The over/unders (O/U) can make for a great turkey gun. Having two different chokes on tap lets you match the range to your bird, and no other gun gives such fast follow-up shots. The new Browning Cynergy Ultimate Turkey Shotgun gives you that and a whole lot more.
Some have called the new Cynergy revolutionary and it certainly takes O/Us to another level. This is definitely one tricked out gun. Let’s get the obvious out of the way first, then we can get to the really good stuff.
The Browning Cynergy Ultimate Turkey Shotgun wears composite furniture with strategically placed rubber inserts. Mossy Oak Break-Up Country camouflage is topped off with Browning’s Dura-Touch Armor Coating. The soft touch coating makes the Cynergy easy to grasp, even when wet. It’s topped off with an adjustable comb to get your cheek weld just where you need it for quick sight acquisition. The top barrel sports a full length rib, fiber optic front sight, and Marbles Arms Bullseye rear sight. There’s also a short 1913 rail you can use to mount a red dot. More on that when we get to the range.
The 3.5-inch chambered 12 gauge Cynergy weighs in empty at 7 lbs., 6 ozs., is well balanced, and quick pointing. A very effective recoil pad they call “Inflex” eases the pain of shooting full snot 3.5-inch 12 gauge loads. The recoil pad also has a Parylene coating that helps it slide over clothing and keeps the pad pliable. It shouldered smoothly every time for me.
- Chambering: 12 Ga., 3.5-inch chamber
- Barrel: 26 inches
- OA Length: 43 inches
- Weight: 7 lbs., 6 ozs.
- Sights: Front, fiber optic; Rear, Marbles Arms bullseye
- Stock: Composite
- Action: Over/Under
- Finish: Mossy Oak Break-Up Country
- Capacity: 2
- Chokes: Full, Modified, Improved Cylinder, Ultimate Spreader, Ultimate Full Turkey
- MSRP: $2,339.99
Now for the good stuff. These are the features that clearly set the Cynergy apart from other O/Us. First the Browning Cynergy has a compact action block machined from a steel forging. Instead of hinging on trunnion pins, the Cynergy hinges on quarter-circle cut-outs in the action block with matching projections on the barrel monobloc. This provides considerably more surface area which contributes to the strength and durability of the receiver. Combined with rectangular locking pins with “Wear-In-Relief”, this makes for a solid lockup that should stay tight for a long, long time.
The trigger is superb. It has a little take-up then breaks crisply at about 6 pounds with very little overtravel. The superior trigger characteristics come from the unique action of the Cynergy. There are no hammers. This is a striker-fired gun where the springs work directly on the firing pins via a pair of levers. The sear works directly on the levers producing the crisp trigger break and reduced lock time, the time between when the trigger breaks and the firing pin ignites the primer. Quicker is better.
Another unique trait of the trigger is that it’s completely mechanical. No inertia is needed for the hammers (strikers) to set. This eliminates the chance that the second barrel won’t fire if the first shot is a misfire, giving you a more dependable firearm.
The safety is tang mounted and is also used to select barrels. Instead of being labeled I and II which is common, the positions are labeled O and U for clarity. (I can’t be the only one who’s forgotten which barrel II was.)
You might think that this is enough innovation for one gun, but no, there’s more. There’s a lot going on inside the barrels. First they are back bored. If you’re not familiar with back-boring a shotgun chamber, there are several advantages to making the bore diameter slightly larger than standard. There is less pressure of the shot charge against the barrel wall. This reduces friction allowing the charge to accelerate more quickly while also reducing shot deformation. Another bonus is a slight reduction in recoil.
Reducing shot deformation, of course, is the secret to keeping the shot pattern tight and consistent. To that end, the taper in the transition from the bore diameter to the barrel diameter (forcing cone) is longer than standard. This is a popular customizing practice that comes standard on the Cynergy. The Cynergy Turkey gun also comes with extended choke tubes which provide a smoother transition for the shot through the chokes. As you’ll see in the range review, it all works.
At typical turkey hunting ranges, you just can’t miss with this gun. (After all, half the fun is calling that gobbler in with your favorite call.) I don’t generally shoot at much more than 25 yards and you’re not likely to get many shots at less than 30 feet, so that’s how I set up the targets.
Federal was kind enough to send me four of their most popular turkey loads for this review. I have to say that game specific ammunition has come a long way. We’ll look at some of the innovations they use to make more effective shells along with the pluses and minuses.
Generally, the Browning Cynergy Ultimate Turkey Shotgun was very enjoyable to shoot. It handles well regardless of whether you’re breaking clays or shooting birds. Just because it says “Turkey” doesn’t mean it won’t make a good all-around shotgun. It points quickly, has a great trigger, and the Inflex recoil pad works great.
Conditions at the range were 42 degrees Fahrenheit with a 15-20 mph wind blowing left to right. Typical Colorado high country turkey weather. For the longer shots, I used the Ultimate Full Turkey extended choke. For the closer shots, I used the extended Spreader.
I worked thorough the loads from the lightest to the heaviest for obvious reasons. First was the Federal Premium 2¾-inch Heavyweight Turkey ammunition throwing 1 ¼ oz of #7 shot. You might question the use of 7s on turkey, but this isn’t lead shot. Federal uses a metal that’s 35% denser than lead. That means this shot hits like a 3-inch round of #5 lead shot but with half the recoil. As you can see from the photos, it does the job from 25 yards. The harder shot doesn’t deform and they use a special wad that stays with the shot charge longer, meaning tighter groups at range. However, this proved a disadvantage at short distances.
From 15 feet, you get basically the effect of a slug. Of course, with the Cynergy’s sights, your odds of a head/neck hit are still pretty good on a standing bird. At 30 feet, a more realistic distance, you get at least some of the shot spreading enough to give you some margin for error.
I’d recommend this ammunition to anyone who has an aversion to recoil. It’s a load you can shoot all day.
Next up was the Federal Premium 3RD Degree 3 inch. These shotshells use an interesting combination for optimum performance regardless of the range. The 1 ¾ oz shot charge is made up of three different types of shot. Going from the muzzle end of the round, 20 percent of the shot is #6 lead, on top of #5 copper plated lead making up the next 40% of the shot charge, on top of the same #7 Heavyweight shot that’s used in the Heavyweight Turkey above. That makes up the final 40%. The 3RD Degree also uses a FLIGHTCONTROL wad like the Heavyweight Turkey. At 25 yards, the pattern was a little tighter than the Heavyweight Turkey. Although my aim was off to the right, I still got plenty of shot in the center of the target. At 30 feet it performed similarly to the Heavyweight Turkey thanks to the wad staying with the shot charge longer. However, the shot spread enough to give you a nice cloud of shot around the turkey’s head. The recoil was more pronounced, but still quite manageable.
The 3.5-inch version of the 3RD Degree ammunition performed like the 3-inch version with two notable exceptions. First, as you’d expect from a shot charge weighing 2 ounces, there was more shot on target. Secondly, this sucker kicked like a mule. Not that you’d be likely to notice if you had a nice Tom standing in front of you, but at the range . . . ouch! Of course, that would be mitigated somewhat in a semi-auto due to the action spreading the recoil pulse over a longer time.
However, this is where the Inflex recoil pad earned its keep. As you know, when a shotgun recoils, it kicks back into your shoulder, at the same time the barrel rises whacking you in the cheekbone with the stock. That sometimes hurts more than your shoulder. The Inflex pad has an internal skeleton of harder material which causes the rear of the stock to move downwards, eliminating the hit to the face. It worked as advertised so I didn’t get quite as beat up as I could have.
Depending on your tolerance to recoil, I’d recommend either of the 3RD Degree ammo for anyone using a single shot, bolt action, or semi-automatic shotgun. When you don’t have the advantage of being able to choose your choke like you can with the Cynergy, it gives you a more flexible shot pattern to accommodate different distances.
Call me old school, but my favorite was the 3-inch Federal Magnum Turkey Load with 1 7/8 ozs. of extra hard #5 lead shot. That doesn’t mean the ammunition was old school though. First Federal cushions the shot charge with a granulated buffer to minimize deformation. Then they use what they call Strut-Shock, a plastic wad with struts under the shot cup to minimize flattening of the shot at ignition. Plus, they put on the box, “Remember to take a kid hunting.” Gotta love that.
As far as performance, patterning from 25 yards was excellent. From 30 feet, the Spreader opened up the pattern so that it looked very similar to the 25 yard pattern from the full choke.
The great thing with the Cynergy is that you can mix and match your ammo however you like. Put your favorite long distance ammo in the choked barrel and use your favorite short range ammo in the more open barrel. The Federal ammunition and the Browning Cynergy make a great turkey hunting combination.
A note on the sights. The Marbles Arms Bullseye works great with the fiber optic at the end of the barrels. It’s easy to get a good sight picture quickly. Thanks to the optics rail, you can put on a red dot if you like as well.
MSRP is $2,339.99 which is a good price for all the features you get. Street price, however, is under $2,000. Definitely worth a look if you’re shopping for a great shotgun for long beards.
To purchase on GunsAmerica.com, click this link: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=browning%20cynergy%20turkey.
For more information on Federal Shotshells go to: https://federalpremium.com/products/shotshell.aspx.
For more info on the new camo styles from X JAGD, go to: https://xjagd-usa.com.