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Winchester SXP Waterfowl

Winchester SXP Waterfowl

I actually quite like camouflaged shotguns, but Winchester’s new SXP Waterfowl has taken it to new levels. Dripping from muzzle to butt in Mossy Oak ‘Shadow Grass Blades’, this pump-action 12g blends in with nearly everything to a degree it can at times prove hard to find! Launched a couple of years ago, the SXP Black Shadow hasn’t always enjoyed popularity within the Browning-Winchester range, the attitude having been ‘if it sells great, if not, so what’. Granted the SXP will never enjoy the legendary or classic status of Winchester pump- actions such as the Model 12 or Model 42, but just because it’s built by Silah over in Turkey certainly doesn’t mean it’s not a good, decent shotgun.

Yet another example of badge engineering, something that’s been going on in the motoring industry for years and a cost-cutting exercise that proliferates within the world of gun making, whilst it’s highly unlikely that a proper Winchester shotgun will ever be built again over in America, the SXP makes a decent fist of living up to the name it carries. So as if to finally acknowledge the SXP’s existence, the range has now been expanded to include the new Waterfowl, a 31⁄2-inch chambered duck gun that is equally at home as a general all-rounder, a more than suitable everyday shotgun for the gamekeeping fraternity, a decent pigeon gun and not a bad impromptu clay breaker. In other words, although the SXP on test has been built to handle the big loads, as we’ll see, it’s still more than happy with more mundane ammo.

Red Card

Like all modern Winchesters, the SXP Waterfowl arrives in the familiar Winchester red cardboard box complete with a set of three flush-fit, steel proofed choke tubes. The gun itself typifies the reasons as to why the pump-action format remains as popular as it does with shooters looking for total simplicity, the two most advanced features of this SXP being the striking camo finish and the modernistic soft rubber recoil pad. These two features aside the SXP is everything a pumper should be.

In this instance the 28- inch, 31⁄2-inch chambered barrel and low stationed vented 7mm rib feeds into the now familiar Winchester SX outline alloy receiver, the only splash of colour being the extended orange bead. Sliding into place over the forend-slide’s twin runners, the short barrel extension features what effectively looks like gears that are actually guides, the two piece bolt head profiled to slot neatly into the guides to ensure a positive lockup in the exact same position time after time.

Dovetailed along the top to allow for scope fitment the receiver layout is as basic as the rest of the gun, the cross-bolt safety located in the trigger guard’s front span, the slide-bolt release lever a short plunger type situated just to the left side of the rear span, the non-adjustable blade sat within. Given this SXP is chambered for the larger loads, the shell lifter is, by physical definition, of the longer variety to allow the longer shells easy access, the ejection port of a corresponding length. Furniture-wise the stock, like many other synthetic guns, is a touch on the small side, the game shape slightly reduced in comparison to those fitted with beach or walnut, although the slim line grip suits most sizes of hands whilst promoting good fluidity when it comes to handling.

If I had to criticise, it would be the stippling around the grip and the nicely rounded you always wear gloves for shooting or you hold on tightly, it’s something you won’t actually notice, but bare- handed the gun can at times move about, the coarseness of the surfaces insufficient to anchor the SXP against the skin. Not a major fault by any means, but something that to my mind needs to be pointed out to potential owners.

Flat and Fast

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Hooking the SXP up to the Arrow Laser Shot, the gun exhibited my preferred flat shooting tendencies, whilst in the main the weight and dimensions were well within tolerances. Tipping the scales at 8lbs 2oz, the overall length of the gun as tested was 483⁄4-inches with drops at comb and heel of 1 13/16-inches and 2 1/16-inches, plus the now to be expected and rather short 133⁄4-inch length of pull. Whilst the trigger weight of 7lbs 9oz although the crispness tends when firing the gun to negate what at first seems overly heavy release poundage. Loading up initially with 28g Eley VIP Sporting and 32g Eley Grand Prix the SXP made extremely short work forend-slide. If, like me, of a round of 50 sporting, a similar number of skeet birds and more than its fair share of Huntroyde’s crows and squirrels. Balancing directly beneath the chamber, the gun swings, mounts and handles well, whilst the cyclic speed is a good as any pump you’ll pick up, the total of 9-inches of slide travel or 41⁄2-inches in either direction, the twin slides ensure positive tracking the entire cyclic action as fast as the shooter can pump, even with the longer cartridges in use.

Likewise, until a few of Eley’s Lightening Steel shells were tried, the recoil is negligible, only these and similar heavy loads making their presence felt. But apart from the 42g and above loads the SXP remains comfortable to shoot in nearly all situations and circumstances. And whilst the ‘Shadow Grass Blades’ finish might have been designed for use around the foreshore or edges of the flight pond, its ability to work almost anywhere is remarkable, the colours and pattern blending in wherever the gun happens to be. A word of advice, therefore, is never to leave the gun propped up anywhere otherwise you’ll probably never find it again; the new Mossy Oak configuration is truly outstanding.

Conclusion

For those who feel the need the Waterfowl can also be had with either 26-inch or 30-inch barrels, besides the 28-inch as tested, the retail price of a mere £400 remaining the same. The great thing about Winchester’s SXP Waterfowl is that, at the price, if you’ve ever wondered what shooting a pump-action shotgun is about, you can’t afford not to give this gun a go. If nothing else, a pumper is actually, dare I say, good fun to shoot, but it won’t take long before you start to appreciate as to just why these guns are enjoying resurgence.

Irrespective of those who will deny the fact, the face of shooting is changing, brought about by virtue of the fact people don’t have as much money to spend on their shooting as they once did. The end result is a divergence into duck flighting, goose, pigeon and corvid shooting, along with mounting interest in pest control given the fact it costs far less or is even free of charge.

Add in the fact these once lesser branches of shooting aren’t bound up by the snob value and rigid formal dictates of driven shooting and its rigid adherence to double- barrel shotguns, especially side-by-sides, and you’ll find the camo resplendent SXP Waterfowl is readily accepted as the correct smoothbore for the job. Whilst the SXP will never be a true Winchester pump-action, something I can say with a degree of authority since I own a Model 21, for a modern day equivalent that has been bestowed with the Winchester name, the SXP Waterfowl doesn’t do to bad a job of carrying the famous name.

Thanks to:

Eley: www.eleyhawk.com Huntroyde Estate: www.huntroyde-estate.co.uk Arrow Laser Shot: www.arrowlasershot.com

PRICE: £400 srp
DISTRIBUTOR: International Sports Brands 01235 514550 www.browningint.com

  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

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  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

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  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

  • Winchester SXP Waterfowl - image {image:count}

    click on image to enlarge

gun
features

  • Model: Winchester SXP Waterfowl
  • Calibre: 12-bore
  • Capacity: 3
  • Barrel: 28-inches (as tested)
  • Action: Pump-action
  • Stock: Sporter
  • Weight: 8lbs 2oz
  • Chokes: Flush-fit multi x3

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