Browning A5 Shotgun

   09.23.13

This isn’t your grandpa’s A5. The A5 shotgun is one of the most famous John Browning designs, and when Browning came out with a new version of classic firearm they added modern updates while still staying true to the qualities that A5 owners love so much. Some people may not like that the new A5 has some different features, but I think Browning has done a nice job of updating the gun while maintaining its old feel.

Let’s start out with how the new A5 works. The original A5 is a long-recoil-operated gun. When fired, the A5’s barrel and bolt recoiled together. This design has been used for generations and has more than proven itself in the field.

The new A5 is also a recoil-operated firearm but uses the new Kinematic Drive System. When the new A5 is fired, an internal spring accumulates recoil energy and bounces back, unlocking the bolt and cycling the action. This new systems handles a variety of shells and loads (including 3-1/2-inch shells on certain models), so no mater what game you are after the gun will cycle. You can see the gun in action in this our video review below.

The Kinematic Drive System design allows for the A5 to have a much narrower forearm that is easy to handle and maneuver. With the new A5, you will probably feel a little more recoil, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal.

Browning kept the humpback design on the new A5. Besides keeping the same look, the humpback on the gun extends your sight plane to allow for faster target acquisition. If you aren’t used to shooting an A5 it will seem a little awkward at first, but it doesn’t take long to get used to.

The receiver is made out of aircraft-grade aluminum, making it lightweight and strong. The gun itself feels light and handles well. Weight varies based on the model, but most weigh within a few ounces, give or take, of seven pounds. The A5 is very well-balanced, even with longer or shorter barrels.

For a better shot pattern, the A5 features backbored barrels and the Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones. These features help reduce shot deformity and result in a better, more consistent pattern.

Some A5 models include Browning's new Invector DS choke tubes.
Some A5 models include Browning’s new Invector-DS choke tubes.

Browning’s new Invector-DS choke tubes are also included with some A5 models. The new choke tube design has a brass alloy band at its end. This keeps gasses and other materials from getting in between the choke tube and the barrel, making them easier to remove after extended shooting. The longer choke tubes have a more gradual taper to help keep the shot column in place.

The A5 sports a bolt latch button that keeps the bolt open when the gun is empty. To operate, you push the large button in front of the trigger guard pull the bolt back and it will stay open. When the bolt is closed and chamber is empty, the bolt unlatch button also can be used to take a round from the magazine and move it onto the carrier for loading.

To help reduce felt recoil, the A5 has an Inflex II Recoil pad. The recoil pad is a nice size and for me doesn’t snag on clothing, and it’s very easy to shoulder.

The A5 also has the Turnkey Magazine Plug like the Maxus has. This feature allows you to easily remove the magazine plug using a car or house key. I really like this feature because I usually send the magazine spring flying when I take the plug out of my Winchester SX3.

Speed loading is an original Browning feature that has been passed down to the new A5. This feature allows the first shell loaded into the magazine to feed directly into the chamber. It also allows you to completely unload the A5 without having to run each shell through the chamber. You can see that work in the video review above.

Priced in the $1,500 to $1,700 range, it’s on the high end of hunting shotguns. However, I think that you really get what you pay for with the new Browning A5: a high-quality firearm.

As an owner of my grandpa’s A5 I have to say I like the new version. It handles nice, shoots a variety of loads, and has a nostalgic feel with well-done modern updates.

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