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Browning Auto-5 History

The production of the Auto-5 began in 1902. Produced by F.N., John M. Browning ordered 10,000 of these shotguns in his first order. In 1999 Browning issued the "Final Tribute" version featuring engraved scens of John M. Browning, the F.N. Factory and the Browning Brothers first store. Only 1,000 of these were produced in a high-grade wood. Production of the famous "A-5" ceased after this final tribute.

Date Historic Information Serial Number Info
1903-1939 First 10,000 shipped to U.S. Marked with "BROWNING AUTOMATIC ARMS CO. OGDEN UTAH-U.S.A." Very few serial number records remain. Beginning with Serial Number 1 to approximately 228,000. Exact production figures are not available. Year of manufacture on Pre-World War II production is strictly a guess.
1940-1946 From 1940 to 1946 production of the Auto-5 was turned over to Remington. Serial number is on the side of receiver. "ABC" for American made Version. (A=16 gauge, B-12 gauge, C=20 gauge) 1946+229,000-237,000
1947   237001-249000
1948   249001-270000
1949   270001-285000
1950   285001-315000
1951   315001-346000
1952 F.N. took over production of the Auto-5. 346001-387000
1953   387000-438000
1954-55 Serial Numbering System changed. H=Standard Weight. L=Light Weight. H1-H83000
1956 Serial Number designation for the Light Weight changed to G. H83001-H99000
1957 Serial Numbering System changed again. M=Standard Weight. G=Light Weight. M22000-M85000
1958-67 From 1958 serial numbers were preceded by the date of manufacture. 8M=standard weight for 1958. 8G=light weight for 1958.
Example: 8M1000 = A 1958 Auto-5 standard weight shotgun with serial number 1000
M=standard weight
G=light weight
1968-76 In 1969 Browning started using two digits for the date of manufacture which was followed by a four digit code that identified the type of Auto-5:
M=standard weight
G=light weight

This was then followed by the serial number beginning with 1000.
Example: 69G1000 = A 1969 Auto-5 Lightweight 12 ga.. shotgun with a serial number of 1000.
M-standard weight
G=light weight
1976-1997 In 1976 Browning standardized its serial number identification which it followed until 1998.
1. Auto-5 Type 151=Magnum 12 gauge
161=Magnum 20 gauge
211=Light 12 gauge
221=Sweet 16
231=Light 20 gauge
2. Date of Manufacture
is a two digit code
3. Serial Number
beginning with 01001
at the start of each year.


Number Example:


This would be an Auto-5 Magnum 12 ga.,manufactured in 1976 with the serial number 01001.

1999 The Auto-5 was discontinued for 2000. To commemorate this historic event for the Auto-5, Browning released the "Final Tribute" version in 1999.
1. Serial Number
beginning with 1001
at the start of each year.
2. Date of Manufacture
is a two digit code
2000 (distribution began in 1999)
3. Auto-5 Type FT="Final Tribute" 12 ga.


Number Example:


This would be a Auto-5 "Final Tribute" 12 ga., manufactured in 1999 with the serial number 1001.


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