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Freezing Shotgun Test | Gas VS. Inertia

shotgun showdown Feb 17, 2022



We have a different type of showdown going on today ladies and gentlemen. This was a cold one to film; freezing in fact! Today we're going out to see just how well some of my favorite semi-auto shotguns will perform in the frigid cold of Minnesota. On the gas side, we have the Browning Maxus 2, The Winchester SX4, and the Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus. On the Inertia side, we have the Benelli SBE 3, the Stoeger M3500, and the Franchi Affinity 3. These are all 12 gauges. Let's get into this!

I started out with a baseline test: I cleaned all the guns the same way and used the same lubricant. I then let them sit in the cold for about an hour. I then went down the line and pounded some rounds through just to make sure we were good to go. The cold exposure did not phase these guns whatsoever. I was shooting SpeedShok duck loads because if you're shooting in these conditions, you're most likely hunting (I hope)

This is where it gets interesting - with all the guns operating as usual, I threw them in the snow, caked them in snow, and topped them all off with a whole bucket of water! Then I let them sit, hoping to come back to some ice-covered guns! When I came back 45 minutes later they were frozen indeed. Some were so frozen shut that I had to get out my pin mallet to crack open the chamber! If any of these were to shoot, It would have been a win. 

After cracking them all open, I started throwing rounds in and starting shooting. Up first: The Gas Guns.

Browning Maxus 2: The Browning struggled more than I expected. It would shoot and eject, but failed to bring another shell up. This is due partly to the magazine tube just being to dang frozen over (Too much water I guess - oops)

Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus: The A400 opened right up! It shot and ejected perfectly! One small step up from the Maxus, but it still had trouble bringing up another shell. 

Winchester SX4: This is where it got good for the gas team! The SX4 cycled 2 shots cleanly in very short order. 

At this point, the gas guns have really only had the SX4 coming up to bat. It was time to see if team inertia could do any better. In complete transparency, when I was using my mallet to crack open the chambers, the charging handles of both the Benelli and the Stoeger cracked right off. This definitely took points off from the resilience category.  

Benelli SBE 3: With a missing charging handle, I was still able to finesse the chamber open with a screwdriver. After a couple of patient tries, the Benelli came through and cycled all 3 shots. I was impressed!

Stoeger M3500: I'll tell you up from that this gun was definitely at the bottom of the list performance-wise. Like I said, the charging handle had broken off. That's not all: The bolt release also managed to crack off in the frigid temperatures. As far as shooting, it took some time but the Stoeger eventually shot and cycled one round - barely. 

Franchi Affinity 3: I really like this gun. At first, it misfired a couple of times. But in very short order, 3 shots went through the Franchi successfully. This was the most consistent shooter of the inertia bunch. 


This leaves us with a tie: Winchester SX4 VS Franchi Affinity 3. I like a fair a square winner though. My final test between these 2 guns was to shoot them over the head. The first one to cycle consistently wins. The Franchi managed 2 shots from over the head. When it clicked on the last shot, I brought it down to the hip where it still didn't fire. On the other hand, the SX4 had no trouble spitting out 3 shots from over the head, and that means that the SX4 IS THE WINNER OF TODAYS FREEZING SHOTGUN SHOWDOWN! 


Remember, whether in the field or in life, to LIVE Target Focused




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