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Shotgun Quick Look: New Browning 3-1/2 Inch A5 with Invector DS Choke System

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July 11, 2013

Shotgun Quick Look: New Browning 3-1/2 Inch A5 with Invector DS Choke System

By Phil Bourjaily

A little while ago I posted a video of me getting kicked by 3 ½-inch magnum recoil. The gun in that video was Browning’s new 3 ½-inch A5. Despite the fact that it handed me my head when I ran three 1 ½ ounce, 1500 fps 3 ½-inch magnums through it, I bear the gun no ill will. In fact, if a light and versatile 3 ½-inch gun is what you want, the A5 is a good choice.

It works on the same inertia action as the 3-inch A5 that debuted a couple of years ago. It has the classic Browning speed-load carrier that lets you load it by thumbing a shell into the magazine. It also has the Turn-Key magazine plug that lets you pull out the magazine plug with a car key and without (and this is the important part) shooting a spring off into either a.) your eye or b.) someplace where you'll never find it. It is overbored like all Browning guns and has a new choke system called the Invector DS which is designed to seal fouling out of the threads of the barrel.

Browning’s engineers were able to beef up the 3-inch A5 to make a gun with exactly the same receiver length as the 3-inch model. It’s no heavier than the 3-inch gun, either. My test gun weighed just 6 ¾ pounds, which is a mixed blessing in a 3 ½-inch gun. It carries nicely and handles well. It’s a good pointer and some people who grew up with the square backed receiver feel they shoot that design better than any other. On the other hand, like any lightweight non-gas semiauto, the A5 hits hard at both ends when you load it up. My gun cycled 2 ¾ dram, 1 1/8 ounce target loads up to the heavy stuff with no problem.

If you want to shoot 3 ½-inch  shells every day, buy something heavy and gas-operated. Most hunters I know want 3 ½-inch chambers to keep their options open but rarely shoot them. If that’s you, then the A5 is worth a look. It sells for $1559 in black, more in wood or camo.

Comments (12)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 1 day ago

Ugh! I don't want a bird bad enough to take that kind of pounding from a 6.5 lb gun. There is a point of diminishing returns ... when the hurting makes the hunting unpleasant. That is where the 3.5" is in my opinion.

However, I'm thinking these loads wouldn't shoot nearly as nasty as Remington's new 1700 fps 3" shells. Yep, that's no typo! 1700 fps! I hunted with a 20 year-old expert this past fall who had a box he shot through his fancy Italian auto. Only thing he hit in two days was one of my birds just before it hit the ground (and he blew it to pieces!). After taking my ears out a second time I just held back and watched him (already had four birds) ... mostly to ensure he didn't blow my head off. I swear those shells damn near made his eyeballs pop out of their sockets every time he shot one! No wonder he wasn't hitting anything. I don't know how he stayed conscious. And over $40/box! I was impressed ... at how stupid some people can be. Bigger is usually only better for those who aren't very big to start with (that would be this kid for sure).

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 40 weeks 23 hours ago

I thought that was the new A-5. If you hunt in the Bayou Meto, you can't take but 15 shells. They might as well be 3 1/2 inchers, never know when you gotta shoot over the tree tops. Believe it or not skeet chokes work best with steel shot at high velocity.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 40 weeks 22 hours ago

Bill C. usta say, "The only reason they make magnums is so the Cajuns in south Louisiana can feel pain and hear noise when they pull the trigger!"
- FirstBubba

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 40 weeks 21 hours ago

I had one of those H&R single shot 6 pound 3 1/2" shotguns. I shot it once and sold it for half what I paid for it, and felt sorry for the guy I sold it to...

At least the Browning absorbs some of the recoil. It would actually make a fine shotgun for smaller loads and when turkey season rolls around you are ready.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 40 weeks 19 hours ago

3 1/2" chambered shotguns go to eleven.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from z41 wrote 40 weeks 12 hours ago

Dr Phil, Our gun club demands shell catchers or rubber bands over the receiver to stop the empty. So does the rubber band influence ones accuracy / score for trap shooting? Z41

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 40 weeks 10 hours ago

Z41 -- Our high school league also requires shell catchers or rubber bands. If the ruuber band bothers you, T&S shell catchers fit a variety of guns and Birchwood Casey makes one that goes on any gun with sticky tape. You can make a really good shell catcher out a cross-section of bicycle innertube. They are flat and black and you won't even notice it's on your gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 10 hours ago

Interesting. I presume the shell catchers are a safety issue so people aren't inclined to run around at the stations chasing their empties?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from z41 wrote 40 weeks 9 hours ago

DR Phil, thanks for your response, but wouldn't that be a good test to run? To see how much the rubber band could alter ones sighting plane? It could explain a lot to some kids?

Thanks for your time. I don't want to be overbearing, but I am working with my 12 yr old grandson.

Honker the purpose is to keep empties from automatics flying unto the shooter on the right, for right handed guns of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 9 hours ago

I guess you can tell how much time I spend at the range. I didn't think the shooters stood that close to each other. Learn something new every day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 8 hours ago

The non-binding screw-in chokes is a good idea. Sure see a lot of complaints on here about seized chokes and what to do about them.

The key-lock magazine plug is interesting. Maybe a good idea ... maybe not such a good idea. In the valley where I hunt geese many mornings I think I'm the only guy hunting there with his plug in! Last fall three guys in the next field would shoot more than a dozen rounds at every flock of geese that came in. It's easy to tell if guns are shooting more than three shots. But it can't be proven unless the gun is observed to not have a plug in it. If it gets easier to quickly change out plugs in the field, it gets easier to get away with breaking the law. On the other hand, the first time a guy loses his magazine spring and/or plug in the field is probably the last time he tries to fudge the three shot max rule.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 40 weeks 8 hours ago

Z41 -- If you are looking at the target and not the gun as you should be, you don't even notice a rubber band, especially if it's black. I haven't noticed any of the kids on our high school team shooting lower scores when they put rubber bands on their guns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from buckstopper wrote 40 weeks 23 hours ago

I thought that was the new A-5. If you hunt in the Bayou Meto, you can't take but 15 shells. They might as well be 3 1/2 inchers, never know when you gotta shoot over the tree tops. Believe it or not skeet chokes work best with steel shot at high velocity.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 40 weeks 21 hours ago

I had one of those H&R single shot 6 pound 3 1/2" shotguns. I shot it once and sold it for half what I paid for it, and felt sorry for the guy I sold it to...

At least the Browning absorbs some of the recoil. It would actually make a fine shotgun for smaller loads and when turkey season rolls around you are ready.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Amflyer wrote 40 weeks 19 hours ago

3 1/2" chambered shotguns go to eleven.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from z41 wrote 40 weeks 12 hours ago

Dr Phil, Our gun club demands shell catchers or rubber bands over the receiver to stop the empty. So does the rubber band influence ones accuracy / score for trap shooting? Z41

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 40 weeks 10 hours ago

Z41 -- Our high school league also requires shell catchers or rubber bands. If the ruuber band bothers you, T&S shell catchers fit a variety of guns and Birchwood Casey makes one that goes on any gun with sticky tape. You can make a really good shell catcher out a cross-section of bicycle innertube. They are flat and black and you won't even notice it's on your gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from z41 wrote 40 weeks 9 hours ago

DR Phil, thanks for your response, but wouldn't that be a good test to run? To see how much the rubber band could alter ones sighting plane? It could explain a lot to some kids?

Thanks for your time. I don't want to be overbearing, but I am working with my 12 yr old grandson.

Honker the purpose is to keep empties from automatics flying unto the shooter on the right, for right handed guns of course.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 9 hours ago

I guess you can tell how much time I spend at the range. I didn't think the shooters stood that close to each other. Learn something new every day.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 8 hours ago

The non-binding screw-in chokes is a good idea. Sure see a lot of complaints on here about seized chokes and what to do about them.

The key-lock magazine plug is interesting. Maybe a good idea ... maybe not such a good idea. In the valley where I hunt geese many mornings I think I'm the only guy hunting there with his plug in! Last fall three guys in the next field would shoot more than a dozen rounds at every flock of geese that came in. It's easy to tell if guns are shooting more than three shots. But it can't be proven unless the gun is observed to not have a plug in it. If it gets easier to quickly change out plugs in the field, it gets easier to get away with breaking the law. On the other hand, the first time a guy loses his magazine spring and/or plug in the field is probably the last time he tries to fudge the three shot max rule.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 40 weeks 8 hours ago

Z41 -- If you are looking at the target and not the gun as you should be, you don't even notice a rubber band, especially if it's black. I haven't noticed any of the kids on our high school team shooting lower scores when they put rubber bands on their guns.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 1 day ago

Ugh! I don't want a bird bad enough to take that kind of pounding from a 6.5 lb gun. There is a point of diminishing returns ... when the hurting makes the hunting unpleasant. That is where the 3.5" is in my opinion.

However, I'm thinking these loads wouldn't shoot nearly as nasty as Remington's new 1700 fps 3" shells. Yep, that's no typo! 1700 fps! I hunted with a 20 year-old expert this past fall who had a box he shot through his fancy Italian auto. Only thing he hit in two days was one of my birds just before it hit the ground (and he blew it to pieces!). After taking my ears out a second time I just held back and watched him (already had four birds) ... mostly to ensure he didn't blow my head off. I swear those shells damn near made his eyeballs pop out of their sockets every time he shot one! No wonder he wasn't hitting anything. I don't know how he stayed conscious. And over $40/box! I was impressed ... at how stupid some people can be. Bigger is usually only better for those who aren't very big to start with (that would be this kid for sure).

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 40 weeks 22 hours ago

Bill C. usta say, "The only reason they make magnums is so the Cajuns in south Louisiana can feel pain and hear noise when they pull the trigger!"
- FirstBubba

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 40 weeks 10 hours ago

Interesting. I presume the shell catchers are a safety issue so people aren't inclined to run around at the stations chasing their empties?

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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