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Top Selling Guns | July 2023

Winchester's SXP: Tracing its lineage back to the venerable Model 12, the SXP shows why Winchester is still a leader in the pump gun game.

Top Selling Guns | July 2023

The Winchester SXP pump-action shotgun is the fifth best-selling pump shotgun in this month’s GunBroker.com Top Selling Report, presented by GunGenius.com, a position that it occupied last month as well. It shouldn’t be any surprise that this quality-built, reliable pump shotgun consistently occupies a position in the top-selling slide-actions, for the SXP offers great quality for a very reasonable price point. It’s also good to see that Winchester’s modern pump shotguns are receiving the attention and interest they deserve.

Royal Bloodlines

It shouldn’t come as any surprise to hunters and shooters that the SXP has earned a spot in the top-selling shotguns. This is, after all, a gun that shares DNA with what many hunters and shooters consider to be the best pump shotgun of all time, the Winchester Model 12.

The Model 1912 (which was shortened to the Model 12 in 1919) was the brainchild of TC Johnson, a Winchester engineer. The Model 12 was a replacement for the exposed-hammer 1897, and by concealing the hammer within the receiver Johnson created a more streamlined gun that has impacted the geometry and design of the modern slide-action shotgun. Built with an alloy steel receiver, the Model 2 was a durable and reliable firearm that instantly became popular with shooters and hunters.

The Model 12 reigned supreme until 1964, the year that Winchester decided to take several cost-cutting steps to reduce production costs and improve margins. This was largely a result of the advent of less-expensive competing firearm models like the Remington 870 pump-action which first appeared in 1950. To remain competitive Winchester decided to discontinue the Model 12 because it did not lend itself well to the most modern, efficient production methods of the times. It was replaced by the Model 1200.

Shotgun purists hated the Model 1200 from its inception. For starters, it utilized a four-lug rotating bolt that locked into the barrel in place of the Model 12’s tilting breechlock design. More notably, the Model 1200 came with an aluminum alloy receiver that was lighter and less expensive to manufacture than the Model 12’s steel receiver. While modern guns utilize aluminum in their design, this was rather radical for Winchester guns in the 1960s, and many shooters simply refused to own a “new” Winchester ump gun.

Those who adopted the Model 1200 in spite of its departure from earlier Winchester designs found that the gun was rugged, durable, and in many ways an improvement over the Model 12. Takedown was simple thanks to a modern screw-on magazine cap and the four-lug design was solid and reliable. Nevertheless, die-hard Winchester fans scoffed at the new design, paving the way for the success of Remington’s 870.

The Model 1200 remained in production until 1978 when it was replaced with the Model 1300. With a 3-inch chamber, the Model 1300 continued to impress hunters and shooters who were willing to give it a chance, and it became a best-seller for Winchester until 2006 when the company was sold to FN Herstal of Belgium. That same year it was announced that the 1300 as well as other Winchester classics like the Model 70 would cease production.

The 1300 was simply too good a gun to disappear from the Winchester line, and in 2009 a modern version of the 1300 was announced. It became known as the SXP and it is still in production today.

The Modern SXP

winchester-sxp-shotgun-brad-fitzpatrick

The modern SXP is a very reliable, refined shotgun that shares several aspects of its design architecture with the 1200 and 1300. All three guns come with aluminum receivers, which is more palatable to hunters and shooters today than in 1964. Modern aluminum alloys are robust and durable, and they weigh far less than a steel receiver. They also do not rust. Remington’s inexpensive Express 870 shotguns earned an unenviable reputation for rusting when exposed to moisture, but no such issues plagued the Model 1300 and today’s SXP.

The SXP also incorporated an inertia-assisted slide-action design that was ground-breaking. The rearward force of recoil helps to unlock the lugs and initiates the cycling process, and this makes the SXP one of the fastest and smoothest pump guns on the market. Reliability is also excellent. I’ve owned two Model 1300 and have tested or owned several of the modern SXP shotguns, and I’ve never had any issues with reliability even after thousands of rounds. I still own the Model 1300 that I first purchased during my early teens, and I can’t imagine how many rounds I’ve fired through that gun at clay targets and game without a single failure. The SXP shares the same design, and I’ve never had any problems with these guns that weren’t a direct result of shooter error such as short-stroking. My experience is not unique, either: of the many SXP fans I’ve known most have touted the gun’s exceptional reliability as one of its strong suits.

Winchester currently offers over 50 different SXP variants, everything from dedicated slug and turkey guns to home defense, field, and competition models. There are now camo SXP offerings and several that come with durable Cerakote finishes, and all these guns offer features like chrome-lined bores and Invector Plus choke tubes. No matter the season or the reason, there’s almost certainly an SXP shotgun available for you.

A few of the other notable features of these guns include a Speed-Plug system, reversible crossbolt safety, twin action bars, and Inflex recoil pads. Back boring improves patterns and the extended forearm design offers plenty of real estate for a secure grip on the gun. The control layout, with the crossbolt safety at the front of the trigger guard and the bolt release button at the rear of the trigger guard, is very intuitive and is arguably a more convenient and practical design than the Model 870’s rear-mounted crossbolt safety. Modern SXP shotguns can handle 3-inch magnum loads and, in some 12-gauge models, 3 ½-inch shells. There are also compact versions to accommodate small-statured shooters.

Today’s SXPs are manufactured by Istanbul Silah in Turkey, which is a modern factory with quality CNC machines. Unlike most Turkish import shotguns, though, the SXP is strictly a Winchester design and not simply a rebadged import gun. The design and engineering were done in the USA, and that’s one reason why these guns have earned such an enviable reputation for reliability.

They’re also quite affordable. The Hybrid Hunter models with camo synthetic stocks and premium Perma-Cote metal finishes carry MSRPs ranging from $429.99 to $449.99. The new Upland Field model with grade II/III Turkish walnut stock and matte nickel engraved receiver has an MSRP of $509.99 to $529.99. Regardless of which version you choose, the SXP is a worthy successor to the Model 12 and truly is a pump gun for the twenty-first century.

winchester-sxp-upland-field
Winchester SXP Upland Field Shotgun

Top Selling Guns Sold in July 2023

Source: gungenius.com/top-selling/

To learn more or shop for any of the guns listed, visit Gun Genius at www.gungenius.com/top-selling.

Editor's note: In the report, guns are rated from one to five within each category, with the number one gun being the most popular that month. The numbers are color-coded to show any changes in the ranks from the previous report.

Black = Steady
Green = Up
Red = Down

Source: gungenius.com/top-selling/

To learn more or shop for any of the guns listed, visit Gun Genius at www.gungenius.com/top-selling.




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