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Gun test: Browning 725 – what a corker!

PUBLISHED: 13:15 16 October 2014 | UPDATED: 13:15 16 October 2014

Archant

Mike struggles to find fault with Browning’s new 32” 725 UK Game Gun, with its elegant lower profile and supreme pointability

The clever DS choke system is threaded at the front, with a special compression seal at the rear to stop gas escapingThe clever DS choke system is threaded at the front, with a special compression seal at the rear to stop gas escaping

This month’s test gun is the new, interesting, 32” 725 UK Game 20-bore O/U from Browning. Apart from long barrels, and the new action style, it is distinguished by a semi-pistol grip stock, rounded field fore-end, DS (Double Seal) multi-chokes, and a very sensible all up weight for a Long Tom of 7½lb (you might add half a pound at least to that figure for most 12-bore 32” stack-barrels).

Putting the test gun under the microscope, one notes a plain but good 6mm vented rib atop 3” chambered, monobloc barrels. The long (80mm), thin DS chokes are especially neat – five come with the gun. They are threaded unusually at the front (muzzle end) and, to the rear, there is a clever copper compression seal to further prevent gas leakage.

Continuing with the barrel spec, one notices muzzles which are not obviously flared (a benefit of the DS chokes). There are also longer than average ‘Vectorpro’ forcing cones forward of the well machined chambers and nicely presented 15.9mm bores (a little wider than the 20-bore norm). The mechanics of the gun are a scaled down version of the 12-bore 725. The single trigger mechanism is mechanical and the pulls are suprisingly good. To the rear of the stock there is a new style ‘Inflex II’ recoil pad, highly efficient and made from a lightweight polymer.

I cannot easily fault this gun on its form and functional specification, I really like the way it points, and comes up. Being picky, I’m not that fond of the engraving – I can live with it – and David Stapley of Browning tells me it may be changed in the future. It’s not poor, just a bit plain, and didn’t float my boat. The rest of the gun gets a major thumbs up, though.

The single trigger mechanism is mechanicalThe single trigger mechanism is mechanical

As well as the pointability provided by the long barrels, the stock is especially well conceived with a length of pull just over 14¾” (an interchangeable pad system allows for a reduction or extension of about ¼” in either direction). The comb, happily is not too low, there’s 13/8” of drop to the front and 21/8” at heel.

The general form of the butt is good – though the shape of the grip might still be refined – and the rounded field fore-end is aesthetically attractive and efficient, keeping the hand close to the barrels and not restricting front hand position (because there is no schnabel beak).

The test gun has the elegant, lower profile, 725 action as developed in 12-bore form first. It is, 12 or 20, a clever design exercise. The full width cross-pin and bolting system of the B25 is retained, as are under barrel lumps, but with a significantly reduced action height. The difference compared to a ‘Superposed’ is really apparent though the 725 is not quite as low as guns with bifurcated (split) lumps such as Woodward, Beretta and Perazzi. That said, I think the action height of the 725 in both bores is almost perfect. It allows for a near ideal spacing of top and bottom straps and hence an opportunity to create an ergonomically efficient grip, which is even in depth and anchors the rear hand most effectively. It is also notable that the design allows for more than average bearing surface in the hinge pin and bolting mechanism.

The stock is well conceived and length of pull adjustable by quarter of an inchThe stock is well conceived and length of pull adjustable by quarter of an inch

WE LIKE:

The long barrels with clever DS chokes

The excellent stock configuration

The great handling and low recoil

The plain engraving may be changed in the futureThe plain engraving may be changed in the future

WE DISLIKE:

The engraving (which may be changed in the future)

The lack of curvature/bump to an otherwise first class high-tech recoil pad

TECH SPECS:

Make: Browning

Model: 725

Bore: 20

Barrels: 32”

Chamber: 3” (76mm)

Chokes: DS (Double seal) multi

Rib: 6mm ventilated

Weight: 7.5lbs

RRP: £1,999

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