Winchester Midnight shotgun: The makers of this gun, Browning, have increased the range by bringing out the Supreme, the Select, and a higher grade clay gun to sit alongside it – the Supreme Energy.
Along the way there has also been a game model, the Elegance. And now they’ve popped up with the Midnight.
Effectively this game gun it is a plainer version of the Elegance with the action frame and furniture finished black; no prizes here then for guessing why it’s called Midnight!
As you can see it isn’t totally devoid of decoration but sports some nice scroll and game scene engraving. The birds are highlighted in gold which makes them stand out well against the black background.
Mechanically the gun is the same as the rest of the range with an action frame that incorporates the best design features of Browning, Beretta and the old Winchester 101 over-under. I said at the time of its launch that this was one of the most exciting new guns I’d seen for some time, and little has happened since to change my opinion.
Unfortunately the Select hasn’t proved as popular as I anticipated, and this is a strange state of affairs – it’s a very well built and designed gun that deserves greater appreciation.
The Midnight is no different in this respect; it offers great value for money and great build quality.
A single bar of steel has been used for the action frame.
As I said earlier, this family of guns are a blend of all that’s best with a number of other market leaders. The locking system, for instance, is inspired by Beretta’s U-type bolt which mates with corresponding holes in the breech face of the barrels.
However the cocking levers and firing mechanism are built in the classic Browning/Winchester mould of old.
American quail hunters have the option to choose a 26in barrel version of the new Midnight but here in Britain the choice is limited to 28in and 30in 12-bore with a multichoke system based on Browning’s proven long choke tubes – Invector Plus.
Patterning qualities are excellent and, because the barrels are over bored at 18.8 or 18.7mm, recoil is kept nicely under control, too. The gun is chambered for 3in magnum cartridges and proofed to special steel shot level.
The Midnight is made in Belgium, fitted with a manual safety catch and sports a single selective trigger with the safety button acting as the barrel selector. Second barrel reset is by inertia/ recoil. Drops at comb and heel are approximately 1.1/2in and 2.1/4in while the length of pull is 14.3/4in, measurements that will suit the majority of sportsmen.
Stocks are straight along the comb with a slight cast for the right handed shooter at the toe.
The stock is finished with a satin look lacquer and the butt end has been fitted with a thin recoil pad.
The fore-end has been shaped into a comfortable Schnabel form and overall weight is approximately 7.1/2lb.
This gun comes supplied with three choke tubes – improved cylinder, modified and full – as well as a key. It arrives in a useful ABS travel case with an equally useful trigger lock, too.
The Midnight – like its stablemates – is a nice gun, well built, handles well and represents good value for money. It’s a mystery to me why the range isn’t more popular, but maybe the Midnight might address the situation.
It deserves to do well.
Build quality: 8
Value for money: 8
UK SALES: 01235 514550