Gear Review - Winchester Super X Pump Shotgun
IMPORTANT: Winchester has issued a recall for a limited number of SXP shotguns. Please contact Winchester prior to loading or shooting your firearm if you own one, as we do. Contact information can be found at the above link.
Our review today will focus on the Winchester Super X Pump Waterfowl Hunter. Winchester introduced the SXP to compete with the Remington 870 and the Benelli Nova. Made in Turkey, this pump shotgun is advertised to be the world's fastest pump-action shotgun, and they say it can deliver three shots in half a second. This model has been extremely successful since Winchester introduced it, and they have since expanded their product to offer 14 different models.
Winchester introduced the SXP in 2010 as the successor to their popular 1300. We reviewed both the 26 and 28 inch SXP Waterfowl Hunter, chambered in 12 gauge, capable of shooting 3 1/2-inch with a Mossy Oak pattern. Winchester offers several combinations to try to appeal to every hunter. The SXP Waterfowl Hunter is offered in black finish, or also in a Mossy Oak "Shadow Grass" camo pattern. You can buy a model chambered in either 3-inch or 3 1/2-inch with either the 26 or 28-inch barrel.
Out of the box, the Winchester SXP Waterfowl Hunter has an impressive look and a solid feel. The "Shadow Grass" pattern is very intricate and looks great. It feels well-made and solid to the touch. The pattern is consistent and looks as though it will stand the test of time.
The safety location is in front of the trigger, which is something that we liked. In front of the trigger is the natural resting position of a ready trigger finger, so that makes the forward location convenient. It has a nice looking Tru-Glo fiber optic sight on it that should help with visibility.
When test-cycling shells through, the SXP seemed a bit stiff. Chambered for 3 1/2-inch, it can be used on 2 3/4-inch, 3-inch, and 3 1/2-inch shells, and we tested cycling all these sizes, and we worked different brass heights through it without problems.
Manufacturers Claim: THE WORLD’S FASTEST PUMP ACTION.
In the field:
It’s certainly not possible for us, as regular hunters and average marksmen to put something like “World’s Fastest” to the test. Their claim of “3 shots in a half second” is not a reasonable target to achieve. We can definitely say that the pump was never the issue of whether we got off the next shot in time or not.
Claim: Inflex Recoil Pad - Super X® Pump has the best pad made.
In the field:
Marketing at its finest. However, in this case, the Inflex pad does a remarkable job at absorbing recoil. It seems to soak up a lot of the recoil, even on the larger 3 1/2-inch shells. A good recoil pad that directs the charge away from your cheek is important as it helps to avoid flinching. The Inflex recoil pad on the Winchester Super X Plus is definitely an improvement over some in-class competitors such as the ever popular Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. We’re not sure it lives up to the “best pad made” claim, but for certain the felt-recoil reduction of the Inflex pad is on par with much more expensive shotguns, such as the Beretta A391 Xtrema 2.
Claim: Speed-Plug System allows you to remove the plug in seconds.
In the field:
While most of the time we have the plug installed to comply with federal waterfowl regulations, we can attest to how easy it is to remove the plug if you’re chasing upland birds or planning to take your shotgun big game hunting with slugs.
Claim: Removing one pin allows you to drop out the complete trigger system for cleaning and inspection.
In the field:
An excellent feature, we really enjoy the ability to inspect and clean the trigger with such ease. We have taken the SXP hunting for Eider sea ducks, and being able to clean it thoroughly after being on the salt water is crucial.
Cost: $499.99 Suggested Retail – SXP Waterfowl Hunter
The price point for the Winchester SXP Waterfowl Hunter generally lines fairly closely to the MSRP, but it is not uncommon to see these on sale from the big box stores for $449, and we’ve seen Winchester follow the trend of many gun manufacturers in 2014 by offering an additional mail-in rebate (currently $25) to further reduce the cost.
Real World Thoughts:
The biggest calling card of the Winchester Super X Pump is of course their claim that it is the world's fastest pump shotgun. When shooting, we cannot dispute that claim, and it seems extremely fast cycling through shots. Winchester calls their system the "inertia-assisted action" and it seems very effective. After firing the slide comes back unassisted and most times ejects the shell. The speed was certainly fast enough to handle any waterfowl hunt we could imagine.
We were impressed even on the heavier, turkey loads that we tested that the soft recoil pad did the job perfectly. The recoil is definitely stiff, but we are sure the pad made it much more manageable. When emptying the three rounds waterfowl hunting with the 3 1/2-inch rounds it still was able to track fine.
Another plus is that the Winchester SXP uses the Winchester/Browning "Invector-plus" choke tube system as there are a multitude of good chokes on the market for this system and they are readily available at most vendors. We tested four different choke tubes in this gun and all performed as expected. Winchester actually ships the Super X Pump with full, modified, and improved cylinder tubes, and of course we purchased a turkey choke, giving us plenty of testing opportunity from day one. They were installed and removed smoothly and they patterned properly.
The accuracy of the SXP was another positive for us. We have seen in our patterning as well as in hunting situations that the SXP hits what you aim it at. On more than one occasion, we have seen ruffed grouse “lose their heads” to the accuracy of the Super X Plus shotgun.
As mentioned, the cross-bolt safety on the SXP is positioned in a spot we really appreciated and it worked very well. We found that the safety could be operated even with gloves on which is helpful in our climate where you might be using it for waterfowl in harsh conditions.
As with any dipped, fully camo patterned shotgun, there are concerns about the wear and tear that the camo will handle. Indeed, after trekking through some alders in pursuit of upland game, you could tell that the gun was not “brand new” any longer. The camo pattern has held up really well to the elements, and we’re impressed by the benefits of camo dipping for a gun that spends so much time on the water, but it’s something to keep in mind.
As we mentioned, the pump and the inertia system allows for the pump to function incredibly quickly during hunting situations, but it bears mention that the cycling of unfired rounds is not as smooth as we had expected. This may get smoother over time, but after a year of use we can still notice that the cycling of unfired rounds is somewhat sticky.
The Bottom Line:
The best thing that we can say about this gun is that we really had to think about negative things to say about this gun. That could be the best endorsement we can give.
Although the SXP is made in Turkey, we feel that should not be a concern to you. Turkey is one of the countries that is known for producing excellent firearms of high quality. This is a shotgun made to Winchester specifications in a foreign country, but it has not been plagued by control problems. The model has a great track record since it was introduced almost five years ago and the country of origin is but a footnote.
The bottom line on the Winchester SXP Waterfowl to us is that it is a well-performing, fast-shooting shotgun with a lot of terrific features. It may not be the best shotgun on the market, but at the price point Winchester has placed it, you would have a hard time getting a better gun.
Contact us and let us know!