They are very different guns. I own both so I can list the changes that I have noticed and I will give you the opinions of two highly respected gunsmiths on these differences:
1.) You are correct, the rib on the 725 is considerably higher than the XT.
2.) The palm swell on the 725 is larger, but the forend is much slimmer.
3.) The XT uses Invector Plus choke tubes...the 725 has its own and they are not interchangeable.
4.) The 725 has mechanical triggers and the XT triggers are not.
5.) My XT feels considerably heavier than my 725. (This may just be my guns or my impression.)
6.) One of the gunsmiths that I respect told me to steer clear of the 725, that the triggers were crap and they were definitely not in the league with the Citori line! The other gunsmith told me that he was shooting an XT combo and wished for a 725 as he thought they were a big improvement over the older models! There you go..... Martinpicker
Right, the receiver has a lower profile on the 725 and it feels/handles/swings great to me. I saw one yesterday with a Monte Carlo stock for $2799. Seems to be quite a value compared to other available options.
It's makes no sense to me that Browning would discontinue the XT or Citori line in favor of a new model until they find the 725 to hold up as well and to be as immensely popular as the Citori is. Just the change in choke tubes alone is senseless - millions of invector + chokes out there and now they have a "new" system that won't interchange. All the aftermarket manufacturers have to retool just to support the 725? I don't get it.
I believe the 725 is and will be a great gun..the chokes thing is IMO the only negative..why fix something that wasn't broken and mess up what was a "plus" having a ton of existing and used chokes out there for sale you can not make use of...this of course will change as time goes on and more guns with the new chokes get into circulation..now if they made accessory barrels with fitment as close as Beretta..it would be the cats meow
The 725's changes are being marketed as a product improvement and the chokes are a new gimmick to stimulate sales. What the heck does Browning care if aftermarket choke manufacturers need to retool? LOL. For all we know Briley is making Browning chokes anyway, as they do the Midas ones. Is anyone baffled when Ford redesigns the F150 and the doors off last year's model don't fit? Does anyone say, "why doesn't Ford keep offering last year's model until they are sure the new one is as durable?" That's silly. Introducing a "New & Improved" product to stimulate sales (and intentionally "obsoleting" your old products) is Marketing 101.
Now, having said that, obviously when Browning rolled the dice with the goofy looking Cynergy and its original horrible trigger they couldn't risk going all-in by making it an outright replacement of the Citori. We'll see if they go all-in on this one and replace the XT. They might, because the 725 is a Citori, it is a more traditional design than the Cynergy, and it does seem to retain many of the qualities and features of the XT while streamlining the receiver at the same time.
If you're skeptical, as was I, handle one. Or better yet buy one for $2799 and try it for a season. Somewhere today a fool will probably $700 pay more than that for a 30 year-old TMX single-barrel with 80K rounds thru it, mystery barrel work, and an unreliable trigger, LOL.
Now I'm confused as to what to do?? I was going to call Guns Unlimited this coming week and order a 725 unsingle. It is only $100 more than the XT unsingle with a supposed better trigger system. Maybe it's a good thing that I read all of the comments on this post???
Browning's record in making trap gun changes is one of brilliance or that of simple market experimentation. I remember when Browning introduced the BT-100 and later reintroducing the BT-99 and cancelling the BT-100.
The Citori XT is likely one of the most reliable and proven guns in the history of trap shooting. It is my prediction Browning will reintroduce the XT Citori after a few years of 725 trap sales experience. You can't go wrong in buying either or both combos. Ralph
I just weighed my XT o/u and XT unsingle after reading the comments. My XT o/u with 30" bbls weighs 8.66 lbs. My XT unsingle with a 32" bbl weighs 8.06 lbs. I know a local guy who ordered a 725 unsingle from GU a couple months ago. He shot a BT100 since the 90's. I don't think you can go wrong with either gun. I agree too that the 725 has a high rib / stock set up. It also seems to have more cast and the palm swell is big. As a lefty, I don't think I could shoot a RH 725, but the XT line is more neutral in regards to the stock.
The Browning XT I have has nice wood, something I can't say about some of the newer guns. My XT has functioned flawlessly and I'm quite happy with it. Unless it's my imagination, the new stocks look smaller and cheap. I think the new 725 o/u looks cheap compared to the XT. Time will tell how the 725 stacks up to the XT; right now I wouldn't trade my XT for any 725.
I bought the 725 Sporting.
First trip to the range the trigger pull became intermittantly unmanagable and then it began to double fire.
Brand new, right out of the box. First box of STS Light Handicap.
Worse yet, Browning customer service was not sympathetic. Abrupt, cold and, dare I say Rude?
Basically "Take A Number and Sit Down"
Many week wait (months?)
I re-learned an old lesson: Investigate customer service reviews BEFORE you buy!
Although I have always have had good luck and like Browning shotguns, everything you read about their service seems to be something desired. Probably for the most part good independent qualified Gunsmiths are the answer.
It is a shame that a gun company with such a great history of making quality guns would let their philosophy for service deteriate. It will probably come back to bite them in the ass.