Browning's Heavy Shotgun Triggers

By Randy Wakeman

For many years now, Browning has had horribly heavy triggers on their autoloading and pump shotguns. For example, the Gold 20 Gauge that I tested eight years ago was a satisfying shotgun. Its only problem was an unacceptably heavy 6-1/2 pound trigger.

You might think this would be an embarrassment to a brand that claims to be "The Best There Is." It should be, but they are apparently immune from embarrassment. It is hard to believe that Browning triggers remain so poor, when far more economical guns (Mossberg 930, Weatherby SA-08, Franchi Affinity) have remarkably better triggers out of the box.

The horse manure about liability is ridiculous. When you pull a trigger, it is supposed to fire the gun. Now, really, where is the liability? How is it that Browning spouts liability as a lame excuse for their poor triggers? Are Mossberg, Franchi, Weatherby somehow immune from the special liability that Browning has invented for themselves?

The advice to go to a gunsmith to fix a new shotgun is beyond odd. By what theory could Browning be liable, but a good local gunsmith is not? It must be truly embarrassing for a major brand name of firearms to admit that their customer service department really has no qualified gunsmiths, so they are forced to tell you to find one on your own.

The recent Browning Citori 725s (at least the three that I have tested) have all had crisp, light triggers. It normally is the work of an intoxicated legal staff to claim a proper trigger on a pump or an autoloader mysteriously creates liability, but 725 Citori's are somehow immune from this mysterious liability malady, as are Browning X-Bolt rifles that have excellent triggers.

Browning (like many manufacturers) has no written warranty. It would be another strange invention to claim that trigger work would void a non-existent warranty from Browning on an unrelated part of the gun.

To be fair about this, the recently tested Benelli Ethos has a sub-standard trigger. Two Benelli's that I often use (Vinci and an M2 20 gauge) went back to Benelli to have their triggers lightened, which Benelli did without charge or hassle.

I don't expect a competition-grade trigger on a hunting autoloading shotgun. However, a reasonable trigger in the 4.0 to 4.5 pound area is only reasonable and every old Browning Auto-Five and Double Auto I have owned has had a factory trigger at least that good. Browning had no problem with triggers 60 years ago, but they do today. Beretta's logo could be "500 Years Unmarred By Progress," but Browning is trying their best to catch up, at least with their autoloaders.

Apparently, many folks do not consider triggers to be a priority, or liking the basic gun are resigned to sending out their guns to Cole Gunsmithing, Art's Gun Shop and so forth to have the trigger fixed as part of the purchase price of a Browning autoloader. How sad.

Only when enough consumers take the time to write to Browning and let them know they lost a sale due to their obnoxiously heavy, sub-standard triggers will that change. Companies have been forced to upgrade their standards before, though.

Savage Arms embarrassed the industry with the Accu-Trigger and the rifle trigger situation improved. Glock embarrassed the autoloading pistol market and it changed. Browning can certainly do better with their shotgun triggers; they did with the 725 Citori triggers. They just haven't gotten the message on their autoloading and slide-action shotguns yet. Once Browning finally understands the only thing liable going on is that consumers are liable to buy something else. It will change, but not before then.

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Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.