Jason Harris says that the Browning B725 Black Edition is a stylish upgrade to a thoroughly 21st-century gun.
Browning’s B725 has been with us for about three years now. Gradually, the range is expanding as we’ve seen various versions of the Hunter or game version and also a 20-bore. An addition to the Sporting range is the Black Edition. It is effectively the same as the standard Sporter, with the most obvious change that all the metalwork, with the exception of the gold-plated trigger, is blacked.
The metalwork has little engraving, there are wavy lines or ribbons through the side of the action that break up what would otherwise be a plain action and it’s enough for the look of this gun. After all, it is a clay gun with a contemporary look and feel, but there is a little more to the Black Edition than that.
A quality look
The woodwork has been changed to American walnut, which is a darker variation on walnut, with a redder hue. This can have tighter figuring, as can be seen on the Black Edition. Drop points have also been carved into the stock at the head, which adds to the quality look of the gun.
Another obvious change is the extended DS invector chokes. This system was designed for the B725 and has a bronze seal at its base, while the tubes themselves are stainless steel. These extended tubes have knurled ends to make them easy to change and have a gold ring, which adds to the overall look of the gun.
The barrels are 76mm and have the B725’s Vector-Pro back-bored system to minimise recoil and optimise patterns. The barrels are chrome-lined and carry special steel shot proof. Ribs are ventilated both centre and top to reduce weight and maximise cooling. The top rib is 10mm parallel with a central channel to draw the eye. The muzzle is finished with a white foresight.
Stock dimensions are drops of 56mm at heel and 36mm at comb. Cast is not specified as such, but this gun has approximately 2mm at heel. Regardless, the Black Edition is available left or right hand, so cast is not really an issue. On top of this there is an adjustable comb version.
The stock has a fairly deep pistol grip with palm swell at hand, which enforces the need for left and right hand versions, and the woodwork is oil finished. The butt-end has the Inflex recoil pad. The gun comes with a 12mm pad, but there are 20mm and 25mm versions that can be added optionally so length can be fine-tuned to suit. The fore-end is Schnabel-shaped, a Browning feature, and works well with the pistol grip in terms of looks, though I can’t help but feel a rounded or semi-beavertail fore-end would look better. The B725 Schnabel just doesn’t look quite so elegant.
Nuts and bolts
Mechanically, the Black Edition shares the chassis of others in the 725 range, though the gun is evolving slightly with modified mainsprings that assist the mechanical trigger. As the hammer is fired forwards, the mainspring lifts slightly. Part of the mainspring is a larger central coil that pushes up an assistor, which in turn pushes back the sear lifter to disengage it from the first sear and allow it to then pick up the second sear for the second shot. The sear lifter then disengages itself without recoil from the first shot. The advantage here is that the lightest cartridges can be used without fear that the mechanism may not reset itself for the second shot, as can sometimes happen when a gun is relying entirely on recoil.
In general, the B725 action has been flattened from that of the B525 and its predecessors. The B725 is really Browning’s gun for the 21st century, though there is still much of the heritage of the previous models in it. The very principles of how the gun works are drawn from these tried-and-tested designs, but every part is different for the B725.
Browning B725 action
The action has been made shallower by approximately 4mm, but is very slightly wider, maybe a millimetre or less. The hinge pin or cross pin is a smaller diameter, but the hook of the barrel lump is much wider so the surface area is not compromised. Draw has been added by the rear lumps coming through the bottom of the action, while the trigger on the Sporters are adjustable to suit finger length.
All B725s have the facility to be made auto safe. This is not so important for a competition gun, but when it comes to a game gun, UK shooters often prefer to have the feature. The gun comes with manual safe as standard, but there is a bar with the gun that can be added by a gunsmith to make it auto safe.