Shotgun Bargains for 2015

By Randy Wakeman

Browning Cynergy

The hinge-lock 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/ It 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, three 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 three inch Versaport variation gives you essentially two barrels in one, a 2-3/4 inch and a three inch gas system with no user adjustments at all.

In walnut trim, it is a good-looking shotgun at its price-point and is softer-shooting than any other shotgun in its class. Only the more expensive Browning Silver / Winchester SX3 models have a similar recoil pulse. The Remington V3 betters those models in terms of trigger pull and comes with a magazine cut-off. It is also a better choice for shooting three inch waterfowl loads all day. I think it is the best autoloader Remington has ever made and, although a new model, the retail prices look to start at a modest $750 or so for the base black synthetic model, with only a hundred dollars more 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. It comes with a competition trigger and a superb array of five Exis extended choke tubes, weighing about 7-1/2 to 7-3/4 pounds. Extra weight can easily be added with factory components, if you prefer.

It is available in left hand or right hand and it comes with the best customer service in the business. Softer-shooting than any eight or 8-1/4 pound O/U, it is not going to pound your shoulder or your wallet. It is no quail gun, it is a clays-grinder and for most shooters using one ounce, 1200 to 1300 fps loads, all you need is right in the box. There are no aftermarket choke tubes to buy and no trigger work is needed.

Weatherby SA-08

About the only Turkish-made repeating 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 six pound 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.

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Copyright 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.