Gun Review: The Winchester SX3 Extreme Turkey

Is The Winchester SX3 Extreme Turkey — The Ultimate Turkey Gun?

Whether you hunt southeastern BC, southern Manitoba and Ontario or Alberta’s limited entry draw — you know there are guns that one can use to hunt turkey and then there are “turkey guns.” Turkey guns are shotguns designed solely for the purpose of hunting turkey. The Winchester SX 3 Extreme Turkey is such a shotgun — and much more.

I have been fortunate enough to have hunted wild turkey in Canada, the United States and in New Zealand and in all cases I have used a shotgun that was designed primarily for waterfowl hunting. No doubt they worked effectively, as I have taken a number of fine toms. But the moment I laid eyes on the Winchester SX 3 Extreme Turkey I knew I was entering a new realm of revolutionary turkey hunting. With its Truglo Red Dot scope and its immediate rugged aesthetic appeal, it not only had the overall look of a gun designed to hunt turkey but once in my hands I knew I could hardly wait to take it afield.

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Fast Action

Before I venture into all the fine features this gun has to offer I want to mention the first outstanding feature, a mechanical one that left me running to my files and the Internet for more information. I best back up a bit first by stating that I have owned and used many auto loading shotguns over the years but when I pressed the action release button on this shotgun it closed so fast that I had to repeat it again and again before I realized there had to be much more to this action than I was aware of. Was I right or was I right?! The SX 3 Extreme Turkey is touted as being the fasted shotgun in the world. In fact, it has been timed at firing 12 shots in an amazing 1.42 seconds. That works out to 457 rounds per minute, which is about the speed of a .50 calibre Browning M2 belt-fed heavy machine gun. Simply remarkable! On the range it threw the empty hulls well beyond 10 feet (three metres) at times. This is some kind of innovative action. Now let’s move on and discuss the other design features that collectively make this the ultimate turkey gun.

Truglo Red Dot Scope

The first and most pronounced of its features is its cantilever mounted Truglo Red Dot scope. It comes as standard equipment with the gun and clearly provides an advantage for longer range shooting and for quick follow up shots. It has a precise five MOA (minute of angle) red dot that can be adjusted to 11 levels of brightness, about perfect for whatever light conditions you might find yourself hunting in. It also is fully adjustable for windage and elevation. And with its nigh onto unlimited eye relief and wide field of view, it offers the hunter a real shooting advantage under any number of difficult or awkward shooting positions. Its multi-coated lens assists in eliminating unwanted refection and with its additional integrity features that include being waterproof, fogproof and shockproof to 1,000 Gs of shock.

Furthermore, it comes with an integrated Weaver-style mount for quick and easy mounting or removal from the cantilever rail without any loss of zero — which, if necessary for some reason, will allow the hunter the use of the integral iron sights. It includes both front and rear lens caps and a battery in the top of the light intensity dial. Then, as a final touch, it is covered in Mossy Oak New Break-Up camouflage to offer an ideal match to the gun’s camouflage in Mossy Oak.

Additional Features

Let’s start with general appearance, fit and feel. The protective Dura Touch Armor Coating on a weather resistant composite stock provides for a great all weather feel. It also makes the gun all but impervious to extreme cold or wet weather. The all new stock and forearm features contours that give the gun a real enhanced look and feel. The fit and balance with its 24-inch (61 centimetre) barrel and weight of seven-and-a-half pounds (3.4 kilograms) was excellent. It came on point with little effort and could be readily balanced there for repetitive shots.

Next, this gun features a Quadra-Vent Forward Ducting System that is designed to more efficiently vent excess gasses forward, which is particularly effective when shooting heavy 3½-inch loads where the Active Valve system regulates bolt speed by venting off additional gasses though the piston. This unique value system is part and parcel to the speed of this gun that allows you to fire about five shells in a half-second. Too fast for me — but still nice to know it can be done. The new generation Pachmayr Decelerator pad that incorporates a proprietary insert, which won’t snag on clothing, aids in both your ability to get your gun to your shoulder quickly but once there will dampen recoil as well. The gun can also be fine-tuned for a more personalized fit of cast and drop by as much as a ¼-inch with the use of spacers that come standard by fitting them between the stock and receiver. The length of pull can likewise be altered, which in their totality provide for all but a custom fit gun.

The 24-inch (61 centimetre) gun barrel with is Back-Bored Technology provides optimum patterns and is chambered at 3½-inches to handle the heaviest of turkey loads. It includes a Extra-Full Extended Turkey choke tube making for tight patterns right out to extended ranges. It is easy to assemble and disassemble for cleaning and I found the behind the trigger safety to be to my liking as well.

Field Test

On the range I used a Laserlyte Kryptonyte Green Laser Bore Sighter in an attempt to sight this gun in at 40 yards without burning up a lot of powder in doing so. The only snag I ran into was that at 40 yards with the Truglo Red Dot scope I could not pick up the light on the target — no doubt in part due to the extreme brightness of the day. So after ensuring that the gun was inoperable, my partner was able to point out the light on the target and with both some windage and elevation adjustments I was instantly on target. However, before I get into the details of how the gun actually performed, I had best start by mentioning the one and only negative feature that I could find and that was its trigger. The factory-set pull of six pounds, six ounces for a gun such as this is just too heavy. But I must clarify this by adding that I’m a very trigger-fussy hunter whereas someone else may not find this to be problematic. Mechanically, it performed flawlessly as it never malfunctioned once throughout the test, although I must admit that the heavy turkey loads sure let me know they were packing a lot of oomph.

On the pattern board the gun performed beyond even my expectations as with Federal Premium Mag Shok three-inch, #6 Turkey Loads with Flight Control Wads I was able to put 27 pellets into a four-inch (10 centimetres) circle at 40 yards and 39 into the kill zone on the turkey head. Yes — that is not a typo, it was 27 pellets into a four-inch circle and 39 into the kill zone respectively at 40 yards. Wow, was I impressed! No turkey is going to walk away from this load in that gun. Hold on his head right out to 40-yards and that bird will grace your dinner table. But not being one to shy away from trying alternatives, I attempted to better this with the following results (see sidebar).

Pellet Counts At 40 Yards (Averaged)


Turkey Head Kill Zone

4-inch Circle

Federal Premium Mag Shok 3-inch #6 Turkey Load w/ Flight Control Wad 39 pellets 27 pellets
Federal 3-inch Buffered Power Magnum 1 5/8 oz # 6 shot 26 pellets 12 pellets
Winchester Double X Magnum 3-inch BB shot 4 pellets 3 pellets

As you can see by the results all would have effectively killed a turkey but the Federal Turkey Loads with their Flight Control Wad was the hands down winner. This is one heck of a gun and that would warm the cockles of any serious turkey hunter.


Gauge: 12
Barrel Length: 24” (61 cm)
Chamber: 3½ inches
Choke Tube: XF+
Overall Length: 45” (114 cm)
Length of Pull: 14¼” (36 cm)
Drop at Comb: 1¾” (4.5 cm)
Drop at Heel: 2” (5 cm)
Normal Weight: 7½ lbs (3.4 kg)

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