Last week I got to try out the Browning Maxus, a gun that is top of my wish list. Here is a brief review of my initial thoughts....
Last week I went to Park Lodge Shooting School in Cowick nr Goole. I was in fact taking my mum clay pigeon shooting for the first time. I am always keen to show new people how much fun shooting can be and how accessible it is. I wanted to take her to Park Lodge so she could have a go on some of the beginner 'training' stands. Park Lodge have a great little shop on site so upon arrival I went in to stock up on cartridges for the afternoon and have a browse over their stock of shotguns and rifles for sale. I have been wanting to get myself a Browning Maxus since I first shot one at the Northern Shooting Show earlier this year and I noticed that Park Lodge had one for sale. The particular model was a Browning Maxus Composite with 28" barrels (as pictured above). After asking sheepishly, the guy in the shop very kindly let me take the Maxus out for the afternoon to try out.
I have been interested in getting a Semi-Auto for some time and the one thing that made me hesitant with the Maxus was the fact that they do not currently offer the gun in a left handed configuration. You will notice the gun I am shooting has the ejection port on the right hand side, suitable for right handed shooters, meaning empty cartridges would be flying across my face after each shot. The stock however is pretty straight. After a chat with a representative at Browning they were adamant that the quick cycling of the Maxus and the positive ejection of spent cartridges would mean that I would not suffer from using a right handed model, he was right. The gun cycles so smoothly and quickly I couldn't even sense the ejecting cartridges.
The Browning Maxus is available in a number of different configurations from the entry level Maxus One and Composite variants up to the Ultimate Partridges and Black Gold Models offering Grade 3 walnut and some beautiful engraving etc.
There are a couple of features to the Browning Maxus that really make this a stand out product in the Semi Auto range in my opinion. Firstly is the slim streamlined locking fore-end which moves away from the usual design we see on Semi Autos of a fore grip with screw on cap at the end of the Magazine. This in my opinion gives the Maxus a premium look and provides ease of use. It allows for very quick access to strip down the gun for cleaning or to check any of the interior components. The fore end release lever simply allows you to slide and remove the fore grip.
Another feature that sets the Maxus apart from other competitors is its 'Speedload' system which allows you to insert a cartridge in to the magazine of the gun with the bolt open and it will automatically cycle in to the chamber. Rather than having to fiddle around with putting one in the chamber then loading the magazine this means you can get on to target much quicker. I must admit, not only is it a fantastic concept and one that will speed up reloading in the hide, but it is bizarrely satisfying to do as well. You can of course opt for the more traditional loading technique but Browning have provided a way to load your gun to full capacity in a very timely manner.
The gun is operated on a Gas system rather than recoil meaning that the gas collected from a fired shot automatically cycles the next round in to the chamber. This system works brilliantly and the gun is capable of handling a wide variety of cartridges but it does struggle slightly on the lighter 21g loads (as do most semi's). The gun also comes with Browning Inflex pad which really helps improve felt recoil. Shooting 28g or 30g clay loads through the Maxus felt similar to shooting 21 or 24g loads through my 525 sporter.
The gun doesn't come with automatic safety but this is no issue for me as I'm not a fan of automatic safety in any case. The model I had, featured a fibre optic red bead which provided great visibility in the autumn sun. The barrels were 28 inches, I normally opt for 30" barrels on my over and unders but with the slightly longer action on the Maxus the shorter model still felt similar to my 30" O/U. The trigger pulls are clear and crisp and this gun is an absolute delight too shoot.
I cannot wait to get one of these on my SGC and at home in my cabinet. To be honest I would really struggle with which variant to go for between the premium black & gold model and the workhorse that is the composite model. The Maxus would be suited to a shooter wanting a premium feel but also a rugged work horse out in the field.... I may have to get two!
Prices are not unreasonable, the Maxus is available in 12 gauge with 26, 28 or 30 inch barrels and depending on the model you go for you will be looking at around £1,000 - £1,300. I would urge anyone looking for a reliable, solid Semi Auto to get out and give the Maxus a try.