Browning BXD Waterfowl Shotshell Review

Browning BXD Waterfowl Shotshell Review

Old-time hunters will recall Browning was briefly in the ammunition business during the late 1970s. They'll also recall the "power rating" on those boxes, which attempted to guide selection by the range of the expected shooting distance.

Loaded on the cheap, it never caught on with hunters.

The premium plated round steel of the Browning BXD Waterfowl load maintains high velocity downrange for deep penetration.

But Browning's new BXD Waterfowl shotshells are the antithesis of that old ammo: quality (commensurate with that of Browning firearms) was the first rule in designing and charging these new shells.


Loaded by Winchester, the new ammo relies on quality components, some specially-developed that we'll get to in a minute, while remaining affordable. Ben Frank, Browning ammunition's brand manager, stated emphatically, "Browning ammunition is not a re-packaged Winchester product."


I spent two unproductive days in Utah trying to shoot some ducks with this new offering. Funny to a point, our other group hit ducks both days while we went duckless.


The cases are distinctive black in 12-gauge with the iconic Browning trademark stamped in gold along with the shot size and weight. The heads are brass-plated steel and also bear the Buckmark. The load I tested had a velocity of 1,450 fps, sufficient to ensure good clean kills with No. 2s to 50 yards.

The wad looks a lot like the one Winchester loads for Blind Side in some areas. But it is different. Colored a chocolate brown, its skirt is intended to expand like the brakes on an airplane's wings. And the shot cup is not slit in the conventional sense.

The Browning wad is slit into six panels, each of which bulge as it moves through the air, adding to the wind resistance and stripping the wad from the shot. Exactly when the shot separates from the wad is a question mark, but the wads recovered during pattern testing flew within a few yards of the 40-yard target.


High velocity in the BXD Waterfowl allows for maximum downrange energy.

Conventional wisdom has always been to shoot more open chokes with steel shot, hence skeet or improved cylinder for ducks and modified for geese. Not so with BXD Waterfowl. In fact, the box recommends, "Works best in modified, improved modified or full chokes."

Frank said with the style of wad there were variances in point of impact with open chokes, but the tighter three provided both the friction to begin wad and shot separation and also steadied the shot column for proper accuracy.


During the first split of Maryland goose season I put the BXD Waterfowl line to the test. I prefer BBs for Canadas, but No. 2s within reasonable range work fine, and indeed they did. The birds were close, but using a Trulock Super Waterfowl Full, kills were impressive.

Back at the range, I shot a series of patterns with Trulock chokes that provided exact constrictions in my Remington Versa Max of .010 for IC, .020 for Mod, and .030 for Full. The results were surprising.

The aerodynamically stabilized wad inside the Browning BXD Waterfowl Shotshell puts more pellets on target.

The IC provided 60 percent patterns at 40 yards, the Mod 59 percent and Full 63 percent; I'd call that a tie! What I did find though, was a couple of patterns from the Mod and IC showed some vertical stringing that came as a result of the longer shot retention in the shot cup.

It's a fact of life with shot-retention wads that on occasion there will be what ballistic engineers call "slinging," i.e. the shot cup and shot charge begin to oscillate and cause the shot to disperse in a side-to-side or vertical manner. In my case it was vertical with 26 pellets from the Mod choke outside of the 30-inch circle and 29 with the IC.

The slinging footprint was noticeable as a pattern of pellet distribution. Would this bother your shooting? No. In fact I'm sure if you put other loads using pellet-retaining wads to the test, they would sling as well. It is a fairly infrequent occurrence.

Browning BXD Extra Distance Steel

GaugeLengthVelocity (fps)Shot WeightShot Size
123 ½1,5001½ oz2
123 ½1,5001½ ozBB
1231,4501¼ oz4
1231,4501¼ oz2
1231,4501 ½ ozBB
1231,3001 oz2

Recommended for You

See how this new line performed in the field! Clothing & Waders

Field Tested: Sitka Women's Waterfowl System

Emily Kantner - July 19, 2019

See how this new line performed in the field!

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl. Stories

The Accidental Duck Dog

Jack Ballard

A dainty English setter suited for the uplands has the drive for waterfowl.

Keep your retriever sharp in the offseason. Retriever

Waterfowl Workouts: 3 Summer Duck Dog Drills

Tony J. Peterson

Keep your retriever sharp in the offseason.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Arkansas Snow Geese

Arkansas Snow Geese

Wildfowl Editor Skip Knowles took this short video showing all the Snow Geese flying. Let's just say, he had a very good hunt!

Swedish Duck Hunt

Swedish Duck Hunt

Kevin Steele takes part in a family driven duck hunt in Sweden.

Browning A5 Shotgun -

Browning A5 Shotgun - 'Gun Stories'

Gun Stories host Joe Mantegna talks about the origin and history of the Browning A5 shotgun.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during 2019, company CEO Charlie Holder shows off the limited edition Yentzen Classic aimed at commemorating the life and times of company founder Jim 'Cowboy' Fernandez. With a special autographed box and a laser engraved call body, the Cowboy Classic is a perfect way to honor the legacy of the 1959 world duck calling champ and inventor of the double-reed duck call. Calls

Cowboy Fernandez Commemorative Yentzen Classic Duck Call

Lynn Burkhead - January 28, 2019

As Groves, Texas duck call maker Sure-Shot Game Calls celebrates their 60th anniversary during...

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer.

Of course, it Boats

8 Best Mud Motors for 2016

David Hart - May 26, 2016

Let's face it, that old mud motor from two years ago isn't cuttin' it any longer. Of course,...

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter from How-To

Building a Duck Boat Blind on a Budget

Mike Marsh - May 10, 2016

Jim Orth needed'a simple blind for hunting Lake St. Clair. A staffing recruiter and outfitter...

See More Stories

More Ammo

The debate over who makes the best waterfowl load is never-ending. And when Spectra Shot enters the Ammo

Waterfowl Loads: Spectra Shot Review

L.P. Brezny - November 14, 2013

The debate over who makes the best waterfowl load is never-ending. And when Spectra Shot...

With ammo like the Hevi-X, hunters now own the advantage says author John M. Taylor. Ammo

Hunters Have the Edge With New Hevi-X Load

John Taylor - May 24, 2018

With ammo like the Hevi-X, hunters now own the advantage says author John M. Taylor.

Little guns and fast loads seem to be the direction in advanced shotshell designs for 2013. Ammo

Hevi-Shot Speed Ball Review

L.P. Brezny - November 26, 2013

Little guns and fast loads seem to be the direction in advanced shotshell designs for 2013.

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.