Following your advice, I recently purchased a Browning 425 in 30″. My gun has a factory adjustable comb. I shot it to point of impact and at 30 yards with mod choke, the pattern is well centered but a bit high-probably 60/40. My comb is in the lowest position. Is this an acceptable pattern for sporting clays, or do I need to consider bending the stock down or having the adjustable comb reworked?
I also plan to get Briley chokes for it and wonder what selection you would recommend for someone with an O/U. Are extended chokes worth the extra money? I know they are the rage right now.
Also, where can I order Casey’s Sheath to wipe my guns down with? Thanks for all the great info.
You made an excellent choice in guns and I am sure that you will be pleased. Whether you like your gun to be 60/40, 50/50 or something else is really pretty personal. I usually set my sporting clays guns up 50/50 and my trap and skeet guns 60/40. In sporting you will get a high percentage of droppers and you should set up to be comfortable with those. Most people have an easier time with rising targets than with falling, so set up for the harder shots.
One thing is for sure, I would not be too quick to make any permanent changes. Since the gun is new to you, shoot it for a while to get the feel of where it shoots when you are actually dealing with moving targets. You may find that as you get used to the gun, you will cheek it slightly differently and your point of impact may change at bit. By the way, test for point of impact with Full choke. Thirty yards is fine, but use the Full as it will give you a little clearer picture of exactly where your shot cloud hits.
If your 425 consistently shoots higher than you wish after you have shot it for a while, then I would suggest lowering something. You can always have the stock bend down, but since you have the adjustable comb version, you also have the option of cutting down the comb 1/16″ (you should not need more) and refinishing. You might also consider cutting away under the moveable cheek piece and resetting the pins if you don’t want to get into refinishing the entire cheek piece. I don’t have a Citori with an adjustable stock in front of me right now, so it is hard to remember exactly what adjustment hardware Browning is using now.
Extended chokes? I dunno. Briley extended chokes have worked well in some of my guns and poorly in others. I am afraid to say that you will actually have to do your patterning work if you want to know the truth. One thing that Briley does do is that his chokes are made in consistent
.005″ increments, so you can be pretty sure that a Briley IC is .010″ more open than a Briley Mod. Of course, that does not have much to do with just what your barrel measures or what kind of pattern it will throw, but at least it is something.
One thing that you CAN be sure of is that just because a choke is stamped “Mod” or somesuch, you are going to have to test it to find out what it really throws. Production tolerances being what they are, that choke marking is only a vague indication of what that choke might be doing. The early Browning Invectors were notoriously far off.
Many of the over-the-counter Briley chokes I have looked at have been very rough inside. This is not necessarily bad as some makers (Ljutic, for one) feel that a rough choke retards the wad. Other just feel that rough chokes are a sign of sloppy workmanship. Take your pick. One thing is for sure, smooth chokes pick up less plastic.
In my Beretta 303 I shoot a mixture of Beretta flush mount factory chokes and Briley flush mount factory chokes. The Beretta’s are made of surprisingly soft steel, but seem to work well enough when I get the right load.
The main advantage of the extended choke is that it gives the choke maker more room to cut in a proper parallel/conical choke configuration, rather than just a pure taper choke. The parallel/conical (actually, conical/parallel) choke is supposed to give the shot a bit of a chance to “stabilize” after being constricted. The general rule of thumb is that the tighter the choke, the longer the choke and parallel section. This is an area where screw chokes fall down as all degrees of choke are the same length. In a solid choke gun, the skeet choke will be considerably shorter than the full. Screw chokes are a compromise, no matter what the manufacturers say.
The mere fact that an extended choke is longer than a flush mount one does not automagically mean that it will pattern better. It is just that in theory, it has the potential to do better. Then again, the average shotgunner thinks that “better” means tighter when what he should really be looking for is less patchiness and fewer distorted pellets.
Bottom line- try one or two extended chokes out. Make sure to compare apples to apples by first miking the factory choke that you are going to compare and then making sure that the extended choke is the same numeric constriction (this is very important and there is no point in testing just based on whatever label is stamped on the choke).
Your 425 already comes with Browning Plus chokes which are a bit longer than normal. Frankly, I don’t think that you are going to be able to tell any difference between a .020″ Browning Plus choke and a .020″ Briley extended one as far as the pattern goes. One thing that you will notice though is some extra muzzle weight. As heavy as those Browning Plus chokes are, the extended Brileys are even heavier. That is the problem with most of the modern screw choke applications from Browning and Beretta. Sticking more metal onto the front of the gun sure isn’t going to help that problem.
As to which constrictions for are best sporting, I find that I have been well served by pairs of .005″s and .015″s plus a .025″ and a .035″. You could probably just weld the .015″s in place and stick to #8s and never look back, but reasonable men may differ.
By the way, you can mail order the most excellent Birchwood Casey’s Sheath rust preventative from any of the mail order companies. Graf and Gamaliel come to mind.
There it is. More than you ever wanted to know from your Guru of Gunning Gear.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid