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Old Trooper Gunsmiths LLC


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Owed to the mighty Auto 5

Posted on February 1, 2017 at 5:10 PM
As I wright this me left thumb is a fresh bandage due to the finely crafted, still very sharp inner receiver from my personal auto 5. So spell check is working overtime today.  So those old line gunsmiths (if any of them actually read this thing) you can massage your "auto 5 scar" and reminisce with me..    Or at least stop laughing long enough....

     The auto 5 for me was a gun that I never realized I wanted until I had a few come in for maintenance. well to be more exact, I had a browning auto5, a Stevens, Remington and a savage come in. One had suffered from an overcharged round, another for cleaning and the other for a few "tweeeks". And it became a very much "love hate" relationship with the browning design. First thing you will notice from a maintenance standpoint is the proliferation of screws. Tiny capture screws, large carrier screws. And when I say tiny capture screws, these make the ones on a K98 look massive in comparison. And EVERY MAJOR SCREW and even a capture pin HAS AT LEAST ONE!! So, yeah, there are a lot of screws. Are they really necessary? Honestly, not sure.
     Second thing you will notice is everything is very well fitted. The blue, yes, never seen one in any other original  finish that was not blue. is the old line deep blue, and all the woodwork is fitted very tightly with fine checkering. Even the copy's for the most part are similarly fitted.
     The gun is gorgeous in its own ugly, humpback sort of way. Any well heeled sportsman of the 20's-1950's had this on his list of "prestigious guns" to buy.  So, there are a few of them out there. some still minty and in the box, some beaten, broken but still serviceable. 
    Why so many? Despite having a high price tag, they were a very well constructed gun. that will give many, many years of service. It was designed by no other than John Moses Browning around the turn of the last century. And most of you historical gun junkies know that there are quite a few of his designs still in service that are relatively unchanged.  More on the Browning connection later.  But, this being the proverbial "tank" of the semi auto shotgun world, they just simply do not break. But if they do... Well, that is why old gunsmiths have scars. Lots of them.

        Operation: This is a blow back (recoil) operated arm. So, unlike the vast majority of semi auto shotguns out there it will run most of anything. With little need to watch MOST loads.  And those of you that run a semi auto know the pain of fiddling with a gas system, finding the shells that your gun "likes", and the nightmare that is cleaning on some..  This, none of that.  The drawback, well.. the phrase "jackhammer" is used to describe the recoil. That is probably why all the major screws have a capture screw to keep them from backing out during operation!  This may also be why they have a lot of cracked butt stocks. A recoil pad is almost a REQUIREMENT on an auto5!
      The truly interesting thing (for me at least) is the Auto5's method of operation. Barrel and bolt recoil as one. Initially. Once pressure drops, the bolt than continues rearward taking the fired case with it. Than is pushed forward by the stout operating spring where it picks up another shell and chambers it.  Sound Familiar to any of you Machine gunners?  YES!! This is the missing link (well sort of) in machine gun evolution between the colt "potato digger" and the 1917 Machine gun.  I will not go into the operation of the colt MG, but think of a reversed,belt fed, lever action with the level being actuated by the blast of  gas from the firing. Good concept, but a sort of evolutionary dead end. Well Browning always strove for improvement. Wanted a new MG (machine gun) to compete with the Maxim/Vickers guns. Using the delayed, recoil operation concept he learned and perfected with the auto 5, he modified it with the belt feed and top cover of his previous design of the potato digger.  And , well there you have it. The 1917, water cooled MG stayed in service till after Korea, and the 1919 air cooled stayed in service with the us till the 1960's And its Big football player of a son the legendary M2 .50 cal Heavy Machine gun is still with us today. Another odd thing, the smaller (30.06) 1917 and 1919 guns used the  "gas assist" recoil operation. This basically had a "cup" fitted over the muzzle with about an inch or so of space before the actual muzzle. So, much like the "Gas trap" M1 rifle. On the Browning light Machine guns, the blast of gas filled the space, assisting the barrel (that moved independently of the "muzzle cup" ) to the rear. But the mighty M2 uses the pure form of the recoil operation, without the muzzle device. 
     Almost 100 years and still going strong.

   So, being a fan of "how dose this work, how did it get here, what came after" the Auto 5 fills a unique spot in my collection. 

 Now to fire the darn thing...

Old trooper Actual ,


Categories: Gun smith Reviews

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