Belgium Browning A5 and steel shot

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Belgium Browning A5 and steel shot

Postby gatorman » Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:11 pm

I have a Browning A5 that my father used regularly for duck hunting but I have never used it since the requirement to use non-toxic shot went into effect. Some folks have told me that the new steel shot loads won't hurt the gun and others have said I should not use steel shot in the gun. Anyone have an opinion or advice.
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Postby Jhworley » Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:14 pm

I have a Belgium 20 gauge... and a Jap 12 Gauge Auto 5. Both of them say ** Special Steel** on the barrel. If yours DOES NOT... DON"T SHOOT STEEL. IF it does: Your good to go.

Not an expert, but that much I do know
good luck
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Postby gatorman » Sun Dec 16, 2007 8:22 pm

Thank you The barrel does say ** special steel** which I frankly never noticed before. Maybe I can get the old gun back out to the duck blind. Thanks again.
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Postby plainsman » Sun Dec 16, 2007 9:56 pm

An old A5 will handle steel shot from a full choke very well...just try to keep it #2 or smaller. If you've got a mod choke....go nuts and enjoy the finest semi ever made
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Postby buck_uncle » Thu Dec 20, 2007 3:54 am

if I were you i'd only shoot lead or kent tungsten matrix because neither will damage your gun, steel can
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Postby sigep538 » Fri Dec 21, 2007 12:33 am

Special steel does not mean it supposed to shoot steel from what i understand. I will not put it through my Light Twenty. But do what you want :rolleyes:
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Postby Sagebrush » Fri Dec 21, 2007 11:07 am

I have seen pictures on the net where the barrels have split or cracked at the muzzle. Some get a "Buldge" behind the choke.

I had two barrels a full and a mod for my soft barrels. Shot the
Mod with 1oz # 5 steel, but had ejection problems, so am using another newer gun.

I still have six boxs of Bismuth # 2's for it though. :thumbsup:
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Postby waterfowlhunter » Fri Dec 21, 2007 8:51 pm

My dad and I shot steel shot in 2 auto-5's that were made in 1964. The special steel stamp on the barrel is just an indication of the alloy used and they are very hard, it has Nothing to do with steel shot. They both had WELL OVER 1000 rounds each thru them and not one mark in the barrel. They were both Full choke and shot #4 and #2 just fine. He retired them last year when he bought a new MP153 and Win X2
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Postby red foot » Mon Dec 24, 2007 5:31 pm

I have a pre 64 with a full choke. I don't know what steel shot caused it, but my barrel is bulged. I think the prevoius posts suggesting keeping the shot size at #2 or below will be good advice. Otherwise, you may want to get a used or at least different barrel for steel. Also, keep an eye on the fore arm and keep the friction rings in the right sequence. The steel loads are a little hotter than the old lead loads and you can develop longitudinal cracks in the old wood :eek:

I have mothballed the A-5 and now shoot a Benelli Super Black Eagle. It has its own issues, but for the most part, a great alternative!
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Postby MM » Tue Dec 25, 2007 12:01 am

I have a browning A-500 which I used in the field last year. It was the smoothest best swinging gun. I killed lots of ducks with it last year but was forced to retire it. I was doing a 4 day hunt and got it wet, put it in the case, forgot about it, and got some rust spots on it. I was pretty sad... It was one of the last guns they made in Belgium.

Anyone else have one of these?

If anyone knows where to get a 3" A5 that they are wanting to get rid of please let me know. I have been trying to find one for years!

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Postby ninethreeeleven » Tue Dec 25, 2007 5:20 am

Sagebrush wrote:I have seen pictures on the net where the barrels have split or cracked at the muzzle. Some get a "Buldge" behind the choke.

I had two barrels a full and a mod for my soft barrels. Shot the
Mod with 1oz # 5 steel, but had ejection problems, so am using another newer gun.

I still have six boxs of Bismuth # 2's for it though. :thumbsup:


I have one of these in my basement. If any one is really interested I can grab it and get pics sometime today.
It looks as if you put your finger in the barrel and (being really really strong) pushed down a quarter inch or so.
It's not immediately apparent but it's definitely there.
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Postby doylineduckkiller » Tue Dec 25, 2007 1:49 pm

my dad has an a-5 light 12 belgum and everyone always said not to shoot steel shot threw it but after reading this post i went and looked at the barrel and what do you know it says special steel guess i dont have to buy an new semi after all
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Postby Arkduckhunter » Thu Dec 27, 2007 7:38 am

I have shot well over 1000 rnd of #4 steel outta my dads pre 64 Light 12...never had a prob and never noticed any signs of stress. just my .02.

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Postby dx1187 » Thu Jan 03, 2008 5:30 am

I did some reading up on the A5 and everything I read said not to run steel through the Belgium made guns but the Jap mad A5's were fine to shoot steel out of.
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Re: Belgium Browning A5 and steel shot

Postby Bridlewood Farms » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:24 pm

I shoot a 1952 Belgium made Browning A5 with fixed full choke. This gun only shoots 2 3/4 shells but has worked flawlessly for me deer hunting, in the dove fields, and in the duck blinds. As far as steel shot goes I've shot only #2 and #4 shot (mostly #4). I have never had any issue with my A5 as a result of shooting steel through a fixed full choke barrel. I've always heard to keep it #2 and bellow and you will be fine. From experience I can say that is a true statement.
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Re: Belgium Browning A5 and steel shot

Postby Frank Lopez » Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:47 pm

As has been stated, "Special Steel" has to do with the material the barrel is made from, not steel shot. Per Browning, "Do not shoot steel shot through any Belgian made gun". Of course, this could be a CYA thing from Browning, but they are pretty emphatic about steel in Belgian guns. CIP, on the other hand, has a series of recommendations for the use of steel shot in older guns not proofed for steel. Basically, don't use any load over 1 1/8oz, no shot larger than #4, no MV higher than 1400fps and no choke tighter than modified. And, yes, the CIP recommendation was published well after Roster invented the thick petaled wad.

That said, there are a ton of old A5s out there that people are shooting steel through with little of no problems. About the biggest problem that one can experience is a bulge in the barrel right behind the choke. And while this walnut is noticeable, and probably an annoyance to anyone who has one, it is purely cosmetic and will not effect the way the gun shoots. About the safest thing to do is to see if you can find a steel safe barrel for the gun, especially if it is of any sentimental value.

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