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Discussion Starter #1
I just recently picked up a 1952 Belgian Auto 5. There's an issue I'm concerned about with barrel that I would like to find a concrete answer on before I go out and shoot it.

The barrel seems to sit a little far forward in the receiver to point that part of the barrel extension is showing. Upon disassembly I have discovered that the barrel has given the forearm a pretty good beating and has worn indents into the wood that allow it to move forward farther that it seems like it should. This is also allowing the bolt charging handle to make contact with the receiver when the bolt comes forward. So my question is, is this something that normally happens to these guns and is safe to use in this condition or should I replace the forearm before I attempt to fire the gun? Pics below show the issue. I appreciate any help yall can offer me.

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THat's typical of damage caused by a loose fore-end. It is the stop surface up inside the fore-end that takes the hammering. The damage done to the rear is because it was displaced on the receiver.
Look at and photo the area inside where the barrel loop hits it every time the gun shoots. If that is beat in, you'll need another foreend or an innovative way of rebuilding what you have.
Don't shoot it! The op handle will crack the receiver in short order.

Welcome to the forum.
 
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Discussion Starter #3
THat's typical of damage caused by a loose fore-end. It is the stop surface up inside the fore-end that takes the hammering. The damage done to the rear is because it was displaced on the receiver.
Look at and photo the area inside where the barrel loop hits it every time the gun shoots. If that is beat in, you'll need another foreend or an innovative way of rebuilding what you have.
Don't shoot it! The op handle will crack the receiver in short order.

Welcome to the forum.
That's what I figured. I already have a replacement forearm on the way. Should be here tomorrow. I'm glad I used my better judgement on this one. I was really wanting to go break some clays with it this weekend but decided to hold off. I guess my fears were not unfounded. I appreciate your help.
 

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As a note, the Remington Model 11 (same patents) suffers too. In mine there are 2 small pins in the forearm that fit into holes in the receiver. They keep the forearm from twisting out of position when assembled properly. I think the remnants of the holes are shown in pictures # 3 & 4. The battering from the barrel has almost completely destroyed the holes. You can get a good exploded view from Numrich Arms that shows the pins & springs. Browning, Remington, & Savage made similar arms.
 

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A bit of a hijack here, followed by more direct advise to the OP.

Belk, a novice gunsmith (distant cousin & ex-police chief) told me the fore-end battering had bent the loop that goes around the mag tube. He un soldered it & then brazed it into position. I wasn't impressed. Will the brazing have damaged the barrel steel?

Another note to the OP. I have also run into references to a fiber(?) Buffer that fits between the barrel loop & inside the muzzle end of the forearm. It is supposed to cushion the blow of the barrel hitting the wood inside the forearm. I think a hand made piece made of like 70 duro neoprene gasket material would save your wood.

Personally, this pattern shotgun is the only off the shelf shotgun that fits me, being somewhat large. Others have way too little drop @ the comb & beat my cheek blue!
 

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I have seen a lot of different shim materials used to help the fore end and keep the barrel back in the proper position. Most all work well, just keep an eye on things.
 

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Browning barrels are forged with barrel and loop in one piece. The Remington M11 was silver-soldered to the barrel. Not to be confusing here, but the Rem M11 was one of the very first guns to have a plastic (phenolic) buffer in the back of the receiver that disintegrates and gums up the works. The forearm gets beat out by being loose and/or oil-soaked and American Black walnut does not last as long as the pre-68 Browning A-5 French walnut stocks. Considering the beating they take, the design is amazingly reliable.
I was in a Browning repair shop just out of school. Fore-end replacement was a big deal because over-oiling was common in the south. I experimented with a cutter to cut away soft wood and epoxy in a phenolic insert as a way to 're-constitute' old fore-ends. That was a good business at the time and worked well. I cut away 1/4 and put 1/4 inch back in. I can describe the tools if you want to try it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
THat's typical of damage caused by a loose fore-end. It is the stop surface up inside the fore-end that takes the hammering. The damage done to the rear is because it was displaced on the receiver.
Look at and photo the area inside where the barrel loop hits it every time the gun shoots. If that is beat in, you'll need another foreend or an innovative way of rebuilding what you have.
Don't shoot it! The op handle will crack the receiver in short order.

Welcome to the forum.
Okay so I got the new forearm and now I have a question. My new forearm has metal pins sticking out of the back side of it that have no where to go in my receiver. There are no holes for the pins to go in. Do I just remove the pins from the new forearm and install?

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Yes, they should pull out with vise grips. That fore-end must have been made by Sile?
Be sure it fits. The 'wings' on the barrel extension and the ring around the mag tube should hit wood at the same time.
 

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Yes, they should pull out with vise grips. That fore-end must have been made by Sile?
Be sure it fits. The 'wings' on the barrel extension and the ring around the mag tube should hit wood at the same time.
I really appreciate your help. Got her all fixed up and ready for a day at the range.

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Make sure your friction rings are set up correctly to the loads you will be shooting.

Good luck and all the best.
 

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That should do you well. I love those old guns but they sure can be cranky.
Check the wear on the friction ring by looking at the 'joint' in the brass part as the barrel is moved back to compress the ring. The ring is C shaped and the gap gets smaller when it's working. There should always be at least .015 gap when under compression. (Many are worn to a semi-cone shape and the gap is closed at the upper end.) Auto tranny lube works well on the mag tube and a little wetter than you'd usually lube a gun, but no drips!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
That should do you well. I love those old guns but they sure can be cranky.
Check the wear on the friction ring by looking at the 'joint' in the brass part as the barrel is moved back to compress the ring. The ring is C shaped and the gap gets smaller when it's working. There should always be at least .015 gap when under compression. (Many are worn to a semi-cone shape and the gap is closed at the upper end.) Auto tranny lube works well on the mag tube and a little wetter than you'd usually lube a gun, but no drips!
So another question I was gonna ask you is exactly how much lube should be on the mag tube? Other sources I've read say just enough to create a film coating on the tube. That's what I've done using regular gun oil. Should it be more lubricated than that?
 

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Brand new, Belgium-made A-5s came out of the box with a film of common Vaseline on the mag tube. Analysis by FSU lab confirmed it. Think of what was available in 1898 to JM Browning.....
The recoil absorption function of the friction rings is a fine balance of recoil energy and friction. You CAN determine function by shooting the gun by paying attention to recoil. It helps to have shot a Win Model 11 that has no friction rings, but not necessary. Too little friction is felt by an 'extra' bump against your shoulder. Shooting high brass on a low brass setting will make the gun work, but it wears it out in a hurry. The same goes for 'boundary layer' lubes that are too slick for the job.
I've found auto tranny lube works well, doesn't clog in the cold or draw too much dust and dirt.
 

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Yes JBelk, I would be intrested in your tooling! I have a couple of the safety in the trigger guard Remingtons I want to keep shooting. Do you think nylon or HDPE would work well? Instead of phenolic?
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
Brand new, Belgium-made A-5s came out of the box with a film of common Vaseline on the mag tube. Analysis by FSU lab confirmed it. Think of what was available in 1898 to JM Browning.....
The recoil absorption function of the friction rings is a fine balance of recoil energy and friction. You CAN determine function by shooting the gun by paying attention to recoil. It helps to have shot a Win Model 11 that has no friction rings, but not necessary. Too little friction is felt by an 'extra' bump against your shoulder. Shooting high brass on a low brass setting will make the gun work, but it wears it out in a hurry. The same goes for 'boundary layer' lubes that are too slick for the job.
I've found auto tranny lube works well, doesn't clog in the cold or draw too much dust and dirt.
So I got out and shot the gun tonight and it shoots great. Had zero hang ups. Killed many clays. And now I've got another question:

When I was shooting the gun I had the friction rings set up for heavy loads with the beveled spacer on after the recoil spring. I was shooting just regular 12 gauge target loads (1-1/8oz #8) and it had no problems cycling. In fact, it almost seemed like it was kicking a little hard. Of course, I've never shot an A5 before so I have no good frame of reference. Is this normal behavior for the gun or should I maybe look into replacing the all the friction pieces? Numrich has all factory original friction rings I could order.

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I assume you had the bronze ring with the angle upward so it matches the taper in the magazine ring? The bronze has a short taper and a long. The short goes down into the steel ring on top of the magazine spring and the long taper goes up always. I would definitely get a new bronze ring and keep the old as a spare. The steel rings aren't prone to wear.

From above-- I made a four blade cutter by soldering a cutter/sleeve on an old magazine tube. The cutter teeth were located up the tube .250 shorter than the distance from a new fore-end's stop surface and the front of the foreend. The mag tube was a 'pilot' in the fore-arm and I cut until the end of the pilot was level with the end of the fore-end. I used phenolic sheets a quarter inch thick sold by the knife maker supply places for knife scales. I prefer phenolic (Trade name- Micarta) to the slick nylon-type stuff because epoxy loves it and never turns loose. There are different types used for knives. What's needed for this is the 'linen' micarta. Break the glaze for the epoxy. Wax the tube and the barrel and use the magazine cap to 'glass bed' the shim in place with the barrel in place. (Be careful with epoxy in dead-end holes! Lots of planning, very little glue, not filler.)
I re built a 20 ga. magnum A-5 for my bird hunting buddy with an aluminum shim. Four of us convinced him his 'clattermatic' was scaring game and the neighbors and was offensive to purist shotgunners like us with respectable doubles and O/Us. He didn't hear anything of course, we didn't either, but we had him four against one that he was a source of terrible noise pollution and it was unique among shotguns and recognizable for a mile. Even the cafe owner told him he heard that train wreck of a shotgun for more than a mile away. We had him going!! Sure was good days with Gary and his Lab Gator. RIP to both.
 

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I opted to just go ahead and order a whole rebuild kit from Midwest gunworks. Figured it makes sense to freshen up an old gun with some fresh springs and friction rings. Gonna keep the old parts as backups.
 

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Good move. While you have it apart look close at the top of the breech bolt for stress cracks and check the locking rails on the locking block.
The action spring tube is considerably more fragile than it looks. Don't put a lot of pressure on it while out of the butt stock.
One of the most interesting and puzzling gun troubles are out of time shell stops on A-5s. It shoots one, loads one and throws a loaded one on the ground with one pull of the trigger. :)
 
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