The 6 types of Armes de luxe

Discussion in 'Browning Auto A-5' started by Biz, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. Biz

    Biz .22LR

    Hello everyone,

    This is my first official post and thank you for having me among your community. I have decided to challenge myself by trying to find the 6 types of Auto-5 as described in the "Fabrique Nationale Armes De Luxes" catalogue. So far I have only seen type 1 and 6 on forums and auction sites. Has anyone seen any of the other types for sales. These types appear to be rare. This picture of a gun for sale, I believe is a type 1. The serial number is 33237 which would make it a 1909. Can anyone confirm?

    Thank you


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    Rudolph31 likes this.
  2. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

  3. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

  4. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

    Good morning, Biz.

    I thought the charts would be useful. There's not a lot of difference between the first 3 Types, is there? Maybe that's why Browning chose to skip II and III. Like you, I've only seen Types I and VI.

    I agree your Type I is a 1909 gun. I have the equivalent Grade 2 from 1931:

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    Good luck!
    SHOOTER13 likes this.
  5. Biz

    Biz .22LR

    Good evening,

    Like you Rudolf I find there is a lot similarity between the types. Referring to the pictures and the descriptions of the 6 types of the early auto-5 in the Shirley and Vanderlinden book, I would say that type 2 and 3 a very similar. Same goes for the type 4 and 5. It is may be, as you suggest, the reason Browning dropped some grade for the US market. However, those type were certainly marketed in Europe. Yesterday browsing through my notes I find a correspondence I had with one of our commun European acquaintances who send me a link to this Browning type 3. See attached picture.

    With respect to the finish described in the charts, I thought that rusted blue finish will always give a satin finish. But following the type descriptions , the blue finish goes from "black burnished" to "bright black". I wonder if it is possible to obtain this variation of brightness with the rust bluing technique?

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  6. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

    Biz,

    That's another very early example, from the trigger I'd say pre Great War. The guns illustrated in the charts look they're from the 1920's, so there could have been some changes. Although I agree your example is closest to Type III, to me it doesn't closely resemble any of the illustrations. Of course, with different artists no two will be identical.

    As for bluing, in one of Art's videos he says the shine is dependent on the amount of polishing done beforehand, and that mirror finishes are possible. He was talking about Salt-Blue, but I would guess the same applies to Rust-Blue.
  7. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

    Just looking at the examples in the S/V book, I see that the chart I posted doesn't apply to early Types II and III. Your picture looks exactly like the Type III illustrated on page 162.

    Page 164 shows examples of Types I through III adopted in 1922, and they don't match my illustrations either. The book goes on to say that Felix Funken started in 1926 but doesn't list any changes he may have implemented.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2017
  8. SOG

    SOG .22LR

    Great information.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  9. Biz

    Biz .22LR

    Comparing this document "chart" that I have attached that date I believe somewhere in the late fifties or the early sixties to the one posted by Rudolf and the two into the Shirley and Vanderlinden book, you can see the substantial change into the engraving that occurred to the 3 first type from 1909 to 1960. For the same period the type 4, 5 and 6 have remain almost unchanged. To complete this post, if it is permitted, it would interesting to attach the photos of the chart from the Shirley and Vanderlinden book.

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  10. Biz

    Biz .22LR

    Hello everyone,

    In my quest for the 6 type of the early Auto-5, I came across that interesting type 5 that have been restored. I am not to sure if it is a good restoration. This auto-5 is apparently a 1925 but the stock is around the 80's and the engraving was done somewhere in the 80's or 90's by Charles Servais now retired. As well, I am not sure if the type 5 had gold plated components. Here is information about Monsieur Charles Servais and some pics.

    http://www.littlegun.be/arme belge/artisans identifies s/a servais fr.htm

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    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
    SHOOTER13 and Rudolph31 like this.
  11. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

    Beautiful gun. I don’t know whether or not the gold parts are period correct either. Also, it looks like the artist made no attempt to exactly replicate the FN Type V scene — the dogs are not in the same positions and the trees are completely different. Notice also that the gun has been converted to fire 70mm ammo.

    Still, it’d look great in my cabinet!
  12. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

    OK, this in not a find, the pictures came from the internet. But it’s an early Type VI, possibly restored.

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  13. SHOOTER13

    SHOOTER13 Guest

  14. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

  15. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

  16. Biz

    Biz .22LR

    The type 6 was, I believe the greatest achievement in design that Browning offered to its clients. This picture is vey clear and allow me to raise the question again regarding the so called "bright black finish", it doesn't appear to be especially bright. Is it possible that bright refers to the intensity of the black rather then brilliance???
  17. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

    I went to Art’s yesterday to pick up my Double Auto. While there, I found TWO Type VI 16’s.

    One was sent in for restoration; it had an Acier Special barrel and wasn’t in bad shape for its 100 or so years. The real problem was someone had cut the stock down for a child. Art’s will have to make a new one.

    The other belongs to the shop. I saw the receiver only. Nick said it’ll get a reblue and when they’re done it will go on sale, listed at $15,000.

    Biz will be interested in this: Nick said that Grade 4 receivers weren’t rust blued because it doesn’t give a high gloss finish, and the gold inlay cannot stand the wire wheel. Another mystery solved.
  18. Biz

    Biz .22LR

    Thank you Rudolph for this additional information. Following the revised edition of Shirley and Vanderlinden book in page 130, it is mention that “the bluing process used on barrels and receivers from 1903 to the 1960 is know as the rust blue finish” and “certain high grade auto-5’s will sometimes have a darker blue finish” It also indicates that “Auto-5’s were proof tested, stamped with Belgian proof house acceptance markings, and, if required, engraved by FN before going through the bluing process”. If, as mentioned by Nick from Art’s shop, the gold inlay do not stand the carding process, it means that the pre 1960 type 6 where first engraved, rust blue finish and then gold inlaid?? I am assuming also that for restauration they use the hot dipped blued process because it will not alter the gold inlay?? If you were to talk again with those experts at the Art’s shop, It will be interesting to know how they can do a nice high gloss finish. It must be a challenge to clean and polish the metal without touching the inlay prior to the bluing?
  19. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 20g

    As I understand what Nick said, the guns were engraved and inlayed with gold before bluing, and that none of them were ever rust blued as it didn’t give a high gloss finish. So I suppose salt bluing was available back then, but if so I wonder why FN went to the trouble to rust blue until 1960.

    As far as the restoration, Art’s is going to polish the receiver and re-inlay the gold. Nick pointed out that the gold is in 3 colors, yellow, white, and green.
  20. Biz

    Biz .22LR

    Rudoph, this is why I keep hammering that nail. In all the pics I have seen of the type 6, I have never seen any one with a high gloss finish. I believe that all the 6 type had a rust blue finish with the high grade having a deeper black finish. Rust blue finish is documented as being more resistant than salt finish.

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