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October 22, 2008

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Bourjaily: Browning Maxus

Browning recently unveiled its new autoloader, the Maxus, at its annual sales meeting. They just now posted this video on Youtube as their way of announcing the gun to the world:

Some of the footage was taken last September in South Dakota, where I shot pheasants and targets with the Maxus for three days. I make a cameo appearance in there somewhere – shooting the gun, and carrying a dead rooster

Overall, my impression of the Maxus was positive. Essentially, it’s a Gold 2.0, at least in terms of the gas system, and the Gold was already one of my favorite gas autoloaders. The gas system has been redesigned to work better with light and heavy loads, and to shoot cleaner. Only time and a lot of trigger pulls can deliver a final verdict, but so far it seems to work fine.

The forearm latch, borrowed from O/U guns, replaces the magazine cap. I am still trying to decide whether it’s cool or gimmicky, but I’m leaning towards “cool.” The “turnkey” magazine plug can be removed easily with a vehicle key without danger of launching the magazine tube spring. I suppose it’s cool, too, if you are always plugging and unplugging your gun. I leave the plugs in my guns so I never have to worry about whether they’re legal, so I could take the “turnkey” or leave it alone.

The Maxus is very light weight, probably just under 7 pounds. My contacts at Browning say that’s what hunters are demanding these days. Me, I prefer some heft to my autoloaders, because I primarily shoot them for targets and waterfowl.  Gas operation or no, if you shoot 3.5 inch shells or even a lot of target loads out of a sub-seven pound gun, you’ll get kicked.

The Maxus will list for $1199 in basic black, 3-inch, with camo and 3.5-inch models costing more. They should be available by the second quarter of next year. Anybody lining up to buy one?


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If my Extrema II ever gives out, I might just do that...

Chad Love

Well, no I'm not, but if Browning wants to really know how durable and tough this new gun is I'd be more than happy to field-test it for a season or two, because I can make a shotgun malfunction through sheer force of will, although other people call it incompetence.

Actually, depending on what the real-world price ends up being I really might take a look at it. I had been eying a gently-used 390 or a 3901 to replace my old beater 870 and so I wouldn't have to use one of my nicer O/Us on duck hunts.
Most of my duck hunting these days is of the small-water public-land pack-in, sit-down-in-the-mud-with-the-dog variety and I'm discovering that, besides the fact it's really hard on guns, having a lighter synthetic-stocked gun does help on those long walks in and out.
I also really like the forend latch, mainly because I once took a direct magazine spring hit to the forehead while trying to change out the plug on an 1100.
Walking around school sporting that spring-shaped bruise didn't help my already-shaky reputation any...



How does this Browning compare to a Beretta Xtrema and Benelli SBE2.

I'm going to buy a new autoloader for geese, and at this point I'm leaning toward the Xtrema. Should I wait and see what Maxus provides?


No thanks, I'll stick with me SBE.


Nope. Important to me to have the safety in front of the trigger on a shotgun. Been primarily shooting a Model 12 for 40 years and I don't like fumbling with a safety behind the trigger. Thumb safeties I can deal with. Behind the trigger has always been an issue. Guess I am set in my ways.



If you want to replace your 870 Remington is bringing out a new pump gun for 2009 called the 887 Nitro. Covered entirely in a space-age polymer, it looks and functions like a Benelli Nova and is priced to be competitive with the Nova and the Mossberg 835.


The 105Cti autoloader that made such a splash two years ago but was frought with problems, has been fixed. It'll be called the CTi II, featuring a redesigned gas and feeding system. Anyone who has problems with the original design will be able to have it updated to a CTI II for free.

I found this info on "another" site.


Chad Love

Jim, I hope Remington fixes the 105Cti. It seems like a great concept, but the one my local shop got in shortly after it came out exhibited some of the poorest QC I've ever seen in a firearm, and I'm by no stretch of the imagination a shotgun authority. When I can spot problems right off the bat you know it's bad.

Dr. Ralph

Chad I have two friends who have bought the 3901 Wally Benelli and they are made in America and just as good if not better and cheaper.

I showed up at a WMA sunflower field on a TWRA sponsored hunt one time only to find my plug (old wooden type) in the case and when I disassembled the gun the spring shot thirty feet into the air... fortunately there was an old TWRA officer there who miraculously found it for me.

I have an A-5 and although I feel the Gold is a wonderful gun those Rem. 1100's shoot where I look and that's pretty much all that matters when I'm in the field.


This new Browning sounds a lot like the Winchester SX3, which is part of the same family as the Browning Gold. The SX3 also is lightweight, weighing in at about 7 pounds. Does anyone know the differences between this new Browning and the SX3?

I have an SX3, and its operation has been flawless - 2 seasons in, not a single failure to fire. I'd eventually be interested in this Browning if and when I need or desire a new semi-auto, but it seems as if this new semi-auto will be a few hundred more than the SX3 (or maybe that is just list price versus reality and the guns are priced the same). If the Maxux is more expensive than the SX3, I'd like to know why.


At one time most of my shotguns, rifles, and pistols were Brownings. That was a long time ago and they all came from Belgium. Being old and set in my ways I will stick with them. The shotguns that can no longer be used for waterfowl due to steel shot have been replaced in the field with SBEs which I especially enjoy.

Dan R.

Speaking of Browning... I haven't seen anyone saying much about the relatively new Silver autos. Anyone care to offer some insight? I am looking for a shotgun for my wife, and, so far the Silver seems like it might be one of the softest-recoil guns on the market, which is a must in her case. I also like the look of the semi-humpback, especially since I still shoot one of the wonderful old Auto-5s (made in Belgium to boot). Any insight would be appreciated.


Just tough to beat an old Model 12 or a "seasoned" 870. That $1100 will work nicely somewhere else.

VaTx Hunter

I also prefer a little weight. I recently went out with the guys and did some Sporting Clay.
Make a long story short my 835 decided the safty did not want to work so I ended about having to use someone elses O/U Berreta.
It was a nice $2400 shotgun and felt good in my hands to shoot but it was so light compared to my 835 2 weeks later I am still felling it. The day I graduate to a autoloader I will be looking for one a little on the heavy side. I have never been one where the weight of the gun bothers me when I carry it.


There is something about a semiauto shotgun without a magazine cap that just doesn't look right. Like the other fellows my old 870 never fails. It has been hauled all over the place. It has been dunked in muddy beaver ponds, covered in powder like South Texas grit, rained on and other wise abused. Like a claw hammer it will still work!

As far as semiautos go the local Bass Pro had an incredible deal (less than $300) on Stoger 2000's a year or so back. It is an inertia design which borrows about 95% on the Benelli. Produced in Turkey my example is well made. It feeds everything from heavy 3 inch stuff to 1 1/8 oz target loads without fail. It came with 5 choke tubes including an extended Turkey Tube. Weighs about 7 pounds. The guns are on the rack now for about $450 in syntehtic. It is a heck of a dove gun and has done well on our local Canada Goose population.


Any word on a Maxus sporting clays model? I've been shooting a Browning Gold sporter and love it.


I will keep on using my Grandfather Belgian SxS ( Not Browning btw ) that is older than I am ( I am 67 ).


As I neared 60, I put my BT aside and started shooting my Browning Recoilless purchased as a collectible for trap. I shoot tournament and at the end of the day, and the next, I feel fine. Why did Browning not pursue that technology? As we Americans get older less recoil becomes more important. How about telling your friends at Browning they are missing a growing market. I have not yet stooped to consider a Berretta, (Italian for break everyday) but may have to when I get close to several hundred thousand rounds through my well made Browning.

Del in KS

No thanks, I'm still a long ways from wearing out my Benelli SBE. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Actually I traded my old Belgian Browning auto-5 magnum on the SBE.
Decided to get the SBE after a dunking in icey water that nearly lost my Grade III Citori.


So Browning has (again) re-designed the gas system to operate better and cleaner. Seems that they do that above every other year and discontinue the last one, which had also been re-designed to work better. My A5s just seem to keep working and my Benelli does too. Should we be thinking that recoil systems don't need constant re-design?


A friend of mine, Joe Badali, designed recoilless shotgun. He told me that when it was being built some genius decided that a couple of things he had designed into the mechanism weren't necessary. The few that were built in the shop at Browning in Morgan, Utah worked just fine.


Jim in Mo

That 'genius' was the accountant down the hall. They become engineers after counting the money. Some gunmakers have more accountants than gunsmiths.


My SBE has never failed me. I bought it after I had to paddle in a duck boat that ran out of gas w/ my Ruger Red Label. I'm also a leftie and so is my SBE. I love it because my rightie friends would never think of asking to borrow it and if anything ever blew up in the reciever, the force would be blown away from my face.

Phil Bourjaily

Mike -- The Maxus is a complete redesign of the X2/X3/Gold platform. Internally, it's a different gun, with a new trigger designed for better pulls and a gas system that is supposed to be even more reliable than the X3s (which is already very good). Is it worth a couple of hundred dollars more? Not if you're happy with the X3 you already shoot.

Dan R. -- I really like the Silver, which is basically a Gold without the mag cut off and speed-load feature. I put about 1500 trouble-free rounds through one this summer. It's light, soft-shooting and I'm sure your wife would even let you borrow it sometimes.


In this year of "change" I think I will stick with my Browning Gold. We sorta fit each other.

Bernie Kuntz

I hope this new Maxus works better than the Belgian-made Gold Hunter I won in 2000. Get it heated up on clay birds and it will jam every time. My old auto-5 never jams unless I use Federal shells.

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