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A Very Early Gun

This gun has serial number 34832.

This gun is unique, in that it is chambered for the 16 gauge shell and stamped U.S. property. I have been told that these guns were used to train Naval gunners. My attempts at researching this gun always result in frustration as I always find conflicting data.

Pre World War II Browning A5 with US stamp

Today is December 29, 2019. And as I'm updating this webpage, I decide to take another run at finding information about this one. Again it led to frustration, so I broke down and ordered Browning Auto-5 Shotguns, The Belgian FN Production - Revised, Second Edition.

Update: January 3, 2020 - My book came in and it appears the 16 gauge gun was likey made in 1928.

1937 12ga. beside the Unidentified 16 ga. for Comparison

Pre World War II Browning A5 with US stamp

The Barrel on the 16 gauge is 4" longer than the 12 gauge

16 and 12 gauge pre-war Brownings

If I were shown this photo and asked to guess which one is stamped U.S., without a doubt I would guess the shorter 12 gauge, but I would be wrong.


16 and 12 gauge pre-war Brownings





Pre-War Browning A5 16 gauge stamped US

The 16 ga. Butt Pad has the FN Logo

1937 FN Auto 5

The 12 ga. Butt Pad has the Dog Head

1937 FN Auto 5

Note: Regarding the Serial Number Table for the Pre-WWII 12 ga. guns 1924 - 1939, see this page for 12 ga. Serial Numbers.


Browning Auto 5 in 12 gauge and FN Auto 5 in 16 gauge

In my online research today, I found that Browning offers Historical Letters that include:

  • Date of Manufacture
  • Invoice Number
  • Date of Sale (the sale to where the gun was originally shipped)
  • A basic description of the firearm.

All letters come on official Browning Historic Letterhead which is authentically stamped and enclosed in a plastic cover. Contact: 1-800-333-3288

A great gun collection doesn't have to consist of all high-dollar guns!

This 1963 Colt Semi-Auto 12 Gauge is one of 5,000 shotguns made in Italy under a 5 year contract with Franchi (1962 - 1966). I purchased it in a local gun store for $500 a few years back. After researching it, I learned it's 1 of 260 with a unique serial number.

  Colt Custom Shotgun
2,8,88

Standard Model

2,1,45

Custom Grade

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