Browning Heritage shotgun.
It has been way overdue in terms of delivery so it comes as something of a relief to say it’s now on the shelves and actually on sale in the UK!
Mechanically speaking the gun is essentially a 525 with an obvious difference… sideplates.
These not only give the engravers a much larger area to work with, but they also give the gun a completely different look.
As you can see from the photographs here the engraving is a feature that stands out most prominently on this gun.
The right plate carries pheasants while partridges are depicted on the left.
Surrounding this and the rest of the action frame is a covering of fine scroll engraving, which has been rolled on and then enhanced by hand to give each gun a stamp of individual uniqueness.
The test gun came with 30in barrels but you can also take your pick of 28 or 32in tubes if you prefer. Overall weight of the 30in version is 3.6kg.
Regardless of barrel length this Sporter comes with 3in chambers proofed for special steel shot, chrome lined bores for easy cleaning and a typical ventilated Browning top rib that’s 10mm wide.
It also comes supplied with standard Browning Invector choke tubes.
As we would expect on a model like this the makers have kitted it out with very good quality oiled woodwork that’s nicely figured and which sport drop points that come away from the sideplates to give the gun a quality look.
A silver oval has been fitted to the stock to take your initials or family crest and the stock is finished with a dished polymer butt plate.
Stock length is fairly standard at 14.3/4in as are the 1.1/2in and 2.1/4in drops at comb and heel.
With a straight cast at heel and a fractional cast at toe this gun should suit the majority of right-handed shooters.
Chequering follows a traditional pattern with points and is nicely cut for good grip on both the pistol grip and Schnabel fore-end.
The Heritage is supplied in an Opaline travel case complete with five stainless steel choke tubes and key.
My overall impression is that the gun looks better in the photographs than it does in real life.
This is because the 525 action has to be very deep to accommodate the hinge pin on which the gun opens.
And it’s this depth that somehow makes the gun look even deeper with the addition of sideplates.
If Browning ever get round to doing a 20-bore version (which I have been asked for as much as the long-awaited 12) then I reckon with the shallower action the gun will have a better look.
To put a positive slant on this criticism – most English sidelock over-under guns also had this big look, so the Heritage is in good company.
The engraving and drop points on this gun are very attractive features and big plusses in the scheme of things.
It’s a typically well-made Browning/Miroku but I think the jury’s still out on the over-large impression created by those sideplates.
Browning Heritage shotgun
Build quality: 9
Value for money: 7