The Browning Silver Lightning Shotgun for Home Defense

Browning Silver Lightning

The Browning name is well known among shotgun enthusiasts for high quality, high performance, autoloading shotguns that feature superior fit and finish. Thus, with its distinctive semi-humpback receiver, the Browning Silver Lightning is a fitting tribute to its original predecessor, the Browning Auto 5 which was designed by John M. Browning in 1898.

In addition, although the Browning Silver series is essentially a somewhat cheaper version of Browning’s Gold series, it lacks the Speed Load feature and the Magazine Cutoff lever featured on the Gold series. However, most importantly, it retains Browning’s Active Valve gas operation system which (according to Browning) reduces felt recoil up to 50% which makes it one of the softest shooting shotguns on the market today.

This self-adjusting system operates by bleeding a certain amount of gas from the barrel when a round is fired to operate the gas piston and, at the same time, vents any excess gas which would otherwise contribute to recoil through the Active Valve and up through vents in the top of the forearm. Also, because the gas piston and Active Valve operate independently of each other, less pressure is transmitted to the gas piston for longer life and more efficient operation than other gas-operated autoloaders. In addition, because the Active Valve expels any excess gases, it reduces felt recoil before it ever reaches the shooter’s shoulder and thus, eliminating the need for heavy, hydraulic, recoil dampers or gel-type recoil pads and stock inserts. Therefore, the superior recoil reduction made possible by the Active Valve equates to faster, more accurate, follow-up shots and greater shooting comfort regardless of the loads used.

In fact, the Browning Silver Lightning is available with your choice of a 3″ chamber or a 3 1/2″ chamber and the Active Valve system is designed to handle any load ranging from light target loads, to low brass field loads, to high brass magnum loads without a hiccup. In addition, the resultant reduction in felt recoil from the Active Valve system is certainly a welcome feature to both turkey and high flying waterfowl hunters who commonly shoot magnum loads.

Furthermore, the barrel of the Browning Silver Lightening features a ventilated rib and is back-bored which is a process of machining the bore of the barrel to a slightly larger than standard diameter which reduces the internal pressure in the barrel as the shot and wad travel up the bore which in turn, also reduces felt recoil. Plus, the Browning Silver series features a magazine capacity of four rounds with 2 3/4″ and 3″ loads and three rounds with 3 1/2″ loads plus one in the chamber.

Also, the Browning Silver Lightning features a lightweight, aluminum alloy, semi-humpback receiver with a matte sliver finish and is available in 12 gauge only with either a 26″ or a 28″, blued, vent rib barrel with a brass bead front sight and Browning’s Invector screw-in choke system (supplied with Improved Cylinder, Modified, and Full choke tubes) and is specifically designed to handle modern steel and bismuth shot. In addition, it features a high grade walnut stock butt stock and forearm with a recoil pad and a gloss finish in Browning’s Lightning configuration which features a less vertical pistol grip than the Silver Hunter with a rounded knob similar to the Browning Citori line of over/under shotguns. Plus, the butt stock features a 14 1/2″ length of pull, a 1 3/4″ drop at the comb, and a 2″ drop at the heel and has an overall length of 46 1/4″ to 49″ with a total weight of 7 lbs. 4 oz. to 7 lbs. 8 oz.

Here’s nice little video from Browning:

Now that we have all of the specifications out of the way, let’s talk a bit about aesthetics, performance and reliability. Of all of the modern semi-automatics on the market today, in my opinion, the Browning Silver Lighting is one of the prettiest semi-automatic shotguns I have seen yet. Although it harkens back to the vintage Auto-5, the original “humpback” steel receiver has been replaced with a semi-humpback, aluminum alloy, receiver that retains the look of its predecessor but with a more moderate appearance. In addition, I find the matte silver finish combined with the blued, vent rib, barrel and the gloss finished, walnut, butt stock and forearm to also be very appealing since it is a welcome change from the standard rounded, black, receiver featured on most semi-automatic shotguns today.

Also, I find that the Lightning stock featured on this gun combined with its superior balance place it immediately on target for me when shouldering and enable me to swing smoothly through my shooting arc. Furthermore, I read one article on this excellent shotgun where the author and two assistants fired 1,100 rounds of 12 gauge target loads through the same gun in a single session without a single misfire or failure to eject the spent round and load a new one which is very impressive by any standard! Furthermore, the Active Valve system truly does deliver on its claim of reducing recoil (according to Browning up to 50% over their competition) since there is a noticeable reduction when shooting high brass field loads and especially magnum turkey and goose loads.

Consequently, I would personally highly recommend the Browning Silver Lighting to anyone who is looking to purchase a new shotgun because it truly is a superior new shotgun in my opinion. Plus, the noticeable reduction in recoil due to the Active Valve gas system is a fantastic innovation for which I applaud Browning’s engineers for persevering to perfect.


Speak Your Mind


Send this to a friend