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Secondhand Browning Citori review

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GUN EXPERT: Mike George
USEFUL BUY: Browning Citori
SECONDHAND COST: Between £750 – £1,000


Goodness knows why, because the word is meaningless in any language – it’s just the figment of a marketing man’s imagination.

Yet, despite the name, the gun grew into what Browning claim to be the most popular range of O/U shotguns ever.

The gun was built by Miroku in Japan, and was introduced to the US market in 1973.



It owes its origin to the fact that John Moses Browning’s immortal B25 was becoming very expensive to produce in the “home” factory in Belgium, and the company was looking for a cheaper, mass-market gun.

We didn’t see Citoris in the UK until some years later, and over here the gun had its critics.

It was sturdy and well-engineered, but many thought it to be a bit overweight.

But as the gun developed, Browning and Miroku between them addressed that problem, and the guns are now hugely popular.

So what if you have never heard of a Citori? Either you’re not old enough, or you know the range of guns by the names preferred in Europe. They are still known as Citoris in the USA, but here we know them by numbers – B125, B325… and so on.

The only Citoris you may find in the UK are relatively very old guns, or the new-ish guns such as the White Lightning and White Feather models, which are in a few shops.

THE MODELS
If you were trying to think of a name for a new gun you hoped would conquer world markets, what would you call it? Browning had that dilemma during the early 1970s, and the word they hit on was “Citori.”

Goodness knows why, because the word is meaningless in any language – it’s just the figment of a marketing man’s imagination.



Yet, despite the name, the gun grew into what Browning claim to be the most popular range of O/U shotguns ever.

The gun was built by Miroku in Japan, and was introduced to the US market in The B125 from the 1980s is really the odd one out in the whole range.

The parts were built by Miroku, then shipped to Belgium for finishing and assembly by craftsmen.

It was supposed to be a sort of half-way house between Japanese and Belgium-built Brownings, and is easily identified by its B25-style non-removable fore-end.

The B325 came out in 1988, and for a time production ran alongside that of the European-market Citori.

The new gun soon found favour in the UK because, while a typical Citori weighed around 8lb, the 325 was around 1/2lb lighter and had a slimmer, longer stock.

The B425 came on to the market in 1995, and offered detail improvements over its predecessor.

The main difference, however, was that Miroku had abandoned building barrel sets on the old chopper-lump principle (which in an O/U means that the barrel lump is forged integral with the lower barrel), and had installed a modern plant for building barrels on the modern monobloc system in which individual tubes are sleeved into a forging which makes up the lump and the chambers.



The B525 dates from 2003. Like all Miroku-built Brownings, it evolved as the years went by, and reviewers generally hailed later versions as the best yet.

Surprisingly, it was first introduced to the UK as a game version, production running alongside the B425, but a sporter soon followed.

The B625. Never heard of it? That’s because, as the Citori 625, it is specifically an American-market model, and I have never heard of one being imported into the UK.

The B725 is in the process of being launched as I write, and I have no details yet. So watch this space!

HOW DO THEY WORK?
> The design owes much to the original “John Moses” B25, but there are some differences.

However, all guns are boxlocks, with the components neatly stacked, one on top of another.

A low-mounted bolt runs along the floor of the action to engage with a full-width bite in the barrel lump.



The hammers are pivoted at the bottom, with sears hanging from the top strap.

The single, selective trigger is switched to the second barrel by an inertia mechanism.

Two-piece ejectors are driven by kickers attached to the fore-end iron.

Late models tend to have over-bored barrels to ease recoil, and pretty well all guns are mainly made in multichoke versions.

DIFFERENT GRADES AND TYPES
> Grades are generally numbered one to six, although not all guns are available in all grades. The B125 was graded A, B, and C.

Some of the higher grades have side-plated actions. There are also some name variants – GTI, Heritage, and Ultra for instance – but the general operating principles are all the same.

Most guns come in sporter, trap and field configurations, although there are slightly fewer skeet versions.

Some guns are available in 20-bore.

GUN FIT
> With their relatively tall actions, and stocks with drops of approximately 1.1/2 and 2.1/2 in at comb and heel respectively, the guns handle differently to shallower-actioned guns, such as Berettas.

Many shooters – particularly taller people – prefer Browning-style handling, but stocks can always be bent to suit individuals.

Stock lengths are usually around 14.3/4 in.

DATING YOUR GUN
> Easy! All Miroku-built Brownings have two code letters in the serial number:
Z=1; Y=2, X=3, W=4, V=5; T=6; R=7; P=8, N=9, M=0

Thus, a gun with PN in the serial number was made in 1989.

HOW MUCH?
> With so many guns around, some 30 and more years old, there is a huge variation in second-hand prices.

The following are recently-advertised prices for sporters in good condition, all Grade 1 except for the B125: original Citori £750, B125 (Grade C) £1,450, B325 800, B 425 £950, B525 £1,000.

UK IMPORTER
> BWM Arms, Moorbrook Trading Estate, Didcot, OX11 7HP. Tel: 01235-514550.

Current gun specifications can be found at www.browningint.com

Read more gun reviews!

  • Barry Caldwell

    Hi
    As I have just purchased a Browning Citori in very good condition I have found your review most interesting however it has raised a few questions rather than answers.
    The gun was made in 1988 as the serial no. is 26225 PP going by the article. It also has Browning Arms Company Morgan. Utah & Montreal P.Q stamped on top barrel.
    It looks very similiar to the gun pictured at the top of article with duck and pheasant engraving.
    Can you shed any more light on where this Citori came from, what model etc.
    Look forward to your response and do agree with comments above.

    Kind regards
    Barry

  • Jason Good

    Just read your article , referencing the Browning Citori’s. I own a B625. Your absolutely correct the gun came from USA. It’s a grade 3 stock and shoots very well. Not let me down yet!