Suggested Friction Ring/Brake Configuration for 12-Gauge Magnum?

Discussion in 'Browning Auto A-5' started by Wingnut, Dec 6, 2017.

  1. Wingnut

    Wingnut Copper BB


    I've recently acquired a circa 1977 12-Gauge Magnum A5 (chambered 2.75-3.00"), and to be clear, I've yet to test the gun's ability to properly cycle various shell sizes and loads, but before I get started with it, there seems to be rather mixed views on the recommended friction ring/friction brake configuration to be used with this 3" Magnum model. And so, I'm curious to see what specific configuration other 12-Gauge Mag owners may have found to perform best for them.

    First, some essential background: I expect to use this particular shotgun almost exclusively on geese (not ducks), using primarily 3.0" (1-1/8 to 1-1/4 ounce) steel loads, and for such 3" shells, the Browning literature clearly recommends using the 5-piece (3") friction ring/friction brake configuration shown in the first diagram below. However, a number of professional gunsmiths who are considered experts on the A5 (including the folks at Art's Gun Shop in Missouri), discourage the use of this 5-piece (3") arrangement in favor of the alternate 2-piece (2-3/4") arrangement shown in the second diagram below.

    Basically, the consensus seems to be as follows: "Use the LEAST number of friction ring/friction brake components possible", that still allow the gun to cycle properly, and of course, with a heavy 3" load, that would almost always prove to be the 2-piece (2-3/4" arrangement), which is in stark contrast to the official Browning literature, including the Owners Manual and the Field Service Manual.

    Can anyone shed further light on the subject for me? I'd sure appreciate it!

    Thank you!

    Attached Files:

  2. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 .30-06

    I don’t have a Magnum, but the principle is the same for all: Use the most friction that the gun will operate with. If you use less, the gun will operate great while beating itself, and you, to pieces.

    Maybe whoever you talked to at Art’s thought you were asking the usual question— how to fire low powered loads in a Magnum.

    If you are going to shoot 3” shells, set it up for them. If it doesn’t cycle, add some oil to the magazine before removing friction pieces.
  3. Wingnut

    Wingnut Copper BB

    Rudy . . . Thank you for your reply and the information it provided. The gun has been fully dissembled and thoroughly cleaned, and per numerous recommendations including your own, I do in-fact plan on applying a light coat of SAE 0-20 synthetic oil to the inside of the friction brake(s) and exterior of the magazine tube. And, that being the case, it sounds like you're firmly recommending the 5-piece (3") configuration, even when adequately lubed, unless and until it fails to cycle properly. So, I guess I'll start there and see how it actually performs once I'm at the shooting range. Thanks again.
    Rudolph31 likes this.
  4. robert guilliams

    robert guilliams .270 WIN

    0-20 oil? I use clp on all my brownings including my 12 mag that shoots 1 oz loads. My silver hunter had cycle problems with 0-20. Switched to clp and no more issues. Browning swears by clp. Funny how some things work for one and don’t work for others. And the a5 confusion continues
  5. Budzo100

    Budzo100 .410

    Hi guys. I was just having this exact conversation with a great gunsmith here in Alberta. He informed me that the guns originally came with a lanolin type of lube, and it was to be used incredibly sparingly. The use of any oil for current days use, needs to be applied and then wiped off with a clean rag. The compression rings are just that, they need to bite and compress to slow the recoil down. It was a great chat with the gunsmith. He basically told me, if you use any oil, the rings will just plain and simple not work. That's for the old Auto 5's, and mine is a magnum as well. The newer guns, he did suggest the same, put a small drop on your finger. Spread it out along the whole tube, then wipe it off. So not very much oil left on there at all I would imagine. Let me know what you find for success.

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