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Good Shotguns: Winchester Super X3

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April 09, 2012

Good Shotguns: Winchester Super X3

by Phil Bourjaily

It has taken a while, but Winchester’s Super X3 semiauto has danced its way into my heart. I was a fan of the hefty, retro-styled X2. When Winchester lightened it, gave it a makeover (an ugly makeover IMO) and called it the X3, I was underwhelmed.

I was also wrong. The X3 is a winner.

The particular model of Super X3 that changed my mind is the Sporting Clays version. Winchester sent me one on loan to review a year ago for Best of the Best for 2011. It was high school trap season at the time and I gave it to a girl on our team who was struggling. Her scores went from single digits to low 20s. Since then I have used it as a loaner for several kids and everybody who picks up the X3 shoots it well.

Its magic lies in the combination of length (30-inch barrel) and light weight (7 pounds, 4 ounces thanks to an alloy receiver and magazine tube). The stock dimensions of 1 ¾-inches at the comb and 2 inches at the heel seem to suit everyone who tries it. The X3 gas system reduces recoil extremely well. A long, light gun that doesn’t kick is just easy to shoot. The X3 is also a snap to clean, and those of us in the left-handed minority appreciate how readily the safety button switches over.

While the Sporting Clays version is a very nice gun, it should be for a list price of $1,699. Fortunately this year Winchester introduced a couple of no-frills field versions of the X3, including the Black Shadow which sells for $999 in a 20 gauge and $1,069 in 3 ½-inch 12.

 

Comments (14)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I'm glad the X3's are getting some love. When the Browning Maxus came out it took some of the wind out of the X3's sails, but it's been a great gun for me. I've got an SX3 camo and it's done me proud on turkey, waterfowl, and even a handful of pheasants.

Phil, on a side note, could you shed some light on to why replacement barrels for the X3 are so gosh darn expensive? Field barrels start at $419 and go up to $699 for slug barrels.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Phil -- though you may be hesitant to do this, I'm in the market for a semiauto 12 gauge, primarily for waterfowl (which means I probably will look for something synthetic stocked and camo). Among the many offerings out there, how does the X3 stack up?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from redfishunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Good stuff Phil. Think this is my wife's next gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Good comments Phil. I really like my SX 2 for waterfowl. I am lusting after an SX 3 in 20 gauge. Like Creek Chub, I would like to know about the high price of extra barrels. The high price makes me look at Mossbergs and Stogers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 2 years 1 week ago

The sporting sx3 gun is 2 3/4 inch only. In the era of non tox, I will not even look at a 2 3/4 inch gun. I use my target guns for everything, and I have to shoot steel on wpa, army corp land, and refuges. That means 3 inch is a must. The feild sx3 is O.K., but the new A300 outlander, starting at $700. is my next gun, even if I have to wait for it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from auburn_hunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I picked up a VERY slightly used SX3 last year for about $600 and have never looked back. I took it out and shot some machine-thrown clays with a friend and missed maybe 3 of 50 (prior to that, I would often miss as many as I hit). My friend who has been shooting for nearly thirty years swore he was headed to the local outdoors store to look for one of his own. Fantastic for upland hunting and carrying throughout the day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 2 years 1 week ago

it surely looks like a really nice shotgun, but, alas it is out of my price range. In a way I'm glad i do not need anymore guns than I already have because everything is getting way to expensive for the average hunter. If you look at it from the standpoint of a young father with 3 or 4 kids that want to hunt WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO ??? BUY ONE GUN AND SHARE IT ??? maybe take a second mortgage out on his house. lets get realistic ad make some fine guns that people can afford or we may see shooting and hunting become the realm of the rich and famous.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I actually have the DU 2010 version of this shotgun. It has a 3" chamber, is light to carry and has shot well with variety of factory and reloaded ammo. I have not taken it duck hunting though, its too pretty, but its a hit at the range or upland hunting. My only concern is the Duracoat finish. DO NOT use any solvent to clean it the finish will come off, use regular gun oil only.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Made in Belgium with final assembly in Portugal...just sayin'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Glad to see we're getting back to talking about shotguns, Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 1 week ago

It's a nice shotgun alright and I can afford it however there are other shotguns (not necessarily semi-auto) that are cheaper and shoot just as well.
Alas, Winchester unfortunately is gone, and its only the name that survives.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Ditto all the positive comments for the SX3. Looks a whole lot like the now discontinued Browning Gold on the inside, sans the auto feed feature. Real world prices are a lot less than what you quoted and it is a lot of gun for the money.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from plainsman wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Phil, I'm off topic here, but if you ever have the time would you do a retro review of the Winchester Super X Model 1?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from lakanen7 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Thanks for the good review. For those of you looking for an SX3, I just picked one up at a Cabelas 2 days ago and they were on a big sale (Hammond, IN). Not sure what the deal was at this store or if they are like this everywhere, but the SX3 field 20 in Black Walnut will make a great addition to my gun cabinet next to the original Super X Trap that is there already. If you haven't shot these guns, do it. You will love them!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from auburn_hunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I picked up a VERY slightly used SX3 last year for about $600 and have never looked back. I took it out and shot some machine-thrown clays with a friend and missed maybe 3 of 50 (prior to that, I would often miss as many as I hit). My friend who has been shooting for nearly thirty years swore he was headed to the local outdoors store to look for one of his own. Fantastic for upland hunting and carrying throughout the day.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from deadeyedick wrote 2 years 1 week ago

it surely looks like a really nice shotgun, but, alas it is out of my price range. In a way I'm glad i do not need anymore guns than I already have because everything is getting way to expensive for the average hunter. If you look at it from the standpoint of a young father with 3 or 4 kids that want to hunt WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO DO ??? BUY ONE GUN AND SHARE IT ??? maybe take a second mortgage out on his house. lets get realistic ad make some fine guns that people can afford or we may see shooting and hunting become the realm of the rich and famous.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from plainsman wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Phil, I'm off topic here, but if you ever have the time would you do a retro review of the Winchester Super X Model 1?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Creek Chub wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I'm glad the X3's are getting some love. When the Browning Maxus came out it took some of the wind out of the X3's sails, but it's been a great gun for me. I've got an SX3 camo and it's done me proud on turkey, waterfowl, and even a handful of pheasants.

Phil, on a side note, could you shed some light on to why replacement barrels for the X3 are so gosh darn expensive? Field barrels start at $419 and go up to $699 for slug barrels.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve in Virginia wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Phil -- though you may be hesitant to do this, I'm in the market for a semiauto 12 gauge, primarily for waterfowl (which means I probably will look for something synthetic stocked and camo). Among the many offerings out there, how does the X3 stack up?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from redfishunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Good stuff Phil. Think this is my wife's next gun.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Good comments Phil. I really like my SX 2 for waterfowl. I am lusting after an SX 3 in 20 gauge. Like Creek Chub, I would like to know about the high price of extra barrels. The high price makes me look at Mossbergs and Stogers.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 2 years 1 week ago

The sporting sx3 gun is 2 3/4 inch only. In the era of non tox, I will not even look at a 2 3/4 inch gun. I use my target guns for everything, and I have to shoot steel on wpa, army corp land, and refuges. That means 3 inch is a must. The feild sx3 is O.K., but the new A300 outlander, starting at $700. is my next gun, even if I have to wait for it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckstopper wrote 2 years 1 week ago

I actually have the DU 2010 version of this shotgun. It has a 3" chamber, is light to carry and has shot well with variety of factory and reloaded ammo. I have not taken it duck hunting though, its too pretty, but its a hit at the range or upland hunting. My only concern is the Duracoat finish. DO NOT use any solvent to clean it the finish will come off, use regular gun oil only.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Made in Belgium with final assembly in Portugal...just sayin'

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Longbeard wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Glad to see we're getting back to talking about shotguns, Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from JohnR wrote 2 years 1 week ago

It's a nice shotgun alright and I can afford it however there are other shotguns (not necessarily semi-auto) that are cheaper and shoot just as well.
Alas, Winchester unfortunately is gone, and its only the name that survives.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from RES1956 wrote 2 years 1 week ago

Ditto all the positive comments for the SX3. Looks a whole lot like the now discontinued Browning Gold on the inside, sans the auto feed feature. Real world prices are a lot less than what you quoted and it is a lot of gun for the money.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from lakanen7 wrote 1 year 50 weeks ago

Thanks for the good review. For those of you looking for an SX3, I just picked one up at a Cabelas 2 days ago and they were on a big sale (Hammond, IN). Not sure what the deal was at this store or if they are like this everywhere, but the SX3 field 20 in Black Walnut will make a great addition to my gun cabinet next to the original Super X Trap that is there already. If you haven't shot these guns, do it. You will love them!

0 Good Comment? | | Report

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