New Browning Cynergy O/U Offers Unique, Refreshing Design
Photos & Story
by Larry S. Sterett
John M. Browning was probably the foremost gun designer of the 20th century. That said, he would have been proud to have the Browning name on a new over/under (OU) shotgun designed by a personable young engineer, Dwight Potter. Tabbed the Cynergy, the new model was trotted out to a group of gun writers in late January, prior to the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show.
Currently available in two grades, field and sporting, both in 12-gauge, with walnut stocks and barrel lengths in a choice of 26, 28, 30, or 32 inches, depending on the grade. (Composite stock models in the same two grades will be available later.) Weight of the Cynergy will range from 7 pounds, 5 ounces, to 7 pounds, 14 ounces, depending on the grade, density of the walnut, and the barrel lengths.
At first glance, some design changes will immediately be noted on the Cynergy: the racy, sloping down forearm with the tip near the underside of the over barrel; the squared-off trigger guard bow; the shape of the recoil pad, and the grooves on the buttstock.
Closer examination will reveal no receiver knuckle on which the forearm iron would normally rotate. Nor is there a hinge pin. Instead, it appears the knuckle has been reversed and is on the forearm iron.
When the Cynergy is taken down, and especially when the buttstock is removed, the major new features can be noted. Removal of the forearm (it has a conventional latch lever on the underside) and the barrel assembly reveals the MonoLock Hinge.
This design permits a lower receiver profile than the standard Browning underbolt type of locking which has a hinge pin on which the barrel assembly pivots. It provides more surface area, resulting in additional strength and less wear.
Rectangular locking bolts lock into recesses alongside the underbarrel, with the ejector spring assemblies located forward of the monobloc. (Corners within the receiver are radiused to strengthen traditionally weak areas.)
With the buttstock removed the new firing system is revealed. No hammers on the Cynergy. The mechanical-set assembly features a "Reversed Striker" design that uses an actuator to reverse the direction of the impact force from the pin to the striker.
When the shotgun is opened using the conventional top lever located on the upper tang, and the barrels rotated downward, the striker spring is pulled forward to compress it. Pulling the trigger releases the spring energy to the lower end of the actuator, moving it rearward approximately 3/16-inch.
This produces a pivot or rocking effect causing the upper end to drive the striker forward. It's similar to the push-rod, rocker arm, tappet assembly on an overhead valve engine. It's simple, it works, and the absence of a hammer reduces the length of travel, providing reduced locktime.
Three gold-plated trigger shoes are provided with each Cynergy. These are well-shaped, with slightly convex faces, and differ in width and face surface-smooth or checkered. They're adjustable for length-of-pull, which actually changes the position of the trigger finger on the trigger.
The black rubber recoil pad is not the usual flat base design, but an Inflex Recoil Pad with a convex base. The butt of the stock is concave to accept the curve of the pad, and a 1/2-inch black synthetic spacer is provided to increase the stock length, if desired. (Standard length-of-pull is 14-1/2 inches.) The Inflex Pad is stated to reduce felt recoil by as much as 25%, and three different pad lengths are available, differing in °-inch increments.
The buttstocks on the Composite models will feature combs adjustable for height in 1/8-inch increments. Accessory combs will be available to permit adjustment for cast-off or cast-on, if desired.
All Cynergy barrels are back-bored, and come with three Invector-Plus choke tubes-full, modified, and improved cylinder. The barrels on the Sporting grade guns are ported and the ventilated top rib is tapered in width. The field grade barrels are not ported and the ventilated top rib measures 7.6mm wide. The side ribs between the barrels are ventilated on both grades.
The new Browning Cynergy O/U shotgun is one of the most unique and refreshing designs to be introduced to shooters in many years. Coupled with Winchester ammunition, it can be deadly on both clay targets and live birds. Potter and his cohorts have done an excellent job. Browning would have been proud.
Other new Browning shotguns include the Gold Evolve, with updated receiver, magazine tube cap, ventilated rib and stock styling. The time-tested single-barrel 12-gauge BT-99 is available in a Micro grade with more compact stock dimensions to accommodate smaller-framed shooters, and there are three new versions of the popular Citori O/U. These include the Lightning, White Lightning, and XS Special.
The XS is available in 12-gauge only, and features: an adjustable comb; satin finish silver-nitride receiver with special engraving; floating tapered ventilated top rib with HiViz Pro-Comp sight, and ported back-bored barrels with five Invector-Plus Midas choke tubes.
The Lightning grades are available in a choice of 12-, 20-, or 28-gauge, plus .410 bore. Features include: a rounded pistol grip; Lightning-style forearm; engraved receivers-Silver nitride on the White, and back-bored barrels on the 12- and 20-gauge versions. Three interchangeable Invector-Plus choke tubes are standard.
The Cynergy was checked out at Nilo Farms, first on the Sporting Clays, 5-Stand Sporting Clays and trap ranges, and later on a series of hunts for pheasants, ducks, and chukar partridge. Considering temperatures were in the 11-14°F range, and there was three or more inches of snow on the ground, the new Cynergy performed beautifully, and the shooters did well.
Ducks at Nilo fly above treetop level off the top of a hill to down open water farther on. The shooters, two per blind, are located in cornstalk blinds around the base of the hill. The ducks pass over at distances estimated to be 40 to 60 yards, depending on the blind location relative to the ducks.
With tree branches between, many ducks never wavered through a hail of size 3 steel shot, and a number of branches were pruned. After shooting time was over, a number of ducks decided the air was apparently better at lower altitudes and zipped past the shooters at shoulder level, as if to mock them a bit; a few ducks even took the scenic round and walked to the water.
Pheasant and chukar hunting at Nilo is done with retrievers or pointers through stubble or milo patches, with a hunter on each side of the patch. Safety is practiced at all times and no shooting is done across the stubble. The dogs this shooter hunted with were eager and worked the patches well. The cold weather was making the birds sit a bit tight and the dogs caught a couple on the ground.
Nilo Farms, located just north of Godfrey, IL, was a project of the renowned industrialist and conservationist John M. Olin, the Olin of the Olin Corporation.
Established in 1952, Nilo is a privately owned preserve that represents the best in game management and safety. Currently managed by Roger Jones, it maintains an on-going commitment to advanced game management techniques.
Nilo was also the home to the legendary King Buck, a black retriever who established records that are unsurpassed, and whose statue resides just north of the main building. King Buck completed 83 National Championships out of a possible 85. (No other retriever has successfully completed 62 consecutive series in the National Championship stake.)
In 1959, a wildlife artist submitted a watercolor study of King Buck in the Federal Migratory Waterfowl stamp competition. His watercolor was selected as the best, making King Buck the first and only dog to appear on a federal waterfowl stamp, a great tribute to a great retriever.
Winchester ammunition was used exclusively in the new Cynergy shotguns, and there are a number of new loads. On clay targets, the shooters used the new 12-gauge Super Target load featuring 1-1/8 ounces of size 8 or 7° lead shot loaded to a 2 or 3-dram equivalent at 1,145 or 1,200 feet-per-second (fps). (Two 20-gauge Super Target loads are available, with 7/8-ounce of shot, and there's a 3-dram 12-gauge load with 1-1/8 ounces of size 7 steel shot.).
These shells feature a low base hull with cup-shape base wad and eight-fold pie crimp. These are not compression-formed hulls and are not intended to be reloadable. (They tend to crack or split at the mouth.)
On pheasants the load of choice was the new Super X Heavy Field load containing 1 ounces of size 5 shot. (Size 4 shot is also available.) There's also new Super-X Super Pheasant load in both 12- and 20-gauge featuring copper-plated shot; 1-3/8 ounces of 4, 5, or 6, in the 12- and an ounce of 5 or 6 in the 20-gauge. Velocity for the Super Pheasant loads is 1,330 fps.
On the high flying ducks, the shooters were using the new Xpert Hi-Velocity Waterfowl load in standard length (2 inches) hull. Containing 1-1/16 ounces of size 3 steel shot at 1,550 fps, this load did a good job on the birds actually hit.
This heat-sealed, six-fold load is available with BB, 2 or 4 size shot, and in 3°- and 3-inch hulls. The maximum load is 1-3/8 ounces of steel shot in the 3°-inch hull. (No new 10-gauge Xpert Hi-Velocity load, although there is a new 4°-dram equivalent 10-gauge Supreme XX Turkey load featuring 2 ounces of copper-plated, buffered hardened lead shot (4, 5, 6) at 1,300 fps.)
For the slug shooters there's a new 3-inch 12-gauge Supreme Partition Gold load pushing a 385-grain sabot out the muzzle at 2,000 fps. Intended for use in a fully rifled barrel, it should be the ultimate shotgun slug. (Not in the same league, or even close, but interesting, is a new Super-X 3-inch .410 buckshot load featuring five 000 buck shot at 1,135 fps.)
In the AAA Super Sport loads, size 9 shot is now available in 12-gauge loadings, and size 8 in the .410 loads. (Size 8° was already available in the .410.)
In the centerfire metallic cartridge arena the big news is the introduction of six .45 GAP (Glock) pistol loads. Respectively, these include: a 230-grain jacketed WinClean; 230-grain jacketed hollowpoint; 230-grain full metal jacket, and a 185-grain Silvertip hollowpoint. (There are also to be a couple of Ranger LE loads. One will be loaded with a 175-grain Frangible SF, and the second with a 230-grain SXT bullet.)
All loads equal or exceed the muzzle velocities of corresponding .45 ACP loads, which means .45 ACP capability in the smaller, lighter Glock Model 37 pistol. (The .45 GAP round is 0.138-inch shorter than the .45 ACP round.)
Last year Winchester introduced the .223 and .243 Winchester Super Short Magnum (WSSM) loads. For 2004 it's the .25 WSSM, featuring 85- and 115-grain Ballistic Silvertip bullets loaded to 3,470 and 3,060 fps, respectively. That equals the ballistics of the Remington .25-06, but in a small package.
(Someone will soon be chambering the AR15 for the .25 WSSM, as the .223 WSSM chambering is already available from one manufacturer.) A .223 WSSM Super-X round with 120-grain Positive Expanding Point bullet loaded to 2,990 fps, is also available.
Seven new loads, from the .270 Winchester to the .338 Winchester Magnum in the Supreme line, are featuring the new AccuBond CT bullet. This bullet design, a collaboration between Winchester and Nosler, is Winchester's first bonded bullet. It consists of a bonded core, boattail bullet with black Lubalox coating and a red polymer tip. Bullet weights range from 140 grains in the .270 Winchester to 225 grains in the .338 Magnum.
In 2003, Winchester introduced the .22 WMR with a 45-grain plated Dyna Point bullet at 1,600 fps. There are no reported current plans to introduce any other rimfire loads in 2004.
Browning will be introducing a number of other new products in 2004, including: a rifled choke tube for shotguns; knives; clothing, and accessories. But the biggest news has to be the Cynergy over/under shotgun. Some shotgunners may think it's a bit racy, but it's definitely an American "classic" with Italian styling.