Winchester Select II Clay Breaker
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- Last updated: 14/12/2016
When it comes to long-winded titles you’ll go a long way to better the Winchester Select Sporting II Topcote. The competition variant of Winchester’s now well established Select range of shotguns, the new Select Sporting II once again perpetuates one of shootings most famous names combined with a pricing structure that suits even the most budget orientated participant. That said don’t let the £1,160 suggested retail price fool you; once you and the gun are up and running you’re more than capable of going head-to-head with the best.
The Topcote part of the Sporting II name comes from the woodworted by a hard rubber insert that reduces drag when mounting the gun.
Neatly dovetailed into the stock is a polished steel inertia driven boxlock action, decorated with small panels of scroll work and the Select and Winchester names. With anodised fences that reduce heat shimmer, this relatively new yet simple action design has already proven itself for durability and reliability, two large locking lugs projecting from the face into corresponding recesses located just above the monobloc 3” chamber ejectors. Opened with the now familiar short throw stubby top-lever that sits just above the broad safety-catch and barrel selector, each physical aspect of the Select’s action has the air of quality you’d expect.
Employing Browning’s internal overbore ‘Back Bored’ recoil reducing technology the 28” barrels are finished with a rich black anodised coating. Joined by vented mid and 10mm top-ribs plus twin white beads, only a slight flare towards the muzzles disturbs their even lines. Fitted with Briley manufactured Winchester Signature Invector Plus extended multi-chokes of which you only get three, namely ½, Skeet and Improved Cylinder, extras are readily available albeit a bit steep at £46 each.
So to the shooting of the Select and it’s all starting to get rather habit forming. It wasn’t long ago I took one of Winchester’s cousins to an event and blitzed my way to success. Well its seems its not just brand new, straight out of the box Brownings I can do it with, the first of Bond & Bywater’s summer fifty birders falling effortlessly to the Select II. Apart from a few dry mounts with the Arrow Laser Shot that confirmed the Select shot good and flat the way I like them, apart from ‘one away’ on the first four pairs that was entirely my own fault, thirty minutes later I’d only missed another three. What a gun!!!
Reason being it fits and if it fits me there’s every chance it’ll do the same for you, Winchester having settled on a combination of general dimensions that accommodate the bulk of average shooters. Drop at comb and heel are 11 3/32” and 2 3/16” with a 14 5/8” length of pull, all of which give you a superb view out along the 10mm vented rib and twin white beads and away over the muzzles. Throw into the mix the 7lbs 4oz overall weight with a point of balance a fraction in front of the trunions and you have a shotgun that is ready to move whenever and wherever you want, aided in no small way by the format of the pistol grip.
Returning to their more slender ways, the angle and radius of the grip allows to gun to move freely within the hand that enhances the instant response fluidity I look for in a sporter. The rationale being that I shoot ‘gun down’ and tend to dismount if only by an inch on all but fast and close simultaneous pairs which means I look for a shotgun that works with me.
Shooting the gun is equally pleasant even with heavy hitting Express Supreme 6½’s shoved into the 3” chambers. From the user’s perspective the reaction of the Select II is of a firm tap in the shoulder pocket that confirms the shot has been discharged. Likewise the choking even though I still feel that to supply only three is penny pinching, the ½ and IC tubes made short work of even the most long distance clays, the resultant patterns being excellent whilst the adjustable broad trigger blade although heavy at 7lbs 5oz break weight, allows the entire finger pad to apply gentle, even, predictive pressure whilst the ejectors are evenly timed and powerful.
Normally when summing up a shotgun it tends to be damning by faint praise, but in the case of the Select II there really isn’t a downside. OK, the Topcote effect might not be to every individual’s taste but apart from that I personally can’t think of a single reason not to buy a Select II, the asking price a good few hundred pounds less than the competition. And whilst I still think the Winchester division of Browning are foolish not to add a couple more multi-chokes into the outfit they have at least made the 30” version a no cost option for those who prefer longer barrels.
Whilst additional extended chokes can be bought another option would be to purchase a pair of flush – fit ½’s, the internal Signature tubes a perfect fit. Screw in a pair of these and you’d have a more than acceptable and extremely capable, hard hitting game gun that wouldn’t look at all out of place. So whether you’re looking for a low cost new 12 bore or a capable all rounder, give Winchester’s new Select II Topcote some serious consideration, I for one don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
PRICE: £1,160 srp