Elliot Roberts is impressed by this limited-edition semi-auto, which pays tribute to the firm's founder
The Browning Maxus has been a favourite on the semi-auto market since its release in 2009. The latest addition to the Maxus line-up is sure to prove popular with diehard Browning fans across Europe, too.
Released in the autumn, the Maxus Limited Edition JM Browning has joined the growing range of Maxus shotguns offering a more elegant and refined version of the gas-operated semi-automatics. This particular variant is limited to a run of just 100 models and boasts Grade 4, oil-finished wood and stunning engraving on the receiver, featuring the portrait and signature of John Moses Browning (hence the ‘JM’), the father of Browning firearms, along with gold detailing of birds, scrollwork and the globally recognised buckmark logo.
Stocks for the Maxus Limited Edition
The current line up of Maxus shotguns includes synthetic and wood stock versions in 3in and 3½in. The synthetic stocks, geared towards the wildfowling and rough-shooting community, are available in black or a selection of camouflage patterns, including Realtree MAX-5 and A-TACS AU. There are also sporting models with carbon-fibre stocks, plus the premium Ultimate models.
The debate over the merits of gas- and inertia-operated shotguns is longstanding but at Browning they believe the figures speak for themselves. They say the Maxus offers 18% less recoil, 44% less muzzle jump, 19% faster bolt speed and 24% faster lock times than the nearest competitor, and it is packed with features that are sure to get the shooting enthusiast’s fingers twitching.
I first tried a Maxus at the Browning demonstrator stand at the Northern Shooting Show and was hooked immediately. It has taken me a year or so to get my hands on one but it had been top of my shopping list for some time.
A closer look
So what is different about the Maxus? To start with, the forearm: the shotgun features a ‘Speed Lock Forearm’, meaning that unlike conventional semi-automatics, there is no screw-on magazine cap. Instead, there is a button and small lever that, once engaged, releases the forearm and enables it to be slid off with relative ease. The forearm houses Browning’s Power Driver Gas System, a new innovation from the company offering increased reliability across the varying loads you may wish to put through the gun. On testing the Maxus on some 21gm loads (which I generally consider to be far too light for a semi-auto) I still got some reliability on cycling, although this gun is far more comfortable with 27-28gm loads as a minimum. The new seal design in the gas system was also created to prevent excess powder residue from depositing in the action to increase reliability.
One of my favourite features is the Speed Load Plus system, allowing for lightning-fast reloads requiring less manual operation.
Rather than placing a round into the open chamber and pressing the bolt release before feeding additional rounds into the magazine tube, the Maxus allows for you to load every shell into the magazine tube with the first round automatically cycling up and into the chamber to load your gun without manipulating your bolt. This is ideal when you are on the foreshore or in the pigeon hide as you can reload the Maxus with very little movement and/or having to lower your gun and take eyes off your target.
The action also features a magazine cut-off, allowing you to stop the cycling of rounds from the magazine tube into the chamber or to empty your chamber without loading in a new round. This is particularly useful if you need to unload your gun or change from one load to another quickly while out in the field.
Moving back from the action we have Browning’s Inflex recoil pad, which offers superior comfort when firing. This recoil pad is designed to redirect recoil down and away from the cheek to reduce felt recoil and fatigue when shooting, a feature seen across most Browning shotguns today. I have shot with a Browning 525 for many years and the Inflex recoil pad really does make longer periods of shooting much more comfortable and enjoyable.
This particular limited-edition Maxus model is chambered in 3in with 28in barrels. The top rib is 6mm, fitted with a fibre-optic sight and Invector Plus chokes. The receiver is aluminium with ornate engraving across both sides.
The Grade 4 wood is oil finished and has a beautiful grain running throughout. The trigger pulls are crisp and the cycling of rounds is lightning fast. The gun is supplied with a set of six chokes; shims; stock extensions; a choke key; trigger lock and sling swivels, all packaged nicely in a Browning branded ABS case.
Browning still hasn’t catered for left-handed shooters, with all its semi-automatics right-handed. However, with the correct shims, it fits well on the other shoulder and the ejection of spent cartridges is so positive there is no distraction to the eye.
As there are just 100 of these guns being produced, you may have to be quick off the ground to get hold of one, especially as they are still priced competitively at around £1,700. For the Browning enthusiasts out there, this gun is a beautiful collector’s piece celebrating the history and heritage of one of the world’s leaders in firearms design
Scores on the doors
- Build quality 24/25
- Handling 25/25
- Styling 25/25
- Value for money 25/25