawn shops...shame...shame...shame. Turned a 800 dollar pistol into a 200 dollar one. Why do people do this?

- Bimmercat (...one who has his sports cars WELL above 70mph...many times)
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  #18  
Old 08-04-2004, 02:53 AM
LAK LAK is offline
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I have seen 18 inch slug barrels for these. Might check out some of the auction sites like ebay, gunbroken, auctionarms etc.
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  #19  
Old 08-04-2004, 06:35 AM
crucible crucible is offline
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Attached is a pic I grabbed off the 'Net a year ago or so of someone's Auto-5 they built (perhaps http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewforum.php?f=7).

I think this guy did an excellent, tasteful job, and IIRC, it was built from an acquired piece not in good shape to begin with, so nothing 'magical' was ruined. In fact, I think this auto is doggone cool

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  #20  
Old 08-04-2004, 02:21 PM
Bimmercat Bimmercat is offline
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Wow...that is very cool!

Again, if it is not a collectable...go for it. Trick it out to your liking.

The A-5, when set up right, is an utterly reliable semi-auto. Most people don't know, but the way the rings around the mag tube are arranged, make the difference in how it functions with certain loads. One way, it is set for light loads, the other way is set for heavy stuff. Some believe the A-5 is not reliable, because they once ran light loads out of an A-5 that was probably set up for heavy loads and it jammed or vice versa. Not true.

I have never been disappointed in my 1967 Belgian Light Twelve and believe it is a totally reliable shotgun.

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  #21  
Old 08-05-2004, 04:04 AM
TheOklahomaKid TheOklahomaKid is offline
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Whoa... now THAT is what I'm talking about.

That's EXACTLY what I'll be doing with mine. SO what I'm looking for. A short-barreled, fast-firing home-defense attention-getter that doubles as a "games gun."

I think I'll be doing these mods on my paternal grandfather's old shotgun. He had short arms and cut about an inch out of the butt to give him a more comfortable length of pull, so it's already been modified. I can put a fat recoil pad on it and still have a short-stocked, quick-handling shotgun (I like the Eastern-bloc feel for combat long guns; just handles quicker for me, even though I have long arms.)

So... 18-inch barrel, Rem. 870 tube extension, probably Armor-Tuff or something similar for a finish... maybe some ghost-ring sights... Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad... that'll do it.

My maternal grandfather's old gun (yes, I have near-identical shotguns from both grandfathers... cool, huh?) will be staying in trap / hunting trim.
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  #22  
Old 08-05-2004, 04:43 AM
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Since it seems like there are some knowledgeable people here about Model 11's, I have a question.

My son bought one for me, and it has only one problem--the bolt locks to the rear with every shot. How do I fix this?
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  #23  
Old 08-05-2004, 09:11 AM
Bimmercat Bimmercat is offline
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Powderman,

Have it disassembled and cleaned out real well - sounds like you might have some build up that is causing the gun to "think" it is empty and locking open.

Other than that, it could be something with the feeding system.

I'd try to find a smith around you that is savvy on the A-5s, chances are, he will know what is wrong and how to fix it. It does not sound like the problem is major, though.

Good luck with it...those are nice shotguns!

- Bimmercat
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  #24  
Old 08-06-2004, 08:49 AM
Ned Christiansen Ned Christiansen is offline
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Sorry guys, but that last Rem 11 with the LPA was for a customer and I did not take pics-- but will try to get some. I've had to make mag extensions-- didn't know 870 tubes would work, if that's the case great.

If I get these pics, Falboy ought to enjoy them-- this Rem 11 has a FAL front sight silvered to the barrel.

The LPA is the only rear sight worth having at this time as far as I'm concerned.
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  #25  
Old 08-06-2004, 09:56 AM
Falboy Falboy is offline
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Oh yea, Ned I really gotta see pics now.
I tried a the Choate ext. off of my Browning, and it wouldn't thread on to the M11. So, I grabbed the mag. end cap off of my 870, and it threaded right on. You will have to make a spacer or trim the threads on the tube though.
I may just have to send you mine for upgrade. I have a few extra FAL gas blocks laying around. That might be just the ticket for that open-eard inch gas block!!!!
I've used MMC's on a buddies 870, and I thought they were nice, but I havn't shot that gun much either. Sooo, I defer to Ned's judgement.
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