Why did Browning name this gun 'Citori'?
To be frank the label ‘Citori’ means nothing. It’s just marketing speak.
That said, it’s a gun that Browning claim to be the most popular range of over-and-under shotguns ever. And that’s quite some claim.
The gun was built in Japan by Miroku and was introduced to the market in the USA in 1973.
The origins of the Citori came about as Browning was looking for a mass-market gun to replace the immortal B25, which was becoming very expensive to produce in the “home” factory in Belgium.
It took a few years for the Citori to arrive in the UK.
Criticised for being overweight
When it did, it attracted criticism for being a bit overweight – however it was sturdy and well-engineered.
Over time, Browning and Miroku addressed the issue, and the guns are now hugely popular.
Never heard of a Citori?
Here we know the guns by numbers – B125, B325 and so on. It’s in the USA that they remain known as Citoris.
The only Citoris you could find in the UK are fairly old, or the new-ish guns such as the White Lightning and White Feather models, which are in a few shops.
The different models
The B125 from the 1980s is odd man out in the Citori colleciton.
Miroku built the parts which were then shipped to Belgium so craftsmen could assemble and finish the gun.
In effect the B125 was supposed to be a sort of half-way house between Japanese and Belgian-built Browning.
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.
1988 saw the arrival of the B325
For a while the gun’s production ran in tandem with that of the European-market Citori.
In the UK the B325 gun quickly became popular because it was around ½lb lighter than a typical Citori (which weighed in at 8lb) and had a longer, slimmer stock.
More improvements with the B425
The B425 came on to the market in 1995, and offered detailed improvements.
The most noticeable difference was that Miroku had abandoned building barrel sets on the old chopper-lump principle (which in an over-and-under 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.
Next up the B525
Reviewers generally rated later versions of the Miroku-built Brownings as the best yet. The B525 dates from 2003 and shows the evolution of the gun.
It was initially introduced to the UK as a game version and production ran alongside the B425. A sporter version followed shortly afterwards.
The American-market Browning Citori 625
The Citori 625 (as it is known) is specifically an American-market model. I have never heard of one being imported into the UK so they are virtually unknown here.
This is available in a variety of guises. I’ve written several reviews which you can discover here for full details.
How do the guns work?
Although the design draws strongly from the original “John Moses” B25 there are some differences.
All guns are boxlocks. The components are neatly stacked, one on top of the other.
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. However 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.
With their relatively tall actions, and stocks with drops of approximately 1.½ and 2.½in 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 14.¾in.
Wondering how you can date your Browning shotgun?
This is actually very straightforward. 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
Therefore a gun with PN in the serial number was made in 1989.
How much can you expect to pay?
There are a lot of guns around and some are 30 or more years old. This makes for a big variation in second-hand prices.
To give you an idea however, the following were recently advertised prices for sporters in good condition. All are Grade 1 except for the B125: original Citori £750, B125 (Grade C) £1,450, B325 £800, B 425 £950, B525 £1,000.
Have a look at the Shooting UK marketplace for the latest second-hand guns.
Where else to buy?
Try the UK importer BWM Arms on 01235-514550.
Current gun specifications can be found at Browning
Most popular range of over-and-under shotguns ever claims Browning