The Browning Superposed is a Nostalgic Clay Busting Champ
I've known for years that the Browning Superposed is a dream shotgun, a real clay buster if there ever was one. Maybe it's because my father has always been a shotgun aficionado, much the same way I geek out with rifles. It was many years ago now, but I remember when dad brought home his Superposed 12 gauge. I thought it must have been something fancy because he was pretty excited. So when I got the chance to play with one myself, I was expecting to be impressed.
The Superposed is a break-action over-under configured shotgun. It uses a single trigger to fire both barrels. It is said to be the last firearm designed by Browning himself, which may be part of why the gun has such a following. It was manufactured in various grades from the 1930s all the way into the 1980s.
When I received the Superposed for this article, I was excited to see which one it would be. Upon opening the box, pure class came flowing out – intricate engraving, a shiny black finish, and beautiful wood grain as one would expect from a Belgian-made Browning.
This particular gun had been made in the early 70s, but it still appeared to be brand new. It still had all the telltale signs of a gun with a low round count. It was smooth and snug to open and close the action. Everything inside was immaculate and still factory polished. Both 28-inch barrels had been marked skeet, which immediately spawned images in my mind of me holding this classy piece of art on station looking up at the high house.
The craftsmanship of this shotgun was refreshing and reminded me of better times. Every mating surface had perfect alignment. The engraving was flawless as it flowed between parts. As the gun hinges together, parts almost seem to melt together and lines disappear. In a world where everything is mass produced, stamped, injection molded, and so on, it felt good to hold something that had been handcrafted by skilled gunmakers. It’s truly beautiful to see pieces of craftsmanship like this still available.
To the Range!
Despite the ammo situation we are currently enduring, I was able to get a few boxes of trap loads to shoot in the Browning. With a case of clays, we headed up to the mountains to bust a few.
The Superposed shoots just like it looks, smooth and with class. The fairly open chokes in this set of barrels make the gun extremely handy on those fast-moving and close birds. The first couple of clays we threw were instantly turned into dust and not very far away either. The barrels are shorter than many shotguns, which also made the gun very quick to get on and ahead of targets.
The chambers are 2 3/4 inches, which is all I would want in a skeet gun. But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t take this gun on some kind of a hunt. The open patterns it shoots and its quick handling would be great for the fast-moving doves that love to zip by me as I hike through these mountains. But the beauty of this fine firearm would probably keep me from taking it on anything less than a fancy cultured hunt.
The safety/selector is crisp and audible, giving the user the ability to select which barrel fires first. This would obviously be a little more relevant if the barrels had differing chokes.
One thing that has for sure gotten better since the Superposed was manufactured is recoil pads. The Browning has an old, hard butt plate on it. Not that 12 gauges are overwhelming when it comes to recoil, but the soft rubber recoil pads found on modern shotguns provide a much more comfortable experience.
The vented rib over the barrels was complete with two beads to line up your perfect shot, which we were able to accomplish repeatedly. The feel and flow when shooting this shotgun was perfect. It’s a shooters gun for sure. The trigger was clean both to break and to reset for the second shot, at least once I went too fast shooting in front of the target.
We fired two different types of ammunition from Remington and Winchester. Both were trap loads in 1 1/8 ounces. Both types performed as expected as long as I got the lead right. Shooting the Browning Superposed was pure enjoyment with flawless function and perfect performance topped off with a touch of class and a little history.
There is a definitive line between used guns and used guns worth buying. That line is of course defined by the individual doing the buying. Guns like the Superposed are hard to pass up, not only because of their high level of quality and prestige, but also because they don’t make them anymore. It isn’t only a collector’s item, but one you can enjoy and shoot.