More Browning A5 Questions

AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,719 ✭✭✭
edited September 2017 in Ask the Experts
Just picked up a 16 ga., serial #X15242. It's in pretty good shape, it appears to have been re-blued at some time in the past, but that's OK, it will be a rabbit gun. Anyone know the date of manufacturer? I believe it's an older one; it has the "suicide" safety. That safety snaps off pretty easily but it's tricky to get it on with that little tab on it. What's the trick to that? Also, it has a 3-shot plug in the magazine--what's the trick to removing that?

The guys I hunt rabbits with like to use 16 ga. for nostalgia sake. This is the first A5 but there are 5 Ithaca 37's, a couple of Marlin 90's, a Winchester 97, 2 Winchester 12's, a Noble pump, a Remington 31, a Remington Sportsman 48, and probably a few more that I forgot.

I have an amusing story about a "suicide" safety that I'll tell another time.


  • asphalt cowboyasphalt cowboy Member Posts: 8,572 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1

    Looking at the listing I'm not finding anything to reference an X15242. Having the suicide safety points to a pre-war gun (1908-1939).
    As they state at the link above DOM on those is a guess since a large amount of production records were destroyed during the war.
    As a point of reference the number on my numbers matching 16 gauge gun is 126996 and it's confirmed, via Browning historian, a pre-war A5.

    And just one more bit of information.
    If your gun is a pre-war gun it came from the factory with a short, 2 9/16", chamber. It may, or may not, function with 2 3/4" cartridges if it hasn't been altered to fire them.
    Now, before anybody throws the BS flag, this is something I was told by the browning historian.
    If it will cycle with 2 3/4" cartridges go ahead and use it. (make sure to set the recoil system up for heavy loads prior to initial test fire) The only harm will be increased recoil and questionable patterns. Myself, I strongly recommend having the chamber lengthened for 2 3/4".

    For engaging the safety pressing Up on the tab and holding it while you push to the rear works.

    To remove the magazine plug you may need to remove the magazine spring retainer and possibly the spring. I say May because some plugs have a flange that rests on top of the spring retainer While some may be a simple wooden dowel inside the spring.

    If you already know how to remove the barrel you're ahead of the game. If not, this is the procedure I use.
    Lock the bolt to the rear and place the butt of the gun on the floor. ( from this point on don't let your hands or fingers get anywhere near the bolt release button)
    Grasp the barrel ahead of the for end and push it down just a bit. (that takes spring pressure off of the magazine cap and helps ease removal) Remove the magazine cap, fore end and barrel.
    Inside the end of the magazine is the magazine spring retainer. It's best if you have the proper tool, but it can be done with a small screwdriver. Insert the end of the screwdriver into the center hole and lay it across the magazine tube in the gap in the retainer and gently pry it up out. Make certain, damn certain in fact, that you keep your other hand on top of the spring retainer as the spring is still compressed and it and the retainer will take off like a rocket.
    Allow the spring to decompress by letting an inch or two at a time to come out between your thumb and forefinger. Once the spring is out you can turn the gun over and the plug will fall out.

    Reassembly is just the reverse without the screwdriver. Using both hands compress the spring back into the magazine an inch or three at a time. Once you're down to the last inch place the retainer on the end of the spring and press it down in level the end of the magazine tube. Reinstall barrel, for end and magazine cap and you're done.

    quote:Originally posted by Ambrose
    I have an amusing story about a "suicide" safety that I'll tell another time.

    I've got one of those also.[:I]

    quote:Originally posted by rufe-snow
    X15242 dates to 1948, according to this site.


    That was the list I was looking for, and couldn't find.

    I may be mistaken, but I believe the American Browning and those that followed had 2 3/4" chambers. If Ambrose' barrel is numbers matching there shouldn't be an issue.

    Truly glad I could help Ambrose
    TBH, I sometimes ponder before posting longwinded instructions like that as some might take it as an insult to their intelligence. But then I think of the possibility of someone catching a spring retainer in the eye or the 12-13 year old, who may read it tomorrow, wanting to do all that they can on their own.

    Ambrose, if you ever have the need to reinstall the plug check to see if the long body will fit through the hole in the middle of the mag spring retainer. If it will don't remove the retainer. Just put the plug through the hole and press it down level with the mag end and reinstall the mag cap. That will make it much easier to remove in the future.[;)]
  • rufe-snowrufe-snow Member Posts: 18,517 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    X15242 dates to 1948, according to this site.


    Take AC's warning to heart regarding the short 2 9/16 chamber. I owned a Czech made, 16 gauge, semi-auto years ago. Shooting regular 2 3/4 shells in it. Was nothing but ugly, I couldn't get rid of it, fast enough.
  • AmbroseAmbrose Member Posts: 2,719 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Cowboy: Many thanks for your response. I got the 3-shot plug out with your advice.

    The barrel is marked, "SPECIAL STEEL-16 GAUGE-SHELLS 2 3/4". The barrel has the complete serial number on it in one place and the last 4 numbers on it in another place so I'm quite sure the barrel hasn't been replaced. (The last 4 numbers are even on the heads of the larger screws!) So short chamber is not an issue. Moving that safety to "on" seems awkward though.

    That number X15242 is not a typo: it's on the bottom of the receiver just ahead of the loading port and on the barrel. The last four numbers, 5242 appears in several other places as well. I'm curious as to the age of this gun.

    rufe-snow: Just saw your post. Thank you.

    EDIT: And Cowboy, That 3-shot plug looks like a big wooden nail!

    EDIT II: Thanks, Cowboy, that's a great idea. That would make the magazine spring a little tighter but, with only two shells in the magazine, that would not make any difference. And rufe-snow: This gun was made when I was 11 years old!--I'll be 80 in less than 3 weeks![V]
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