Gear Review: Winchester Super X3

Winchester Super X3
Retail: $979
Performance: ****
Design: ***
Price/Value: ***
800-333-3288; Gauge: 12 ga.
Trigger pull: 6 lb. 8 oz.
Action: semi-auto
A few months back I wrote a column about Winchester's mostly failed efforts to make and market a truly successful autoloading shotgun. For the most part, my commentary was gloomy but I ended the piece more or less upbeat: "My guess is that Winchester's quest for a great shotgun for the 21st century is just beginning." The European makers of Winchesters surely hooted and poked each other in the ribs when they read this because they were only weeks away from unveiling an all-new autoloader""the Super X3""destined to become Outdoor Life's Editor's Choice shotgun for 2006! Wow, talk about a turnaround in the fortunes of Winchester shotguns, and with the pall cast by the recent closing of Winchester's New Haven plant, it couldn't have come at a better time. The SX3 is very much the latest European style. The traditional checkering has been replaced with laser-cut grooves that form geometric swirls. And the bright red lettering on the grayed receiver might be off-putting for traditionalists (like me) who pine for the Winchester of bygone days. But when you snap it to your shoulder you feel a gun that wants to shoot. And this one really does.
Outdoor Life Online Editor