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 Winchester Super X Pump Black Shadow Deer Gun (courtesy

Back in the day, Winchester called their new-for-2011 Super X shotgun “the pump that thinks it’s an autoloader.” Roger that. The rotary bolt’s action is slicker than oil on ice. I’m still not a fan of the safety’s placement ahead of the trigger; God (and O.F. Mossberg) wants all shotgun safeties on top. But you gotta run the gun you got, if you know what I mean. The new Super X Pump Black Shadow deer gun joins its eleven Turkish-made (yes, there is that) siblings in the Super X lineup. Aside from triggering memories of the legendary Vincent Black Shadow (immortalized by Hunter S. Thompson), the Winchester deer gun offers hunters a 22” rifled barrel, a 3” chamber, a TRUGLO fiber-optic front sight and adjustable rear sight (receiver drilled and tapped for alternative sights) and model-standard black chrome protection. The Super X3 Black Shadow shotgun runs about a grand. The deer-killer is all yours for $520 msrp. You can have any color as long as its black.

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    • Oh the irony. I bought a Maverick 88 shotgun BECAUSE I liked the safety location, and found it more natural to use and easier to find without looking. Having it forward of the trigger means you don’t have to stretch your finger back to find it as per Remington, then stretch it forward again to find the trigger when ready to fire. A safety on the top tang can be easily switched on and off by thick brush when chasing game through the forest. The forward safety is just quicker and more reliable (tang safeties flying off some Mossbergs?). Get used to it. Winchester has it right.

    • And the best reference I ever found to the Vincent was “it expired in a welter of its own gore”. Might have been high performance for its day, but modern bikes are faster still, and not as scary.

  1. Can someone please explain a rifled barrel on a shotgun to me. Is there a novelty to it? Or is it designed only for slugs, but then why not a rifle? Is it because of hunting seasons?

    • Some sabot slugs require a rifled barrel for stabilization. A 12 gauge sabot slug is typically .50 cal in diameter, and is encased in two or three form fitting plastic sleeves. Upon firing, the plastic sleeves engage the rifling, which imparts turn to the sub-caliber sabot. After the sabot and sleeves leave the barrel together, wind forces the sleeves apart. The stabalized sabot is much heavier than the lightweight plastic sleeves and continues onward towards the target.

      Sub caliber sabots typically have much higher velocity, flatter trajectories, and superior ballistic coefficients when compared to full caliber (roughly .729″ in the case of a 12 gauge) foster slugs. A good sabot slug also tends to be much more accurate than a foster slugs.

    • They fire sabot slugs that are very accurate compared to a standard rifled slug, which is rifled on the body of the slug to provide some spin.

      Here in Delaware it is illegal to hunt anything but groundhogs with a centerfire rifle. Yet we still managed to kill 13,000 deer in the 2012/2013 season and that is a highly sustainable rate of hunting. Roughly 8,000 of those were taken with shotguns.

      Here is the data:

      You don’t need a rifle to kill a deer!

    • And, there are great deer hunting lands in the Northeastern US where, while it may be legal to use a rifle, it is unsafe and ill-advised (aka stupid) due to housing/road density even “out in the country”. I used to hunt a couple of places in upstate NY where there was no way I was going to use a rifle knowing my deer rifle’s range should I miss. In those cases, I carried a Mossberg & slugs. Using a shotgun also opened up certain public lands for hunting.

  2. Zora,

    Some jurisdictions, like those in illinois, do not allow centerfire rifles to be used for deer hunting. And a rifled shotgun barrel, used with saboted slugs can offer rifle like accuracy and efficacy out to 150-200 yards.

    The Ithaca deerslayer can give you MOA groups with the right ammo.

  3. Hunting on public land is much safer when not using rifles. Also, only jerks want the safety on top. Benelli has the right answer with their triangular button safety mounted on the trigger guard.

    • MW – Only jerks want the safety on top…WRONG! My Browning BPS shotguns do just fine and guess where the safety is, yea it’s on the tang (top) where it’s easy to see / check the condition and easy to access in a hurry or hunting situation.
      I got rid of two plastic Benelli Nova shotguns that rattled for two metal & wood Browning BPS shotguns that are quality.

  4. Safety? Oh that.
    Rifled barrels are awesome with the right slugs in them even though I’m still impressed with a smoothbore’s accuracy the rifled slug gun gets the nod after 100 yds. Just don’t expect them to work well with shot.

  5. For years, I had the original Winchester Super X-1, the significantly undervalued semi-auto. It was okay for ducks and dove, but too heavy to cart around upland without a gunbearer or trunnions. I sold it after missing a close range jump-up eight-point whitetail while I was trying to find the safety on top where it belonged. I reverted to programming, after having a Sheridan air rifle as a kid, a Nylon 66 .22 as a teen, then a Ruger 77, all of which had tang safeties. I replaced it with a Beretta 686 over-under, which has the safety right there on top for everyone to see. Hmm – safeties on top on high-grade shotguns… Coincidence?

  6. Does anyone recommend a specific 20ga sabot slugs that patterns well in a Winchester sxp black shadow deer fully rifled slug gun because it sure the hell doesn’t like Hornady sst slugs


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