The light fan­tas­tic

Mike Yardley is hugely im­pressed by this af­ford­able light­weight game gun from Browning, a 20-bore over-and-un­der that would make an ideal choice for walked-up or pi­geon shoot­ing

Sporting Shooter - - Gun Test -

This month’s test gun is one of my favourite picks from a re­cent trip to Poland – a light­weight, al­loy-ac­tion 20-bore over-and-un­der weigh­ing in at about six and half pounds (which is light but not su­per light).

Browning call it the Game One Light. It is at­trac­tively pre­sented with pleas­ant but quite thin scroll and game scene en­grav­ing on a sil­ver-fin­ished al­loy ac­tion.

It has a sin­gle-selec­tive, gold-plated trig­ger, a non-auto safe (with the bits in the box to con­vert it eas­ily to au­to­matic op­er­a­tion), and a nicely pro­por­tioned, grade-II wal­nut pis­tol grip stock – a lovely de­sign.

The well-fin­ished wood on the test gun showed some fig­ure (more to the rear than the front) and the stock form was first class. I es­pe­cially liked the grip – not too big but full pis­tol. It was, to use the ver­nac­u­lar, pukka – a nearper­fect de­sign. The fore-end is good too, a clas­sic Browning schn­abel (al­though my pref­er­ence is for

My thanks to Lyalvale Ex­press for sup­ply­ing the car­tridges used in this test.

fore-ends without the front lip). The butt also has a pleas­ant ta­per – a true game gun stock.

The 14¾" length of pull will suit most peo­ple, and my only crit­i­cal com­ment is that the stock is a lit­tle low (like many Brown­ings). It mea­sures at 13/8" for drop rel­a­tive to rib axis at the front of the comb and nearly 2¼" to the rear.

I’d bring it up or so as a stan­dard mea­sure­ment. I of­ten make a sim­i­lar com­ment about Berettas (which tend to be a smidgen higher) as I feel that ev­ery­one would be bet­ter off with a 13/8", 21/8" or 1½" and 2" as the in­dus­try stan­dard mea­sure­ment.

The work­man­ship on the 20-bore test gun passes muster in all depart­ments. Pre­sen­ta­tion gen­er­ally is ex­cel­lent. Bar­rels are es­pe­cially well pre­sented and, of course, are monobloc – Ja­panese Brown­ings all use this method of man­u­fac­ture now. I’ve seen bar­rels be­ing made in the fac­tory near Kochi and was as­tounded by how much ef­fort and hands-on work still goes into bar­rel-mak­ing, it is one of the log­jams in a very ef­fi­cient fac­tory that pro­duces more than 150 guns a day. Monobloc man­u­fac­ture, mean­while, is a fairly re­cent de­vel­op­ment for Browning; they con­tin­ued with demi­block man­u­fac­ture right up un­til about half­way through the pro­duc­tion run for the old 425 model.

One might have an ar­gu­ment as to which is best – demi­block or monobloc – but the Lon­don gun trade, and those who im­i­tate them, have al­ways ar­gued the mer­its of chop­per lump and demi-lump man­u­fac­ture (the for­mer for side-by-sides, the lat­ter for over-and-un­ders). Bel­gian B25s are still demi-lump. Fans of the monobloc sys­tem con­tinue to ar­gue its mer­its. As made to­day with close tol­er­ances and pre­ci­sion joints, good monobloc bar­rels are im­mensely strong.

The test gun boasts 3" cham­bers, tight­ish bores at 15.7mm and a nar­row, ven­ti­lated, 6mm sight­ing rib equipped with a tra­di­tional metal bead at the muz­zles. The join­ing ribs are solid, but only ex­tend back just past the fore-end tip. There are In­vec­tor multi-chokes at the muz­zles.

The good first im­pres­sions are not dis­pelled when this neat lit­tle gun is first brought to face and shoul­der. The grip of­fers great con­trol and a good nat­u­ral hand po­si­tion.

As far as bal­ance is con­cerned, this 20-bore has suf­fi­cient weight and length for­ward to be steady but not so much as to be slug­gish.

My only is­sue is that when I raise the muz­zles of the proven empty gun to 45° and ap­ply nor­mal cheek pres­sure, I be­gin to lose the bead. This is eas­ily sorted, though.

Tech­ni­cal spec­i­fi­ca­tion

I have al­ways har­boured a prej­u­dice (ad­dressed in the newer, lower pro­file 725) that the Browning Su­per­posed type ac­tion and sim­pli­fied sib­lings (such as the 325, 425 and 525) suits a 20-bore bet­ter than a 12-bore.

The ac­tion is a lit­tle deeper than in most other mod­ern over-and-un­der de­signs be­cause of the full-width hinge pin and un­der-lumps (rather than the trun­nions and bi­fur­cated lumps seen in a Beretta, Per­azzi or Rizzini).

In 20-bore form, though, the ac­tion pro­por­tions are ideal – not just aes­thet­i­cally speak­ing, but be­cause the spac­ing of top and bot­tom straps al­lows for the cre­ation of an al­most ideal grip.

Mean­while, the mech­a­nism of the test gun is not novel. Apart from a steel re­in­forc­ing strip in the ac­tion face, it is the usual Browning/Miroku mod­i­fi­ca­tion of the B25 com­bined with re­li­able and ef­fec­tive ham­mer ejec­tors in the fore-end.

The ac­tion locks up by means of a wide, flat bolt that comes out of the bot­tom of the ac­tion faces and meets a slot be­neath the bot­tom cham­ber. Hel­i­cal springs power the works.

To say it’s well proven would be an un­der­state­ment. The Bel­gian orig­i­nal has been in pro­duc­tion for 90 years or more, and Miroku must have been copy­ing it for about 60 with tens of thou­sands of sat­is­fied cus­tomers!

An ideal gun for walked-up grouse or wood­cock shoot­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.