Upcoming Firearm Reviews 3/26/2017
Several readers have asked what can be expected in the way of new, complete firearm reviews in the near future. At the moment, here is a partial list.
Winchester SX4 12 gauge
This is (surprisingly) one of the most asked-about “new” models of shotguns. It is essentially the same Herstal Group Active valve autoloader that has been offered under the Browning, F.N., and Winchester nameplates for 23 years by now in countless variations from the original Browning Gold to the current flagship Browning Maxus model.
The first Maxus I ever shot was over eight years ago, at the 2009 SHOT Show in Orlando. It takes special pleading to call the SX4 a brand-new model: it is just about as far away from being brand new, all new as there is. The reason for this model is pretty simple: a cheaper gun that says Winchester, which many seem to want.
Benelli SBE3 12 gauge
The SBE3 was perhaps the most interesting new shotgun to me this year. It is noticeably lighter and softer shooting, at least with 1-1/8 oz. loads, than prior Super Black Eagle models. Aside from the revamping and fine-tuning of the ComforTech stock, it loads a bit easier and has a detent bolt designed to eliminate the “Benelli Click.” No one is giving them away, a camo SBE3 will run you around $1800, but is does look like the Benelli brand has a winner with this model.
Fabarm Axis RS12 Sporting All Sports 12 gauge
The RS 12 is being renamed the “All-Sports” (or something like that) from the QRR (quick release rib) to better describe what this clays gun can do. It is a full-featured dedicated clays smasher weighing about 8-1/4 lbs., with not only an adjustable comb, but a pair of ribs (if you choose) so you can the same gun for sporting clays, skeet, and trap or whatever. At somewhere around $4000, it is a 100% Made in Italy gun that goes right up against models like the Browning 725 Pro Sporting with more features, a better weight for a dedicated clays gun, and a far better warranty as well.
Weatherby Element 20 gauge, camo
The Weatherby Element line is the inertia series of shotguns made by ATA, imported by Weatherby. As opposed to the the nose-bleed prices of some inertia guns, the Element synthetic and synthetic camo versions come in at the $500 - $600 range. I liked the 12 gauge with the “Griptonite®” stock that has rubber pistol grip and forend inserts which I like and is a good-looking, comfortable solution to overly-slippery plastic stocks. With the dearth of new 20 gauge models, the Griptonite 20 should have widespread appeal.
Thompson Compass 6.5 Creedmoor
The Hornady 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge continues to catch fire, and the revamped MOA-guaranteed T/C Compass joins the crowded sub-$400 centerfire market with an excellent trigger and the three-position wing-type safety. We will see how well it works.
Fabarm L4S Sporting 12 gauge
My favorite 12 gauge autoloader is the L4S Hunter model for chasing pheasants. I also think the L4S action is Fabarm's finest. The L4S Sporting is a 2-3/4 inch target gun, with a target trigger, wider rib, and your choice of 28, 30, and 32 inch barrel lengths. This sounds like about an $1800 competition autoloader.
Remington 783 walnut, .270 Winchester
Just shipping now with walnut stocks in short action chamberings, this is an extremely good-looking economical rifle that Remington put a lot of thought into and is particularly proud of. We will see how well it does, compared to the last fifteen or so .270 Winchester bolt-action rifles I've recently tested.
This is only a partial list, more are under consideration, and there will be a few mid-year introductions from several manufacturers you'll be hearing about shortly as well.
Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.