The Brilliant Browning: 725 Citori Feather 20 Gauge O/U

By Randy Wakeman

Photo by Randy Wakeman.

The lightweight upland hunting vertical double that is truly satisfying is a fairly rare shotgun. Some models are not nearly as light as claimed, are not well balanced, and some have recoil levels that make them joyless to use for clay target shooting. I'm delighted to be able to say that Browning's 725 Citori Feather has none of those unsavory attributes.

Billed as weighing 5 lbs. 14 oz., this 28 inch barreled O/U comes in just exactly as advertised, weighing 5 lbs. 13.7 oz. Browning is spot on with this example. The best attribute of the Browning Invector-DS barrels is their lighter weight. An alloy receiver stack-barrel combined with heavy barrels can mean a nose-heavy pig, but this 725 Citori is quite well balanced. What Browning calls their Grade II/III walnut is far better than average, enhanced with 20 lines per inch checkering. The oil finished buttstock and forearm match well, evenly balanced in color and tone. The game scene engraving is both tasteful and well-executed, particularly considering the 725 Feather's alloy receiver which is beefed up with a steel breech face.

Another potential issue with hunting O/U's is very poor tang safety purchase, which results in unintended pheasant conservation. Browning's tang safety has a very generous protuberance on top, which makes getting the safety off at the flush an easy maneuver. Too many frustrated hunters have watched haplessly as the rooster flies off due to a flush, slippery tang safety as in Beretta. This Browning 725 suffers no such tragic affliction.

Too many flyweight guns hit you like a Dusty Rhodes bionic elbow, potentially giving you the flinch you never wanted: hardly the American Dream. The 725 is pleasant shooting, surprising so considering its diminutive weight. The explanation resides with the Inflex II recoil pad, a pad that is both more generous and more effective than most. It also allows for effortless, snag-free mounting.

Grabbing my trusty bore gauge, the barrel inside diameters measured .630 inch for the upper, and .628 inch for the lower. On to the DS twenty gauge chokes. IC = .620, Mod = .613, Full - .597 inch. The “Full” is marked “lead only.” The best barometer of pattern density is shell quality and choke quality combined. I'm generally looking for a .020 - .022 inch constriction or so. The supplied chokes don't get me there, the supplied “MOD” is actually a Skeet II. The available DS Improved Mod measures .609 in., the Light Full is .605 inch. 

The triggers are crisp and exceptionally good, breaking in the 3 lb. 3 oz. area. The 725 does come with a center bead that I generally have disdain for, but at least it is small enough as to not obliterate the front bead, so it is easy enough to ignore... at least for now.

Overall, I'm quite delighted with the 725 Feather: an excellent carry weight, good balance, low recoil for a shotgun of this format, outstandingly good triggers, an easy to use tang safety, a pleasing grade of walnut, strong ejection, and tasteful engraving. It is the best upland hunting shotgun Browning has ever offered, as far as I'm concerned. If you don't fall in love with the 725 Feather, I'll be surprised.

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Copyright 2022 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.