Browning BPS Grade III 16 Gauge Pump Shotgun


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

October 13th, 2008




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For many years now, the Browning BPS has been regarded by many, including myself, as the finest pump action shotgun on the market. Long regarded as the best pump gun ever built, the venerable Winchester Model 12 was indeed a very good shotgun, but the BPS is even better. Before you Model 12 fans try to have me locked up for heresy, you had best compare that old Winchester with a new BPS. The BPS is built out of better steel, with a smoother action and twin action bars. I really despise a crossbolt safety on the trigger guard, and that is where you will find the safety on a Model 12, but the BPS has the safety on top, right where God intended it to be on a shotgun. The Model 12 has side ejection like just about every other magazine shotgun on the planet, but the BPS ejects right out the bottom, straight down, which makes it truly ambidextrous. Also, bottom ejection is very good in a crowded duck blind, as the spent hulls are not hitting the shooter to your right side, but are falling at your feet. Bottom ejection on the BPS leaves the sides smooth and solid, where no sand, grit, rain, or snow can get into the action of the shotgun. My purpose here is not to besmirch the fine reputation of the Model 12, but just to show that the BPS is even better. For some reason, the Browning BPS is often overlooked in favor of other pump shotguns on the market. The reason for this is unclear. It could be that shooters and hunters might think that with the name “Browning” attached, that it might be too expensive, but that is just not the case with the BPS. Compare the price of the BPS to a Remington 870 with similar features, and the BPS usually has a lower price. Compare the BPS quality to any other pump gun made, and the BPS is really a good value.

Built from solid steel with a walnut or synthetic stock, the standard BPS is a cut above other pump guns, and the BPS is also built in many different gauges and configurations to suit the needs of any shotgunner. Introduced this past January at the 2008 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, this special Grade III 16 gauge BPS shown here was an instant hit. Browning took orders for these at the show, and we put in an order for one immediately. This is one of the most beautiful pump shotguns ever built. It has a nickel finished solid steel receiver, engraved with ducks on one side and pheasants on the other. Built on a 20 gauge frame, the sixteen handles like a twenty and hits like a twelve. Well, almost. The sixteen, while not as popular as either, does strike a nice balance between the twenty and twelve gauges. The sixteen gauge was once very popular in the US, and seems to be making a comeback. At the very least, Browning is supporting this fine gauge, as is CZ-USA.

The wood on the Grade III BPS is some very good-looking walnut, cut checkered and oil finished to a pleasing yet subdued sheen, very fitting for a hunting gun. The blued steel is nicely polished, and looks great, much like the finish of years past instead of the matte blued finishes applied to most pump guns on the market. The barrel has a prominent raised ventilated rib, and the top of the receiver has a solid rib that raises to meet the barrel rib, for a more integrated look. The barrel, which measures twenty-six inches in length on this BPS, comes supplied with three screw-in choke tubes of full, modified, and improved cylinder constrictions. This Grade III BPS is also available with a twenty-eight inch barrel. The tubular magazine holds four shells, for a total loaded capacity of five, and a plug is included to limit total capacity to three shells to comply with hunting laws while in pursuit of migratory birds.

I got to do no hunting with the new BPS, but did get to try it on targets. For me, the BPS just feels right, and points where I look. I am no expert shotgunner, but I know what works for me, and the BPS fits me just fine. It patterns well, and when I bring it to my shoulder, my left eye is looking right down the middle of that rib. Upon firing, the action works as smooth as silk. The BPS balances right at the front of the ejection/loading port, and the gun’s seven and one-quarter pound weight feels even lighter.

As mentioned above, the BPS wears twin action bars, machined from steel, to provide what is perhaps the smoothest pump action available. While looking like a shotgun that might be found on the rack of a well-heeled gentleman wearing a dandy sport coat with perfectly executed leather patches on the elbows and a crooked pipe hanging from his mouth, this Grade III BPS is within the budget of most of us common folk, with a MSRP of only $834 at this date, which is only about fifty bucks more than a standard blued/walnut 870. For that extra fifty bucks, you get an engraved nickel receiver, bottom ejection, smooth operation, a top tang safety, and the Browning name. Seems like a bargain to me. This is a very limited edition shotgun, made in only one batch for 2008 only. Check with your Browning dealer for availability.

For more information on this BPS and the full line of Browning products, go to

For the location of a browning dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

Jeff Quinn


For a list of dealers where you can buy this gun, go to:




Screw-in choke tubes.








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- Boge Quinn




Click pictures for a larger version.


Browning BPS Grade III 16 gauge pump shotgun.





Safety is right on top, where it should be.





The BPS is truly ambidextrous, feeding and ejecting through the bottom of the receiver.





Receiver has a raised rib to match barrel rib.



Action release button.