Now in its 16th year, the NRA Golden Bullseye Awards represent the pinnacle of achievement within the shooting, hunting and outdoor trade.
In 2017, after years of record-breaking sales, many industry observers wondered what ingenious introductions might still be unveiled. After all, any product worthy of our gold standard must meet or exceed American Hunter’s expectations of innovation—and they absolutely must provide hunters with value for their money. But once again, we were surprised when we collected nominations and tallied our votes.
Shotgun of the Year: Winchester Super X4 Inside the milled-from-billet aluminum receiver of the Winchester Super X4 shotgun is tucked the company’s Active Valve system—to our minds one of the best gas systems ever produced. Managing Editor Jon Draper claims it’s “faster than darn near anything on the market.” Its barrel is back-bored and chrome-lined to resist corrosion, and its Inflex Technology pad sends recoil energy down and away from a shooter’s face.
Several iterations are available at retail prices ranging from $799-$1,069. The basic Super X4 is a 3½-inch gun that wears a black synthetic stock and sports a 26-inch barrel. Two 3-inch guns wear wood stocks: the Field and Compact (with a 13-inch length of pull). The Waterfowl Hunter, our favorite, is a 3½-inch gun with a 26-inch barrel that weighs only 7 pounds.
Winchester got the balance right on this one, says Draper (“Hardware,” August 2017). “[T]he SX4 and I danced from dawn till dusk, and from start to finish it was raise, shoulder, swing and pull, clearing the Canadian sky like we’ve been doing it together our entire lives.”