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The best second-hand semi-autos for under £850

A reader on a budget of £850 wants to buy a semi-auto from an established manufacturer. What does Mike George recommend?

“I wish to buy a semi-auto, mainly for clays but also for a little pigeon shooting. I don’t really want to spend more than £850, and I want one made by one of the major, well-established manufacturers.”

Finding a bargain second-hand semi-auto

Did you know up to 75 per cent of all the Land Rovers ever made are still on the road? What’s that to do with guns? Well, in an article he wrote in 2013, gunsmith Jason Harris compared the Browning Auto 5 to the Land Rover in terms of long-lived reliability.

To fire an original A5 is a strange experience, in that it works on the long recoil principle, in which the barrel and bolt recoil backwards together until they re-cock the hammer, spit out the fired case, and reload a fresh cartridge from the magazine tube.

After production of the original A5 ceased in 2000, Browning designers started thinking about a replacement, still to be called the A5 but working on a totally different principle. And that’s the gun which is going to be my top choice as a bargain second-hand semi-auto.