Photo Credit: Johnson Purimitla

Winchester SX4 Upland Field Review: A New Shotgun With Throwback Design

A new expansion to the popular SX4 line, Winchester built its new Upland Field around the company’s Action Valve Gas System. It holds true to the reliability and performance consumers expect from the brand.

Every fall, we load up the guns, ammo, dogs, and gear and make the trek across Minnesota and down into the heart of pheasant country — South Dakota. This year, I had the opportunity to put Winchester’s new SX4 Upland Field to the test on opening weekend to see what the buzz was about.

Winchester SX4 Upland Field First Impressions

Winchester SX4 Upland Field Review

As soon as I got my hands on the SX4 Upland Field, I was immediately struck by the aesthetics. The walnut stock pairs beautifully with the matte-nickel receiver donned with scroll engravings of pheasants breaking cover.

The gun feels light and maneuverable, and the size of the safety stands out immediately when holding the gun — as though your trigger finger is already anticipating the action to come.

In the Field

While the SX4 Upland Field ($1,200) isn’t the lightest semi-auto on the market at just under 7 pounds, it does carry well. The weight is distributed nicely keeping your arms and body less fatigued over a long day covering fields.

We pushed fields for about 14 hours over 2 days, and I never once felt like the weight of the gun was a factor in my fatigue or movement through fields.

Winchester SX4 In The Field 2

I immediately felt right at home with the SX4 as the first rooster of the day flushed and I brought it down on my first shot. The gun shouldered effortlessly, and I was able to find the bead quickly.

That gave me confidence that I could get on birds quickly that flushed without warning from the dogs. Shells cycle quickly and reliably, providing great opportunity for follow-up shots when necessary.

While I haven’t used the gun long enough to speak to its long-term reliability, I can say that it has met and exceeded my expectations thus far. I have cycled a handful of different ammo brands, loads, and weights, and the SX4 Upland Field has cycled them all without any issues.

We hunted in relatively moderate conditions for most of the long weekend. But when we were met with a short time in a rain/sleet mix, the SX4 didn’t miss a beat.

Winchester SX4 In The Field 1
Photo Credit: Johnson Purimitla

Update: With nearly a full hunting season under my belt with the SX4 Upland Field I can say it has handled a multitude of conditions. We’ve used this gun in the bitter cold, snow, freezing rain with zero issues.

Winchester SX4 Upland Field Review

In my testing, I shot a few different types of ammo and have not yet had a misfeed in about 150 rounds. So far, I have fired:

  • Kent Fasteel Upland, 3” 1⅛oz 3 shot
  • Winchester Xpert HV,  2¾” 1⅛oz 4 shot
  • Browning BXD Upland, 2¾” 1⅜oz 5 shot

While these are all fairly hot rounds, I’d expect similar performance from lighter target loads, as this is a gas-operated shotgun.

The SX4 Upland, available only in 12-gauge and with a 26- or 28-inch barrel, has comfortable recoil. The new Inflex Technology recoil pad reduces the felt recoil and fatigue on the shoulder during the shot to keep follow-up shots more accurate (when necessary). Between the adjustable length-of-pull and the bigger and more advanced recoil pad, it’s a smoother operator.

The gun shoulders very quickly and points with ease. The TRUGLO sight is easy to pick up right away and makes for easy and accurate shooting. It sells with the Invector-Plus flush choke system including a full, modified, improved cylinder. It shoots 2¾-inch or 3-inch shells.

More to Love

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Winchester added a few nice touches in the latest iteration of the SX4. Improving upon this popular model, Winchester updated the stock and forearm configuration for faster shouldering, added a larger safety and bolt release, and a matte finish on the receiver to cut down on glare during the shot.

Finally, it added a TRUGLO front sight for quick aim on birds breaking cover. For me, the large safety and TRUGLO front sight were the most notable features. My finger found the safety in a flash, even in the thick cover. The TRUGLO sight was super easy to pick up while flushing birds in the last moments of legal light.

Though those pieces sound small, they made a big impact on my overall experience with the shotgun.

Final Thoughts

The SX4 Upland Field is a beautiful, reliable, and downright fun shotgun to own for bird hunting. Winchester builds quality firearms to last a lifetime, and this gun is no exception.

It does come at a price, however. And buyers on a budget may want to look at the SX4 Standard that packs similar features in a less aesthetic build at a lower price point.