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