First Look: Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen
The last attempt at releasing a sixteen gauge autoloading shotgun of any consequence was not a new model, it was the Remington 1100. It did not do particularly well, for (like the re-release of the Remington 870) it was essentially a 12 gauge shotgun with a bit smaller hole in the barrel, making the guns actually heavier than similar 12 gauge models.
Though there is usually a lot of chatter about shotgun frames size, but unlike double guns, repeating shotguns do not have specific frames. They have receivers. It also does not mean anything as far as weight, for lighter weight 12 gauge guns are nothing new, considering models like the Franchi 48 AL, which was designed in 1948 and released in 1950.
The last 16 gauge repeater to make it is the Browning BPS 16 gauge, introduced as a SHOT Show Special and still part of the Browning line. In the case of the BPS you have a 16 gauge, 20 gauge, 28 gauge and .410 bore, all with similar dimensions and weight. Reviewed nine years ago, the BPS 16 is a 7-1/2 pound pump gun.
It is no secret that some models in 12 gauge are far more satisfying than their other gauge counterparts and vice-versa. One example that comes to mind is the old Browning B2000, a nose-heavy pig in 12 gauge, but the B2000 in 20 gauge is one sweet field gun.
So it goes with the new Browning A5 12 gauge, previously reviewed in detail. When gun makers put out a new 12 gauge, the chamber length is decided up front. The A5 12 gauge has a 3-1/2 inch chamber and that means a monstrously long receiver, larger ejection port, abnormally long shell lifter and so forth. Add in the 12 gauge Invector DS choke issues and it was not tremendously appealing.
The DS choke problems were fixed in the 20 gauge Citori 725 and likely in the A5 16 gauge, as well. With its 2-3/4 inch chamber and shorter receiver, I can tell you already that the speed-loading feature is vastly improved.
The A5 Sweet Sixteen is an under six pound gun, lighter than many 20 gauges and over 1-1/2 pounds lighter than a BPS 16. It is also about 3/4 pound lighter than the original Automatic-Five Sweet Sixteen. It is the 16 gauge autoloader for which 16 gauge aficionados have longed, for many decades. The new guns are supposed to become available in May or June 2016, so I won't have the chance to do a full review until then. It is going to be available with 26 inch or 28 inch barrels.
Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.