A reader on a budget of £850 wants to buy a semi-auto from an established manufacturer. What does Mike George recommend?
Option 1 Browning A5
What ever you could say in favour of the original A5, you would never call it pretty. Efficient it may have been by the standards of the age, but its hump-backed look dated it. Nevertheless, it was a tough, long-lived design.
- The new gun still has that humped-back feature at the rear of the receiver, but the lines are a bit more flowing and modern.
- One advantage claimed for the humped-back design is that it gives the gun a very long sight plane – a feature shared to a lesser degree by all semi-autos.
- Remember that the long receiver necessitated by all cycling systems means that a semi-auto with a 28-inch barrel points and shoots like a 30-inch break-action gun. The gun is available on the new and second-hand racks with a silver, black or camouflage finish to the receiver.
- Gone is the rather clunky long-recoil system, to be replaced by a bolt working on an inertia system, which is still dependent on recoil, but with fewer moving parts and a faster reloading rate. Like all semi-autos using the inertia system, this means that there is no gas system within the fore-end, and therefore a gun that’s both easier to clean and less likely to fail because of carbon and muck in the system.
- The gun comes with shims to adjust drop and cast of the stock, and a second-hand gun should have a full set of these components with it, together with a full set of choke tubes. These tubes are the same as used with Browning’s B725.