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Reviews - Archive - Browning Elite 28 gauge
Elite 28 gauge.
Small gauge guns
have been around for pretty much as long as we have had shotguns.
For each gauge there is usually a good reason.
At one time the
best gun makers would build you a gun in any gauge that you could
imagine, and produce the ammunition to use in it. This was obviously
for only the wealthiest shooters. Even in those early days there
were preferred calibres that have become the favourites that we know
The most common
calibres or gauges being 12, 16, 20, 28 and .410. Of these 12 is
certainly the most popular and 28 probably the least. Although that
may be in part due to the fact that there are relatively few guns of
this gauge around. Makers in the mass production market have tended
to shy away from the slightly more obscure. In fact it may be more
accurate to say that the guns have been made, but the distributors
have tended to stay away from them, being a little unsure of the
relatively untested market. But over the last 15 years or so, 20
gauge guns have become ever increasingly popular, particularly with
game shooters. In most instances shooters are pleasantly surprised
how smaller gauge guns will perform. In nearly all cases they will
out perform expectation. This realisation is now starting to filter
through all the gauges, as shooters become aware that these guns
will achieve what is reasonably asked of them.
Perhaps the biggest
step yet to be made by most of the mass-market producers is to
produce a 28-gauge gun on a dedicated 28-gauge action. The 20 and 28
are fairly close for size in terms of bore diameter: 0.615 0r 15.6mm
for 20 gauges, and 0.550 or 14.00mm for the 28. As gunmakers make
far more 20 bore guns than 28, it is a simple case of economics that
dictates that it would not be cost effective to tool up to make
dedicated 28 gauge actions and everything that goes with that such
as internal workings and so on. Instead it is much easier and
cheaper to use 20 gauge actions and make barrels of 28 gauges to fit
those actions. The one drawback to this is the extra weight, but one
of the reasons for having a 28-gauge gun is to keep the weight as
low as possible.
28 is one of those built on a 20-gauge action but its build does
ensure that it points and shoots with all the flare that one would
expect from this maker.
It has a weight of
just over 6 ½ lb. Heavy you might say for a 28, but the handling
does go a long way to disguise it. And if weight is your priority,
then Browning has answered it by also producing this gun in a light
version with an alloy action. That weighs in at around 5 ¾ lb.
The woodwork has
been scaled to help keep the gun’s appearance as easy on the eye
as possible. On the 12 and 20 bore, the length of pull is 375mm, but
with the Elite 28 this has been reduced to 362mm. The drop at heel
has also been reduced from 56mm to 63mm to account for the fact that
being slightly shorter will have the effect of making the gun shoot
The stock is
finished with a thin polymer butt plate, so extra length can easily
be achieved with the addition of a pad or similar. Wood quality is
good and matches the forend for colour very well. Then again, this
gun is pitched for price somewhere between grades 1 and 3.
The shape of both
the stock and forend I particularly like. The stock has a rounded
pistol grip, more often seen on game guns. It is easy to grip
securely and allow the gun to be pointed accurately. The forend is
rounded through its entire length, and so is easy to grip and keep
hold of. Also being rounded it has a constant feel wherever it is
gripped. The chequer pattern is traditional, with the pattern
finishing in points that add to the gun’s looks. The wood is
finished with an oil finish, which is classic for looks, and easy to
maintain. The wood to metal is very good, but then we would expect
nothing less on a gun of this type.
action is the same used in all the other Browning small gauge guns.
So it has a proven track record in all respects. Where the gun
differs slightly is that the engraving pattern is new for the
smaller gauge guns. It isn’t a full covering, but does have a very
pleasing effect. It is, essentially, a bordering of scroll work. The
action is finished in a pewter grey, which contrasts nicely with the
silver furniture that makes up the other metalwork on the gun other
than the barrels-obviously black, and gold trigger.
The barrels on this
gun are 28”, though 30” are also available. Chambers are 70mm,
and this should suffice for almost all 28 gauge cartridges; I can’t
ever remember seeing 3” 28 gauge cartridges, though someone must
have made some.
The elite has fixed
chokes of ¼ and ¾. This will almost certainly cover most
eventualities. And will suit for the occasional clay should you feel
up to it. The top rib is ventilated and is 6mm wide. It has a slight
raised ramp at the breech end and is finished with a small silver
Overall, this is
not probably going to be your sole gun, but used on days when you
feel like a change. So if you are looking for something different
then it is a gun worthy of serious consideration. And as 28 gauge
cartridges are becoming more easily available, and affordable, there
is no reason why these guns should not become far more popular.
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