& Harris - Gun
Reviews - Archive - Browning Fusion
Fusion. 23 October, 2000
Browning seem to be
continually re-working new versions of their semi-auto, the Gold.
The latest model carries the name; Fusion.
Browning has a greater connection to the semi-auto market than any
other manufacturer. And can trace this back almost to the turn of
the century, when John Browning invented his auto 5. The auto 5
worked as a result of direct recoil from the cartridge taking the
barrel and bolt back to eject the fired case and reload the second;
a very reliable system that has been widely copied and served the
auto 5 well throughout it production life which has only recently
come to an end.
Running along side
this gun Browning have had various other autos on the market in
recent years the previous best of which was the B80; produced in the
early eighties. But since then the Gold has certainly been, in my
opinion, their best effort.
The gold works on
the gas principle. This is where gas from the fired cartridge is
siphoned off through ports or holes in the barrel. These ports go
through the barrel loop and direct the gas down onto a piston that
is able to slide up and down on the magazine tube. When the bolt is
forward, the piston is held against the barrel loop. So when the gas
hits the piston assembly it has the effect of throwing it back which
in turn pushes the bolt back, taking the fired cartridge with it.
The spent cartridge is then thrown clear of the gun and the bolt
travels forward again, picking up the second cartridge and placing
it in the chamber ready for firing; all this happens quicker than
the blink of an eye, or about that speed.
The key to a auto
being reliable is that it should be simple in design and its parts
precisely and well made, Because even a simple auto has many moving
parts and so as each part depends on the next to be in the right
place at the right time, each part must be well made.
Browning have hit a winner with the Gold, as it has proven to be a
very reliable auto and has remained virtually unaltered since its
Some of the changes
are quite subtle, but the overall effect makes this quite a smooth
handling gun, and obviously being an auto the system also makes the
gun smooth to shoot.
With the Fusion
most of the changes have been to the woodwork.
The stock has
useful length of 14 ¾ “ ,and is finished with the standard
Browning butt plate. Butt plates on new guns are always a plus for
gunsmiths as it gives the maximum amount of wood for lengthening
with a pad, and if the gun needs to be shortened then the work is
quite straight forward.
The pistol grip is
a little fuller and also has a palm swell which does fit the hand
well though for choice I would have preferred a slimmer grip without
the palm swell. Palm swells are often very comfortable, and can be
used by left handers ,but they will not get the full benefits from
Browning have had
left handed shooters in mind with this gun as it is supplied with a
set of stock shims that as well as casting the stock for left or
right hand depending on which way they are used, they also alter the
drop of the stock.
When standard the
drops at heel and comb are 2 ¼ and 1 3/8 respectively, which are
good stand measurements for most shooters.
The forend has been
slimmed slightly so that it seems a little more pointable and easy
to grip. And is finished with an oil finish which is both practical
and attractive. The forend cap has been re-vamped to a conical shape
that does add to the lines of the gun and is recessed into the end
of the wood. It indexes down tight onto three prongs that are pushed
up by the magazine spring.
Chequer on both the
stock and forend appear to be machine cut and is very neat, with a
good pattern for plenty of grip.
The action shape
has the rounded top which certainly is easier on the eye than the
older square backed style. Loading is also easier with this gun than
some of its competitors, as it has a split floor plate which allows
the gun to be loaded even when the bolt is back in the open
position. The gun is also furnished with a magazine lock; this
allows the magazine to be locked when there are cartridges in it and
then the chambered cartridge may be removed without the need to
unload the gun completely. A useful feature for crossing a ditch or
The safe button is
certainly big enough so as not to be a problem for cold fingers to
find when wildfowling. The safe is also quite easily reversible so
that it is more comfortable for left handed shooters a useful and
convenient feature, but also a necessary one as the safe is quite
obtrusive to the trigger finger unless changed, and even the correct
way round it touches the finger, though in fairness I wasn’t
conscious of it when using the gun. I did actually shoot this gun on
a couple of occasions and on my first attempt I shot one of my best
scores for a long time , so I was certainly impressed with that.
The barrel on the
test gun was a 28” but 26 and 30” are also available according
to the catalogue. IT is 3” magnum so it will happily take anything
that you want to put through it with the exception of the high
performance steel shot, but it will happily shoot the standard loads
providing the half choke is used as a maximum.
The barrel is over
bored to 18.8mm that is about 0.740” so that recoil is reduced as
much as possible, this also goes hand in glove with the Browning
Invector Plus choke system. As a extra precaution to protect the
barrel, the bore is chrome lined.
This gun handles
and points very well, and in my hands shot as well as I would hope-
they don’t always though that is rarely the fault of the gun.
The gun is designed
as an all rounder and I think that it fulfils that very well; just
as happy wildfowling or pigeon shooting as it would be at a clay
It also comes in a
practical plastic carrying case, with a trigger lock, stock shims
and spare choke tubes. There is even a useful selection of spare
foresight beads in a range of colours to suit any situation.
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