Browning 425 And Long Cones Any Good?

Dear Technoid,

Browning 425 Sporting Clays 30″ ported. Is this a good gun? Can it have the cones lengthened ? Would you ? I know you favor gas guns. I reload my club has a “if it hit the ground it’s our policy” plus I like the look of an O/U.

Please respond, I value you opinion.


Dear Steve,

Opinions are like noses. Everyone has one. Since you ask mine, here it is. Someone else may see things very differently.

The Japanese-made Browning Citori line of guns are of excellent mass produced quality. The 425 is my favorite configuration of all the Japanese Brownings made, but all the models are built to the same quality level and all use the same receiver. The models differ only in wood, rib and barrel configurations. “Higher Grade” Japanese Brownings only differ cosmetically on the outside with extra nice wood and computer/acid engraving. Inside, they are all the same.

You don’t say what you want to use the gun for. If you are strictly a trap shooter, I would choose a different model than the 425. However, for a general purpose skeet/sporting clays/occasional trap gun the 30″ 425 would be my choice. The barrels seem a good bit lighter than those of the Ultra (at least on the models I sampled) and I like the longer, higher stock of the 425. I don’t like the cast off, but you might.

Japanese Brownings are all the same quality- and that is really rather good.

Porting: Personally, I would not pick the ported model as I find that – for me- porting can add obnoxious noise and does nothing to reduce barrel flip. I have never been able to tell the difference in recoil or muzzle jump between the same models of gun with and without porting when shot side by side. That said, I do shoot with a lot of left hand on my guns and hang on pretty tight. The very slight reduction in upward muzzle jump that some porting produces is not noticeable to me. The hotter the shell you use, the more the porting may work. Pigeon shooters, using those 3 3/4 dram, 1 1/4 oz whoppers just love porting and think that it helps a bit when firing two quick shots at a single target. If I were building a pigeon gun, I probably would port.

Forcing cones? Here is the deal. If you do ANY after market interior barrel work on your gun, you will void your factory warranty. Just be aware of that before you perform any modifications. Browning hypes factory “backboring”(very different from after market backboring which actually removes metal), not long cones. Beretta doesn’t believe in “backboring”, but all their target guns have long cones. Long cones is the first thing that I do on my O/Us- the smaller the gauge the more important I feel it is. Even the skeet tube manufacturers hype long cones on their sub-gauge premium sets. The smaller the bore, the more it should help reduce shot deformation- even though recoil may not be at issue.

In 12 gauge I have found that lengthened cones were the ONLY barrel modification that helped recoil in the slightest. Scientifically, long cones (and backboring) make absolutely no mathematical difference in recoil until they start to affect velocity or barrel weight. Subjectively, I find that usually (not always) long cones reduce perceived recoil by a very small amount. Small, but noticeable.

If you get cones cut, get them looong. Ballistically Roster feels that cones longer than 1 3/4″ don’t do any good, but I can tell you that longer cones are much easier to polish and that looong ones will look better and stay cleaner. Most gunsmiths don’t have the vaguest idea how to do it correctly. It is better to leave it alone, rather than do a poor job. If I were you and I had a new 425, I would shoot it just the way that it comes for a while. If the recoil is bothering you, even after you get the stock properly fitted, lengthening the cones will NOT make a real difference. Long cones will not turn a kicker into a pussy cat. If the gun does not bother you after shooting for a month, and if you intend to keep it, then I would consider going to long cones for slightly increased comfort and better pattern over the long run.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that long cones will completely eliminate recoil. They could not be further from the truth. If it kicks you with short cones, it will kick you with long cones- just a tiny bit less.

Of course, with a gas gun, none of that matters.

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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