Auto 5 Cases

Discussion in 'Browning Auto A-5' started by Auzzie, Apr 24, 2022.

  1. Jta5er

    Jta5er .270 WIN

    I have no idea where that old case came from, but it’s definitely made for a5 or rem11. It’s falling apart now, but I think it would be a great one to copy.
  2. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    I agree . Certainly looks a neat design worth copying if you can one day. Matches the old A5 , Model 11 period nicely and would be practical as well. I read lot stories on the early 1920’s days of trap shooting and they talk about taking trains to get to the shoots then hitching rides. Sort of kit thing you could imagine doing that with in the era.
  3. Anatidae

    Anatidae .410

    Thanks for the kind acknowledgment.

    Very interesting topic (to me).
    I did some patent searches recently - mainly to see how different components of these cases were made. What I discovered was a timeline of when various patents were filed and approved. I thought that might also indicate an approximate year of manufacture for different style cases from immediate post-war through the time the Orange Tolex style cases appeared around 1955, based on hardware or other features. It would be interesting to know when the leather hinge was replaced by hold-open metal hinges. It’s always the second component that fails - the first seems the be the leather around the handle loops.

    There are about 4 different patents on the handle brackets on the case shown above. Most deal with method of attachment - either tubular post (flared on a back-up washer), split rivet extension of the post, or back-up plate with screws from the inside of the case into the threaded posts on the handle bracket - behind the liner fabric. Unfortunately there may be as many as 3 years from the time a patent was filed on such ‘improvements’ til it was approved. Then, we don’t really know how long the item was in use before a patent was filed - like the gray pre-war linings that have ‘patent applied for’. That represents a certain period of production from what I understand. Maybe some of you know.

    I find it interesting that the style of case construction used on the Tolex style cases (with the stitched leather corner protectors) was filed in 1950, yet it didn’t appear (that I am aware) on Browning cases until the mid-50’s.

    I haven’t discovered a patent for a whole case including all its various components yet, but I found patents for components or improvements thereto, like handles, locks, hasps, and brackets. Interesting stuff if you’re trying to replicate this style shotgun case. There are more ‘pieces’ than I once thought.

    interesting topic - nice cases shared here. Thanks for sharing them.

    Happy Hunting.
    Auzzie and win7stw like this.
  4. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Thanks for contributing. I learned a lot from those words already. That’s clever way of researching things for dates by the patent search on the components.. Never really thought of it as a research tool but will use in future for sure. Certainly a way of narrowing things down time wise.
  5. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    That is a very interesting topic. With respect of the evolution of the case, I am curious to know what was the primary material use for the shell and the covering. I find also the hardware interesting, was it made of copper, brass or metal brass plated.
  6. Anatidae

    Anatidae .410

    Hey, ‘Biz’

    The frame was made of basswood.

    The external skin was ‘dragon-embossed’ (that may a proprietary name) cowhide. Another, more economical offering was a ‘leatherette’ material which had a textile backing. Then Tolex vinyl became the predominant and more durable offering in the 50’s.

    The hardware appears to be plated. I’m not sure what the base metal is, but I will soon discover. The hardware on Most of the BrowninG cases is dark bronze which has a base layer of copper plating. Then another process darkens the copper to the shade of bronze, desired.

    I found a donor case in poor condition that was mainly a shell, hardware, handle, emblems and enough skin to show me how the laps were made. It was missing the barrel divider and its snaps. I stripped it down to the wood and even dissected the handle to see how it was constructed.

    Bien a toi
  7. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    Basswood is renowned to be light and stable. I am surprise that plywood was not used.
  8. Anatidae

    Anatidae .410

    3-ply 1/4” plywood was used for the top and bottom.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
  9. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Well Anatidea your a wealth of knowledge on the subject as Jta5er promised. Thanks for adding your info. That sort of details is gold
    Are you going to restore or replicate one ?
  10. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Nothing looks better than a nice Superposed or A5 in its period case. It just makes them that much more desirable.
    Have a good 4th July day off.
  11. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    Hey Auzzie, I think a nice engraved auto-5 in a nice case is quite desirable as well. C’est comme une jolie femme dans une belle robe. Any man well go crazy
  12. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Hi Biz
    Thinking of you when saw this come up.
    A beautiful D5 grade 59 Superposed Sporter, signed Funken engraved up for sale at dealer near me, straight out of a collection. Excellent condition. That’s one with 3 piece forend and multiple escutcheon screws. Looks absolutely stunning engraving with bird and hunting hound scene. They are asking 20k for it.
    I assume you or somebody on here like Jta5er that collects would have the Superposed book by Schwing.
    Is that the highest grade that used to come out custom shop?
  13. Biz

    Biz .270 WIN

    Unfortunately I don’t have and can’t find that book. Do you have some pics? Not having the book, I have to content myself with these two superposed. Which by the way need a nice period case. I believe Anatidae has the book

    74C18B0E-7FE4-448E-B0CB-C13E3D3EAB9B.jpeg 98E16829-572B-4BE4-A67E-A6B472B9FD29.jpeg
    Rudolph31 and Anatidae like this.
  14. Anatidae

    Anatidae .410

    ‘Aussie’ - I’ve admittedly considered the feasibility of building a replica case for myself. Whether I’m capable of producing one from scratch to my own standard of quality is another matter to be determined. I should have a better idea in about 3 weeks when 2 custom router bits arrive.

    'Biz' - Beautiful Gr III Browning - gorgeous wood, exceptional engraving.
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2022
  15. Anatidae

    Anatidae .410

    Aussie - ‘birds and dogs’ game scenes would be a D4 Grade or Grade K in Australian terms.

    Yes, the D5 was the highest FN Superposed grade but it has Louis XVI style ornamentation with fine scroll, floral motifs and festoons. It was built and engraved in the FN factory proper. The first Custom Shop wasn’t formed until 1971 and was located about 1/4 mile from the factory in Herstal, BE.

    This is a 1955 (#397xx) FN D5 Grade.
    [​IMG]

    I believe the gun you referenced is serial #42757 and is a D5 30” f/f also from 1955 restocked in Turkish walnut by Ian McGeoch sometime around 2018.
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2022
  16. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Yes Anatidae Your 100% right . I was going from memory at work and got all mixed up. Looked up the add tonight and it is certainly 42757 and Louis fine scroll. Had not paid that close attention as was way out my league.
    Any time you see multiple escutcheons and 3 piece forend you know it’s good stuff. Magnificent gun though ,if you appreciate Brownings and workmanship. Certainly would not be many examples of that grade and quality this side of pond.
    My friend has the K grade and scene as you describe which is D4 . Ian has just finished rebuilding for him. Also had C grade that was a Funken signed with same Bird and Dog scene as Biz image above but that is long gone.

    Dearly love to have a copy of that book but they command as much $$ as the gun or want your first born child as down payment when they come up.

    Would like to have a go sometime myself at making a period case , so be very keen to hear your ideas and experiences.
    Anatidae likes this.
  17. Anatidae

    Anatidae .410

    Respectfully,

    My experience thus far is:
    1. If one does not have an original case (in any condition) to use as a model,
    2. has not disassembled such a case to learn how 'everything' is constructed (documenting the details with dimensioned drawings and photographs)
    3. does not have a pristine example of an original case to use as their quality standard and design criteria.....
    ......it will be extremely frustrating to truly replicate one to any degree of accuracy.

    I bought the last bit of a particular brand of exterior covering a supplier had, 5 years ago. It is enough for 3-4 cases which was more than I planned to attempt at that time. I had one original 1935 cowhide case in excellent condition and an otherwise pristine post-'36 leatherette case of which the hinge stitching had been 'cut' with a razor (sparing the last 2" on both ends). As scarce as these cases are, I elected to keep it rather than return it for credit - thinking I could re-stitch the hinge. This required removing part of the interior fabric to access the 'stitch' line. I had just re-lined the interior of another old 'buffalo-hide' case (similar to the BrowninG cases) and was fairly confident if I damaged the lining to access the stitch line, I would just re-line this one, too. The last 2" of the existing hinge was already fatigued to the point I contemplated either cutting the hinge completely off and install some hold-open metal hinges (consistent with a later period), or completely strip that case down to the wood and re-do interior and exterior. I haven't done anything........yet. So, it has 'sat' until I gained a little more knowledge, inspiration, confidence, and motivation. That $750 case has stared me in the face long-enough. All this to say......it has taken 5 years to reach the point I feel I'm ready to 'go' at this, properly. It's been up and down in the last 2 months - but I'm getting a little closer to actually 'doing' something. We'll see what happens.

    I certainly wish you 'all the best' in your efforts.
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2022
    Bruski likes this.
  18. Jta5er

    Jta5er .270 WIN

    I wish you all the success in world at this venture, I can’t wait to pay you to do a couple for me. Very exciting in deed!
  19. Anatidae

    Anatidae .410

    Thanks for your continued interest and support - and for ‘investing’ in an opportunity for me to investigate how these case are constructed. You proved that there ARE some folks who understand it’s not always about making a profit. It’s called ‘collecting’ and sets us apart from tire-kickers and ‘profiteering’. Kudos!
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2022
  20. Auzzie

    Auzzie .270 WIN

    Well you certainly have my attention from 18000miles away and I will be following your adventure and hopefully learn bit more.

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