Browning Elite shotgun: So what has this month’s test gun – the Browning Elite – got to offer?
Well, the warranty offered by Browning is up there with the best of them in that it lasts ten years and is as comprehensively guaranteed as most other guns you can name.
However it’s worth noting that it is only the frame that’s guaranteed for a decade, not the parts within it. But don’t let this put you off – Browning guns are generally among the most reliable on the market thanks to the build quality and simplicity of the mechanism.
The moving parts follow the proven Browning principle of hammers pivoting from the bottom of the action with the sears being suspended from above. As usual on these guns the Elite has been fitted with intercepting bents for the sear to drop into should it be jarred or dropped, thus preventing an accidental discharge.
The other main Browning / Miroku features remain too – the gun sports a full width hinge pin and bottom locking bolt that’s shown itself more than capable of soaking up many years of wear and tear. The ejection system is also pure Browning with hammers held inside the fore-end being powered by heavy duty coil springs held on guide rods.
These hammers are tripped by rods running through the side wall of the action which push forward when the gun is opened.
The selection for the second barrel is made by the recoil from the first shot and selection for the first shot of course is made by moving the safety button accordingly.
Previously the Elite was known as the Grade 3 B525 but its engraving pattern has changed and expanded to provide a greater coverage of scroll work with game scenes of pheasants on one side and ducks on the other. The belly of the action sports a woodcock.
Take your choice of barrel length: you can pick 28in or 30in but both come with 3in (76mm) chambers which have passed magnum proof and stamped with the special steel fleur-de-lis mark. This means you can use any steel shot cartridge up to and including 3in through the gun.
The ventilated top rib is nice and narrow at 6mm, a really nice width for a game gun making it extremely pointable as well as keeping the overall weight down slightly. It’s also a versatile model thanks to the fact Browning has fitted it with standard interchangeable Invector chokes.
Five stainless steel tubes are supplied with every gun. The barrels have been treated to a lovely deep black gloss on the outside and chrome lined inside to deliver a high level of protection against corrosion.
Woodwork now has an oil finish to give the gun a quality look and dimensions follow the usual pattern – 14.3/4in pull with drops of 1.1/2in and 2.1/4in at comb and heel respectively.
These will fit most folk out there quite nicely.
Wood quality is good but I would shop around a little to see what you can find. The wood on the test gun is fairly plain compared to some I’ve seen – they had really pretty woodwork in terms of grain, colour and figure.
The head of this game model shows panels of wood running from the head of the stock, rather than the more sculptured shape of the sporter version.
This is a well put together gun that will double nicely as a clay gun as well as one to take game shooting, pigeon decoying and wildfowling.
There’s no such thing as an all-round gun but this one comes pretty close – especially with 30in barrels.
Build quality: 9
Value for money: 8
More information available from importers BWM International
Telephone 01235 514550.