By Jason Harris
Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Browning B725 Sporter review: Browning have always made great guns and the all new B725 Sporter continues that tradition. Jason takes a close look at some of the exciting new improvements that have gone into its design.
Browning’s standard range of guns have been built on an action that first saw light of day back in the late 1970s with the arrival of the Citori.
Since then it has been used on all subsequent models such as the B325, B425 and B525 with only a few minor changes along the way.
The action, made by Miroku in Japan, is very reliable and extremely strong, qualities you would expect of course from one of the world’s best mass-produced guns.
Qualities such as this are worth preserving so I worried when I heard the 525’s successor – the B725 - would sport a changed action.
Yes, Brownings could do with some fine tuning in places, maybe even streamlining a bit but the maxim “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” definitely applies to this range of guns.
In the end I worried unnecessarily; first impressions of the new model are very good.
The 725 isn’t a radical departure from its predecessors because the principles of the mechanics remain the same but the parts have been redesigned slightly, and the improvements are noticeable.
While the connection between the sears and the hammers remain the same the shape of the components have been modified slightly and the changes have resulted in very crisp pulls and noticeably reduced trigger play.
Interestingly the trigger mechanism has also been re-designed to work mechanically rather than on recoil which means the gun can fire the lightest of shot loads with total reliability.
It also means you can fire the second barrel in the event of a misfire on the first.
DEPTH OF FEELING
Another worthwhile change is the size of the 725’s action frame. The width is no different to that of the 525 but it has been made shallower, and this has improved the gun’s handling dynamics by a significant degree.
Miroku have managed to slim things down by fitting a smaller diameter hinge pin and making the barrel lumps a little shallower.
However the hook on the front lump has been made wider to maximise surface area on the hinge and both lumps still engage through the floor of the action to provide a strong “circle” lock up.
Extra strength has also been added to the action by having a small web fitted into both sides of the frame where it meets the breech face.
The 725 comes supplied with a manual safety catch but I’m glad to report that it can be converted to auto safe quite easily by a gunsmith.
The manual safe has been a Browning feature for many years and it’s fine once you get used to it.
However, the fact remains that many game shooters prefer a gun that returns to safe as soon as the top lever is pushed across to open it.
Unlike previous models a small part to make the gun auto safe can now be fitted easily and quite cheaply.
BARRELS & BORES
Barrel tubes have been back bored in the usual Browning way whereby the inner profile is modified with an extended forcing cone leading into the 18.8mm bore.
It’s a system called ‘Vector Pro’.
More notable however are the new Invector DS multichokes, which are made from a special “super” lightweight stainless steel that Browning uses in some military weapons.
As you can see, the choke tubes have been threaded at the muzzle end and this ensures the outer barrel profile is kept as slim as possible with no visible swelling.
A compression ring at the bottom of the tube helps to seal the tube in the bore and also prevent it working loose during use.
In addition it helps keep the tube cleaner and makes it easier to remove for cleaning.
This gun’s woodwork has also been redesigned with lines from the action flowing nicely into the stock at the head to form the side panels.
The body of the stock is slightly shallower to match the reduced depth of the action.
Other than that the stock dimensions are pretty standard for Browning with a useful 14.3/4in length of pull and drops at comb and heel of 1.1/2in and 2.1/4in respectively.
The gun can be supplied with a left handed stock on request and that includes a palm swell on the side of the pistol grip which – like the slight Schnabel fore-end - fits the hand very nicely.
The stock finishes with a 1/2in thick Inflex recoil pad but longer, interchangeable pads are also available.
These, along with spacers, mean that most stock lengths above standard can be catered for.
This is a wholly new gun and carries a modern look, but it isn’t a radical departure from what we are used to.
Dyed-in-the-wool Browning users may raise an eyebrow at this newcomer, but there’s nothing to fear with it, just lots to embrace.
It will carry Browning forward and prove a popular gun. A game version will be out soon. The weight of the gun is very acceptable at a shade less than 7.3/4lb allowing for very quick handling and precise pointing.
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