Browning B-2000


Hi Bruce,

As someone who values your opinion a great deal I am seeking out your advice once again. I’m think of purchasing a like new Browning B-2000 12 Gauge .

Can you give me some advice concerning the history of this model ? I know your are fan of gas operated autoloaders as am I. I just wondered if they are reliable, have a history of more then normal parts breakage, and your opinion of buying a Browning that is no longer made. Those who I’ve spoken so far to about this gun said it was very soft shooting and handled quite nicely. I don’t know if it was a problem gun for Browning, or just one of those guns they discarded, while looking for the Holy Grail of autoloaders in the past 25 years. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. ( I still think they’re not done looking)

Thank You,

Peter

Dear Peter,

I don’t really have much experience with Browning’s B-2000. I’ve shot them some, but never owned one. Of course, that won’t stop me from making up all sorts of things to tell you about them.

I believe that the B-2000 was Browning’s first commercial effort at a gas operated shotgun. Fjestad’s “Blue Book of Gun Values” states that it was produced from 1974-1983. The B-2000 replaced the recoil operated Double Auto and was in turn replaced by the Beretta patent Browning B-80 (mechanically similar to the 300, 301, 302, 303 Beretta gas guns).

The B-2000 was a relative failure for Browning. They sold 115,000 of them in the US over the ten year period. The Remington 1100 dominated the market at that time. By contrast, the classic A-5 humpback was in production in Belgium from 1902 – 1972 (2,500,000 made in Belgium) and in Japan until 1997. As a modern comparison, Beretta makes 50,000 391s a year.

None of the B-2000s I shot had any problems, but I didn’t shoot them long enough to give them a fair test. I felt that recoil was pretty standard for a gas gun of that weight. I wasn’t a big fan of the modified hump back receiver, but it wasn’t a big deal. You should note that it was very rare to ever see a B-2000 in clay target competition, though Browning did make skeet and trap models. That’s never a good sign. That said, you don’t see Benellis used in top competition and they are an excellent and reliable hunting gun.

As to parts, Brownells carries parts for some Brownings, but I didn’t see the B-2000 listed. If I were you, I’d contact Browning service and ask them if parts are still available. You don’t want any gas gun for which you can’t get parts.

I don’t know why Browning stopped making the B-2000. It might have been lack of sales or less than ideal performance or both or neither. There just weren’t enough of the guns out there for me to get a good feel for them by talking to other owners.

I’m always a bit reluctant to buy a 35 year old “orphan” that wasn’t really all that popular in its prime. You have to ask yourself why it wasn’t successful the first time around and what would make it more desirable a quarter of a century later. Look at the Ithaca Model 51 gas gun- a great handling, soft shooting gun, but it ate parts the way my dog eats kibble.

Fjestad’s lists the B-2000 as selling for around $350 in 98% condition, so perhaps modest purchase price changes the picture. Still, a used B-80 costs only slightly more and is a proven gun once you get the gas ports sorted out if you have a 3″ gun. I don’t have any first hand knowledge as to how the B-2000 handles different shell strengths.

Browning has certainly been star-crossed in it’s search for a competitive gas operated gun. The B-2000 wasn’t a success. The B-80 worked well, but was short term solution with Beretta until Browning could come up with it’s ill fated A-500 made in both a gas and recoil operated model. The current Browning Gold had initial teething problems and sales never really recovered as Browning had hoped. The Gold doesn’t begin to approach the Beretta 391 in popularity.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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10 Responses to Browning B-2000

  1. Palin Jean yves says:

    J’en possède 2 un special trap en acier et un special chasse le corps est en alliage d’aluminium .
    Entre les deux, le poids varie de 1 Kg (3.950 et 2.950).Je les est acheté en 1979 .Ils fonctionnent toujours à la perfection .

  2. Nick says:

    Interesting article. I have owned my B2000 12 gauge since 1978. I really like it and found it to be soft shooting and 100% reliable with multiple shells. I have a slug barrel, and 30″ full choke barrel that came on the gun and a Skeet barrel. I primarily used it for skeet shooting at the local skeet range and shot and won several club competitions. It has cycled at least 10,000 rounds without fail. I think the downfall was a lot of owners not understanding how the gas piston works or is reassembled wrong after cleaning. It’s easy to do if you’re not familiar with the particulars of assembly. I have never had to replace any parts but then, I put it away after the skeet range was closed due to housing developments. Bottom line, the gun is great handling, soft shooting and reliable.

  3. james hyndman says:

    I believe that every time Browning comes out with a new product, someone badmouths the old model. I have owned a-500s that have been touted as the biggest mistake that Browning ever made, They were wonderful guns…..true Brownings. Go figure?????

  4. Bryan Henderson says:

    I have owned a B2000 since 1975 after reading an interesting article in the local outdoor mag.However in cold weather the gun does not function as it should, after the first shot the spent shell is ejected ,another round is fed into the chamber, now this is the disappointing part is that the trigger cannot be squeezed no matter how much pressure is applied unless the unfired shell is ejected by cycling the bolt and loading another shell into the chamber, I have met with the Browning people in Montreal who referred me to the warranty repair centre in Coburg Ontario.where I have been back on three occasions for the same problem but have had no success in rectifying the malfunction, I really do like the gun but as far as buying another Browning firearm No Way!!!!!

    • Bob Carroll says:

      You have over oiled you firearm. Get some spray gunk remover and apply to the space between the trigger and the receiver. Believe me this works.

  5. Scotty says:

    I’ve owned a 12-ga. B2000 since the mid-1980s and shot a lot of geese, ducks and pheasants with it. Never had any problems. In fact, one memorable goose hunt near the Missouri river in SD it was the only gun in a group of 10 hunters that didn’t have any problems. We were hunting a harvested corn field in string of pits (6-ft. deep round holes dug with an augur on a tractor) over decoys. It was bitterly cold, the wind was howling (no surprise for SD) and there was a skiff of snow on the ground. The wind was whipping up a mix of find dirt and snow that would melt as soon as it hit any warm parts on your gun and then freeze almost instantly. The geese were coming in so fast you didn’t know where to look, but after the first shots were fired the doubles and over-and-unders were done. As soon as the actions were opened and exposed to that snow/dirt mix it melted and refroze and they wouldn’t close tightly enough to fire. One by one the auto loaders and pumps froze up too, jamming or misfiring. The B2000 was the only gun that didn’t have an issue that day, and I was pretty impressed. So were all the guys with far more expensive guns that were useless in that environment, except maybe as clubs. I was kind enough to shoot their geese for them though…

  6. Payson N. Sullivan says:

    I have a 20 ga. 2000 which I have owned since about 1980. I love the gun and have had no problems at all. Keep it reasonably clean like you would or should do with any shotgun.

  7. Jay says:

    I have had a Browning 2000 since 1981. No problems so far, but I’m really worried now:). Softest recoil due to very smooth gas action and the heft of a steel receiver(almost the same receiver as the great Browning Automatic Rifle….the sporting rifle, nothing to do with the military BAR). I think the following are the real reasons that the Browning 2000 was overtaken by even lesser designs:

    A. It used interchangeable barrels(I have a 28″ and a 24″), not interchangeable chokes, which were available in later shotguns which displaced it. That is an expensive way to change from full to improved cylinder:). You could buy a good pump shotgun for less than the cost of a spare barrel.

    B. Its gas action wasn’t touted like later actions as automatically adjusting from the lightest to the heaviest loads. Though mine will handle everything from 24 gram(7/8 oz) to 42 gram(1 5/8 oz) magnums. So long as the port pressure is sufficient, irrespective of perceived recoil and shot/slug weight, it will work.

    C. It didn’t accommodate 3″ magnum 12ga shells, unless you fitted a 3″ magnum barrel(expensive). This won’t work very reliably with 2 3/4″ shells. The 3″ barrel has only one gas port, the 2 3/4″ has two gas ports. I have no need for expensive 3″ shells that might give you an extra few yards range. Both my barrels are for 2 3/4″ shells.

    D. It has a steel receiver which I prefer over lightweight alloy. Some people complain about the modest weight, while also whining about the kick of magnums in their alloy receiver pump.

    E. Not enough people have used them, since production didn’t continue for long in the face of interchangeable chokes, alloy receivers, self-adjusting actions and other trendy things that excite gun writers, but not me. So people may be afraid that parts are a problem. I haven’t replaced anything:

    A friend commented dryly that I should clean the gun every year! It isn’t like an M4 that you strip before you use it, in the middle of your shooting, and again when you are finished…..hard to do in dusty conditions under fire(:.

    It has only had the gas setup detail stripped a few times in a third of a century. Otherwise the gun gets the same treatment as the Rem 870. Occasional boresnake, and oiling. Bit of tung oil or walnut oil on the (nice French walnut) stock.

    Favorite shotgun vs Rem 870, Win 1300, Mossberg 500, Brno 300 series O/U, all of which I have used a lot.

    I do go on, lol, but hope that helped.

  8. Nabs says:

    I have a B 2000 since 94. Dad Bought it used it and after 2006 its in my use. Has been a reliable gun. have fired alot. never needed a repair. I dont see any bad about the Gun, parts or any thing else. Its still better then many other models.. It has smooth recoil and smooth action. keep the pistons and trigger assembly clean for best performance.

  9. David Tennison says:

    I have owned a 2000 since 1975. Mine is a 20 ga. and I have used it for quail and dove hunting. I love this gun. It has been very reliable and I have fired many cases of shells through it. Keep it fairly clean and it will fire every shot. I have an a5 but I still prefer the 2000 for day in day out use.

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