The Winchester Super X3 is all it’s cracked up to be.
There was a time, believe it or not, when a well-practiced pump-action shooter could empty their shotgun well before an autoloader shooter could.
For most people, this is only an interesting bit of trivia, but the fact that it was possible seems to have upset autoloading shotgun designers. They’ve been making them faster and faster ever since.
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The switch from recoil operation to cooking with gas made a big difference in the cyclic rates of autoloaders. For a long time Benelli held the title with their inertial designs, but now good old Winchester claims to possess the record.
Winchester’s Super X3 line of shotguns can apparently fire 12 shots in 1.442 seconds, making use of what they’ve branded the Active Valve System to funnel gas around and operate the action. Now, that’s fast, no matter how you cut it.
Naturally, most shooters or hunters are never going to make use of the X3’s incredible speed the way exhibition shooters do, but speed is not the only byproduct of the X3’s Active Valve System.
An X3 action bleeds off a tremendous amount of recoil, which is what has made me so interested in the X3’s slug gun version known as the Cantilever Buck.
Firing shotgun slugs is just about the most unpleasant thing the average hunter has to suffer through. Field shotguns are light and slugs are heavy, which leads to a pretty good belt when you pull the trigger.
The gas-operated system utilized in the X3s will really take the bite out of this effect, leading to greater confidence and greater accuracy in the deer woods.
Other sensible features of the Cantilever Buck include a not-overly-long barrel (22 inches) and a decent set of open sights if you choose not to make use of the cantilever scope mount which comes standard.
The final interesting accoutrement of the Cantilever Buck is something that should have come along many years ago. When a skilled trap shooter or bird hunter fires a shotgun they tend to keep their cheek away from the stock.
When a rifle shooter – me, for example — fires a shotgun, they aim the gun and usually get slapped on the cheek as a result.
With a slug gun, every shooter is going to be aiming with their cheek down. The X3 line utilized a specially-designed butt stock and recoil pad that sends force down and away from the face, making the Cantilever Buck even kinder to its owner.
This year I had the opportunity to try out some of the Winchester Super X3s at the SHOT Show, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that their boasts about recoil reduction were true.
Like I always do, I “aimed” all the X3s I fired, and received no love taps for my trouble.
I should probably admit that there is some appeal in the idea of owning a slug gun version of the world’s fastest shotgun. I mean, if you miss the deer it won’t be from lack of trying, right?
The truth of the matter is that between the reduced recoil and the consistency of operation that the Active Valve System offers, nobody will ever know how fast the Cantilever Buck really is. One slug per tag should be sufficient from the slug gun X3.
I guess you can always show people the Winchester catalogue if they don’t believe you.
Featured image via Winchester Guns