Browning Introduces New A5 Sweet Sixteen Shotguns
What They Are: A bevy of new 16-gauge A5s for hunting and clay target shooting.
Why We Love Them: Browning’s classic 16-gauge broadens its horizons and only adds to its appeal.
A few years ago, Browning brought back the Sweet Sixteen semi-auto shotgun and it was an immediate success. And while the new gun paid homage to the original right down to its humpback profile Browning never expanded their 16-gauge guns much beyond that. Until now, that is.
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The new crop of A5 Sweet Sixteens is, well, pretty sweet. Of course the original field model remains in the lineup, but there’s also a new Lightning version with gloss finish Turkish walnut stock and a rounded Lightning style pistol grip. It’s not radically different, but it’s a nice aesthetic that plays homage to Browning’s Lightning guns of years gone by.
There’s also a new Upland version that features an oil finished Turkish walnut stock and a brushed nickel receiver, and even though it’s a decidedly different look for the Sweet Sixteen shotgun the Upland offers a bit of panache exclusive to this model. It looks good on the rack, and it’ll look equally good at the clays range or while combing through a CRP field in search of pheasants. If the Upland model isn’t flashy enough for you, there’s also an Ultimate version with a satin nickel engraved receiver, grade III Turkish walnut and jeweled bolt slide.
Waterfowl hunters get their own dedicated Sweet Sixteen variants this year, too. The new Wicked Wing Realtree Max-7 model features the same Cerakote Burnt Bronze camo finish on the receiver and Burnt Bronze barrel finish found on 12-gauge A5s, but as the name implies this one is decked out with synthetic stock in Realtree’s brand-new Max-7 camo pattern. There are also Sweet Sixteen Wicked Wing models with Shadow Grass Habitat and Mossy Oak Bottomland stocks. If you prefer a full camo dip, check out the Sweet Sixteen Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat model.
There’s an old saw that a 16-gauge should “carry like a 20-gauge, shoot like a 12-gauge.” The new Sweet Sixteens certainly carry like 20s: the Upland version on display at the 2022 SHOT Show weighed about 5¾ pounds and features a scaled receiver that’s noticeably trimmer than the 12-gauge version. Of course, the new Sweet Sixteen guns come with all the primary features found on the recently reintroduced version including Kinematic Drive operation which relies on recoil force to cycle the action instead of gas pressure which, in turn, promises clean operation and minimal maintenance. The humpback profile lengthens the sight plane and these guns are perfectly balance and smooth-swinging. A nickel Teflon coating protects the bolt, bolt slide, shell carrier, and other important components and increases lubricity. Browning’s Invector-DS choke tubes come standard, and the Wicked Wings tubes are extended. All these guns come with 2 ¾-inch chambers. The new crop of A5 shotguns look good, to be sure, and they make a compelling argument for carrying the “gentleman’s cartridge” while hunting birds or breaking clays.
• A5 Wicked Wing Sweet Sixteen Max-7: $2,229.99
• A5 Lightning Sweet Sixteen: $1,819.99
• A5 Sweet Sixteen Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat: $1,999.99
• A5 Sweet Sixteen Upland: $2,029.99
• A5 Ultimate Sweet Sixteen: $2,259.99
For more information on the new A5 Sweet Sixteen models, visit browning.com.
Article by BRAD FITZPATRICK