We put Browning’s new Maxus Hunter and Citori 16 gauge to the test
Story and Photos by Richard Folsland
Anyone in the shooting world that has spent much time looking at new shotguns in their favorite gun shops can clearly see that the current trend is going lighter/faster/quicker/lower-recoil, etc. This is due to several factors. Not only are the majority of older hunters (myself included) unwilling to carry an 8-pound shotgun in the field all day, they are also becoming more sensitive to the blast to the shoulder that today’s latest high-velocity ammunition delivers.
The first shotguns to get the “lightweight” treatment were over/unders. While bird hunters love carrying the alloy-framed 6-pound 12-gauge guns, their shoulders take a beating from all but light target loads. It takes a gas-operated autoloader to effectively cut that recoil we all hate. However, until now, building that level of recoil reduction into a gun weighing less than 7 pounds was only a dream.
Even after the weight has been peeled away and the latest gas system has reduced the felt recoil, the problem of effectively cycling all loads from light 1-ounce target loads up through and including 3- or 3Â½-inch magnum hunting loads was still a tall order. Very few of the latest shotguns available are up to the task of cycling light 7/8-ounce target loads up through 3Â½-inch magnums.
IMPROVING ON A WINNER
The Browning Gold shotgun had been a good gas-operated autoloader for several years, but was eventually replaced by the Browning Silver. The Silver was the result of several upgrades Browning engineers had come up to achieve better functioning, weight reduction and recoil reduction. As a result, the Silver weighed less than 8 pounds, and was very comfortable to shoot.
I fully tested a Browning Silver Hunter, which was printed in the June 2010 issue of Gun World. The gun was successfully used on several clays shoots and upland bird hunting forays. The Hunter handled and pointed well, and proved that the Browning Active-Valve system really softened recoil, especially with heavy hunting loads.
To read this article in its entirety, pick up a copy of the November issue of Gun World, available at newsstands now.