A second-hand Browning Grand Prix Sporter is basically a B525. It's an ideal Sporter and not too heavy for the occasional day’s field shooting
When the Browning Grand Prix Sporter entered the market eight years ago, it made a big fuss about the fact that owners could switch the ejector mechanism off. It was more than just a sales gimmick — in fact, it’s a mystery to some of us that every break-action shotgun is not so constructed.
How often do you need ejectors? In clayshooting, probably only in flush competitions, and in field shooting only on a hot peg at a driven gameshoot, or maybe on a busy pigeon flightline. The rest of the time ejectors only give you a sore back while you grope around on the ground for the cartridge cases once the action is over. What’s more, if Baikal can give us switch-off ejectors on a gun one-third the price of the GP, why can’t every other company?
In addition to the switch-off feature on the ejectors, achieved with the use of a tool supplied with the gun, the GP brought together all that was best in Browning competition guns at the time, and which remains so even now.
The Browning Grand Prix Sporter is basically a B525, which has only recently been superseded by the B725 on the European market. The 625 was only marketed in North America. But the GP, in Sporter and trap versions, remains on sale alongside the Browning 725 in both Europe and the USA, and there are many shooters who would wish this situation to remain for the foreseeable future. In the US, the gun is known as the Citori GP.
Features of the Browning Grand Prix Sporter include back-bored barrels for reduced recoil, and Midas chokes manufactured by Briley. Five choke tubes are supplied: cylinder, quarter, half, three- quarters and full.
So, if you are buying the Browning Grand Prix Sporter second-hand, make sure you get the full set of five and that they are the Briley originals, identified by the gold ring at the muzzle end. Also make sure the ejector tool is present and that the gun is in its ABS travelling case. Barrels are 28, 30 or 32in, with 3in (76mm) chambers, and the tubes have been subjected to superior steel shot proof. The gun is available in 12-bore only, and the barrels are topped by a 10mm rib, matted to cut sun glare, and with a central groove to concentrate the eye. Foresight is a small, white bead. To aid barrel cooling and reduce weight, the side ribs are vented.
The action is mechanically the same as the B525, in typical Browning format with a low-mounted bolt, a full-width hinge pin, hammers hinged at the bottom, and sears hanging from the top strap. The single, selective trigger switches to the second barrel through a recoil-driven inertia system.
The exterior of the Browning Grand Prix Sporter action is free of conventional engraving, but has a gold “GP” in an oval on each side, and further gold decoration underneath. The fore-end is of schnabel design — a shape also called “tulip” — and the woodwork is oil-finished. Weight is 71⁄2lb to 73⁄4lb, depending on barrel length and wood density — ideal for a Sporter, and not too heavy for the occasional day’s field shooting.