Being a Browning fan can sometimes label you as a lover of traditional over and unders, with very little change since the 1940s, and a hatred of all things new and innovative. I have to admit that I love Browning shotguns, but for some time now I have hoped that they would produce something more in line with the modern competition guns produced in the rest of the world (mainly Italy!).
Browning know they have a strong grip on the mature end of the customer demographic, however for the last thirty years or more their core range of over and unders hasn't changed much, either technically or in styling. This has been to the advantage of Beretta who has caught the imagination of the new generation of shooters with their modern looks and new features. So with this in mind we eagerly looked forward to the next generation Browning B725, but has it changed much? Well, to the credit of Browning International, they did their homework on this gun and for a change they have listened to feedback from UK dealers and end users!
First impressions of the B725's styling are that it still follows the well-known, tried and tested Browning bloodline. Although, you can immediately see that the whole B725 profile is much sleeker and chiselled than before, in fact a whole 4mm sleeker (this is how much Browning have shaved off the depth of the action). The other less noticeable, but nonetheless important, difference is at the pointy end where you won't find the usual flared muzzles. Instead, Browning have revolutionised their chokes with the new 80mm Invector DS (Double Seal) choke. The new tube is now threaded at the muzzle end with the DS compression seal at the rear to ensure that the choke can't unscrew, while limiting the gasses that can escape passed the choke and significantly reducing residue build up.
All B725s will come back bored at 18.8mm with an extended forcing cone area of 32mm, this has been very carefully considered to give more consistent patterns through reduced friction in the bore and less pellet deformation when the pellets pass through the forcing cone. Also, felt recoil is reduced significantly as the shot load will move with less resistance from the forcing cone, into the back bored barrel and then into the extended taper of the DS choke.
The other major difference in the B725 is in the trigger group and thankfully, it doesn't come with a drop out trigger unit. Whilst the old inertia unit has done sterling service over the years it did have its hang-ups. The new mechanical trigger transforms the way the gun shoots, the lock times are ultra-fast and the pulls are very consistent and crisp.
Finally to the butt! After decades of making guns with a hard plastic heel plate and a curved fit to the heel and toe, we now have a modern straight-cut with interchangeable pads of varying sizes. The new Inflex 2 recoil system uses exclusive technology inside the pad to generate a downward movement when fired, this moves the stock away from your cheek just a fraction, and in doing so reduces the chance of stock rash. The recoil pads will be available in 12mm, 20mm & 25mm and will simply replace the pad already fitted with nothing more than a screw driver required for fitting. The other great advantage to this system is that shooters can fit the gun to suit their own needs, for instance winter shooting may require a thinner pad to compensate for more clothing.
Having tested the gun extensively with 28g and 24g loads, I thought it would be interesting to see just how it coped with some big stuff. Needless to say the 36g 5s made short work of the 40 yard midi Teal, and in all honesty the recoil was very modest for such a big shell.
To sum up the Browning B725 S1 Sporter, I can't think of anything negative at all, the gun handles very well and is a notch or two above the standard B525 in many ways. More importantly for Browning I believe the B725 is priced very aggressively against its counterpart from Italy, the Beretta 682E, which is a superb gun with a great reputation as an affordable competition gun. The B725 matches it on all levels of specification but undercuts it on price by £600! With this huge difference I would say that the boys from Belgium have got the B725 bang on first time.
Other additions to the range will include high grade wood, with Trap models to follow in due course.
David Thompson, York Guns
28", 30", 32" with
3" chambers & 10mm rib
Invector DS: Cyl, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, Full (flush fitting)
57mm drop @ heel
37mm drop @ comb
Left hand available
Like many people my first gun was a Browning (Ultra XT) which gave me many years of solid service and I have been a fan of Browning guns ever since. I still own an Ultra XS so I was keen to take a look at the all new Browning B725 S1 to see if the changes are simply cosmetic or if they actually make a difference.
The first thing that I noticed was the improvement in the trigger pull. The mechanical trigger on the B725 is much crisper with virtually no play and it reminded me of a Krieghoff in its feel (an important point to bear in mind with this trigger mechanism is that the second barrel can be fired even if the first barrel has a misfire. This must be remembered from a safety perspective and also explained to a referee if you have a misfire when shooting in a competition as they will try to shoot the gun to establish if it was a misfire).
The B725 felt well balanced with quick and precise handling and mounting the gun was very natural. I would have to say that I couldn't feel any significant difference in the felt recoil but it was perfectly acceptable and I do like the new recoil pad which can be changed for different people or clothing.
The new choke design is a definite improvement and the B725 produced a good pattern breaking a range of different targets very effectively.
Overall I think that the B725 still feels like a Browning but with some significant and worthwhile improvements and I'm sure it will be a very popular and successful gun.
Charlie Dean, ClayPal