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Browning A5 20 Gauge Semi-Auto Shotgun Review

shotgun review Mar 22, 2024
Browning A5 20 Gauge Semi-Auto Shotgun Review

Today we're looking at a highly anticipated semi-auto shotgun - The Browning A5 that is now being offered in 20ga! This was all the hype at SHOT Show this year when it comes to shotguns. In fact, the A5 that we shot for this review was the A5 that was in Brownings SHOT show booth this year. TFL is the first to get hands-on with this thing and do a full in-depth review. And that's what you're here for - so let's go!


If you have experience with the Browning A5 Shotguns please let us know your thoughts on the TFL COMMUNITY!   


The A5 was designed for all shooting disciplines but where the 20 Gauge shines is as a lightweight, well-balanced option for upland hunting.


The A5 has been produced since 2014 and has been available in 12 gauge and 16 gauge called the "Sweet 16".


  • Specs

    • 20-gauge "Kinematic Drive" shotgun (inertia driven)
    • The A5 20 gauge has a 3-inch Chamber
    • Comes with 3 Invector DS chokes (F, M, IC) - Looking for aftermarket chokes? Check out Carlson's Chokes Use Code "targetfocused20" for 20% off.
    • The length of pull is 14 1/4" - The A5 comes with 2 spacers. One 1/4" and one 1/2" spacer.
    • The A5 comes with shims to adjust drop and cast.
    • Drop at comb 1 3/4"
    • Drop at heel 2 1/4"
    • Available in 26" or 28" barrel lengths.
    • 5lbs 10oz (without adding spacers) - You could walk all day with this thing.
    • 5lbs 10oz average trigger pull weight. This a very crispy trigger.
    • MSRP is $1,979
  • Ergonomics

    • The A5 20 gauge, just like its 16ga and 12ga counterparts has a classic glossy walnut furniture.
    • The wood checkering is 18 lines per inch.
    • The A5 has a black receiver and blued barrel.
    • The A5 20 gauge has an Inflex 2 recoil pad.
    • It feels really good in the hands but may whip around more easily due to the extremely light weight of this shotgun.
    • The loading port is slightly milled out for easy loading- 20 gauges will always be harder to load due to their size. The bottom edges of the port are a little sharp.
    • Speaking of loading, this A5 has the "Speed load plus" feature. When you load your first shell in the bottom of the gun, this feature will automatically load that shell into the chamber. The "Plus" feature allows you to easily unload shells from the magazine tube. We believe this feature to be especially handy for those on the move, or getting in and out of cars while hunting. 
    • Rear-mounted circular cross-bolt safety.
    • We appreciate the generously sized trigger guard so we northern hunters can fit gloves in there.
    • The rib is flat, vented, and sports a medium-sized front fiber and ivory mid-bead.
    • One pro of this iconic "humpback" design is that from the very back of the receiver to the front bead is a perfectly straight line. This may help you understand your sight picture sooner while practicing with this gun. But at the end of the day, we're all about target focus.
    • The bolt release is not oversized but is adequate and easy to use. 
    • Like many other Brownings, the bolt is nickel-teflon coated. They claim that this prevents corrosion, and increases the lubricity of the slide function. 
    • To no surprise, this A5 is a very good-looking shotgun. 


  • Recoil and Reliability

    • We'll keep it short and painless for you: This A5 20 gauge shot well. 
    • Cycling target loads was no problem for this shotgun. In fact, it ripped through them rather quickly.
    • As we do in every review, we tried shooting it from over the head. Light-weight inertia sub-gauges simply don't do well at this test as they don't have a gas system, or recoil power to help with cycle against the forces of gravity. However, there is an inertia sub-gauge that has passed this test from a company that also starts with a "B"...
    • As far as recoil goes, it was quite a bit less than we anticipated given the weight of this gun. You'll notice the hunting loads more for sure but 20 gauges give us the luxury of less recoil generally speaking. Regardless, lighter guns usually translate to more felt recoil into the shoulder. (Add a FalconStrike for less recoil)
    • If you can speak to the reliability of a Browning A5 please let us know how it's held up on the  TFL COMMUNITY!    
  • Breakdown/Quality of Build

    • One HUGE benefit of an inertia gun - breakdown is easy!
    • The plug is easily removable with a turn-key design on the front of the mag tube. Simply turn, and pop out the plug. 
    • We recently broke down an original A5 in 12 gauge from 1947. Let me tell you, this modern A5 is much simpler than that thing!
    • The A5 20 gauge has a two-pin trigger group design.
    • Being that this is an inertia gun, you won't have to clean it as often as you would a gas system.
    • The build quality of this A5 20 gauge is very good. It is very much in line with the rest of Browning's firearms. This one is most similar to their Sweet 16 model which is also a great gun.
    • Browning makes a good shotgun and they stand behind their products. They have the "Through hell or high-waters" warranty of up to 100,000 rounds or 5 years. So that's pretty neat!
    • The A5 20 gauge has a lengthened forcing cone and is back-bored.
  • Speed Shooting

    • In every review, we typically do a speed shooting test. This is where we hand throw 3 clays and record how fast we shoot them, as well as the split times between each shot. This is a fun competitive way to see how intuitively the gun mounts, shoots, and follows up on consecutive targets. Everything comes together in speed shooting. 
    • After a couple of boxes of Federal, we were able to achieve fast splits for this being a 20 gauge inertia -  some as fast as .16 of a second!
    • Our fastest clean time on 3 clays was 1.22. This is again, a relatively high score for an inertia 20ga. Very happy with how this shot.
    • We learned two things shooting the A5. One, it's a bit short for us tall-headed 6-foot guys. Luckily they have those 2 spacers we can use. Two, the lightweight of this gun created some whippiness of the barrel. As you break in and assimilate to this gun remember to slow the hands down and be target focused. You shouldn't have any trouble with this in the field. In fact, the weight is ideal for upland hunting if you'll be walking for a long time. 


In conclusion, the Browning A5 20 gauge is the same great A5; just in a 20 gauge. We love 20 gauge and think it's a fantastic option for many reasons. A 20 gauge is lighter, and easier to carry all day in the field. Smaller-framed or youth shooters can get a lot of valuable practice in with a 20 gauge without as much punishing recoil. The fit, finish, and tolerances of this particular gun are fantastic, and you simply can't go wrong with its classic black receiver and walnut furniture. But that's just our opinion! We want to hear your opinions and experiences on the TFL community!  


Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on, so live the #targetfocusedlife 

Steve Gould 

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