Outdated Browning ‘Mild Twelve’ Auto-5 Shotgun Assessment :: Weapons.com

Temporary Auto-5 Historical past

In Browning’s personal phrases, he was seeking to create “an enchancment in computerized moveable firearms of the category during which the recoil following the explosion of a cartridge within the gun-barrel is utilized to function the breech mechanism of the gun.” He did precisely that along with his Computerized 5. (Photograph: Browning’s Recoil Operated Firearm Patent, Feb. 8, 1900)

It is exhausting to speak in regards to the Auto-5 – or A5 or Computerized 5 – with out dipping into the effectively of historical past a bit. Browning designed the Auto-5 in 1898. In 1900, he filed his
14-page patent for a recoil-operated firearm (Patent No. 659,507) that detailed an ingenious however hardy semi-auto shotgun working system – then known as an computerized – that proved to be sturdy and dependable. 

If there was any want to check that declare, it could be the truth that the design has seen over a century of service in searching fields, to not point out a short wartime stint between 1944 and 1945 when manufacturing was largely limited to servicemen.

Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun Patent
Whereas not the primary to pursue a semi-auto shotgun platform, Browning succeeded in making a gun “during which the elements are constructed with specific reference to simplicity of development, power, sturdiness, and reliability of operation.” (Photograph: Browning’s Recoil Operated Firearm Patent, Feb. 8, 1900)

In impact, Browning had created the primary dependable and mass-producible, recoil-operated semi-auto shotgun. The following query was how one can get it made. If the tales are to be believed, he first introduced his new design to Winchester – an everyday consumer of Browning’s designs – however they refused. 

He then headed to Remington, however destiny stepped in when the president of the corporate died of a coronary heart assault as Browning waited to current his design. Therefore, Browning headed off to Fabrique Nationale Herstal (FN) in Belgium, which proved to be a fateful resolution. Manufacturing started in 1902 in Belgium, although each Savage and Remington realized the worth of the design and later produced their very own variants. 

Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun Period Ads
For effectively over a century now, Browning’s Auto-5 and its varied iterations have been bringing down recreation in fields around the globe. (Photograph: Classic Auto-5 Adverts)


Our Mild Twelve

Shotguns weren’t my old flame when it got here to previous firearms, however the previous Humpback was in all probability the primary shotgun I might reliably identify when staring on the gun rack behind my native sporting items retailer as a child. The gun has a glance, however that look has a perform. It’s nearly unappealing at first, however it grows on you.

Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
Whereas this mannequin has a little bit of an odd and specific serial quantity, the markings on the receiver that designate it as a “Mild Twelve” make it a post-WWII manufacturing gun doubtless from the Nineteen Sixties. Although, I’m open to any perception into the serial quantity from these extra accustomed to the Auto-5 household. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)

This specific gun had us scratching our heads for a bit. It’s marked as a “Mild Twelve,” however then it had a serial quantity that appeared outdoors of the vary of the usual Mild Twelve line. Somebody smarter than me is required to put the gun in its finest context, however it must be secure to say this scattergun is a post-WWII shotgun, and that’s the reason the “Mild Twelve” made it in on the receiver.

Regardless, the gun has some capturing chops even when in comparison with trendy shotguns right now. The load is on the heavier aspect, regardless of the Mild Twelve designation, however the shotgun swings quick and goals effectively on even quick low-flying clays. I had it out with a Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 that shot nice. However my private alternative would have been the previous Auto-5.

Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
The “hump” within the form is evident, however the gun sights and shoots comfortably. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)
Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
Talking of sighting, there’s a mid and entrance bead together with anti-glare cuts alongside the rib. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)

The Light Twelve was mainly a lighter model of the usual Auto-5 and got here into manufacturing after World Battle II. Ours bears “made in Belgium” on the barrel with the corresponding proof marks. Whereas Browning has a number of new A5 shotguns available on the market today, this previous basic can nonetheless maintain its personal, and you may snag one at a reasonably budget-friendly value. 

RELATED: Classic Browning Auto-5 Shotguns From the Guns.com Warehouse


Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
Together with the aspect of the receiver, the gun nonetheless reveals ornamental markings on the set off guard and tang. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)
Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
Although, the once-gold set off definitely reveals years of capturing put on. (Photograph: Seth Rodgers/Weapons.com)

Surprisingly, original-design Auto-5s will not be unusual friends within the Weapons.com Licensed Used warehouse, regardless of their age and long-since-ended manufacturing run. This Mild Twelve is wieldy, shoulders quick, and feels stable within the arms. I’ve been on a shotgun kick lately, however between 12-gauge pump-action affairs, tactical bullpups, and even a 12+1 Snow Goose gun, I’ve to confess I loved capturing this all-steel Auto-5 probably the most.

Specs & Options

It’s nearly inconceivable to overlook the “hump” function on the basic Auto-5, however after capturing the gun, it feels prefer it’s not value mentioning. My first thought was that the dramatic angle would influence my line of sight when capturing, however the darn factor defies logic and contours up fast, straightforward, and naturally. As an alternative, I discover the furnishings stands out for me on the Auto-5 household even within the trendy sea of polymer molds. 

Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
Although restricted to strategic places, the checkering remains to be optimistic a long time later. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)

Frankly, the checkering on these previous wooden shares and foregrips are extra optimistic over half a century later than your customary fiber/polymer replacements that dominate the market right now. The gun feels nice within the hand and swings naturally. There are many choices today. The Auto-5 was meant to be a working man’s semi-auto hunter, however it has a stage of sophistication that’s exhausting to disclaim.

Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
As a working man’s gun, sling swivels would have been appreciated, and this used gun for the Weapons.com Vault got here with a good-looking leather-based sling as effectively. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)

I obtained excited sufficient to interrupt down this gun into some extra specifics:


  • Set off Pull: 3.2 kilos
  • Weight With Sling: 8.4 kilos
  • Complete Size: 49 inches
  • Barrel: 28.5 inches
  • Slight Proper-Hand Solid (Off): Could possibly be warp from age
  • Chamber: 2.75 inches
  • Mounted Choke: Seems to be full
  • Ahead Pitch: 2.5 inches
  • Drop at Comb: 1.75 inches
  • Drop at Heel: 2.4 inches
  • LOP Middle: 14.375 inches 
  • LOP Heel: 14.75
  • LOP Toe: 14.75
Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
The gun supplies ample room for loading and does so simply, although controls weren’t outsized. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)
Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
Whereas plastic and missing something resembling a recoil pad, the butt plate nonetheless proudly reveals the gun’s Browning/FN origins. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)

I’ve shot some good wing-shooting weapons lately that have been lighter and quicker, however I’m impressed by the general efficiency of the Auto-5. 



Browning Light Twelve Auto 5 Shotgun
The gun hosts a rear trigger-guard security button that’s textured. Whereas it is no spring hen, the set off is mild and quick. After a number of outings and varied manufacturers of two.75-inch shells, I’ve no reliability points to report. However do keep in mind these older weapons deserve a bit extra cleansing time after use than most trendy 12-gauge shotguns. (Photograph: Paul Peterson/Weapons.com)

The gun shoulders remarkably effectively, and it’s a pleasure to wield on the vary. Regardless of its age, the checkering on the inventory and foregrip are very optimistic. Extra to the purpose, loading and unloading really feel pure and require little or no muscle reminiscence. 

I’ve carried heavier weapons into the sphere, and I’ve taken some good trendy semi-auto shotguns from Mossberg and a Remington pump out for testing. However the controllability, recoil, and efficient capturing of the Auto-5 is noticeable. The gun desires to shoot – and hit – absolutely anything you’re prepared to carry it on so far as targets go.

RELATED: Remington 870 Wingmaster – Great First Shotgun Choice

The recoil is mild, which is helped by the burden and the design. Plus, the capability of 5 rounds in a gun designed over a century in the past is loads for many functions.

Execs & Cons

Old Browning ‘Light Twelve’ Auto-5 Shotgun Review :: Guns.com is written by for www.guns.com

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