Art of the Gun: Winchester SX3 20 Gauge Shotgun

Guns are tools; they have a purpose and are only as good as you are. That being said, your field guns don’t have to look as rugged as your grandfather’s trusty mallet and screwdriver set—enter the Winchester SX3 field shotgun. Though at home in the duck blind, this shotgun won’t look out-of-place at the country club. However, the SX3 isn’t just good-looking for the sake of aesthetics, it is a masterfully engineered shotgun.  First, there’s the technical specifics:

  • 3-inch chrome-plated chamber and bore for wear and corrosion resistance
  • .742-inch back-bored forcing cone for optimum shot patterns
  • Invector-Plus choke tube for solid performance
  • A strong but lightweight aluminum receiver

All together, the 20 gauge model weighs no more than 6 pounds, 8 ounces. To counteract the lack of weight, Winchester included the Active Valve system to cycle nearly any load while reducing recoil, a Pachymayr Decelerator recoil pad to make it easier on your shoulder, and an easily adjustable length of pull, cast, and drop so that your SX3 fits you and your shooting style perfectly. Because you can adjust this shotgun without a trip to the gunsmith, you can tweak it quickly so it always feels right regardless of weather, stance or use.

Beyond the technical and shooting aspects of this shotty, you have the appearance. The satin-finished oiled walnut stock and forend has crisp checkering on the grip and forend giving it the classic, yet elegant look you expect from a fine shotgun. The receiver and barrel have a matte black finish that keeps the sun from catching your eye when you’re following your target. The red and silver trim lends a modern aspect, reminding you that this is a 21st century shotgun and not your grandpappy’s Winchester.

Do you have a Winchester SX3 shotgun? Tell us about your experiences in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. I have the 3.5 Super X3 composite 12ga. Thru 2014-2015 waterfowl season it was flawless! I love it. Most the knows that bash them are clueless jack wagons that don’t have a clue. Would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. I’m going to buy the 20ga. For my wife! Awesome gun shoots with the Berettas and Benellis and never misses a beat!

  2. Winchester makes a couple of versions, and the latest is the Super SX-3 that will take 3.5″ shells. The SX-3 is limited to 3″ shells.

    The SX-3 is available in 12 and 20 gauge, and with 26″ and 28″ barrels. Stocks are either walnut or synthetic.

    I’m partial to the walnut and titanium finish version in 20 gauge with the 26″ barrel. I think it makes the perfect Texas dove gun. Light weight for carrying in the field, and soft recoil makes it a pleasure when the action is heavy.

    Being left handed, I appreciate the shims to adjust the stock for cast-off.

    The shotguns are made in Belgium. I’m betting FN.

    MSRP on the SX-3 is $1069.

  3. Why did you not include some basic facts in this article?
    I would like to know what it costs? What other gauges are available. Where was it made? ect.

  4. To me this a model 50 look alike except for the streamlined appearance of the barrel and stock .
    The 50 is one I used for my skeet shooting (12ga) and shot many 100 straights and also many 200’s . I can’t even guess how many shells I put through this gun but wore out 2 barrels and never once a problem , none .
    I shot all ga. with my model 32 Remington (4 sets of barrels) except for 12 using my 50 for that.
    I still have my model 50 in 20ga. and I wouldn’t trade it for anything .
    I will take a good hard look at this new one .

  5. It looks to be a fine shotgun. I have personally not used that model. My comment is based on the fact… Except for the “Active Value System”, in the picture shown it looks remarkably simular to a “Remington Model 48”. I started hunting with my Dad at 5 using a youth single shot 4-10, and by 7 I started using my Mom’s model 48, 20 Guage. My Dad shortened the shoulder stock for her and it fit me perfectly but by the time I was 10-11 it was too short, so my Dad reattached the piece of stock he cut off. I used that shotgun for the next 20 years for hunting and clays. Not one time did it ever malfunction. (Recoil Operated). I found a Model 48, 12 Guage at a pawn shop for $99.00 and have used it for the past 30 years for the same purpose and again, not one single malfunction.
    Again, that Winchester looks to be a “Very Fine” shotgun but I am quite sure, I got the best deal all around.

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