Gun Review: Browning Maxus Ultimate – Where’s the Recoil?

234376be-784b-4e2e-bad4-333226431edb By Emy Marier on the Rooster Road Trip 2018

Outside of the one time I patterned my gun for turkey hunting, I never realized how much I was feeling the recoil of my gun. I knew a lightweight gun meant more recoil, and that’s why I put up with it. I hunt full days on public land chasing the young hunter’s dream of shooting my first limit over my bird dog. Hunt a full day with my noodle arms and you’ll know why weight was a key concern of purchasing my first shotgun.  
Enter being passed the Browning catalog and told to pick a gun for Rooster Road Trip. Rather than testing out an over/under for the first time, I decided to stick with what I know: 12-gauge semi-autos, and I care about weight. I chose the Browning Maxus Ultimate with a 28” barrel, weighing in at 7 lbs 3 oz.
Back to the general rule: Lightweight gun means more recoil. So imagine my delight when my reaction to shooting the Maxus for the first time was, “excuse me, where’s the recoil!?”

Browning Maxus Ultimate Highlights 

  • Lack of Recoil: Knowing one of the things I care about most with a shotgun is weight, this statement says a lot: If I had to choose between my inertia-driven gun weighing in at 6 lbs 6 oz or the Maxus weighing in at 7 lbs 3 oz, I’d take the Maxus, without hesitation. Browning calls out its gas driven technology combined with a strategically designed recoil pad as the source behind the lightweight gun and reduced recoil miracle.  
  • Ease of Assembly/Breakdown: Being a semi-auto, there’s technology involved in this gun, which means there are more moving parts than in an over/under. I was personally impressed with how easy the Browning Maxus is to breakdown and clean. One aspect that makes a difference in this process is the unique forearm. Rather than the standard screw-on magazine cap, the Maxus has the Speed Lock Forearm – lift a lever, push a button and it’s off. Simple as that.
  • Speed Load: My favorite feature, besides lack of recoil, is the Speed Load Plus feature. It’s another efficiency feature from Browning. Rather than having to feed a shell into the chamber, push a button to close the action and then load two more shells into the magazine. I can load directly into the magazine and the Speed Loading tech will automatically chamber my first shell for me. Once you get comfortable with it, you don’t even have to look, so you won’t miss anything happening in the field.  
Speaking of the field, how did the gun perform when birds starting flushing!? Well, the Browning Maxus Ultimate carries, shoulders, and swings with ease. Shooting pheasant loads I still don’t notice recoil. The result: I’m happy to report I bagged my first South Dakota rooster thanks to great dog work and a good field gun.  
I’d be lying if I said looks didn’t impact my choice of the Maxus Ultimate over the other Maxus options. It’s a pretty gun. When I buy my own, we’ll see if I’m still feeling the “Treat Yo’ Self” mentality and get the Ultimate or Hunter … or if I go for the “All Black Everything” life mantra and get the Stalker. If you’re looking for yourself, here is a sampling of Browning’s Maxus options – pricing provided is for a 12-gauge, 28 inch barrel. Note: There is not a 20-gauge option.  
  • Ultimate … Turkish Walnut stock, grade 3 wood + stellar engravings, no sling swivel studs, no 3 1/2 option … weight = 7 lbs 3 oz … MSRP: $1,980
  • Hunter … Turkish Walnut stock, grade 1 wood + engravings, no sling swivel studs, there is a 3 1/2 option … weight = 7 lbs … MSRP: $1,590
  • Wicked Wing … Composite stock, Mossy Oak finish, sling swivel studs, there is a 3 1/2 option … weight = 7 lbs 2 oz … MSRP: $1,780
  • Stalker … Composite stock, matte black finish, sling swivel studs, there is a 3 1/2 option … weight = 7 lbs 2 oz … MSRP: $1,400
  • Sporting … Turkish Walnut stock, gloss finish, grade 3 wood + engravings, no sling swivel studs, no 3 1/2 option, more choke options (adds in improved modified and skeet) … weight = 7 lbs … MSRP: $1,800
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