Browning B725 Hunter G3
Does mid-range mean middle of the road? puts Browning’s latest to the test.
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.