Shooters who like to tweak gun settings to their personal taste will love the Browning 725 Pro Sport Adjustable over-and-under with its range of optional parts, says Roger Glover
An evolution rather than an all-new design, the 725 moves on from its 1970s development with tweaks and improvements bringing it right up to date. For more than 40 years, Browning has used essentially the same basic platform for its mainstream range of guns and why not? It is a great design that has stood the test of time and has a terrific following. It is strong and dependable, hard-wearing and reliable. Yet Browning has found ways of improving upon its original concept. Nothing ground-breaking in its own right, but a package of tweaks that changes the whole dynamic.
The first thing is the stock. It is a beautiful piece of American walnut with great grain structure and dark moody colour, set off with a highlight of blonde, which is very pleasing. The Pro-Sport has an adjustable comb with a fairly broad spectrum of movement, up and down and positive or negative offset. In a way this compensates for not having the gun fitted to you, but in terms of out-of-the-box home adjustability, it helps to get your eye in line with the rib.
The pistol grip is deep and full. Most guns leave my little finger precariously on the edge of the grip, but not so with the 725 — there is room to spare. It places your hand in an upright position, something I’ve never liked on a shotgun until now. With the full palm swell and deep cut relief behind, you are afforded a chunky handful without it feeling awkward or cumbersome. The fore-end is similar — generous proportions but a great feel and comfortable in the hand. The chequering is fine at 24 lines per inch; it is well executed and fits well with the overall style. Oil finished, the stock is not overly glossy as some guns are, which I like.The grain is well filled and would not take much to maintain.
As part of the package the 725 comes with a whole host of optional parts, the first of which is a thicker “Inflex” recoil pad, 25mm compared with the one fitted at 20mm. These are designed to exhibit a tendency to dip the stock away from your cheek during firing. Further length-of-pull adjustments can be carried out at the trigger with plus or minus 4mm of movement, once you have decided on which of the three trigger-blades takes your fancy: plain narrow, broad chequered or plain broad angled.
Balance can play a pivotal part in setting a gun up to your personal taste and this is accommodated for in the 725 with 120g of 20g weights for the stock, plus 45g for the mounting bar. This means you can ballast from 45g through to 165g, which moves the point of balance from 20mm in front of the hinge pin to 10mm behind. If you want the weight even farther forward there is a pair of barrel weights that give you 74g in a choice of four positions between the fore- end and start of the choke tubes.
Things have moved on since the 525. The hinge-pin diameter has been reduced slightly and, along with changes to the lumps, this has allowed a lower profile to the action, at the marginal expense of having to increase width to maintain strength.
The trigger is the main change to the design. Where most triggers cannot release the second barrel until the first has fired and recoiled the gun — known as the inertia system — the 725 now has a mechanical trigger where the action of changing from first to second sear is performed in the mechanical process of firing rather than the reaction. Browning has chosen to do this by winding an oversized coil into the middle of the mainsprings. Upon firing, the tumbler moves forward with the mainspring extending behind it. As it does this, the oversize coil acts like a cam and lifts a part that unhitches the first sear and moves on to the second. The change is initiated before the first barrel fires. It means less time until you can fire the second barrel and if you did get a misfire you would still have that second shot, whereas an inertia system wouldn’t work.
That said, under misfire conditions you should always sort out the problem before moving to the second shot. The advantage is for shooting lighter loads that wouldn’t give enough recoil to cycle an inertia system and with the 725’s weight soaking up a lot of that recoil, this is the only feasible way to guarantee a reliable second shot.
The chambers are 2¾in on this 30in gun, with 32in barrels as an option. Back-bored and chromed for steel shot, they sport the new dual-seal system Invector choke tubes. A brass collar is fitted at the base of the choke and seals against gas pressure seeping forward behind the tube. Each of the eight chokes supplied with the gun is externally marked with a notch system as well as with abbreviated letters. They are also marked on the body with a lead use choke and steel shot equivalent rating.
The rib starts at 8mm wide at the breech widening to 12mm at the front of the Monobloc. It tapers back to 8mm at the muzzle and is topped by an interchangeable element fibre-optic-type foresight. Three different diameters of green and red elements are supplied and two in white. These are easily changed with the little paddle tool supplied.
Barrel finish is satin black with a light texture. The action body is gloss black and polished all over apart from the sides, which are brushed. There are gold-coloured inlays to the sides and underside, with the Browning logo in gold on the trigger-guard and repeated in black on the top lever. Other than this there is no engraving or embellishment.
Everything needed to set this gun up to your personal taste is included, as well as the tools to do it. In comparison with other guns that have optional parts at cost, I do wonder just how much of the ticket price is made up of parts you may never use, but this is why you would buy the 725: because it is all there to fine-tune the gun to you, not what a marketing man has decided to give you.
It is very much a Browning in all respects and follows on from its stable mates, with a strong nod back to them and the Browning brand.
This is a good, heavy-built gun that will last. The improvements over previous models could well go to improving your scores. It may be priced a little higher than some of its competitors, but you won’t be going back to your dealer to order new parts. Read on below for scores and spec ….
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A proven design improved by way of the trigger development. I have to mark it down on the safety catch feeling notchy and a few burrs here and there. I’d give it two more points if these were sorted. 15/20
I like the dark colours and it is uniform without being interfered with. The pistol grip really won me over. 19/20
Browning has worked hard on this. It is certainly lighter than on previous models and the mechanics of it will pay dividends with light loads. 19/20
At 8lb 10¼oz, it is a stout gun to say the least and that’s before you add weights. Yet with handfuls of stock you can throw it around with confidence; it has got a great swing. 18/20
I tested straight out of the box. I know others would use all the optional parts sooner or later and frequently change them around. For this, it is a good package. You choose. 18/20
Need to know
Bore 12, with 70mm chambers
Barrels 30in, 32in option
Action Over-and-under, mechanical trigger
Weight 8lb 10 1/4oz
Features DS Invector extended chokes
Options Left-handed available
Maker Browning, Japan
A good, heavy-built gun that will last