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Is the New 725 the Best Citori Ever?

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October 21, 2011

Is the New 725 the Best Citori Ever?

By Phil Bourjaily

There was a second new gun introduced at the Browning gathering where I saw the new A5 back in Septmber: the Citori 725.

Like some of you, I have mixed feelings about the new Browning A5. I like Browning semiautos and have a kneejerk fondness for the humpback receiver. On the other hand, I already own a Benelli Montefeltro and am not exactly sure why I need a Browning inertia gun, too. However, I have no mixed feelings at all about the 725. I just want one.

I have always liked Citoris, and after I saw them being made I liked them even more. A huge amount of skilled hand work goes into every one. That said, the Citori in a 12 gauge has always had a very high profile receiver and has weighed a ton – over 8 pounds in a field gun -- which is one reason I don’t own one.

The new 725 is more than just another Citori with some cosmetic changes. It has a receiver profile that has been scaled down by a few millimeters, mostly by paring some steel off the bottom of the receiver. It has much slimmer barrel contours, too, making it noticeably lighter and better handling. Browning lists the weight at 7 pounds, 6 ounces in a 28-inch barreled 12 gauge, a good 12 ounces less than the listed weight of a standard 12 gauge Citori. I haven’t had a chance to weigh a 725 yet but I shot them at pheasants, doves and targets and they were the liveliest Citoris I have ever shot.

Also, the 725 has a new mechanical trigger in place of the old inertia trigger (mechanical triggers automatically switch from one barrel to other while inertia triggers are reset by recoil). The trigger pull is crisper, and I have always preferred mechanical triggers because sometimes my very light reloads don’t generate enough recoil to reset inertia triggers.

The 725 is a very good looking Citori, too, with a silvered receiver and nicely done duck and pheasant scenes and a gloss oil finish on the wood in place of those awful urethane finishes that show the slightest ding as a white scar. The 725 is a winner and it lists for $2,469 in a field gun and $3,139 in a target version.

Comments (16)

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from Hookturnr wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil, I don't know about you, but the last couple times I went shopping for a stack barrel I keep going back to the berettas. If you're gonna spend the $ for a b-gun I just don't think you can go wrong with the folks that have been doing it for several hundred years. The brownings are alright,but I'm stuck on italian guns..

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from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I'm a Beretta fan too. The large gauge Brownings are bulky in comparison IMHO. I think Brownings are stocked too long. Excellent quality and handling [for some] target shotguns, but not what I’d want in the field. However, I find their small gauge guns outstanding.

I’m shocked at street prices on these shotguns. I recall buying new Browning O/U’s in the early ‘80’s for $600-650.

Boy! Those days are gone forever!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dickgun wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil,
I think that I, too, would love the new Citori. I have a couple pre-new and have never shot a Citori that did not shoot well for ME. I think I will just keep shooting mine and spend the other $2000+ on going hunting. Like my old friend, Tim McCormack, Custom Shop, Reminton MGR, said, "We have to do something to sell some more guns."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Stocked too long? Any stock length only fits a certain percentage of shooters. Many shooters shoot a stock length that does not fit them....take it too a gunsmith. And down comes the weight! That sells! Problem that I see is if you are sensitive to recoil, and shoot an autoloader...even an inertia cycling auto, the fixed breach of an O/U will pound you!!...especially the lighter gun. Mine whacks me a good one shooting trap loads on the trap line. A gunsmith can fix that also, but the bill goes up. From the price tag, it looks like a recoil reducer might be installed in the stock of the target model.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian W. Thair wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sayfu knows that shotguns fit about 15% of shooters, right out of the box. If it doesn't shoot where I point, the price is irrelevant. With another 3/4" added to the LOP, my old Baikal o/u 12 is the closest fit of my last dozen shotguns. So, I bought a s/s Baikal 20 as a project gun. I made it fit me. Comb, cast and LOP.
I do not believe that I would have been quite so enthusiastic to whack away at a $2,500 gun.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I remember buying a Citori for $550 in 1884 loved it And deeply regret trading in foe a Weatherby Orion who's stock split after 500 shells on the skeet range :-(

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Mark, yup prices have gone up in 30 years EH?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

every o/u me and my dad have bought in the past 10 years has been a citori of some sort. love the guns. if i buy one for hunting use i typically take a bit off the butt stock for a better fit when winter hunting and wearing big jackets. but they do fit me out of the box. never had any type of issue with the guns functioning improperly, and they always shoot beautifully out of the box.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from azduane wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil - I noticed some comments about having a fitted gun so I was curious if you have ever had a gun to test that you felt would be better if it was teaked a little to fit you better. Another reason I ask is when I've watched Gun Nuts on TV it seems you do well with all the guns you try / shoot. I've had a couple of shotguns that I had to tweak, generally raising the comb, in order to get them to shoot where I wanted them to. Just curious.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dovebuster wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Thanks Phil for the review, First for those who are complaining about the prices of guns of the 80's get a grip! So what my sweet 16 cost $127.00 in 1957 now they are I priceless!. I think the 725 will be the best yet, I'll take a citori over a Beretta any day. I understand your rationale Phil about owning a Benelli/Inertia gun but from the looks of the schematics the Browning bolt is a better design not relying on the bolt handle to serve as two integral functions, (as a bolt handle and a holding pin for the rotating bolt head). I have seen Benelli and Beretta A400 and Xtrema 2 bolt handles break and the gun is rendered a peice of junk. Besides it's a Browning with speed load and better erogrnomics and much better customer service. I rest my case. I would not purchase anything Beretta owns, a bunch of arrogant italians that thinks they invented the shotgun. Bad day Benelli allowed themselves to be purchased by idiots same for Sako, Beretta has destroyed their reputation with their NO SERVICE DEPT

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil,
I'm with you on this one, I want me one of these doubles!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Browning Citori, made better? I didn't think it was possible until I bought a 325 (with stock dimensions copied from the english sporting guns). I didn't care much for for the close radiused pistol grip of the 525/625's, but the 725 is destined to be a winner. Trimmer receiver and lighter barrels should make this a very lively shotgun at 3/4 pound lighter and a heck of a lot better when stomping miles of pheasant cover. I would like to shoot a couple of rounds of sporting clays with one before I render a final decision, but yup, I think this would be a worthy addition to my armentarium of working guns.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hugoflats wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I have a 525 Field 20 gage and it is FINE. I remember when I got it that the action was so stiff but I've learned that they all start this way and if I shoot it 10 or 20 thousands times it will get a little easier. A true measure of the fine craftsmanship and I hope I live that long. Didn't think there was much room for improvement but sounds like there was. The new 725 sounds great and since I was in the process of getting an O/U in 12 gage as in the process of transforming one of my daughter-in-laws into a shotgunner, I seemed to have lost the first rights to my 525. I will definitely give the 725 a good look. Had been looking at Berettas since I really like my 391 UriKa 2 (also 20 ga.) so this article was timely as I was about to pull the trigger so to say on the Beretta.

Does anyone know when they will be available? The new Sweet 16 is May, 2012 from what I've heard.

Thanks,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tunadave wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I've got a pair of Citori's; a 1980's vintage 20ga. Super Featherweight with an English stock that only weighs about 5 pounds and a 625 Field in 12ga. that weighs significantly more. The 20ga. is the liveliest gun I've ever shot; for grouse it's a dream gun. I wish I could have gotten the 625 with an English stock for pheasants and such, but Browning doesn't make it that way and I wanted the 3" chambering for steel shot due to the better velocity and payload in a 3" shell and the gradual movement to needing non-toxic when hunting public land, but Browning doesn't make it that way, and one of their Service Dept. technicians said if I put an English stock on that gun it would beat me to death with 3" loads. Maybe. But anyway, for those who may live within a reasonable distance from the Browning Service Center in Arnold, MO., they will do stock fitting on Browning shotguns there. I imagine it would require an appointment, and I don't know what the cost would be, if any, but it's available.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hugoflats wrote 2 years 16 weeks ago

I finally got a chance to see one of these at Cabelas in Hamburg, PA last week. As excited as I was about this new gun, I have to say that I was disappointed in the fit and finish. It seemed crude compared to my 525 Field. The wood and metalwork seemed to be less finished. I hope this gun wasn't representative of all of them. Thinking now about a Caesar Guerini.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Daniel Joseph wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I will say that my brand new 725 broke after one use (and only nine rounds of patterning) and three days after purchase. The cocking lever spring broke out rendering the cocking lever and the barrel mounting inoperable. The way the stub metal on the fore end has to engage and push back the cocking lever is I believe a weakness in the design and the system is much less robust than on previous models. I am now out my gun for as many weeks a Browning is running for factory repairs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Mark-1 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I'm a Beretta fan too. The large gauge Brownings are bulky in comparison IMHO. I think Brownings are stocked too long. Excellent quality and handling [for some] target shotguns, but not what I’d want in the field. However, I find their small gauge guns outstanding.

I’m shocked at street prices on these shotguns. I recall buying new Browning O/U’s in the early ‘80’s for $600-650.

Boy! Those days are gone forever!

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from dickgun wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil,
I think that I, too, would love the new Citori. I have a couple pre-new and have never shot a Citori that did not shoot well for ME. I think I will just keep shooting mine and spend the other $2000+ on going hunting. Like my old friend, Tim McCormack, Custom Shop, Reminton MGR, said, "We have to do something to sell some more guns."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Stocked too long? Any stock length only fits a certain percentage of shooters. Many shooters shoot a stock length that does not fit them....take it too a gunsmith. And down comes the weight! That sells! Problem that I see is if you are sensitive to recoil, and shoot an autoloader...even an inertia cycling auto, the fixed breach of an O/U will pound you!!...especially the lighter gun. Mine whacks me a good one shooting trap loads on the trap line. A gunsmith can fix that also, but the bill goes up. From the price tag, it looks like a recoil reducer might be installed in the stock of the target model.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Brian W. Thair wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Sayfu knows that shotguns fit about 15% of shooters, right out of the box. If it doesn't shoot where I point, the price is irrelevant. With another 3/4" added to the LOP, my old Baikal o/u 12 is the closest fit of my last dozen shotguns. So, I bought a s/s Baikal 20 as a project gun. I made it fit me. Comb, cast and LOP.
I do not believe that I would have been quite so enthusiastic to whack away at a $2,500 gun.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Browning Citori, made better? I didn't think it was possible until I bought a 325 (with stock dimensions copied from the english sporting guns). I didn't care much for for the close radiused pistol grip of the 525/625's, but the 725 is destined to be a winner. Trimmer receiver and lighter barrels should make this a very lively shotgun at 3/4 pound lighter and a heck of a lot better when stomping miles of pheasant cover. I would like to shoot a couple of rounds of sporting clays with one before I render a final decision, but yup, I think this would be a worthy addition to my armentarium of working guns.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hookturnr wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil, I don't know about you, but the last couple times I went shopping for a stack barrel I keep going back to the berettas. If you're gonna spend the $ for a b-gun I just don't think you can go wrong with the folks that have been doing it for several hundred years. The brownings are alright,but I'm stuck on italian guns..

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

I remember buying a Citori for $550 in 1884 loved it And deeply regret trading in foe a Weatherby Orion who's stock split after 500 shells on the skeet range :-(

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Mark, yup prices have gone up in 30 years EH?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

every o/u me and my dad have bought in the past 10 years has been a citori of some sort. love the guns. if i buy one for hunting use i typically take a bit off the butt stock for a better fit when winter hunting and wearing big jackets. but they do fit me out of the box. never had any type of issue with the guns functioning improperly, and they always shoot beautifully out of the box.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from azduane wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil - I noticed some comments about having a fitted gun so I was curious if you have ever had a gun to test that you felt would be better if it was teaked a little to fit you better. Another reason I ask is when I've watched Gun Nuts on TV it seems you do well with all the guns you try / shoot. I've had a couple of shotguns that I had to tweak, generally raising the comb, in order to get them to shoot where I wanted them to. Just curious.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dovebuster wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Thanks Phil for the review, First for those who are complaining about the prices of guns of the 80's get a grip! So what my sweet 16 cost $127.00 in 1957 now they are I priceless!. I think the 725 will be the best yet, I'll take a citori over a Beretta any day. I understand your rationale Phil about owning a Benelli/Inertia gun but from the looks of the schematics the Browning bolt is a better design not relying on the bolt handle to serve as two integral functions, (as a bolt handle and a holding pin for the rotating bolt head). I have seen Benelli and Beretta A400 and Xtrema 2 bolt handles break and the gun is rendered a peice of junk. Besides it's a Browning with speed load and better erogrnomics and much better customer service. I rest my case. I would not purchase anything Beretta owns, a bunch of arrogant italians that thinks they invented the shotgun. Bad day Benelli allowed themselves to be purchased by idiots same for Sako, Beretta has destroyed their reputation with their NO SERVICE DEPT

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 2 years 25 weeks ago

Phil,
I'm with you on this one, I want me one of these doubles!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hugoflats wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I have a 525 Field 20 gage and it is FINE. I remember when I got it that the action was so stiff but I've learned that they all start this way and if I shoot it 10 or 20 thousands times it will get a little easier. A true measure of the fine craftsmanship and I hope I live that long. Didn't think there was much room for improvement but sounds like there was. The new 725 sounds great and since I was in the process of getting an O/U in 12 gage as in the process of transforming one of my daughter-in-laws into a shotgunner, I seemed to have lost the first rights to my 525. I will definitely give the 725 a good look. Had been looking at Berettas since I really like my 391 UriKa 2 (also 20 ga.) so this article was timely as I was about to pull the trigger so to say on the Beretta.

Does anyone know when they will be available? The new Sweet 16 is May, 2012 from what I've heard.

Thanks,

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from tunadave wrote 2 years 24 weeks ago

I've got a pair of Citori's; a 1980's vintage 20ga. Super Featherweight with an English stock that only weighs about 5 pounds and a 625 Field in 12ga. that weighs significantly more. The 20ga. is the liveliest gun I've ever shot; for grouse it's a dream gun. I wish I could have gotten the 625 with an English stock for pheasants and such, but Browning doesn't make it that way and I wanted the 3" chambering for steel shot due to the better velocity and payload in a 3" shell and the gradual movement to needing non-toxic when hunting public land, but Browning doesn't make it that way, and one of their Service Dept. technicians said if I put an English stock on that gun it would beat me to death with 3" loads. Maybe. But anyway, for those who may live within a reasonable distance from the Browning Service Center in Arnold, MO., they will do stock fitting on Browning shotguns there. I imagine it would require an appointment, and I don't know what the cost would be, if any, but it's available.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Hugoflats wrote 2 years 16 weeks ago

I finally got a chance to see one of these at Cabelas in Hamburg, PA last week. As excited as I was about this new gun, I have to say that I was disappointed in the fit and finish. It seemed crude compared to my 525 Field. The wood and metalwork seemed to be less finished. I hope this gun wasn't representative of all of them. Thinking now about a Caesar Guerini.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Daniel Joseph wrote 1 year 5 weeks ago

I will say that my brand new 725 broke after one use (and only nine rounds of patterning) and three days after purchase. The cocking lever spring broke out rendering the cocking lever and the barrel mounting inoperable. The way the stub metal on the fore end has to engage and push back the cocking lever is I believe a weakness in the design and the system is much less robust than on previous models. I am now out my gun for as many weeks a Browning is running for factory repairs.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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