The Browning 725 20-bore is a winning improvement. The weight of the gun is much lighter and richer in appearance.

Product Overview

Browning 725 20-Bore


Browning 725 20-bore


Price as reviewed:


On test this month is the Browning 725 20-bore over-and-under. We have looked at a 725 20-bore before, the excellent 32in-barrelled Hunter (July 2014 issue). This is a lighter, 30in gun with more action decoration and different wood. The Browning 725 20-bore varies in both handling and character from its outstanding 32in 20-bore stablemate. My own practical understanding of the gross and subtle effects of barrel length and weight have, meantime, evolved considerably since having had major issues with a shoulder injury. For much of the past six months, I found it hard to lift a 32in gun, even a 20-bore, and this led me to revisit the issues of barrel length and weight.

Browning 725 20-bore. Low action profile.

Mike Yardley find it the perfect gun for nursing a shoulder injury.

Before getting technical, though, let us consider the aesthetics of this extra-finish but still affordable, smaller-bore 725. The Browning 725 20-bore, which has a highly competitive RRP of £2,276, looks smart. The overall form pleases. Its blued action with gold inlays makes it look distinctly different to the base-grade 725s. Although the action machining is the same (as is the base engraving) the blacking and inlays give a much richer appearance. It is a good example of how the look of a gun may be substantially altered by simple means.

I am not normally a great fan of gaudy inlays. The partridges here are well done – not too dominant – and improve the looks and, possibly, the perceived value. My preference might have been for gold roses or floral work but this decoration is, to some extent, dictated by the “canvas” beneath. Black and gold (also evident on the well-shaped trigger blade) make a pleasant contrast. The darker stock wood, which shows reasonable figure with a little “fiddle-back” pattern typical of American walnut, completes the upmarket effect (the increased cost is less than £300 over the standard model).

Browning 725 20-bore. Trigger.

This Browning has a very well-shaped single selective trigger.

This 725 is well finished in all departments. Machine-made Brownings (produced in the Miroku factory in Japan) usually offer value and good workmanship. Metal-to-metal and wood-to-metal fit pass muster. Barrel blacking is excellent, too. The 6mm, ventilated sighting rib is well laid and true to the eye. The visible sides of the ejector extractors and barrel monobloc are engine turned. I like the metal sighting bead. The engraving on the Browning 725 20-bore beneath the gold birds and black is inoffensive.

Browning 725 20-bore. Golden partridges.

These decorative golden partridges given the gun an elegant finish.

The stock and fore-end (an attractive, rounded type well matched to the semi-pistol grip) are oil finished and neatly chequered by laser. The stock is finished off with an efficient Inflex 2, hi-tech-polymer recoil pad. The Browning 725 20-bore has a good shape to its rear, showing more concave curvature than some (and therefore more likely to ensure secure anchoring at the shoulder in recoil). Stock measurements are sound as well. The length of pull is a sensible 143⁄4in with the possibility of easy shortening or lengthening by means of the Inflex 2 recoil pad system. The pads come in three lengths and may be fitted to the stock without significant gunsmithing; all that is required is a Phillips screwdriver. These pads are far more efficient than traditional ones because of their enhanced recoil absorption qualities.

Browning 725 20-bore. Rib.

This gun has a 6mm rib with a metal sighting bead.

The comb of the butt is well profiled – not too thick or too thin – and the drop dimensions, 13⁄8in to the front and 21⁄8in to the rear, are ideal as standard measurements (sometimes Brownings can be a little low). The shape and size of the grip complemented not only the fore-end but the entire gun. The stock as tested has slight right-hand cast but left-hand versions are available at no extra cost.


The 725 was introduced in 2011, the 20-bore version appearing in 2013. It is a clever piece of design with a modern look. Much of the engineering is similar to the Browning B25. The action profile of the 725 is lower but retains a full-width hinge pin and B25-style bolting. There is a mechanical, selective trigger mechanism. Barrels are monobloc, 3in chambered and steel-shot proofed. In the test gun, they are bored a little wider than the average 20 at 15.9mm, have long forcing cones and are hard-chrome lined. They are also fitted with Invector-DS (double seal) chokes, which have threads to the front and a bronze ring gas seal to the rear. Hammer-type ejectors are in evidence. The safety is non-automatic but parts can be supplied for rapid conversion to automatic.


I shot the Black Gold 20 with Matt Church at the Atkin, Grant and Lang ground. The 30in gun impressed from the start: instinctive in use and soft in recoil. We preferred it to a
12-bore 725 we had with us. The 20-bore had better stock shapes for game-shooting with its slim, rounded fore-end and semi-pistol-grip stock. Comparing it to the outstanding and similarly stocked 32in 20-bore 725 we also had with us was even more interesting. At 7lb compared to just over 71⁄4lb, it was easier to lift and swing, though possibly not quite as controllable or pointable. Carrying a left shoulder injury, I have noted how some driven birds are missed or not shot as well because of poor lifting. What is the conclusion? For the experienced shot in training the 32in 20-bore can be a wonderful choice; it is precise to use, especially on long, tough, shots. But I would advise the average performer to choose the 30in gun as it is more forgiving. This one is especially good.

Browning price: £2,276 incl VAT
Where to buy the Browning 725 20-Bore:

Call: 01235 514550