October 11, 2011
Browning Shotguns: A First Look at the New Humpback A5
By Phil Bourjaily
Browning shotguns has a new humpbacked semiauto. It’s called the A5 in honor of its predecessor, the Auto 5, but the similarities end with the squared-off receiver. This new A5 is an inertia gun that uses the same operating system made famous by Benelli. The gun was just announced at the Browning sales meeting and it won’t be available until the first quarter of 2012.
I had a chance to shoot one last month at a writer’s gathering in South Dakota, so here’s a preview:
The A5 is a light 3-inch 12 gauge gun, weighing a hair under seven pounds with a 28-inch barrel. Outside, it looks like a Browning, while inside, it looks similar to my Benelli Montefeltro.
While it has the Browning humpback receiver, it has nowhere near as much drop as an Auto 5 and the stock comes with shims to adjust the fit. I found it to be an easy gun to carry, point and shoot.
We experienced no malfunctions with pheasant loads, although some of the guns were picky about cycling slow, 1 ounce loads, which were lighter than the gun is spec-ed to shoot. Being an inertia, not long-recoil gun, it lacks the Auto 5’s bouncing, pogo-stick recoil. It kicks harder than a gas semiauto, but less than a fixed breech gun.
The A5 has the speed load that is a Browning hallmark. When you push the first shell most of the way up the magazine tube, the shell is whisked into the chamber and the bolt slams shut behind it. It’s a handy feature when your gun is empty and ducks are falling in to the decoys.
The carrier stop button is big and easy to find on the bottom of the receiver, even with gloves on. The safety button, like that of the Gold and Silver shotguns, is big, easy to use, and very easy to reverse to left-handed.
This gun – and some other new Brownings – have a new choke tube system called Invector DS (for “double seal”) which has threads at the top of the tube an a brass band around the bottom which acts as a seal to keep plastic and powder fouling from getting in between the choke and the threads.
It will be available in black synthetic, walnut and blued steel and camo, starting at $1,400.