A secondhand Browning B725 is a useful buy, according to Mike George. He tells us why the way it shoots and handles is pleasing.
When Browning introduced the B725 shotgun a little over two years ago, the reaction among a number of shooters was to ask why they bothered? This was not so much a criticism as an acknowledgment that it would be hard, if not impossible, to improve on the B525 it looked set to replace.
Before we go any further, we should explain why it was not called the B625 — as a logical succession in the numbers game. In fact, the B625 exists, but not in Europe. Known properly as the Citori B625, it has only ever been marketed in North America. That point out of the way, as the B725 goes into its third year, what do British shooters think of it?
Buyers are pleased
Reaction has been good. Buyers seem to be pleased with the way in which it is presented, and how it shoots and handles. And, significantly, the secondhand Browning seems to be generally devoid of the reliability problems that can sometimes plague a revised design.
The fact is that the general principles of the gun’s mechanics are modelled on Browning’s original Belgium-built B25 and the Miroku-built series, which began in the late 1970s with the original Citori. As in John Moses Browning’s masterwork of the 1920s, all the mechanical features are neatly stacked, one on top of the other, within the gun’s action.
The gun employs a full-width hinge pin that engages with conventional barrel lumps, while the bolt runs along the action floor. Hammers, which are driven by coil mainsprings running on guide rods, are hinged from the bottom, while sears hang down from the top strap.
This layout has traditionally led to a rather tall action, which provides typical Browning handling characteristics, which are shared by the present day Miroku series and the late, lamented, original Winchester 101.
Traditional Browning principles
The B725 action still shares traditional Browning mechanical principles, but the design engineers have streamlined the action frame and have thus been able to make it shallower. The general opinion is that this feature alone has made the gun’s handling even sharper than that of its predecessors. And, to put the icing on the cake for me, the single, selective trigger transfers to the second barrel by a mechanical means rather than by the action of a recoil-driven inertia weight — just like the old Winchester.
It’s a good point, and not just because the gun will still fire the second barrel in the rare event of a misfire in the first. A mechanical system does away with the problems you often get when using very light ammunition. A mechanical transfer system will fire the second barrel, whether the cartridges are three-inch Magnums or the relatively newly-fashionable 21g clay loads.
To compliment the shallower action, the stock has been redesigned along nicely-flowing lines. That said, the general dimensions are typical Browning. Length on the Sporter is 14¾in, with drops of ½in and 2¼in comb and heel respectively. Recoil pads in various thicknesses are available for stock length adjustment. The fore-end is of a slight Schnabel design, although a trap-style fore-end is available on Sporters.
The B725 is made in field and Sporter versions, and still sells alongside B525 models. Field versions in various grades include standard, lightweight and 20-bore versions. Sporters include standard and adjustable comb models, and a very attractive luxury version called the G5.
More information can be found from the importers, BWM Arms, on tel 01235 514550, or any Browning dealer.