Browning Auto 5: A Top-Selling Semi-Auto Shotgun

posted on August 29, 2020

John Moses Browning received a patent for his semi-automatic Auto 5 in 1900 and two years later Fabrique Nationale’s factories in Belgium were producing the long-lasting design for civilian use.

Last year, more than 100 years after its design, Browning’s A5—the next in the family line from the famed gunmaker—took fourth place in’s annual rankings of top-selling firearms. “You may notice a family resemblance, but let’s get one thing straight, this ain’t your Grandpa’s Auto-5,” Browning’s website explains. “In fact, the iconic humpback-shaped receiver is the only thing this new Browning autoloader shares with its legendary namesake.”

The gun maintains the classic and timeless look that made it so popular, but the company improved operation and reduced recoil when it added its Kinematic-driven operating system in 2012. When American Rifleman tested a 16-ga. version three years ago, its staff concluded, “All-in-all, the Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen is a sweetheart for the 16-ga. aficionado, and for those unfamiliar with this old, traditional gauge, it’s a treat in the field and worth checking out.”

Browning currently offers eight different versions of the A5, each backed by a 100,000-round or five-year guarantee. Three wear different Mossy Oak camouflage patterns—in either Break-Up Country or Shadow Grass Blades. The Stalker is all black and four have the company’s signature wood and fine finish.

Top of the line is the A5 Ultimate, with an MSRP of $2,029. The 12 gauge chambers 3" shotshells, comes with three choke tubes and carries a hand-rubbed, oil-like finish on its walnut stock and fore-end. Checkering is 22 lpi. The satin finish on the receiver and gold-plated trigger give it the signature look that says “Browning.” Barrel lengths available are 26" and 28".

The Stalker model is the bargain in the line, coming in at $1,539. The 16 gauge currently lists at $1,739.99. Browning also offers a variety of limited production-run A5s.


Springfield Armory XD M Elite 10 Mm OSP
Springfield Armory XD M Elite 10 Mm OSP

NRA Gun Of The Week: Springfield Armory XD-M Elite 4.5” OSP In 10 mm Auto

Watch American Rifleman staff on the range to learn about the 10 mm Auto-chambered XD-M Elite 4.5” OSP, one of the latest offerings in Springfield Armory's feature-rich lineup of Croatian-made pistols.

The Armed Citizen® Dec. 2, 2022

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

Rifleman Q&A: M1903 vs. M1903A1 Rifles

I’ve seen references to an M1903A1 rifle. I’ve looked around at a bunch of gun shows, and I have not found a rifle marked “M1903A1.” How does that variant differ from a standard M1903 rifle?

PrairieFire Emerges Following Front Sight Chapter 11 Filing

PrairieFire announced this week that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada confirmed the Chapter 11 plan of reorganization under which it will acquire 100 percent of Front Sight Management’s equity.

5 Common Grip & Stance Mistakes

Even for those who are seasoned and train regularly, sometimes mistakes can persist when it comes to shooting techniques. Here are five of the most common grip and stance mistakes made by shooters.

Windham Weaponry: Makers Of ARs & More

For Richard Dyke, previous owner of Bushmaster, his legacy has evolved under a new banner, Windham Weaponry, which continues to manufacture a number of AR-type rifles and pistols to this day.


Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.