Brown­ing B725 Hunter G3

Does mid-range mean mid­dle of the road? puts Brown­ing’s lat­est to the test.

Shooting Gazette - - The review gun test - Alex Flint

The B725 from Brown­ing has been out in the wild for some time now. The range has been steadily ex­pand­ing since 2012 with a va­ri­ety of fi nishes and weights in or­der to com­pete in seem­ingly ev­ery con­ceiv­able sec­tion of the over- un­der mar­ket. It is some­what sur­pris­ing, there­fore, given the on­go­ing trend to­wards long guns de­signed for se­ri­ous game shoot­ing, that this is the fi rst 12 bore vari­ant of what is best con­sid­ered Brown­ing’s ‘stan­dard’ gun to be avail­able with 32” bar­rels. Given I felt pre­vi­ous it­er­a­tions of this model were no­tice­ably bar­rel heavy, an even big­ger B725 was an in­ter­est­ing prospect. Pleas­ingly, how­ever, our test gun proved to be any­thing but the dull beast its weight and di­men­sions might sug­gest.

The G3 in the gun’s ti­tle in­di­cates it has a grade- three fi nish, below the top- end G5 fi nish but above the Pre­mium fi nish ef­fec­tively mark­ing the en­try of the B725 range. To my eye it is cer­tainly suc­cess­ful and a sig­nifi cant im­prove­ment over the Pre­mium and Black and Gold models, though with­out the dis­tinc­tive carved teardrops and Schn­abel- style fore- end of the G5 guns.

Per­haps the clear­est area of im­prove­ment is in the ex­cel­lent en­grav­ing de­sign, fea­tur­ing game- scene vi­gnettes on each side of the ac­tion body with pheas­ants and par­tridges tak­ing fl ight. Th­ese are sur­rounded by lovely, bold acan­thus- scroll en­grav­ing, a huge step up from the ‘sun­beam’ bor­ders fea­tured on en­try- level guns. This fo­li­ate theme con­tin­ues through­out the gun, with small patches ap­pear­ing around the ac­tion and on parts such as the trig­ger guard and fore- end re­lease lever. Also worth not­ing is a rather handsome de­sign on the top lever fea­tur­ing a pheas­ant’s head.

Away from the sides of the ac­tion and ob­vi­ous places such as the top- lever, the en­grav­ing does ap­pear rather shal­low, al­though it is a sig­nifi cant step above the lower- grade models. In­deed, at New en­grav­ing de­signs are a sig­nif­i­cant step up from lower-grade models. least from the point of view of en­grav­ing, one might con­sider the grade- three fi nish to be the sweet spot of the range, as the gradefi ve guns can look a lit­tle busy.

Else­where, fi nish­ing is very good in­deed and the wood is par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive for a gun at this price point. As with all Brown­ings, the wood sports a dark- oil fi nish and is frankly streets ahead of what Beretta can of­fer at a sim­i­lar price. The wood on our test gun dis­played some at­trac­tive fi gur­ing and though the over­all ef­fect was strong, some vis­i­ble pores make it clear the wood could take more oil. Should you be so in­clined, the gun could doubt­less be given some ex­tra at­ten­tion by a good gun­smith to de­velop a stun­ning fi nish.

As is com­mon on all new mass-

This is an in­ter­est­ing gun for Brown­ing as it of­fers a very sought-after spec­i­fi­ca­tion and level of fin­ish at a price point its near­est ri­vals don’t cur­rently match. This is Brown­ing’s B725 set up for high birds and it shows – it comes in a posh black Opa­line case and weighs in at just a shade un­der seven pounds and seven ounces.

At grade three you get a good qual­ity of wood, well fin­ished, and some more in­tri­cate and at­trac­tive en­grav­ing de­signs. The wood on this test gun is quite well fig­ured and has been beau­ti­fully fin­ished, bring­ing out the in­ter­est­ing pat­terns of the grain.

The shape of the B725 is an im­prove­ment over the B525, and the man­u­fac­turer has made enough changes to make the gun stand out over its pre­de­ces­sor, though the shape of the trig­ger guard is per­haps a lit­tle ob­long and looks a tad un­re­fined as a re­sult.

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