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Gun Review: Winchester SXP Black Shadow

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Gun Review: Winchester SXP Black Shadow

A speedy 20-gauge pump gun. The tough finish on the metal and the rugged synthetic stock allow the SXP to withstand hard use. Photographs by Andrew Geiger

The new Winchester SXP is a fine little bird gun. It’s chambered in 20-gauge and is a scaled-down version of the pump-action SXP 12-gauges that Winchester has had in its lineup for a while now.

The SXP’s claim to fame is the speed of its action. The shotgun’s slide moves briskly back and forth, ejecting spent shells and feeding fresh rounds into the chamber in the blink of an eye.

Is it truly the fastest pump-action out there? I couldn’t tell you that’s the case for certain, but I can say that it is no slower than other pump-actions.

During my evaluation, I worked the SXP on doubles and triples at my local gun club, and it tracked very well when moving from one target to another, even on tough crossers and other challenging presentations.

Part of this can be attributed to the smooth cycling action, but there’s more to it than that. The SXP has a slightly muzzle-forward balance that makes it handle nicely. I was pretty surprised by this, because the sample I had came with 26-inch barrels, and, generally, I prefer 28-inch barrels on pumps and semi-autos. For me, 26-inch barrels can be a little whippy, which is fine in a grouse thicket, but for birds in open country, I like a gun that has more “swing” built into it.

Upon closer inspection, I saw that the barrel on the SXP steps up in size to a noticeably wider diameter near the muzzle, placing more weight at the end of the shotgun, which certainly aided its swing.

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