Winchester Super-X2 Practical questions/concerns


January 21, 2003, 01:37 PM
I have a Win Super-X2 Practical.

I love it.

However. . . .

I always shoot it from the shoulder. Ultra-light target loads simply do not cycle ever , dove loads (and higher) always do.

However, I took a defensive shotgun class, where I ended up having to shoot from less than perfect positions (including one-handed off-the-shoulder support side - don't ask).

The thing is, in these less than perfect positions, the gun would refuse to cycle. The dove loads that would cycle off the shoulder 100%would NEVER cycle the gun if I shot off the shoulder.

What gives? I thought this was a gas gun? Or is the SX-2 some sort of hybrid, that uses the gas to unlock; but recoil to move the bolt the rest of the way? I DID notice that the gas system only pushes the bolt a short distance, and it would have to move the rest of the way under inertia.

I have heard of this being an issue with the Benelli, which does not claim to use gas; but. . .

This is my only auto shotgun. Do other "gas" guns work the same, or differently?

Is there a way I can make the gun more reliable for self-defense purposes?

Also, can anyone explain fully how this is working, mechanically?


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Tom C.
January 21, 2003, 02:27 PM
The Winchester SX2/Browning Gold is a gas tappet system. The gas piston circles the mag tube. As it is pushed aft by the gas bled off from the barrel, it pushes a tappet rod through a hole in the receiver which then pushes the bolt carrier aft. The bolt carrier unlocks the bolt and the carrier and bolt continue aft on the momentum provided by the tappet gas piston. I expect that the SX2 Practical is set up for heavy loads like buck and slug. Lighter loads work, but require adequate resistance on the stock. If you intend to shoot light loads regularly, you may want to see if you can get the gas piston Winchester sells for the sporting clays gun. It is designed to work with the lighter loads.
Super X2, Walnut Sporting :
two gas pistons are provided to cover the extremes of factory ammunition loads

January 21, 2003, 02:53 PM
Thanks for the GREAT info - this is CLEARLY the place to come to for hard-core Shotgun knowledge.

How much would the barrel gas openings/ports affect this? Do SX-2 barrels all have the same sized gas port holes? I ask because I have heard that (at least for other gas shotguns) that different barrels DID come with different gas port sizes.

Is there a good way to confirm which piston I have? The Winchester site lists 4 on their parts list -

1. 3.5" (I guess it's safe to assume I don't have THIS one)
2. 3"
3. Heavy 12 ga Spt/Clay
4. Light 12 ga Spt/Clay

The idea of going lighter intreges me - I have a ton of cheap walmart special ultra-light shells that I would love to be able to run through with this gun.

January 21, 2003, 02:59 PM
So, if I understand you directly, the SX-2 is neither a full gas system (Rem 1187) or full recoil system (Benelli) - correct?

But it retains some limp-wristing sensitivity of the benelli - is the system itself as prone to limp-wristing as a Benelli? Does the weight partially negate this? Does the gas powering partially negate this? Will the gun be as susceptible to problems if I mount accessories/sidesaddles?

Given the appropriate piston for the loads (IMHO, I'd use 00buck and slugs), is the SuperX2 system, itself, a viable "defense" choice, when compared with the Rem 1187 or the Benelli?


January 21, 2003, 03:13 PM
Sure, just run 1000 shells of your chosen home defense ammunition through the SX2. Then, if it performs flawlessly, you should have no probs.

I think this issue is why you will find a leaning on this forum towards the more reliable pump SG as a "serious" defensive weapon.

I have well over 3000 shells of every description through my Winchester 1300 Defender without ANY glitches.


January 21, 2003, 03:26 PM
Way head of you.

I HAVE a Win 1300 defender :)

The Auto vs. pump is well covered in other threads, here and on TFL.

My SX2 discussion here is in relation to other autos, and is as much theoretical/mechanical geeking over the differences between the designs (on my part) as anything else.

January 21, 2003, 03:50 PM
Another question:

How much is frame battering an issue on Shotguns? (Especially considering the aluminum receiver on the Winchester incarnation).

Would the lighter-load piston risk breakage with heavier loads?


Tom C.
January 21, 2003, 04:04 PM
I think the reason for the piston requiring heavy loads is that is what they expect most people to use in it. The piston for lighter loads would batter the gun if used for heavy loads.
The difference between the Rem 1100 & 11/87 and the SX2 is the gas piston is attached to the bolt carrier. The gas stroke is still pretty short, with the piston and bolt carrier continuing on together for the full stroke. Don't know which may be better. Any auto can be subject to limp wrist failures. Lots of autos are tappet (M-1 Carbine, M-14), very few are 1 piece piston/op rod (M-1 Garand), and direct gas (M-16). Even the direct gas only has the gas connection for a short bit of the travel, then it continues on momentum.
Read the article from the Front Sight available on Winchester's web site on combat competition shotguns.

January 21, 2003, 06:12 PM

I realize that you're seeking knowledge & understanding of different guns' operation, BUT the SX-2 Practical is a purpose-built gun, designed for specific shotgunning games. Also, in a home defence role, it would be wise to be shooting some powerful ammo to gain the edge in reliability. In other words, who cares if it won't cycle light trap loads, unless your attacked by a box of rogue clay pigeons :)

I see where you're going with the piston-swapping, and if you fire heavy loads when the gun is set-up for light stuff, some battering will definitely take place. How much? I don't know. Risk breakage? Definitely.

January 21, 2003, 08:15 PM
The SuperX2 is PURELY a gas gun, there is no recoil operation involved. The cycle of the bolt is COMPLETED by inertia imparted to it by the gas piston. It is a world different from the Benelli, and very much like the 1100/1187.

How many rounds are through the X2 in question here? Are you keeping the bolt carrier rails wet with a light oil? Most gun oils are too thick BTW, 0W30 Mobil 1 is nearly perfect and a $4.00 a quart who can argue?

I have the 3.5" X2, and it will cycle 1 ounce loads perfectly down to about 1100 FPS loaded with medium and slower powders. 7/8 ounce loads need to be 1300+FPS with medium or slower powders. I have shot these loads from the hip and even one handed. Ever shoot a round of skeet for money one handed? Good fun. My gun should be much more difficult to get functioning with light loads than a 3" gun.

Heavy loads when set up for light loads will not be all that hard on it, there is a good buffer in the rear of the reciever. Keep an eye on the buffer though, if it gets torn up and you continue the gun will be trashed in a hurry.

January 22, 2003, 10:28 PM
Hey Battler,

Sorry I have no experience with the Super X2 Practical but have been eyeballing them for awhile now. Can you give me the benefit of your hindsight? Do you know any other sources of information about this shotgun? Are you glad you bought it?



January 23, 2003, 12:46 AM
I just bought a used one from a friend who has a bunch of Benelli's. He liked it, but went back to the Benelli. It had about a 100 rds through it when I bought it. I just fired about 50 rds of light shot, med shot, and slug rounds and didn't have one jam with it.

I read on another forum how one fella simply locked the bolt back for about four weeks straight and he had no problems at all. I use mine for 3 gun matches (limited division) and love it. I use a 11-87 (actually my son) for open division.

Bottom line is its a good shotgun and I'm not sorry about getting it.

January 23, 2003, 01:43 AM

Hope you don't mind me asking a few questions, I haven't had a chance to talk to anyone who has actually seen one yet.

Do you have the Mk1 or Mk2?
How is the stock finish? Hard and smooth or is there some grip to it?
What is the metal finish like? Standard blue?



January 23, 2003, 11:48 AM
I can help a little bit with those questions...I have the first series (with the rifle rear and fiber front instead of the second-series with the ghost rings). I handled the ghost-ring version at the SHOT show last year and didn't much care for the sights.

Lengthened the forcing cone and added a 8-round sidesaddle and a 2-shot "oh crap" shell holder, and have been running it with my HBAR in 3-Gun Limited.

Just swapped out the factory choke for a Briley light modified (at the advice of a local GM, who runs the same exact gun), but haven't run it with the new choke yet.

Anyway, the stock is slightly rough, but not sticky like the Hogue Overmold. The finish is a matte black, not particularly shiny. Plastic to metal fit is excellent, and the whole shotgun feels very solid. It is fast on target, tracks well, and shoots plate racks like a champ. I'm very happy with it, and would recommend the SX2 without reservation. I've been shooting it for about ten months now, no problems at all. Lots of 3 1/4 dram 2 2/4 #7 (my standard load), and some of the reduced recoil 00 Buck and reduced recoil 1oz. misfeeds, no cycle problems.


January 23, 2003, 11:53 AM
Its a MK 1.

Plastic stock kinda like the 11-87. There is some checkering to it.

Blue finish, rifle sights with a glow type front sight. The rear sight folds down if you just want to use the front sight only for shot rounds. The rear sight with slugs is pretty accurate.

The best thing about it is that its ready to go right out of the box for some competition shooting. Sure side saddles and stuff are helpful, but the shotgun is "good to go".

Remington is coming out with their version of the Practical SX-2 as well. I believe its a 1100 Practical. I have not seen one and don't really know what the price is gonna be, but it may be worth waiting for. I say "waiting for" because as there is MORE competition for guns......prices may come down. Something to think about anyway.

January 23, 2003, 01:48 PM
Thanks for the info. I'm glad that there might be a trend in producing "practical" shotguns. I think I will take 196pc's advice hold tight for a few months and see how the trend goes. Looks like you can pick up a SX2 for around $750 these days.

I'm not a competition shooter but am strongly attracted to a tough, reliable, fast, high capacity, gas operated shotgun for fun, hunting and defense. I don't care much for pump actions. I move around too much to maintain a collection of firearms so I'm trying to narrow my collection to one rifle, one shotgun and one handgun. So far I have a Springfield M1A and a Springfield XD40.

-- Dizos

January 23, 2003, 07:13 PM

I'm also looking at an SX2 for gun games. But is the FN self-loading police shotgun a rebranded Winchester? Everyone says FN's other shotguns and rifles are Winchester clones--does this hold true for this shotgun?

Tom C.
January 23, 2003, 08:40 PM
They look the same. They should. FN, Browning and Winchester are all owned by the same holding co. The features are slightly different. The FN gun has the Browning first round load feature that the Winchester doesn't have. Don't know what other differences there may be.
Take a look at the Winchester website. There is an article from Front Sight about competition shotguns.
Before some of these new designs were available, I took an old Remington Model 11 and set up my own IPSC shotgun. Aperture sights, etc.
Good luck on your choice.

January 24, 2003, 10:36 AM
Despite my starting this thread, I love my SX-2 Practical Mark 1. It would fail when limpwristing birdshot loads; but ran buck/slugs reliably (including one-handed OFF the shoulder - ouch), and bird perfectly off the shoulder.

The instructor's 11-87 choked on birdshot period, so I don't feel so bad :) Seems a SG can be tuned for heavy stuff only, or light stuff as well.

January 24, 2003, 10:39 AM
That FN looks like a Super-X2 Practical Mark 2; but with an 18" barrel. Oh, the temptation!!

That it has the browning loading trick (pushing first round into chamber automatically) - could it have the Browning Gold receiver? (Browning gold works the same way).

Another difference, if it uses the browning receiver, the Browning receiver is steel, whereas the Winchester SX2 is alloy.


January 24, 2003, 03:39 PM
Does anyone know how to get price quotes on those FN Self Loaders? What a nice set of features. I couldn't find any for sale anywhere on the web. I want one. Bad. I wonder if it will take chokes though...

-- Dizos

January 24, 2003, 04:23 PM
Me too I have been looking at the FNs for awhile...


January 24, 2003, 07:04 PM
The Gold reciever (Browning) IS ALLOY TOO.

January 25, 2003, 08:44 PM
Took it apart for a cleaning and I noticed that the magazine tube area where the gas ports are located on the barrel have a darkned area about four inches long. It didn't look like carbon build up to me and it wouldn't clean off. Is this normal??

January 25, 2003, 10:23 PM
Yes it is normal and it won't hurt a thing. As long as the carbon buildup is taken off every couple thousand rounds it will be fine, the black stain is carbon in the "pores" of the metal.

The only way to get it off that I would recommend is 2000 grit wet and dry paper, and only then if it bothers you so much that it cannot stay.

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