When John Moses Browning’s Superposed shotgun hit the market in 1931, it was revolutionary. The over-under had a variety of innovations, including a single select trigger, but the fact it was the last gun designed by legend makes its place in firearm history an indelible one. The uncompromising performance and reliability ensure it stays there.
It was vastly popular with enthusiasts and offered by Browning up until 1986—with production temporarily suspended during World War II. Its downfall was the fact that, each year, it grew more expensive to produce. When regular production ground to a halt, the company didn’t totally abandon the classic, though. They are still available today by special order through the Browning International’s Custom Shop.
Thankfully, the financial constraints closing in on the Superposed were anticipated by executives at Browning by the late 1960s or early ‘70s. That’s when company engineers were given the formidable task of redesigning the Superposed into a more-economic version.
The resulting Citori hit the market in 1973 at a more comfortable price point—slightly more than $300, when a Superposed retailed at more than $700. Doing so without sacrificing key and beloved features was no easy task, and one of the key ingredients was production at Japan’s famed Miroku gun factory. The Superposed at the time was coming out of Fabrique Nationale’s Belgium plant.
Quality on the boxlock action was not compromised. The rugged, full-length hinge pin remained, as well as ejectors and tang-mounted safety that also serves as the trigger selector. The barrels lock up solidly with a bolt and underlug. Purists may never admit it, but the design would likely make John Moses Browning proud.
There are 33 versions currently available from the company, not including the 22-strong Citori 725 line. All wear American walnut furniture, in a variety of fine finishes. The line’s wide variety of options include recoil pads adjustable for length of pull, adjustable cheekpieces, intricate engraving, floating ribs and much more. They are available in 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauge, as well as .410 bore.
New for 2020 is a pair of Citori Hunters. The Grade I version (seen above) comes with a gloss finish on metalwork and gold embellishment on the receiver. Its Grade I American walnut furniture is also satin finished, and it comes with three choke tubes, wears an Inflex recoil pad and has a silver bead up front. The shotgun is available in .410 bore or 12, 20 and 28 gauge with barrel lengths of 26" or 28". With the exception of 28 gauge, it chambers up to 3" shotshells. MSRPs run from $2,179.99 to $2,249.99, depending on model.