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Testing the Browning B525

Tom Sykes field tests his latest gun, a Browning B525, and explains why he has chosen to add a contemporary piece to his collection

Browning B525

Browning B525

Manufacturer: Browning

Regular readers will be aware that I am predominantly drawn to misfit guns that are a little quirky or generally not a regular occurrence in people’s cabinets. I have always been a fan of pumps and have a passion for cheap underdogs, which provide me with boundless pleasure when used to good effect, especially in front of an audience. Despite this, and after years of looking and contemplating, I thought it was about time that I purchased what I would class as a ‘normal’ gun.

My definition of this is something more mainstream and popular that is found in abundance, typically a recognisable brand and model. My rogue’s gallery of misfits are my pride and joy, yet most would be considered a handicap as they each have different features that don’t exactly aid my shooting. The main issue with most of my guns is that they do not fit well, if at all. Most are short stocked, which I combat by pushing my shoulder forward.

Most, if not all the issues with these guns have been rectified through years of shooting and muscle memory making the adjustments, allowing me to subconsciously go through the motions without any hesitation. I could double gun with a pump and a semi-auto without the need to think which gun to pump, and without driving the forend off the auto.

So with all this being said, I thought it would be nice to choose a gun that fits me well and has less things going on in the background, allowing me to focus on getting the gun in the right place to connect with the target.

Trawling the web

In addition to having the gun fit well, the main features I wished for was a nice over and under, multichoke, with ejectors. The gun would have to be multipurpose for use on clay shooting, in a hide or on a peg, and with the impending lead ban it also had to be at least 3” steel magnum compatible as well. This left me with a wide range of guns to choose from, so I started my search by trawling through the internet for a gun that ticks all these boxes.

The first port of call was to have a scour through the thousands of lots on guntrader. to see what sort of things were available for my modest budget of around £2,000. I soon narrowed down my search to the two big names, Browning and Beretta. I have had a lot of experience with Berettas over the years as I have owned a range of autos and shot a wide variety of their over and unders. However, despite the Silver Pigeon being a perfect gun for my needs I found myself drawn towards the Browning B525. I have had very limited experience with Brownings but there was something about them that had certainly grabbed my attention. The model I was gravitating towards was the Browning B525 sporter with a trap forend, as the chunkier design was more suited to my personality.

Browning B525

Lovingly cradling his latest investment. Tom is a clearly very happy with his more mainstream shooting iron!

Hands on experience

The next phase was to see if I could actually get my hands on such a gun to see how it feels. I called my local gun shop, R. Macleod & Son based in Tain, and to my delight they had the exact model in stock. I arranged to head across the following day, as despite being my ‘local’ gun shop, in the Highlands that still meant a good two-and-a-half-hour drive from the west coast to the east. Once at the shop, I knew that this was the gun for me. Despite looking through some of the other guns on offer, I found myself drawn back to the Browning. The relevant paperwork was completed and money exchanged before leaving with my new musket in tow.

Once home, I went through my typical new gun process of getting to grips with the handling and running through some drills with snap caps, which translates to playing with my new toy. I find that this aids me in getting used to the gun and how it operates, and starts me on the journey of banking the muscle memory for later use. As with all new gun purchases, I was keen to get to the clay ground and have a bit of fun dusting targets.

Our local clay shoot, Rothiemurchus, is further away than the gun shop as it is located South of Inverness, a good threeand- a-half-hour drive. Due to the distance Charlie and I haven’t shot clays as frequently as we had before we moved, and thought we might be a little rusty and need to blow out the cobwebs.

After the long drive through the breathtaking Scottish Highlands, we were at the clay ground and ready to put the Browning through its paces. The 30” barrels, choked at quarter and half, made light work of the clays on offer over the first few stands, especially as I teamed the Browning with Gamebore White Gold 28g. However, unbeknown to us, this was due to the initial stands being designed for beginners, leading us both into a false sense of still being at the top of our game when it came to clay busting. As we progressed down the many stands carved into the woodland, clays became more challenging and started to put us back in our places.


A ShotKam is rapidly becoming the ‘must-have’ accessory for many shooters

But despite some highs and lows in our shooting ability, none of the lows were due to the Browning. The B525 performed very well, and with the help of the Gen 4 ShotKam we were able to assess our shooting and make adjustments on the fly. Overall I was content with the new gun’s performance in the field and believe that it will be a perfect gun for my needs. Although a little bit too big and bulky for Charlie, the gun is a fantastic match for me. It wasn’t long before everything felt natural and the gun was able to do its thing with minimal effort.

I am looking forward to getting out more and creating a strong bond. I have every confidence that this gun will certainly aid my shooting in the long run as it accompanies me on many adventures dusting clays and chasing live quarry. For all you lovers of my misfits, don’t panic – I still have a cabinet full of random firearms and am always looking to expand the collection!