& Harris - Gun
Reviews - Archive - Browning B125
Browning B125 could be, in some ways, be thought of as a cult
classic. They are reasonably common. Well made and reliable, yet
they have not been what I would call an outstanding success story.
The B125 goes back about 20 years or so, making its debut circa
1983. I can remember when it first appeared on the market. It wasn't
so much the fact that it was a new model, but more that it was the
first Browning gun to be made with an interchangeable choke system.
Then as now, known as Invector choke; Browning's trade name for it.
first launched, the B125 was only available in one grade; this was
to later become the grade B.
In fact, at the time of the B125's launch the B25 was starting to
escalate in price enormously. This lead to the story at the time
that the B25 was liable to finish production due to a finite number
actions that had been made many years previously being exhausted.
The B125 was to be the new generation of top grade guns that
Browning's would produce from then on. Thankfully that, as many
Browning purists will agree, was not to be the case. The B25 was
elevated to a custom gun status, in many cases built to order. And
the B125 became the bridge between the B25 and the Miroku range. At
this time, the new Citori range and B325 were still on the drawing
board, and yet to have an introduction to British shooters.
B25 had become more expensive to produce, due to the extensive hand
workmanship that goes into it.
there needed to be a gun that would narrow the price gap between
these two poles.
On paper the B125 was pretty much a racing certainty, though I am
not sure that it really lived up to this. The gun, was, as such made
in the white by Miroku in Japan, and then shipped to the custom shop
in Belgium where it was hand finished along side the B25, using the
same traditional hand finishing skills.
Some have doubted the truth in this though I have been in the Custom
shop in Belgium and seen the gunmakers doing exactly that. The
feature that brought it closer to the B25 legend was the inclusion
of permanently attached and sliding forend. But for all that I don't
believe the B125 ever really caught the shooting world's imagination
quite like the B25.
action is identical to Miroku, which is well proven to be strong and
reliable under the greatest extremes. Indeed, it owes much of its
heritage to the B25, working along an almost identical design. An
easy way for the uninitiated to tell the difference between the two
is to look at the cocking lever in the bottom of the action floor.
On both guns it appears as a plate that tips up as the gun is
opened. On the B25, this plate is a perfect rectangle with sharp
corners. However, on the B125 it is a sort of fat Tee with rounded
forend, although the same in principle to its B25 cousin, has unique
ejector work; its kickers being a slightly different shape to both
the Miroku and the B25.
barrels are made on the chopper lump principle. In other words two
complete tubes brazed together with integral lumps or steels.
length was always 70mm, I don't think they ever made a magnum. The
bore sizes are standard at around 18.5mm plus or minus 0.1mm, but
not over bored. The bores themselves were always finished to a high
standard, but not chrome lined. So owners need to be vigilant
keeping them clean, and buyers should always check the bores for any
I have already indicated this was the first Browning multichoke gun,
though the guns were also made in fixed choke. Because of the
interest in multi choke being the then new thing on the market, the
multichoke guns are by far and away the most common.
top rib follows the standard Browning pattern with a central channel
and cross cut sides 13mm wide on sporting guns and cross hatched 6mm
wide on the game models. Although game guns are not rare, the
sporting guns are by far and away the most common.
the B125 had become established as a gun, it was then made in a
series of grades. This was done along similar lines to the B25. The
gun which had been initially launched became the B grade. This had a
silver action and game scene engraving. I think Pheasant on one side
and ducks on the other.
There was an A grade, with a fairly plain black action which had
border engraving only.
The C grade had more engraving and a higher grade of wood. Obviously
grade D was more ornate again, with a heavily chiselled engraving
style and the highest-grade wood.
and C became the most popular, with the B grade given its head
start, probably the most common.
Later on a couple of specialist guns were added in the form of the
F1 sporter and trap. These were plain black action guns, designed
purely as dedicated clay busting guns.
well the B125 is a very sound gun from a mechanical point of view.
Yes they can shoot loose like any other gun that has done a lot of
work. Also under barrel strikers can become pitted and need
replacing. Mainsprings can become tired and need to be replaced. But
these things are true of most guns that are on the market. Probably
the only thing that was really a minus point on the B125 was the
decision to use American walnut on it.
walnut is pretty and is usually quite dark with good picture. It is
quite opened grained and consequently not as dense as French or
Turkish walnut. Combined with the forend having to be so thin in
places, particularly around the ejector work, this has lead to some
cracks and breakages in some woodwork.
tends to be isolated to the forend as the stocks are re-enforced
with a steel tube around the stock bolt.
wood to metal fit was always good on these guns, due to the level of
hand workmanship. Though sometimes the shape of the pistol grips
seemed a little uncomfortable. The earlier models had a slimmer grip
that I thought complimented the gun better that=n some of the later
Typical stock dimensions are: drops approx, 1 1 / 2 and 2" at
comb and heel. Length of pull to centre is approx. 14 3 /8" to
centre. And cast was slightly in favour of right-handed shooters.
guns are particularly good value today when you consider others on
the market at this price level with the same amount of hand
workmanship in them. In fact, perversely, when it is considered how
the gun came about, it may be that because of the amount of hand
finishing that signalled its end whilst allowing the B25 to exist on
a higher price plane.
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