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The over and under face off: Browning 525 or Beretta Silver Pigeon?

The Browning 525, or the Beretta Silver Pigeon? That’s what this video is about. We're going to try and answer the questions on some of the differences. It’s the main decision that most people make when they come into the shooting world and they're looking for their first gun. So we have in front of us a brand new 525 and then we have a Beretta Silver Pigeon. I hope in this video to uncover some of the differences, some of the pros of each, some of the cons of each and perhaps help you make your mind up as to what to get.

 

So first things first it's worth noting that actually there are many different models of the Silver Pigeon and there are many many different models of the 525, so to actually put the two side-by-side and compare them they have to be perfectly identical spec. I haven't done that. Mostly because I don't have a 525 that matches the Silver Pigeon spec I’ve got here and vice-versa, but I'm gonna try my best to help you sort of distinguish the main characteristics between the two.

 

Firstly - size. So the Browning comes out at an actual full action height of 68 mm, and the Beretta action height including barrels is 62 mm. So that’s six millimetres of difference (those are average-ish measurements). So six mm of difference and that six millimetres does flow all the way down the gun - you'll find on the Beretta everything is just that little bit thinner. If you look at the actual distance of that if we measure the hand of the stock there on the Beretta and the stock is 40. On the Browning, it's 44. That size follows all the way down the gun and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Even if we measured the barrels halfway up on the Browning it’s 49, the Beretta is 48. So we're talking small amounts here. Let's say overall the whole thing is slimline and that's why with the Beretta, people say their smaller or lighter; that's not necessarily true. That's because they just feel a little bit smaller in the hand, they don't fill your hand quite as much. It’s not positive, not negative, just different.

 

Stock length. It used to be the case like on this Browning here that all Brownings had a hand-finished pad on the back - now they have an interchangeable inflex pad, which matches very nicely to the standard Beretta interchangeable pad system. It's a very similar sort of thing. So stock length isn't the sort of thing I'd worry about so much anymore because that's changeable, they all come with spacers, different pads, all that sort of thing so actually, that's not so much of a big issue. It used to be that Browning had a 14 and 3/4 and a Beretta had 14 and ½, so if you wanted something a bit longer you started with the Browning and if you didn't you’d start with a Beretta.

 

Width. Which is also different. Actual physical measurement for the Browning: 39 millimetres wide. I know that’s a surprise in itself! And the Beretta is actually 42. I tell you what I wasn't expecting that so you’re as shocked as me there. But it's the depth and the depth of the Browning still makes it feel that bit wider, but actually, it’s thinner! There you go that's some amazing thing. That thinness actually, saying that, follows into the stock. You'll find on a stock profile, the Browning is a little bit thinner and the Beretta is a little bit fatter and that follows all the way up from the top to the bottom so you can end up with a slightly more refined gun I suppose in terms of edges with the Browning, whereas the Beretta is a little bit more rounded, a little more trappy in the way that it is.

 

beretta silver pigeon

 

Next - physical size is different; much deeper in the Browning, much shallower in the Beretta. There you go that's the main differences in physical size, engineering wise. Let's move on.

There's no talk about barrels because there are different barrel options on both. Lengths, chokes, ribs, beads - everything is very very different. However, they all have an equivalent for the other, so there are options for everything. You might have to look a little bit further back to get a fixed choke in either of these but you know there are many many specifications so we’re not going to worry about the barrels so much.

 

Both have a standard top lever and manual selective trigger, you’ll find with the Browning the whole safety catch moves across, with the Beretta just there's a little selector on top of the safety catch.

We pop these off; both forends come off the same, I said earlier about the weights depending on the gun Brownings can weigh more and Berettas can weigh more, so actually weight isn't a factor that you should worry about.

 

Ejectors - the Beretta has spring-loaded ejectors. This does mean that, after it’s worn in a little bit, it actually sits on those springs as you can see there it sits there on the springs and you have to just pull it open on that last bit. Not so much when they’re new but that certainly is something that affects them when they’re broken in a little bit. The Browning, all of the ejector springs or all of the actual ejector work is in the forend here your springs, your kickers, everything is in there so they’re powered by a separate unit and it does mean on the barrel - they're loose - so they have a little bit of shape.

 

Positives and negatives: it means they're a little bit harder to put together I suppose because you have to sort of preset the ejectors so they could ride into the things. Not a lot else to say about that really, they can tow a little bit looser than the Berettas over time and they do have a tendency of being expensive to replace, because they’re expensive to replace. Less so in the Beretta.

The way they lock into the barrels the guns are very different as well. With the Beretta you have these replaceable trunnions in the side that lock into these little hinges here and that's that. We have a top bite U-bolt in the top here with two little lugs here that look the barrels into place. Whereas on the Browning you run off a full-size hinge pin and a bottom locking bite in the bottom there. One is not necessarily better than the other however I must say the Beretta system works a lot easier when it comes to replacing them because they're just an engineered part fit.

 

Before I move on this is another real key point between the two; the Browning is a much more hand-finished unit than the Beretta. The positives are that it's had finished, isn’t that exciting? Negatives are that it costs a lot to replace those parts when it comes to that point. Without sounding derogatory to either they're both very, very good, reliable guns but they’re also both bottom of the top in terms of quality. They’re unexcitingly finished and they're built for reliability, that's what they are. They're an amazingly reliable entry-level but mid-price range gun. The reliability of the Beretta and the ease of just popping parts in and out makes it fantastic, however you do get that little bit of extra luxury with the Browning in that some of the parts are hand-fitted to the gun. Running costs of the Beretta are slightly lower perhaps than the Browning but neither of them are gonna break with any particular speed so that's not actually a big issue and if you have used either to the point of needing a rebuild, perhaps think back over the thousands of pains you’ve spent on replacing cartridges or cartridging pheasants to get you to that point and go ‘oh well it doesn't actually matter, I probably deserve a new gun at this point’. So a couple hundred quid on a rebuild isn't that bad.

 

So the reason the Browning barrel is so deep is just because of the way it locks in. As you can see on the barrels here you have these extended lumps, you have your hook there that hooks over your hinge-pin and they actually lock into the bottom of the gun like that. It's not necessarily a bad thing it's just the way it is.

 

Next, um there’s not much else to say in terms of difference mechanically! Actual mechanics - the bits that you can't see now - the internals.

 

Trigger pulls I'll start with trigger pulls. Browning trigger pulls can be a touch more spongy than a Beretta, this is because you have top loading sears as opposed to the bottom loading sears in the Beretta which is a true trigger plate action, whereas the Browning is more of an odd triggerplate-boxlock confection design thing. Beautiful, both of them absolutely beautiful but it does mean when you’re pulling the trigger on to sears are that connect to the top of the gun as opposed to inline, the whole unit takes a little bit more pulling of the trigger. It's a little bit more spongy and perhaps a little bit heavier whereas the beretta will generally be a bit of a shorter trigger pull and certainly a little bit more crisp.

 

I wouldn’t be utterly worried about trigger pulls on a shotgun because you know most of us won't care but it is something certainly to bear in mind definitely.

Apart from that, the internals are all fairly similar I’d say the Beretta firing pins are certainly a better design than the Browning. It's not that either of them are going to let you down but you'll find the Browning firing pins have a tendency of pitting and wearing out a little bit quicker than the Berettas do.

 

browning 525

 

I seem to sway into the Beretta camp here but actually the answer is that I don't really have any beholden nurse to either, they both have their positives, they both have their negatives.

The Browning has been around a hell of a lot longer than the Beretta in this carnation and I must admit the Beretta has some of the best branding in the world. Browning seem to be lacking a little bit behind but still working on their old school reputation.

I don't know which one I’d choose...

 

Wood! Let’s have a quick chat about wood! Turkish Walnut (Beretta), American Walnut (Browning).

In a high-grade Browning they're a little bit more brittle but you get a lot more looks for your money certainly than the Beretta - Berettas aren't famed for their exotic woodwork and that's perhaps what lets the Beretta down over the Browning is that you will get a nicer piece. If you look at this grade one versus this grade one, this is very strong and very practical but it lacks a little bit of the beauty that’s within the 525 here.

 

525 you also get a game scene you don't get a game scene in the Beretta, unless you buy the Silver Pigeon Deluxe. So actually looks don't matter that much, you can buy extra living and buy extra wood for either, there’s not really a comparison there to be had. If we’re talking about actual physical differences there are many and the operational differences there are many and I can't really professionally choose a camp to go in so I'm not going to, but I hope it's been of some help to you if you've got any questions about the differences between them please let me know in the comments below and I'll try and help you and answer those.

 

Apart from that - thank you very much for watching and we'll see you soon!

 
The Gun Shop Botley
Professional Gunsmiths and RFD
Published on 2019-03-15