At some point, any waterfowl hunter is attracted to the guns that have some type of wet fowl-weather durability. Browning’s Wicked Wing meets that tough demand with their Cerakote Burnt Bronze finish, synthetic stock and forearm, and a fully chromed bore. Two beads guide your eyes down the barrel with an ivory bead mid-barrel and a large fiber-optic bead at the muzzle. Add to that the over-sized bolt and over-sized themed Briley bolt release and you have a great gun for some of the harshest conditions in hunting. Shadow Grass camouflage is applied with detail and has a dulled finish to reduce glare.
The history of the Maxus goes way back but owes much of its style and mechanical processes to the Browning Gold Hunter. Through years of design and testing the Maxus hit the shelves for the buying public in 2009. Here now several years later a new morph of the early Maxus gives us the Wicked Wing.
Features are indeed numerous but the Speed-Lock forearm is certainly something most have never experienced. No more unscrewing the magazine cap to clean and maintain the Maxus, simply a push of a button and lifting of a lever releases the forearm. This too is your attachment point for the sling making it recessed slightly into the forearm. Some pressure is required on the forearm down and towards the stock to engage the locking lever. Lost in this design is the ability of the sling to rotate at the end of the forearm.
Browning’s proprietary Lightning Trigger accomplishes triggering. Boasting a 5.2 Millisecond lock time the Maxus can repeat fire faster than any other autoloader on the market. My experience has the trigger as smooth and indeed quick, perhaps quicker than I can achieve. Nonetheless, it is solid and reliable. The trigger is housed in an aluminum alloy breach saving weight with an overall gun weight of about seven pounds.
Specifically, I bought this gun because of a recent episode of Atrial Fibrillation. The idea of a softer feel and less recoil I felt was important to keep me from accidentally bumping my heart back out of rhythm. Not only does it reduce the recoil it provides me a better opportunity to control muzzle jump on second or third heavy load shots. I have shot both heavy 3.5” and light one-ounce loads with no issues. Browning’s Power Drive gas system is an improvement over the older Gold Hunter as it contains powder residue much better. I can say as a Gold Hunter user I knew after a limited number of shots a cleanup would be necessary or eventually I would experience misfiring or incomplete ejection.
A couple of other features include the Speed Load Plus, Turn Key Magazine Plug, and Invector Plus choke tubes. Being able to load the chamber either from the breach or the magazine is a holdover from the A-5. It is quick and functional. Turn Key Magazine Plug is not something I might use unless Snow Goose hunting, but otherwise, three shells suit me fine. Finally, those Invector Plus choke tubes are special. Each is designed to replicate a waterfowl band – a good touch to finish off this great gun. All Wicked Wings include three choke tubes in an improved cylinder, modified, and full.
The Wicked Wing Maxus comes in 12-gauge only with 26” and 28” barrels with the option of a 3” or 3.5” chamber in both barrel lengths. Heel drop is 2”, Comb drop is 1.75”, and length of pull is 14.25”. Each gun comes with shims to adjust the drop and cant, plus one butt extension plate to place behind the Inflex butt pad. I have a longer length of pull and in the end added two more plates to get the gun comfortable and I used one shim to drop the comb slightly. Use those extras to make sure your gun fits.
My first shooting was at the range shooting one-ounce loads at skeet, trap, and sporting clays. I was comfortable with the gun and really found no faults. The cycling was smooth, quick, and positive. The gun with those loads is very soft on the shoulder. I later migrated to 3” and 3.5” waterfowl loads and I was very impressed at how the gas Power Drive recoil-operated. Under these loads, the system really excels. No problems at all with heavy loads.
The Browning Wicked Wing Shadow Grass MSRP is $1,779.00 to 1,899.00