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Browning Cynergy 20 bore

Michael Yardley tests a Browning Cynergy 20 bore model

The Browning Cynergy 12 intrigued me when it was first launched. Its radical design was obviously going to get attention. Browning took a big risk with the introduction of an entirely new model when they had had such enduring success with the B25 and its various clones. The first thing to strike you about the new gun was the extraordinary ‘Inflex’ recoil pad and the unusual
‘hogs-back’stock. Closer inspection revealed, however, that the gun was built around an entirely new action design that Browning called a ‘Monolock’.  Instead of having barrels that pivot on a relatively small diameter cross pin, or stud pins, the Monolock dispensed with pins of any sort and had massive, wide-radiused, bearing surfaces upon which the barrels hinged. These were most evident on the monobloc of the barrels when the gun was disassembled. They engaged matching surfaces inside the walls of the action body (rather like a Perazzi or Boss where concave and convex ‘draws’ are used to increase strength of the closed action but not for hinging). The imaginative engineering results in the lowest possible action profile. It also kept the point of
inertia nearer to the straight line ideal. 

The combination of ergonomically effective stock shapes, a very efficient (if odd looking) recoil pad, and the lowest of low profiles created a gun in which felt recoil was substantially reduced. The Cynergy’s styling had its critics. I was not one of them. The gun was a bit modernistic, but I liked some of the ideas within it. The test guns I shot, handled well, and they had more life than average in their barrels. All of which brings us to our test gun.

On the test bench

First impressions of the new and much anticipated 20 bore version of the Cynergy are very good. We are now used to the Cynergy styling, this version however seems especially well proportioned. There is something aesthetically pleasing in a long gun with a shallow action. Our Cynergy had
30” barrels (there is a 28” option) and these were very pointable when the gun was brought to the face and shoulder. They seemed well suited to the gun, so much so, that I was really eager to get out and shoot it! I liked the feel of the 20 bore Cynergy, and quite liked the looks as well.

Before telling you how I got on with it, though, let’s briefly go through the technical spec.  The gun is made in Belgium, not in Japan like many mass-produced Browning. It is produced at the FN plant at Herstal (where a range of military weapons are also produced).  Its barrels bear Belgian proof marks for 3” (76mm) shells. The tubes are perfectly straight, internal and external finishes are excellent. The blacking is deep and lustrous with plenty of evidence of good preparation. Chambers are chrome-lined. Forcing cones are fairly short, as Browning prefer. My own preference is for extended cones. I am convinced that they can make a gun shoot smoother.

The barrels of the test Cynergy are brought together by ventilated joining ribs. These extend for only two thirds of their length. This is clearly a weight saving feature (and the overall weight of the gun is only 6 ½ pounds even with longish barrels). It is becoming increasingly popular with many
manufacturers as a means of reducing weight, though I am of the opinion that it may be mistaken. The weight reduction, in my opinion, is from the wrong place. What most barrels need is a bit of weight to their rear but livelier muzzles. That said, I cannot really fault the handling of the test gun. Maybe I am just being picky (again).

The ventilated sighting rib is only 6mm wide and slightly raised as well. The test gun’s 12 bore big brother has a wider, tapered, rib. I am not a great fan of raised designs as far as most shooters are concerned, as I do not see the need if the stock is well designed. The advantage of a raised rib is most apparent to one-eyed shooters for whom the pattern can increase target visibility.

There is a bright High Viz front sight fixed at the muzzles of the narrow and a well machined rib. A number of interchangeable inserts are supplied with the gun. Four Browning Diamond Chokes also come with the Cynergy (cylinder, quarter, half, and three quarters). These are very neatly machined and visually attractive. 

The action of the test gun is a scaled down version of the 12. The mechanical systems are, essentially, identical.  There is the same mechanical, rather than inertia operated, single trigger (with interchangeable blades of various types supplied). Rectangular locking bolts engage into recesses alongside the bottom barrel. The mechanism for striking the cartridge primer is most
intriguing. There are no conventional hammers in a Cynergy. It works rather on a “Reversed Striker” system that operates on a similar principle to a tappet assembly on a pushrod car engine.

What about the woodwork? I liked the ergonomics of the Hogsback stock design on the 20 bore Cynergy. It may look a bit odd (as may also be said of the angular, tulip, forend design), but it feels good between the hands. Forend and grip provide good purchase and compliment each other well. I though the stock comb a little thin, however. Overall length at 14 ½” as tested was quite short, but the gun is supplied with short and long recoil pads as well as a spacer so this might be altered quite easily (another excellent feature).

Shooting Impressions

Here I was a bit disappointed. I was really eager to give it a really thorough work out, but there was a problem with the trigger which only enabled me to use one barrel. The problem was a minor one, but it was a nuisance nevertheless. Felt recoil was not quite as low as anticipated, but the gun shot nicely. It is long but light. It swings and points well, but I cannot yet make a definitive statement. I think the design is very clever and the execution good.

The Cynergy 20 has great potential and Browning deserve success with it. A 32” version would be interesting, and what about a 28 bore?

Technical Specifications
Make Browning
Model Cynergy
Bore 20 bore
Barrels 30” (28” option) with 6mm raised rib
Chambers 3” (76mm)
Chokes Multi-choke - 5 Invector Plus chokes supplied
Action type Monolock
Weight Approx 6 lbs 8oz
Price About £1,850 including VAT

All Prices Are Guides Due to the Changes in US & European Exchange Rates

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User Comments
  • Thanks for review.

    I wonder how can we know The cynergy was made in Japan or Belgium? U have known that all The cynergy's made in Japan since 2004. I don't see any writing or note on my shotgun about this.

    Comment by: Baris Erden     Posted on: 19 Jan 2014 at 11:27 PM

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Browning Cynergy 20 bore
Browning Cynergy 20 bore
Browning Cynergy 20 bore
Browning Cynergy 20 bore
Browning Cynergy 20 bore
Browning Cynergy 20 bore
Browning Cynergy 20 bore
Browning Cynergy 20 bore
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