Browning B525 Shadow
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- Last updated: 31/10/2019
With the Browning over and under double shotgun system you have a choice of B725 or B525 action types. The B725 is the latest version of the vaulted B25 series of actions that made Browning’s name and continues on that excellent vein. The B725 is a full-sized action whereas the B525 is lighter and perfectly suited for Game or Hunter models.
I personally really like the 525 series, first released in 2015, the B525 are made in Japan by the Miroku consortium and, as with their Browning A-Bolt and T-Bolt rifles, offer excellent value as well as superb engineering and manufacture.
There is always a timeless quality to any Browning you pick up and none more so than with this test piece. Browning always introduce several special models at the IWA show in Nuremberg every year and this year the Shadow version of the B525 has proved very popular. It wears a superb grade 5/6 stock and all blacked action that looks very elegant and harks back to the days of the A1 actions.
What immediately catches the eye on this model is not only the lovely blued action but the fantastic walnut stock, understated yet elegant and perfectly finished. Browning`s stocks always fit me a treat and this B525 Shadow also had the benefit of wearing a grade 5 to grade 6 walnut stock. That really showed as the figuring and colour for what is a sub £2000 gun is excellent and to me really makes a gun be it rifle or shotgun desirable.
You have a deep colour dispersal and fine figuring through the butt stock and also the forend which is unusual with plenty of swirling grain and figuring with feather edged some fiddle back, really nice. It is all finished off with a highly polished oil finish that increases with depth and beauty as the gun is used more. It is highly practical and long lasting.
The butt dimensions are length 375mm, drop at comb 36mm and drop at heel is 56mm making for a very comfortable configuration. It has an Inflex II recoil pad which is about 0.75-inches deep and is soft enough with the black rubber to grip the shoulder once mounted yet still allow a speedy mount without catching your clothing. Even better, in the case comes two additional pads of differing sizes, 0.5- and 1.0-inches, so you can adjust the length of pull accordingly.
The pistol grip is nicely raked and quite slim with nice cut checkering to it as with the forend that has that lovely Browning slim gait and Tulip forend to position the hand well.
On this Shadow model you have a choice of 28- or 30-inch lengths of 3-inch chambered with Vector Plus and back bored barrel bores and steel shot proofed. In fact, the gun came with two flush fit Invector chokes of ¼ and ½ and then, in the case, the Gold anodised extended Midas Gold chokes of ½ and Full which are longer and stick out of the barrel by 20mm. So, a good blend of game use and sporting if you so wish.
The back bored barrels are part of Browning`s improving barrel technology and means the internal dimensions are slightly over-sized which gives a smoother passage of the wadded shot column. This increases velocity due to reduced friction, and recoil is also reduced due to the smoother wider bore surfaces and ease of the shot column passage down the bore. They also seem to clean a lot easier.
I had the 30-inch barrel lengths, although shorter 28-inch barrels are available. With the 30-inchers the Shadow was actually very finely balanced around the hinge pin assembly making it fast to react to a changing pigeon in flight. The barrels are vented and the top rib is 6mm wide, which is perfect for game shooting as you can see all around the sight and keep the game in sight without losing it behind a big rib. You have six large vents of 60mm length that diminish in height as the rib reaches the muzzles. You have a fine serrated edge to the top of the rib and a single flat gold bead adorns the end – I like a single bead, my son likes a mid rib bead as well.
The finish as with all Browning’s wears the very deep highly polished bluing with only the Made in Japan and chambering designation adorning the sides. The ejectors too are also wellfinished and polished, moving freely in their recessed cage and monobloc grooves, well timed and powerful there is no chance of a stuck case.
This is the all-steel action B525 type not the lighter weight Hunter or Liberty action, and as such gives a good solid heft without disturbing balance. The 525 is a slimmer action than the 725 but has the same type of operation and locking arrangement, with steel locking lugs protruding through from barrel lugs and relatively deep action profile. A classic Browning trait and reassuringly strong.
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