Browning 425 Gd1
One of Dave's alternative shooters, the 425 is a modern classic. The run of the mill grade 1 425 has simple engraving on the action and wood is usually what you'd expect - workmanlike. It will have a thin plastic butt pad, chrome lined barrels, and the sporters have that elegant schnabel fore end that seems to divide opinion somewhat, some like it some don't. Replaced by the 525 around 2000/2001 there are still plenty around on the second user market. Reliable and very well made guns, and there isn't a gunsmith this side of Alpha Centauri who doesn't know his way around the Browning action. A used 425 is a good route into Browning ownership, they really are bullet proof guns, and there is no truth whatsoever to the notion that if you listen carefully, you can hear them rusting. Dave's shooter has brilliant wood for a grade 1, he thinks it is because he bought it just before the 525 was introduced, and Browning upgraded the wood to clear the 425s off the shelves before the 525 hit. Dealers we've spoken to say that is nonsense, so he must just have been lucky. The gun's got multichokes, not that they ever get changed. Bit lighter than his MK38, Dave uses it when out game shooting, which isn't very often all. The photo isn't Dave's gun, just some random 425 off the web.
Why a 425? Dave's set out some thoughts below;
My first gun was a Browning 425 Grade 1 with 30in barrels. Why? Well like many folks I had some shooting lessons long before I bought my own gun. The owner of the ground taught me on a Browning 425. When I asked for recommendations as to what sort of gun I should buy he suggested a 425. The ground didn't sell guns so he had nothing to gain or lose from me going with Browning. In that sense I 'inherited' a Browning preference from my teacher.
Being taught on a Browning, and then borrowing one at the same ground once we were deemed safe to go out unaccompanied, I got used to it, to the feel and balance and so on, and understood how it worked. The stock fit was right for me and so by the time I went to buy a gun I naturally gravitated towards what I was already familiar with. People tend to stick with what they know. I did and, surprise, I bought a new 425.
To be honest, I dont think that Berettas are that much worse than Browning's. The Beretta 6xx models that I have shouldered don't have the same stock height as I am used to and so I have to adjust to the gun, to get me to fit it. That just reinforces the view that the Brownings are the better gun, for me. Other folks will have the exact opposite experience and they will be fiercely loyal to their Berettas. Maybe it's a bit like the team you support, you grow up supporting Wasps, short of brain damage you are never going to switch to support Saracens. What matters most, of course, is the fit of the gun, not the badge on the side. Of course if that badge is a Buckmark rather than a Trident then you are doubly blessed. Sorry couldn't resist that.
I graduated to a Miroku cos I thought I'd shoot some trap, that urge resulted in an second hand MK38, 32in barrels and choked ¾ and full. It had an adjustable stock, so with it set to as close to perfection for me as I could manage, i.e. pretty much as low and as central as possible, I tended to use that gun for everything. It also helped that I have had a couple of lessons from a world champion shot who encouraged me to stick with the Miroku – if you've been around UK shooting for a few years you will know who that is. Eventually The MK38 got 'Teagued' so it now goes out with half and skeet or half and quarter (I can't remember which).
If you've bothered to read this far, I'll end by expressing the hope that whatever gun you have, I hope you enjoy your shooting and that you have some decent mates to shoot with - I wish I had.