Saturday, May 18, 2019

New shotgun

I'm still around--honest. I keep meaning to post but wow--so busy. Not busy enough to keep me from picking up a new gun though, and this after I promised myself I'd quit buying them. (In fact, I've been selling a few to thin the collection a bit.)

This one came along at a stupid low price and since I'm really enjoying shooting clays as of late I could not say no.

Gun is a Remington Model 11, 12 gauge, semi automatic. If it looks like a Browning A5, that's because it is. When John Moses Browning designed that gun in 1898, it was a revolutionary firearm. As was usual back then, Browning took his ideas to American companies like Winchester and Remington and they turned him down. So he took them to Fabrique Nationale in Belgium and that firm made tons of money and produced this gun in particular for ninety-eight years. In 1905 though, Remington also decided that they wanted it so they worked out a deal where Remington made them here in the US from 1905 until 1947 when they replaced it with the 11-48. This particular one, per it's serial number and barrel date code, was made in October of 1943, and some of it's markings attest to the fact that it was made for a special customer.
During World War Two, the US government was buying most anything decent that could shoot and a lot of these were purchased as training guns for anti-aircraft gunners and as recreational tools for officers and airmen. Some with shorter barrels were used for guard duty and a few even made it into combat zones as fighting iron. This one still sports it's 26" barrel though and was probably a trainer or sporter. The history on these is all over the place but the provenance is there in it's markings and date codes, all of which match up.

In face the only flaw in this gun from a collector's point is one gouge on the left side of the stock right where an inspector's stamp would likely be and there's actually the faint remains of an ordnance wheel just ahead of it. I'm willing to bet that if that gouge wasn't there we'd see the initials "FJA" for Frank J. Atwood, military inspector, right there.

Still. Sweet gun, clean, and I had the chance to pick up for just over $300 so I wasn't about to say pass on it.

Now as soon as the range quits being underwater I'm looking forward to trying it out.


  1. Ya stole it for three. ;)

  2. I agree with most of the history paragraph, save the part about Winchester turning him down. For about fifteen years, Winchester had profited handsomely from JMB's design work for the firm (1885 High/Low wall, 1886 lever rifle, 1887 lever shotgun, 1892, 1894, 1897 shotgun*) but had paid him outright for his designs. Understanding how much he'd driven WRA's sales, he requested a royalty arrangement for the long recoil autoloader, but WRA was too arrogant, only wanting to purchase the design for a single payment. As you noted, he took the design to FN and created a[nother] legend. (*It's reported he wasn't keen on the lever shotgun concept, but did the design work anyway because WRA management was adamant that they were a lever-gun company.)
    About 20-some years ago, like you, I picked up a Remington Model 11, which is of course the same as the A-5, only lacking the magazine cutoff lever on the left side of the receiver. Mine wears a standard blued finish, and is equipped with a dog d*ck (Cutts-type compensator) at the muzzle. In the years that I pheasant hunted in NW Kansas, I carried it a year or two - since then it's been in retirement in the safe.
    It's a grand old girl, and I'm particularly tickled to own it since I don't have an actual A-5. For the life of me, I did not understand why Browning discontinued its production just shy of a century. Your post has got me thinking I should take it out and bust some clays.
    I shan't mention what I paid for mine, else Skipster would accuse me of highway robbery...

  3. I'd love to find a beat to hell A5 clone and make an SBS out of it. Cut the barrel down to right past the magazine tube and parkerize it. I think it would be a dandy "under the seat" truck gun.

    1. I saw an old A5 at my gunsmith a few years ago. It was there to be made into a SBS and have a suppressor mounted. I shuddered and asked them if they'd call the owner and see if he was willing to sell it.

      He wasn't.

  4. Mine was a excellent deal Gunbroker find. It's a mongrel. 1913 receiver and stock with a 1947 coded 26" barrel with the Cutts. The young guys at the gun store counter wanted to know what kind of silencer that was. Found a couple more Cutts chokes and then a 1923 20" barrel. The 20" marked US, like yours, with no bomb. Still haven't been able to figure that one out. I keep the 20" on it for the badass look.

    When I find an old gun I geek on the history. Remington didn't pick it up immediately because, as Browning sat in the outer office, the President he was to see died of a massive heart attack sending the company into turmoil. That's when he approached FN. Later Remington obtained American rights to the Model 11. Savage also built a version. When FN was overrun by the Nazis, Remington produced A5s until the factory could be rebuilt.

  5. Hey Murphy;

    Dang, how do you find this stuff, LOL..You have the luck of the Irish on finding guns.

  6. Interesting video of the Rem. 11's action in action to be seen at YouTube here:

  7. VEry nice find Murph! Glad you're still poking around down there!