Edit 3-21-2016: A closer look at the photos does reveal that the shotgun is actually a Remington Model 11, a variant of the Browning Auto-5 renamed by the gun maker in 1911 after it licensed the design and began producing it in 1906. 

On Thursday the Seattle Police released for the first time photographs of Kurt Cobain’s 20 gauge Browning Auto-5, which officials say was the weapon he used to commit suicide. Fans of the late Nirvana frontman have long called for the police department to release photos of the gun, along with numerous other evidence collected after Cobain was found dead at his Seattle home over 20 years ago.

“The department is releasing five additional photographs of the firearm, taken on or about June 11, 2015. These photos were placed on the City’s computer system on March 3, 2016, and added to the investigative file shortly thereafter,” the Seattle Police Department stated, adding the photographs of the shotgun to the collection of publicly-released evidence related to the case.


Due to its historical significance, observers estimate that the Browning Auto-5 would actually be immensely valuable. However, since the Seattle Police Department has no intention of releasing the firearm, it is unlikely that it will go to an auction anytime soon.

Cold Case Detective Mike Ciesynski is seen holding the Auto-5 here.

The shotgun was discovered with the grunge rocker’s body on April 8, 1994. Police noted that Cobain was cradling the gun and had sustained a single gunshot wound to the head. Despite evidence pointing to a suicide, those who have followed the case throughout the years suspect that Cobain’s death was actually a murder. Some have accused the Seattle police of a cover up, and for many years it was believed that Cobain’s shotgun had been destroyed or buried to hide the truth. The photos released by the Seattle Police Department seem to show a fairly standard Browning Auto-5—produced by Remington—in good condition. Cobain’s shotgun also comes with what appears to be an old poly choke.


Originally designed by the legendary John Browning in 1898, the Auto-5 and its variants, such as the Remington Model 11 and Savage 720, were immensely popular and are generally considered the second best-selling auto-loading shotguns in US history, second only to the Remington 1100. Browning himself called it his greatest achievement.


The Auto-5 is no longer in production but Browning did release the A5, a shotgun that bears an uncanny resemblance to the Auto-5, in 2014.



Images from the Seattle Police Department

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11 thoughts on “Photos: Pictures of Kurt Cobain’s Browning Auto-5 Released for the First Time

  1. It’s a Remington model 11, not an A5. Brownings were stamped “Browning”, this gun is clearly stamped “Remington”. I would think that a website called OutdoorHub would hire writers that know more about firearms than is demonstrated here.

      1. No it doesn’t. There no lettering on either side of the action on the gun. There is just the bird and design etching on the one side and none on the other. If I can’t see it with a magnifying glass how can you? You are just going by your own assumptions and making stuff up to suit your argument.

      2. Actually, it does say Remington on the left side of the receiver. Try downloading the photo and blowing it up and you can clearly see the word “Remington” above the serial number.

        Besides that, Cobain used a Remington Model 11 20-gauge, not an A5.

        This gun looks like an Auto-5 in some ways, but it is missing the magazine cutoff lever that should be located on the left side of the receiver just behind where the forearm mounts. See the picture below.

        This isn’t the first time Outdoor Hub has posted articles that are inaccurate or clearly written by people who know little or nothing about guns, or in this case about the topic they are writing about, such as what kind of shotgun Cobain used. Shoddy journalism.

      3. Here’s the picture from the article blown up . . . I hope. If the photo function works right.

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