Shotgun Bargains for 2015

Browning Cynergy

The hingelock O/U has been tried before, but not with particularly good results. One example is the smallish hinge found on the TOZ 34. An upscale, rarely seen treatment is the Swedish Caprinus with patents from 1982, later known as the Flodman. The stainless steel Flodman with its lever-cocking action remains a scarcely known, pricey piece of exotica. The Cynergy, formerly code-named “Shiek” was designed by Dwight Potter and introduced in 2004.

The Cynergy was and is a remarkable shotgun. Over and over many folks have come to the same conclusion, that being the Cynergy is either the softest-shooting O/U shotgun they have ever tried in its respective weight class, or the first and only O/U they have ever used that they really enjoy shooting. The Cynergy Field has been given upgraded Vector Pro lengthened forcing cones in both twelve and twenty gauge.

The distinctive monolock hinge isn't going to look like Grandpa's shotgun, but Browning has softened the blow with the Cynergy Classic Field models offering the more normal-looking Inflex recoil pad versions. The great accomplishment of the Cynergy is its low-profile action, the cornerstone of the stackbarrel premise. It is the quick second shot that sets the O/U apart, as noted by Don Zutz and others. The Cynergy explores this to the greatest degree possible and in so doing sets itself well apart from standard stackbarrel fare. The Browning Cynergy was and is breath of fresh air in a starchy environment and if you've not pulled the trigger on a Cynergy, you owe it to yourself to do so. The Cynergy has a jewel of an action, making many others look like stale renditions of a tired old theme. It is a wondrously pleasant-shooting shotgun and available in all four popular gauges, including .410 bore.

In times past, the Cynergy has hardly been bargain-priced: the standard Citoris have been more attractive in that regard. Now, in 2015, it is. You can pick up a Cynergy Satin Field (no engraving) for $1400 or even a bit less. For 2015, the Cynergy Field models do have very tasteful engraving and are aren't much more. For the money, in a do-everything type of O/U, a Cynergy Field can't be beat . . . and the sporting models have had their retail prices slashed by $1000 or more. 2015, finally, looks to be the Year of the Cynergy.

Mossberg 930

Every year, one of the most heavily-read articles is the brief review of the Mossberg 930 12 gauge walnut. While hardly ultra-sophisticated in appearance or price, and a bit on the heavy side for field carry, it is a soft-shooting gas-operated 12 gauge that is functionally excellent and comes in at a stunningly low price point: $550 or so for the walnut, less for some synthetic models.

Remington V3

It has been a long time coming, but Remington finally has an industry-leading 12 gauge 3 inch action, with an excellent trigger, that comes in at a significantly lower price point than any of its 7-1/4 lb. competitors. It is remarkably clean-shooting for a gas-operated shotgun, and effortless to clean beyond that. The 3 inch Versaport variation gives you essentially 2 barrels in one: a 2-3/4 inch and a 3 inch gas system with no user adjustments whatsoever.

In walnut trim, it is a good-looking shotgun at its price-point as well, and is softer-shooting than any other shotgun in its class with only the more expensive Browning Silver / Winchester SX3 models having a similar recoil pulse. The Remington V3 betters those models in terms of trigger and with a magazine cut-off, and is a better choice for shooting 3 inch waterfowl loads all day as well. I think it is the best autoloader Remington has ever made and though a new model, the street prices look to start at a modest $750 or so for the base black synthetic model, with only a hundred dollar adder for camo or walnut.

Fabarm XLR5 FR

It is an overbuilt, dedicated 2-3/4 inch clay-smashing machine selling for an estimated $1800 or so with a 30 or 32 inch barrel, a competition trigger, a superb array of five Exis extended choke tubes, at about 7-1/2 – 7-3/4 lbs in weight, though extra weight can easily be added with factory components as you prefer.

It is available in left hand or right hand and it comes with the best customer service in the business as well. Softer-shooting than any 8 to 8-1/4 pound O/U, it isn't going to pound your shoulder or your wallet to a high degree. It is no quail gun, it is a clays-grinder and for most shooters using 1 oz. 1200 – 1300 fps, all you need is right in the box with no aftermarket choke tubes to buy, no triggerwork wanted, much less needed.

Weatherby SA-08

About the only Turkish-made shotgun I can recommend, in 12 or 20 gauge it is an excellent value from a reputable company. The walnut models are easy on the eyes and the 20 gauge is a 6 lb. field gun that has already delighted many. For the dollar, in 20 gauge, the SA-08 is really hard to beat in an upland hunting shotgun.

Hi Randy,
Thank you so much for the great articles and easy to navigate website you have.  I’m 44 and brand new to the world of shooting.  I was recently invited to join a group for a session of sporting clays followed by a day of pheasant hunting the following week.  I borrowed a friend’s gun and was completely smitten by the experience.  So much so, that I joined the hunt club (likely one of the first members to join without owning a gun!) and am hoping to join the spring sporting clays league.
Since then, I have spent countless hours reading about shotguns on your website.  I appreciate the candor and consistency of your opinions, as it provides a great reference point for me.  I am ready to make a purchase and have somehow determined on O/U is best for me.  I anticipate doing mostly sporting clays and skeet, but will also do a couple pheasant hunts a year.  I was hoping to stay around $1000k, but have slowly let my minimum creep up.  Long story short, of the stores near me, I can buy a Ruger Red Label for $1389, a  Browning Cynergy Satin Field for $1499 or a Winchester 101 Satin Field for $1100.  I have not shot any of the guns, but have handled and shouldered the Ruger and Browning.  I’m aware they are no longer producing Red Labels (thanks to your reporting), but am hopeful they will still support them.  If you were spending my money, which one would you get?  Any thoughts / insight would be greatly appreciated.
Kurt T.
Rochester, Michigan

Hello Kurt,

Thank you very much for your kind words. Whether I'm spending your money, or my money, of the choices you've mentioned it would be a Cynergy Field with no hesitation.



Copyright 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.


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