Standing on the shoulders of their 12-bore, Browning’s new 20-bore 725 Hunter UK is going to be very popular with gameshooters, says Jason Harris.
Following the success of the Browning 725 in 12-bore, it was a natural step for Browning to offer the model in 20-bore as well. Initially the 20-bore is available only as a grade 1, but I think undoubtedly a grade 5 version is on the cards.
The 20-bore version has been scaled down very well in how it looks and handles. browning has added an extra dimension to the 20-bore aspect, by offering a 32in barrelled version for the UK model. There is demand for a gun of this type and I think this one will create a great deal of interest. There are also 28in and 30in versions available.
This is the UK model, with rounded pistol grip and fore- end. There is also the standard Browning 725 Hunter which has the conventional pistol grip and 725 Schnabel fore-end shape. This version is available in 26in, 28in and 30in barrel lengths. Mechanically, the 20-bore takes its lead from the 12-bore. All the parts have been made smaller to fit inside the frame. Like the 12-bore, this gun has also been made as a mechanical trigger. this probably comes into its own more with smaller bores as the loads can be generally lighter.
Although in recent times, the range of loads for 20-bores has increased enormously, both heavier and lighter. the option to fit auto safe is also there. this is perhaps more important for the 20-bore, as most will be used for gameshooting. the safe feature also forms the selector button to choose which barrel is fired first.
The barrels have 76mm chambers and carry Magnum special steel shot proof. The stainless steel DS multi-choke system has also been used on this new gun, as well as the Vector Pro overboring system and chrome lining of the bores.
The DS choke system was developed and introduced with the 12-bore 725. The thread is at the top, so the trombone effect of the barrels to accommodate the multi-choke tube has been eliminated on the Browning 725, giving a smooth line to the muzzle. The choke has a phosphor bronze ring seal at the bottom of the tube, which helps prevent fouling from getting to the choke tube, so they are easier to keep clean. The top rib is 6mm ventilated. Blacking, as usual on these guns, is a deep gloss. The action frame is finished with grey silver with a mix of game scene and contemporary scroll engraving.
The woodwork is of a good quality with some figure. American walnut has been used for the 20-bore. This will often have a deep red tinge to it, reminiscent of mahogany, and will usually carry good grain figuring.
The pistol grip has been rounded and in partnership with this the fore-end nose has also been rounded off. The effect of this is to give the gun a very elegant and traditional look. Rounded pistol grips, if done well, always look good on a gun. For most people they will fit the hand well as they are usually a little smaller allowing positive grip. The gun comes in an ABS case. It has a set of 5 flush fitting DS chokes. There is also a trigger lock.
Although Browning pioneered the Schnabel fore- end, and at its best looks very good, some people find the front edge uncomfortable if they have their hand fully forward. The rounded fore-end cures this and is very good looking as well. The chequer patterns are traditional and finish with points.
Stock dimensions are; 375mm length of pull with drop at comb 36mm and heel 56mm. Cast off is very slight at about a millimetre at heel and a little more at toe. There will be a left hand stock version available. The butt end has the Browning Inflex recoil pad. On the gun is the 20mm medium length pad. It is possible to buy other sizes, so it is relatively easy to fine-tune the length of pull to be comfortable for the user. A really beautiful 20-bore.