Browning Cynergy Classic Field 20 Gauge O/U Shotgun
Perhaps you have heard the expression, No one ever got fired for buying IBM computers? IBM was long considered the safe choice against young upstart companies like Compaq, Dell, Gateway and the like. After all, what could be truly IBM-compatible? We know better now, of course, but rather than risk a mistake many bought IBM computers. Seldom the best value, but a choice that was safe in the job-protection department. IBM sold a lot of computers to businesses as a result.
Browning has been a victim of their own success in the O/U marketplace. After all, Browning was O/U when O/U was not in vogue. This was long before Beretta could so much as spell the term, much less manufacture it. Stackbarrels were very, very slow to catch on compared to other action styles. Browning, through their long, relentless Superposed marketing and manufacturing did more to popularize and portray the O/U as an elegant, aristocratic masterpiece than any other manufacturer; perhaps more than all of them combined. The Browning mystique trickled through to the Miroku manufactured Citori line, a simplified Superposed, which brings us up to the present.
A single platform has been the basis for Browning O/U shotguns for some eighty years. The Citori has been so popular, so well-respected, and so generally well-regarded that seldom do Citori owners feel buyers remorse. The Citori has long been a completely reliable, well-made, fundamentally sound shotgun now offered in an unequalled variety of configurations that it is very hard to replace, or displace. It was, and is, an excellent shotgun of recognized value.
The Citori has been so good for so long that when Browning again released a true all Belgian O/U made by FN it received little fanfare. Not helped by Olins trademark wrangling, the current production Winchester Select is what many have been seeking for years: an FN Herstal O/U updated with a lower barrel stack and a stronger version of the Italian-style action. It is available, although most seem to have ignored it.
Here are some basic catalog specifications for our Cynergy Classic Field test gun:
Item Number - 013244604
Browning delivers on the promise of setting the barrels low into the action, far lower than the trusty Citori, by means of a new MonoLock hinge. They are also lower than the Beretta 686/687/682 series over/unders. As a result, this Browning has marked less muzzle flip than any O/U of similar weight that Ive ever fired. This is accomplished without barrel porting or other gimmicks of dubious value. Though a lightweight, fixed breech gun has little hope of being truly soft-shooting, this 20 gauge shooting standard 7/8 ounce factory loads has less felt recoil than a heavier Citori 28 gauge with ¾ ounce loads. Both guns have a hard plastic buttplate.
Pleasant enough to shoot with 7/8 ounce loads at doves, a steady diet of 1 ounce loads is too much jolt without a recoil pad. Though this gun has the best recoil pulse of any O/U tested at the same or similar weight, physics still seems to work. It should be supplied with a conventional recoil pad like its 12 gauge big brother.
You can forget about the typical spring fired selective ejectors in the Cynergy; it does not have them. Instead, there are two massive springs mounted on the sides of the barrels that power new impact ejectors. These automatic, selective ejectors are positive and work superbly. This approach eliminates the wimpy ejection experienced on some O/U models.
I consider the new fast-locktime, single selective, mechanical trigger to be a superb design. What I dont appreciate in this otherwise innovative O/U is the trigger pull weight of just under 6 pounds. The trigger is crisp and otherwise satisfactory, but too darn heavy. I understand that this is a sign of the times in which some empty-headed folks attempt to affix attributes to inanimate devices that do absolutely nothing without human action. Despite our bone-headed legal system that helps perpetrate heavy triggers, I dont dont have to like it. Triggers that break at the shotguns weight offend me. Youll need to immediately send a new Cynergy to your gunsmith for trigger work. Im carping a bit more than usual here for two reasons: (1) I expect a decent trigger on a quality shotgun, (2) the rest of the gun is so good that the trigger stands out as a nasty distraction. The barrel selector is integrated into the top-tang safety.
I consider the Cynergy
action to be the best available on a production O/U shotgun today. This
is an action that will eventually make more conventional O/U actions obsolete.
To my way of thinking, it already has. Previous Cynergy models were obscured
by Chuck Hawks' "pointless Euro-trash styling" and most Cynergy models still are. Im
trying to think of an O/U in the price range of the Cynergy Classic Field
that compares favorably to it in design, workmanship and materials, and
Ive come up empty. Build quality is present in many shotguns, not
the least of which is the Browning Citori. Nothing touches this action,
Copyright 2007 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.