The Return of the Browning Sweet 16 –SHOT Show 2016


The new Browning A5 Sweet 16, just in time for 2016.

The new Browning A5 Sweet 16, just in time for 2016.

The right side of the receiver.

The right side of the gun.


Buy a Classic Sweet 16: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=sweet%16

Read more at Browning: http://www.browning.com/products/firearms/shotguns/a5/a5-sweet-sixteen.html

We all have that gun from our youth that left a lasting impression. For me growing up quail hunting on a farm in Arkansas it was the Browning Sweet Sixteen. Most of the boys my age were using single shot shotguns, but the gentleman who would often supervise us on our hunts would be caring the iconic Browning Sweet Sixteen. This gun seems to always be on the right side of the compromise that it was, it carried like a 20gauge but hit like a 12 gauge. As you can imagine, these guns were always out of reach price-wise. When I got to the point in my life where I could add one to my collection, they all had turned into collectors’ items.

They’re still worth collecting. Check out this one: https://www.gunsamerica.com/901051040/Browning-Auto-Five-Sweet-16.htm

Read our original review of the new A5: https://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/browning-a5-stalker/

Now everyone who has ever wanted a classic Sweet 16 has a new reason to celebrate. This being 2016, Browning is updating their A5 to the classic caliber. This is a decidedly sweet gun, and one of the high points of SHOT Show 2016.

The classic lines on the old A5 are still present, but the design has been significantly modernized.

The classic lines on the old A5 are still present, but the design has been significantly modernized.

A classic Sweet 16 currently for sale on GunsAmerica.com.

A classic Sweet 16 currently for sale on GunsAmerica.com.

The right side of the new 16.

The right side of the new 16.

The left side. The high polish on the deep black is stunning.

The left side. The high polish on the deep black is stunning.

Browning is turning heads with their new A5 line-up, and this is one of the best looking yet. It clearly has the family resemblance of the original but it is not your grandpa’s shotgun. This is a modern, fast cycling, soft shooting, recoil operated auto-loader. This gun is built on a smaller, lighter receiver that has reduced the weight and it feels thinner in your hands.

When I finally got to the front of the line to shoot this gun at Range Day, I could not believe that this was a 28 inch, 16 gauge shotgun. It clearly felt and swung like a light 20 gauge auto-loader. Weighing in at 5 lbs. 13 oz. this 16 gauge was so mild I could have kept it up all day, had they not told me to let someone else have a turn on their gun and their ammunition.

The gun is every bit as good-looking as it is a good shooter. It features a walnut stock with a brass bead front sight, the classic hump back receiver, and gold accents on the trigger and other key parts of the gun. It also features the Invector-DS choke tubes. This beautiful gun is just begging to be run hard.

The MSRP is $1699.99 and is available at a Browning dealer near you. At that price, some will treat this as a collector’s item, but it is every bit the workhorse that the original was. Those are collected because they worked so well, not because they were made with artificial scarcity in mind. I think the new Sweet 16 lives up to the potential of the original.

Here’s the in-house video Browning produced. It looks pretty good. We didn’t have any dogs with us at the SHOT Show, and there’s a paucity of ring-necks in southern Nevada. But the Browning camera crew has some stunning shots of exploding birds.

{ 41 comments… add one }
  • Denny Crane October 20, 2016, 8:25 pm
  • Denny Crane October 20, 2016, 8:23 pm

    This is the Prettiest A-5 Sweet 16 I have ever seen or owned…..
    http://i449.photobucket.com/albums/qq212/Dlinzy993/2016-10-20%2019.00.10_zpskzr58eel.jpg

  • Rich August 16, 2016, 3:46 pm

    Yeah Baby!. What a sweet shooter. I remember quail hunting with my granddad. His had a light swing, natural point in that Belgian made masterpiece. It had such a beautiful ring of a finely designed spring mechanism when a shell was loaded. It was his favorite for putting birds on the table. I may have to pick up one of these for my son one day.

  • Kim Tuell August 15, 2016, 7:43 pm

    What is the earliest expected Date of Availability of The NEW Browning A5 Hunter Sweet Sixteen Kinematic Shotgun? I am a 16 Gauge Shooter and Always Have been!

  • Donn April 20, 2016, 1:02 am

    I love the 16 gauge even though it may not be for everyone. My first shotgun was a 16 side by side. I’ve been shooting a 16 gauge shotgun since I was 10 years old, I’m now 65. I’ve owned SxS, O/U, and autos. I purchase quality firearms, no junk. I’ve loved everyone of them. I do take excellent care of all my firearms. Many of mine have been handed down to family members. I’ve taken everything from squirrels, rabbits, pheasants, quail, grouse, ducks, and Canada geese with a 16. If I did my part, had the right ammo, my 16s did their part. I do have a 16 gauge loader and don’t have problems with finding loading supplies. No problem with finding factory ammo either. Cabelas usually has it online or in the stores. Sometimes it’s even on sale. I have had to special order non-toxic ammo though. A little planning ahead solves any ammo issues. As for cost, most of the time it seems competitive to 12 and 20 if you look around and buy smart. My 28 does cost more. I don’t shoot as much as I once did due to some health issues but would have no problem adding another 16 to the collection. I haven’t had the new Browning Sweet 16 in my hands yet but I’m very interested. My 28 is my second favorite gauge. My taste may be a little different but I’m still having fun.

  • Michael March 29, 2016, 11:37 am

    What The defrent between a 16 and a stweet 16 ?

  • Horace March 28, 2016, 10:56 am

    I have 3 A5’s all 1970 models, Sweet 16 … Light 12 and 20 ga. also 1970 410 o/u skeet and 1970 20 ga o/u, all put back for my grandson one day, just hope he appreciates them one day. I have hunted with them all

  • scott March 17, 2016, 9:59 pm

    I saved for 3 years to buy benelli 28 gauge. Now its time once again to start saving for a shotgun

  • Bill Hansen February 2, 2016, 5:46 pm

    Are any of the parts from the new A5 interchangable with the old A5’s? I have a Belgian A5 in 16 Ga (not Sweet 16) but only have a deer barrel with rifle sights and would like a bird or rabbit barrel for it. Original 16 Ga barrels are like hen’ teeth and pricds accordingly.

  • shootbrownelk January 31, 2016, 10:25 pm

    I love A-5 Brownings. I have 3 right now and have owned quite a few over the years. This “New A-5” is NOT an A-5. No magazine cut-off that I can see. I only have 12 gauge guns now, as I only wanted to reload for 1 gauge. I shoot mine a lot, and I never had any problems with mine. I keep them clean and they keep on going without a hiccup. The “New” A-5 Browning can keep….mine are made in Belgium. My Citori sits idle in the safe and I take the A-5’s out when I go hunting birds.

  • Phillip Cleary January 30, 2016, 8:40 pm

    My father purchased a Belgian A-5 Browning 20 ga. lite in 1967. It is in my safe as we speak. I have the original paperwork, sales receipt and City of Chicago permit. It is in the Sears Ted Williams case he bought for it. It was left to be given to my son when he reached adulthood. Unfortunately, he committed a felony and I now must keep it until my grandchild is of age. in 15 years he will receive a 63-year-old shotgun that looks like it came off of the assembly line yesterday.

  • Bobby January 29, 2016, 10:55 pm

    I think its great Browning is making these. I have a Belgen made round knob Sweet 16 that look sbrand new, also have the light 12 and light 20 to match. I love the old A-5s….

  • Martin Greis January 29, 2016, 4:10 pm

    I inherited an A5 (I think) from my Grandfather who brought it with him from Germany. It is almost identical with the Sweet 16 and was made by Reinmetal, a German arms maker that also made machine guns and heavy arms like canons…and such. My gun smith looked it over and told me it is almost identical as the browning except it is better made with heavier construction in the receiver. I have hunted with it, but it has one flaw. It will not eject today’s 16 gauge shells. The receiver was made for the older shorter shells in the early 1900s. I am told there are places that sell the shorter shells…anyone know anything about that?

    • brad January 29, 2016, 8:05 pm

      try midway or grafs

      • John January 30, 2016, 4:53 pm

        I believe Browning made chambers in 2-3/4, 2-9/16, and 2-1/2. ALL of those shells are available today with a little searching. I think Fiocchi still makes them as well as others. Your Rheinmetall may use one of these other chamber lengths.

    • Rick Diederichsen January 30, 2016, 4:16 pm

      You could check with your gun smith about lengthening the chamber. I think the difference is only 1/16″ unless it is one of the really old 2-1/2″ chambers.
      Ballistic Products also sells the 2-1/2″ shells.

    • Jeromy March 25, 2016, 4:18 am

      RST ammo has the shorter shells for sale. http://www.rstshells.com/

  • Rooster January 29, 2016, 3:37 pm

    My dad bought a single shot 16 gauge full chock, you talk about a shotgun that will reach out to the birds, this is it. Dad would shoot steel balls at rabbits when he was a teenager. You can see the pits in the inside of the barrel where the ball bearings hit. I still shoot this shotgun today. I have had it at my favorite gunsmith to make sure it is still safe to shoot. Dad had modified the trigger to a hair trigger. When I first took it in, I told the gunsmith about the trigger. He tired it out and said that is not safe, let me show you. First he made sure it was not loaded, pulled the hammer back and let it fall on the recoil pad, to show me it was unsafe. Will he tired about three times and scratched his head and said, I be a monkey’s uncle, it is safe. It has on the side of the word Hercules engraved, it is almost un readable now. My dad always told me that it would bring blood on both ends, what a kick. I love 16 gauge and when I found one in the pawn shop I bought it. It is an automatic. The new A5 would be a good treasure for me to buy somewhere down the road.

  • Todd January 29, 2016, 1:57 pm

    Nice to see them service the market but seems a shame to have that somewhat cheesy etching on the receiver.

    Todd.

  • jlp January 29, 2016, 1:39 pm

    Did you see those cheap ass Phillips head screws going through the cheap ass aluminum receiver with all of its cheap ass stamped sheet metal internal parts. What crude joke. I am glad I found an original A-5 made of solid steel forgings and quality all the way and no it was not a Belgium gun it was the superior Japanese made one that had the rare factory screw in chokes one of the last A-5’s ever made. I paid an arm and a leg for it but it was worth every penny. I have owned it a short time now and never missed bird with it. It shoulders naturally just like a good side by side shotgun not like that piece of junk they are making today that feels like a block of lead when you shoulder it. I have shot over 30 upland birds with it and would not trade it for any of the newer made plasticky ,stamped sheet metal, MIM powdered metal or munimulla (aluminum spelled backwards) modern junk parts. Browning keep your newer made crap I am not dumb enough to waste my money on your trash.

  • Scott Boggs January 29, 2016, 12:34 pm

    You seem to have rose colored glasses on. lol Carries like a 20 and hits like a 12, but kicks harder than a 12! The same 1-1/8 oz. 2-3/4 dram equiv. load as the 12 bore. I remember my A5 Sweet 16 weighed a bit under 7 lbs. and if you did not have the rings/spring set correctly the heavy load pounded you senseless. Ditto the Stevens 5100 (pre 311) made for a short time the 16 ga. on the 20 chassis, later 311’s are on the 12 chassis and a waste. The Model 12 Winchester also houses the 16 ga. on the smaller 20 ga. frame and is lighter than their 12. Personally I horde a trove of those lovely purple Federals in 16 ga. The color coding was a development in my youth to distinguish, at a glance, and mostly proprietary for Federal (at least in 16 ga.). But most manufacturers still do yellow hull 20 and red 12’s, any 16’s seem to mimic the 12. Thanks for the article and while the near $2000 new rig is nifty, it has lost some charm, but I would welcome some recoil mitigation to help prevent migraines in the dove field.

  • John January 29, 2016, 11:47 am

    If only it were a real A5 and not this modernized aberration.

  • Joe January 29, 2016, 10:31 am

    That second video was fun to watch. I never knew southern Nevada had so many cornfields and pheasants. It was almost like watching a video filmed in southern Nebraska.

  • Lee cope January 29, 2016, 10:22 am

    None of the new a-5 shoot or feel anything like the old ones. The long recoil of the old one aids in second shots. Also as one that grew up with the humpback the new ones that I have handled don’t throw up anything like the old. New ones feel and shoot like guns made by the other manufacturer that starts with a B.

  • Scottie January 29, 2016, 9:31 am

    The Sweet 16 is a great gun. I have several. I shoot them often. The only issue for me is the shot shells. The manufacturers have made huge improvements in both the 20 and 12 gauges. They have not kept the 16 gauge ballistics updated to be a competitive round.

    • jlp January 29, 2016, 1:45 pm

      It depends what you are going to use the 16 for. If you are hunting upland game their is no finer caliber as I have used this gauge along with other gauges since 1964. I would not have any other gauge. 3 1/4 drams of powder behind 1 1/4 or 1/18 ounces of shot is plenty deadly on all upland game my diary proves it over the many decades I have hunted with it. I have even shot Canadian Goose with the 16 and that is a big bird.

  • Tommad January 29, 2016, 9:04 am

    56 cents a round for Winchester sounds pretty good to me @ luckygunner

    • JPM98VMI February 2, 2016, 12:42 pm

      Check out the Herter’s brand Cabela’s is selling. Prices range from 22 to 32 cents per round (before shipping) depending upon selection. They run free shipping or bargain shipping on $100 orders from time to time too. Granted, this is based on per case sales.

  • Stephen speanburg January 29, 2016, 9:02 am

    My father bought a sweet 16 in 1964 and I have it today. We both used it for bird, rabbit, turkey and deer. It was and still is a great gun! The engraving on the gun is amazing, and the gun looks brand new. We have both taken a lot of deer with this gun and hope to pass it down to my sons when I am done with it. Maybe! Hahaha!

  • Loren Richardson January 29, 2016, 8:59 am

    I have a sweet sixteen that my dad passed over to me in 1957 always loved the gun and have now passed the gun over to my son I am now 75 years old and hope to purchase a new one when available in my lifetime. Good things come to pass sometime.
    Thanks Browning(didn’t say where it will be made at or I missed it ?)

  • Joe January 29, 2016, 8:52 am

    I love the 16ga. I only have 6 of them. The thing I like me most is for us old guys and gals it’s light weight and soft recoil. Alas, no Sweet-16. But I do have a 1928 A-5 with 2-9/16″ chamber that I love, talk about a rare bird that is one of them. If I had the $’s two new A-5s would be on the way, one for me and one for the wife.

  • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn January 29, 2016, 8:51 am

    Without question the 16 gauge is the most under-rated smoothbore gauge going with maybe the 28 gauge standing behind the right-side curtain. A properly built 16 – one whose receiver is carved from an aviation-grade block of aluminum or a high-grade, lightweight steel alloy truly is a delight to shoot and carry. The buck with the best rack I’ve ever shot was taken a 16 pump-action made by a brand other than Browning. It came to the shoulder in full response as the buck ripped out of a ragweed field like some Ohio cottontail. Florida’s wild hogs have come to fear that shotgun as have Ohio’s ducks and stocked pheasants. Yeah, I also droll every time I go to a gun show and see an original Sweet 16 and I’d love to have one of the newer versions. That said, I do believe that there are some warts. In the top photo look at that panhead torex screws. They look like they belong in an Erector Set. They are ill-fitting and not even appearing centered. Now look at the pic of the classic A5 Sweet 16. The screw heads are much less bulbous, as it were, with the smaller panhead nicely tucked next to its bigger sibling. Man, now THAT’S craftsmanship. And look at the pistol grip of both versions. The classic Sweet 16’s rounded pistol grip has truly artisan lines. The re-do A5, not so much, with a squared-off, almost after-thought hunk that simply does not have the same Sweet 16 graceful contours. Yeah, I guess some compromises are required in building any firearm, the Sweet 16 included. But if Browning is going to try and resurrect the firearm’s iconic heritage with a “gee-wiz, look at me” take than the company better be prepared to accept critical lumps as well. That being said, Part II, if I could afford a new A5 in 16 gauge I would though I’d just as soon tour a gun show or two and find a classic model collecting dust on some seller’s display table.

  • JOHN JONES January 29, 2016, 8:38 am

    I just bought two new A5s , a camo one a and the Ultimate . If I had seen the 16 I would bought it instead of the camo one . Love this gun , how it feels in my hands , how easy it is to clean ,and the way it points and shoots . Will there be a sweet 16 in my gun cabinet ?.You bet ya , just as soon as I recoer from buyin the first two

  • JOHN JONES January 29, 2016, 8:35 am

    Ijust bought two new A5s , a camo ona and the Ultimate . If i had seen the 16 i would bought it instead of the camo one . Love this gun , how it feels in my hands , how easy it is to clean ,and the way it points and shoots . Will there be a sweet 16 in my gun cabinet ?.You bet ya , just as soon as i reciver from buyin the first two

  • Bill goodwin January 29, 2016, 7:24 am

    Yep I have a Winchester Model 12 16 gage and love that round, and the price of the rounds is what is holding me back on the Browning 16 auto. If some mfg. would make the price of 16 gage round the same as 12 “I would buy one today”!

  • stevie1dr January 29, 2016, 7:01 am

    Opinions are like bellybuttons in that everyone has one. Me too. Why try to revive a dying shotgun gauge? Why 16? It’s already been brought back a couple of times and didn’t fly then, so why do they think this new A-5 will bring a gasp of life back into the 16? Not only the gauge, but frankly, I thought the A-5 would finally go the way of the A-500 and B-2000 along with passenger pigeon, as the newer gas operated scatterguns are so much more effective in terms of soft recoil and mass weight. Granted, the lines of this new gun are quite nice and as one would expect from Browning, there is no doubt it is a quality product. But why wasted on an antiquated design? And, the price point puts it out of the range of the average hunter and casual shooter, in my opinion. The final problem for me is the gauge. The 16 was squeezed out of production in the quantities that priced it comparable with the 12 and 20 for a reason. That being because the 20 mag, or the 12 light loaded 1 oz. shells were just as or more efficient than the 16 loadings. Now availability and loading choices are quite limited for the dying 16 gauge, as well as pricing at almost double that of the 12 and 20 gauge shells will not entice prospective buyers for this model.
    Lastly, as a long time professional gunsmith, one of the most prevalent firearms in for repair is the A-5 shotgun. The number of parts as well as the time consuming disassembly of this antiquated design make the A-5 one of my least desireable models to work on or to re-blue. Hopefully, Browning has also made improvements to enhance disassembly for the average owner so they can clean it properly without having to bring it to their local gunsmith because it’s too difficult for them to do.

    • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn January 29, 2016, 9:02 am

      Sorry, Stevie, that you’re neither a fan of the Browning A5 or the 16 gauge. Sorry too that your job as a gunsmith requires so much work. I didn’t expect that I’d make my gunsmith’s life so fraught with challenges that he’d moan and complain whenever I would bring in a project that required use of his skills; even when my late father’s 80-year-old Browning A5 needed rebluing. I guess all hunters ought to just satisfy themselves with the usual run-of-the-mill, vanilla-flavored 12s and 20s because that’s what everyone else is shooting and because doing so makes the lives of gunsmiths so much easier.

      • Michael January 29, 2016, 10:02 am

        Jefferey, I agree with Stevie. He’s not bashing the A5, but merely explaining why it’s not set up to be a success. I reload everything but 16 gauge. Shells are $9 a box for 12/20’s currently at the big box stores. $12-$14 a box for 16’s? And the hulls are not reload able? I ll pass as well.

        • Jeffrey L. Frischkorn January 29, 2016, 10:49 am

          Michael: I have to (respectably) take issue with you that Mr. Stevie is “not bashing” either Browning’s Sweet 16 or the 16 gauge. When he opines something like: “The final problem for me is the gauge. The 16 was squeezed out of production in the quantities that priced it comparable with the 12 and 20 for a reason. That being because the 20 mag, or the 12 light loaded 1 oz. shells were just as or more efficient than the 16 loadings. Now availability and loading choices are quite limited for the dying 16 gauge,…” Yeah, Michael, no question, that’s bashing. So is his “…I thought the A-5 would finally go the way of the A-500 and B-2000 along with passenger pigeon,…” The 16 gauge – and the A5 in each version – will live long past the time when their critics are no longer even memories. As for reloading, yeah, 16 gauge shotshells are more expensive than 12s and 20s. Then again, so are 3-inch magnum turkey loads, non-toxic waterfowl loads; and have you priced a box of 28-gauge or .410s? So what, I say. All of these three less popular shotgun fodder are still cool and effective game-getters and clay target busters. I own all three gauges (I’m lumping the .410 here because everyone but the most stickler do so) because they’re fun to shoot, and also avoid the vanilla-flavored 20s and 12s (which I also own and shoot). For the same reason I own and shoot both Makarov- and Tokarev-fueled handguns, shoot an ancient Broomhandle Mauser, and deer hunt with a replica single-shot .45-70 and a sporterized pre-World War I 03 Springfield fitted with original low-power Weaver K-model optics. There are those who melt into the nameless/faceless mass and then there are those of us who stand away from the crowd; we hear, dance, hunt and shoot to a different drumbeat.

  • Chief January 29, 2016, 5:26 am

    I love a 16 gauge its the first shotgun my Grandfather gave me as a boy .The issue is the price of the rounds . I would jump on a Browning 16 auto if the rounds were as plentiful and cost was the same as 12 and 20 gauge .

    • Classicbman January 29, 2016, 7:09 am

      Chief: If you want 16-gauge ammunition, try Cabela’s. They usually carry it and the price (on sale) will be $53 (low base, light loads) to $74 (pheasant) per case. They run sale pricing quite frequently.

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