March 27, 2008

Winchester Super X3 Waterfowl Semiautomatic 12 Gauge, $1216

This gun is billed as the fastest semiautomatic on the market, capable of cycling 12 shots in 1.442 seconds. According to Winchester officials, that rate of fire is equivalent to 457 rounds per minute—about the same as the 50-caliber Browning M2 belt-fed heavy machine gun. For anyone with a couple seconds to spare, a video clip of record-setting performance by professional sport shooter Patrick Flanigan is available at www. While fast is fine, we were more impressed with the feel and handling ability of the Super X3.

Overall balance and dimensions of the Super X3 met with high praise by our test group. The test model weighed in at 7.1 pounds, and the overall length of the shotgun was 48.9 inches with a 28-inch barrel. Weight reduction in the shotgun was facilitated by a lightweight alloy magazine tube and recoil spring system.

The barrel featured an improved ventilated rib design, was back-bored to help reduce recoil, and featured a set of three Invector-Plus choke tubes. In addition, the model included two length-of-pull stock spacers, drop-and-cast adjustment spacers, and sling swivel studs. Another recoil reducing feature was the Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad.

Winchester Super X3 Waterfowl Semiautomatic 12 Gauge

Recoil was surprisingly light with the X3, even when we shot heavy loads—a result of several recoil-reducing features: a back-bored barrel, length-of-pull stock spacers and drop-and-cast adjustment spacers to ensure proper fit, and the Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad.

The length of pull was a shorter-than-normal 14.25 inches (apparently designed for shooters wearing the heavier camouflage clothing necessary for fall shooting), with a drop at the comb of 1.75 inches and a drop at the heel of 2 inches. The stock spacers, plus the drop and cast adjustment spacers, are a nice touch for those with gun fit problems.

All of our test team members were comfortable with the feel and fit of the Winchester out of the box. We particularly liked the Dura-Touch Armor coating in high-definition Mossy Oak Duck Blind camouflage and the manner in which the recoil pad easily slipped into the shoulder.

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