Japanese vs Belgium A5

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Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby band_blaster » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:02 am

So I have always wanted an A5 i have the chance at picking up a 12g A5 that was built in Japan but i am worried because i was told that the Japanese A5 is poor quality and i should stay away from it and just save more money to pick up a Belgium built A5. Is there really that much of a difference? Ive read that the Japan built A5 uses a better steel for the barrel therefore it is better for use as a waterfowl gun than the Belgium built. And also that the Belgium built has issues with rust do to the way the wood was treated to cure/dry quicker. Only people with actual experience please reply. Thanks in advance
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby apexhunter » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:21 am

There are 2 sides to this longstanding debate and both have valid points. Belgium guns fetch a premium as they are definitely more collectible and people consider them the "true Auto-5". On the other side there is the fact that later models made in Japan utilized the advantage of modern metallurgy for the components used to manufacture the guns and many believe they are better pieces because of this. One critical factor is the use of steel shot is definitely not recommended in any belgium piece unless you have a replacement barrel of Jap origin as one stands a very good chance of bulging or splitting the barrel.

Simply put, a well maintained Belgium piece can provide generations of faithful and reliable service, but at a slightly higher price and the Jap models do the same without such a premium value and the chance at reducing a true collector piece's value.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby OHIODUCKA5 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:29 am

I hunt with a Belgium A-5. Orginal barrel with no issues. My opinion is the wood is better on the Belgium guns. The Jap A-5 are nice looking but to me it's not an A-5. I believe that the new ones are made in Spain but I could be wrong
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby flyndutchman » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:07 am

My hunting partner has an old Belgium built 12 Magnum. He bought a Japanese built screw in choke barrel for it and it does well except the original wool cracked multiple times through the pistol grip. He is replacing it with a synthetic stock. The bad wood and rust problem I think you are referring to is the "salt wood" problem. You will have to do more research to find exactly which years it was used and avoid those years of manufacture when looking for a Belgium built Auto 5.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby band_blaster » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:23 am

Thank you very much for the quick answers i will post pics later today of the A5 I will more than likely purchase.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby A5Mag12 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:13 pm

There are/were no salt wood A-5's. The Japanese A-5's are better built than Belgian A-5's of the late '60's early '70's as to fit and finish but not quite what the guns of the mid '50's early '60's are. Miroku and FN. Both great gun manufacturers that Browning contracted to build A-5's for them. Both are in foreign country's. How are the guns made for Browning by one company Browning A-5's and the other not?
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby z51 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 6:19 pm

The Jap A5s are all approved for steel loads, the older Belgian guns are not. If you plan to waterfowl hunt get a Jap gun, they hell for stout and well made.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:38 pm

I take it we are talking about the yammamoto (think thats right) pointers???? quite a few of them for sale over here in N.Z. always wondered what the skinny was on them.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby A5Mag12 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:40 am

Elvis Kiwi wrote:I take it we are talking about the yammamoto (think thats right) pointers???? quite a few of them for sale over here in N.Z. always wondered what the skinny was on them.

No. We are talking about Browning A-5's. The pointers were clones.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby Frank Lopez » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:07 pm

Browning recommends NOT shooting steel loads through any Belgian made gun. AFAIK, the Japanese A5s are ok to shoot steel. If that is a consideration.

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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby solway gunner » Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:46 pm

ive shot hundred upon hundred of 3"steel rounds through my A5 mags without ANY negative issues whatsoever.the chokes were originaly full,but I had them opened out to approx. I/m constrtiction which is pretty mandatory with any fixed choke gun for shooting steel safely.Dont forget that these guns were built and DESIGNED to launch as much shot as Winchester and Remington could cram into a 3" hull, lateraly 17/8th super xx magnums.,the recoil from these make most 3"steel loads seem tame.forends crack when slack minded individuals forget how to build a gun properly and forget which way the recoil spacers were fitted ,or omitted them in order to fire 23/4" shells from a 3" gun then forget,and fire some 3"out of the gun.
in my book its Belgium.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby A5Mag12 » Wed Jun 26, 2013 5:23 pm

I have a dozen or so A-5's left and regularly shoot 5 of them. A '55, Belgian Sweet a '57, Light 12, A '58 Light 20, a Jap Mg 20 and Mag 12. I love them all and whichever one I happen to be shooting is my favorite A-5. Buy the one that's the best deal you can find. If you are one that will not shoot steel in an original Belgian barrel then add a Invector or Hastings barrel or just find an extra Belgian barrel and have it opened up. Or find one with a poly choke on it and you re set for everything. You can generally buy what would be an $800.00-$1000.00, A-5 for $600.00-$750.00 with a Poly choke on it if you shop a bit.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby Frank Lopez » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:47 pm

solway gunner wrote:Dont forget that these guns were built and DESIGNED to launch as much shot as Winchester and Remington could cram into a 3" hull, lateraly 17/8th super xx magnums.,the recoil from these make most 3"steel loads seem tame.


I don't think that Browning was worried about recoil! Those 1 7/8oz super mag loads were lead and were not prone to shot bridging through the choke, which was one of Browning's main concerns. The other concern was the possibility of a scored barrel from steel shot. That concern has mostly been put to rest with the newer, thicker "Roster style" wads, so it is certainly possible, in my opinion, to safely shoot steel through a Belgian made gun. Nevertheless, Browning has issued the statement, though probably for liability relief.

Frank
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby mawtrfowler » Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:21 pm

I have two Belgian A5's and one Japanese in the safe and my uncle uses a Belgian for all of his duck hunting. If you stick with smaller size steel you shouldn't have any problems but if you plan on using it as a your primary duck gun either get a Japanese made A5 or a Japanese barrel and you'll be able to shoot any load and you can have screw in chokes.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby Windrider » Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:33 pm

They both go bang every time you pull the trigger.

Belgium models are more collectible as are every browning made there, not just A5s. If the Jap guns are junk, then so is every citori that's ever come off the line. Same factory.

1952-1966 is the golden age with the cross bolt safety and the round knob. Before 52 a safety in the front of the trigger guard was used. This safety is more complicated and can be difficult to maintain over the long run. Flat knobs from 1967-1976 are less desirable. I believe they are all hand checkered. Not recommended for steel, but many people use steel without problems with size 2 and smaller shot. If you are worried, have Briley thin walls installed that are steel safe. Chokes pattern "tight". (Note: Remington made the A5 from 39-50 due to the occupation of Belgium by German forces. We shall not discuss those.)

Production moved to Japan is 1976 and the vast majority of 76 guns are of Jap manufacture. Jap guns have machined checkering. Fixed choke Jap barrels are not recommended for steel shot, but are shot by many with size 2 or smaller shot with no problems. Invector choked barrels are considered steel shot safe. Reintroduction of the round knob occurred at about the same time as the introduction of choke tubes around 1989.

Hastings after market barrels are awesome for steel shot.

I have and have had more than my fair share. It's my favorite. Oldest was a 1927 16ga and newest is a 1993 20ga Magnum.

Main waterfowl shotgun is a 62 receiver,with synthetic stocks a 32 inch jap invector barrel that's all Teflon coated black. Third finish and second stocks on her. Hunted almost every one of the last 51 seasons. One replacement part. Can't go wrong.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby Yuchi1 » Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:45 am

Windrider wrote:They both go bang every time you pull the trigger.

Belgium models are more collectible as are every browning made there, not just A5s. If the Jap guns are junk, then so is every citori that's ever come off the line. Same factory. Add in every BPS & BGH10 as well.

1952-1966 is the golden age with the cross bolt safety and the round knob. Before 52 a safety in the front of the trigger guard was used. This safety is more complicated and can be difficult to maintain over the long run. Flat knobs from 1967-1976 are less desirable. I believe they are all hand checkered. Not recommended for steel, but many people use steel without problems with size 2 and smaller shot. If you are worried, have Briley thin walls installed that are steel safe. Chokes pattern "tight". (Note: Remington made the A5 from 39-50 due to the occupation of Belgium by German forces. We shall not discuss those.)

Production moved to Japan is 1976 and the vast majority of 76 guns are of Jap manufacture. Jap guns have machined checkering. Fixed choke Jap barrels are not recommended for steel shot, but are shot by many with size 2 or smaller shot with no problems. Invector choked barrels are considered steel shot safe. Reintroduction of the round knob occurred at about the same time as the introduction of choke tubes around 1989.

Hastings after market barrels are awesome for steel shot. Have two (2) of 'em for mine. :thumbsup:

I have and have had more than my fair share. It's my favorite. Oldest was a 1927 16ga and newest is a 1993 20ga Magnum.

Main waterfowl shotgun is a 62 receiver,with synthetic stocks a 32 inch jap invector barrel that's all Teflon coated black. Third finish and second stocks on her. Hunted almost every one of the last 51 seasons. One replacement part. Can't go wrong.


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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby band_blaster » Mon Jul 01, 2013 8:30 pm

Awesome!! so do you think $500 is a fair price? im not getting it for the collector value but just because i love the way the A5 shoots and feels.Its gonna be hunted fairly often but it will have to make its appearances between hunts with my Remington and Stoeger.Thank you to everyone for all the info!!!! Very much appreciated
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby g_maxson » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:34 pm

band_blaster wrote:Awesome!! so do you think $500 is a fair price? im not getting it for the collector value but just because i love the way the A5 shoots and feels.Its gonna be hunted fairly often but it will have to make its appearances between hunts with my Remington and Stoeger.Thank you to everyone for all the info!!!! Very much appreciated


Yes. I see them all the time to for less though. Seems to be a favorite gun to trade in at Gander.


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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby band_blaster » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:26 pm

sweet looks like i will be picking it up then. Well after i take it to the range of course
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby Windrider » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:59 pm

I would purchase an A5for $500 in a heartbeat. Especially if it has interchangeable chokes and is in 95% or better condition.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby STEVE IN SOCAL » Fri Jul 12, 2013 6:34 pm

I did bulge a Belgium made A5 mag barrel.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby TaylorMann1 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:52 am

I hunt with a 68 Belgium A5, but I've got a Japan A5 barrel on it that uses the invector chokes so I can shoot a Kick's High Flyer.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby band_blaster » Thu Aug 15, 2013 6:29 pm

ok guys i picked up the A5 it is a Light 12 with a full choke barrel. hasnt been fired in at least 10 yrs ended up getting it for $400 ill post pics tonight when i get home
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby Windrider » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:30 pm

Send it to Briley for a set of steel safe thin walls and you are good to go.

Those Belgium full chokes are really full.

I was I'd picked up a 2 3/4 inch chamber Hastings barrel back in the day.
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Re: Japanese vs Belgium A5

Postby WalpoleTed » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:46 am

Neither the Belgian built nor the Japanese built A5's will win any awards for workmanship, but it's a great design with tons of character. As someone stated earlier, the Belgian (and it is BELGIAN, not Belgium) A5's are more collectible and have a certain panache that the Japanese ones do not. That being said, unless you want to pop for bismuth, etc., stick to the Japanese ones for waterfowl since you can shoot steel through their barrels. Note this doesn't mean the Japanese steel is better, just different.

I believe that you can also equip a Belgian receiver with a steel-safe Japanese barrel, but you might want to check into that a bit more.

With regard to the Browning salt wood issue, I don't believe it affected any A5's, as it was more an issue with moderate to highly figured Claro that was used for stocking Superposeds. And even then, it has been blown way out of proportion by the internet, and is easy to check for if you're concerned.
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