The new Browning 725 Grade 5 variant gives the already-popular gun a facelift says Jason Harris
The Browning 725 has been around for a year or more and has been well received. Now comes the Grade 5 — which, for those who are more used to names rather than numbers is the equivalent of what was known as the “Prestige” on the 425 and 525.
Mechanically, it has the same features as the standard grade guns; instead here it the looks that count, with a full covering engraving and highly figured woodwork. This version is available with 28 or 30in barrels. The top rib is 6mm wide and matted to reduce glare. It is also ventilated to maximise cooling and keep weight in check. The side ribs are solid.
There is a small silver foresight and the barrels are made on the monoblock principle, with 76mm chambers and the 725’s Vector-Pro back-bored system to minimise recoil and optimise patterns. Being an over-bored system it also maximises velocity and therefore pellet penetration. The barrels are chrome lined and carry special steel shot proof.
The DS choke system was designed for the 725 and has a bronze seal system at its base. The tubes are stainless steel and there is a phosphor bronze sealing ring on each that helps to stop powder residue getting up behind the tube, making them easier to remove and clean.
The 725 has evolved from the previous ranges of Japanese-made Brownings, which themselves draw inspiration from the Belgian-made B25. The principles of the mechanics remain the same, although the parts have been redesigned slightly; in fact all the parts are new to the 725.
The connection between the sears and the hammers is the same, with sears suspended from the top strap, with the hammer pivoting below. Changes in the shape of these parts has provided very crisp trigger pulls. The way the firing pins work also remains the same, with the bottom spring-loaded and top free-floating.
The main difference on the 725 is the size of the action frame; it has been made shallower and a bit wider, though despite how it looks, it’s only a fraction more than the 525. The main difference is in the height of the frame. The hinge or cross pin has a smaller diameter and the lumps of the barrels have been made shallower. However, the front lump with the hook is wider — about 2.5mm — to maximise surface area on the hinge. Both lumps still engage right through the floor of the action to provide a strong “circle” lock up. A very small web has been put into the corners of the side of the action where they meet the breech face, making the whole action frame stronger.
The top lever has been lowered slightly and made sleeker and longer, with more grip. The bolt and bite remain at the bottom of the action. They have been thinned, but remain as the full-width of the barrel lump. Overall, the 725 is about 4mm shallower than the 525 action, which has a positive effect on mechanics, styling and handling.
The trigger has been redesigned and now doesn’t need recoil to reset it for the second shot. It can fire the lightest of loads and be certain to still set up for the second shot.
A feature brought back for the 725 is that the gun can be made auto safe. For many years, Browning have only made guns with manual safe and it does come manual safe as standard, but the small part to make it auto can easily be fitted by a gunsmith. The selector works in the same way as older Brownings, with the whole safe moving through a gate from right to left and forward from safe to fire.
A pretty face
What brings the Grade 5 into its own is the full covering of engraving. On each side of the gun is a classic game scene — ducks on the right and pheasants on the left.
The rest of the action is covered with bold scroll that is reminiscent of that used on the custom shop B25s that we all dream of owning. The barrel shoulders have also been engraved to match the action and left black, which gives good contrast, as does the trigger, which has been gold plated. Overall it’s a good look and very well executed.
The wood is rich and dark, but not so much you can’t see the figure. The chequering is classic Browning; finishing with points, and with a nice border all round. There are side panels at the head of the stock with drop points; these always give a gun a quality look when done well.
The shape of the pistol grip is good and it fits the hand well. Stock length is 375mm including a thin Inflex recoil pad. The drop at heel and comb are 56mm and 36mm, respectively. The cast is neutral on the face, but has a little bias right on the toe.
The fore-end is a nod to Browning’s Schnabel shape. It’s okay, but I feel it detracts from the lines of the gun. The top line has too much curve as it comes down to the point; it should be tighter and more vertical and the under line goes too far forward, extending the curve to the point too much. Everything needs to be tighter for a Browning Schnabel.
Apart from my concerns abou the fore-end, this is a lovely looking gun and deserves to be called Grace 5. Price at around £4,000 or less on the shelves, it’s good value and will make an excellent all-round gun.”
Price: The 725 Grade 5 comes in a deluxe ABS case, with a key and a set of five chokes. List price is £4,178., including VAT, though you should be able to pick one up for a little less.
For further information visit the Browning website.
Marks out of 100
Build quality 24/25
Value for money 24/25
Total score 92/100
Excellent all-round gun