Gun Review: Benelli SuperNova

22 responses

  1. avatar
    Matt in FL
    December 4, 2012

    Good review (I like reviews that make me laugh), great photos. Nice to see a new writer in the house.

    • avatar
      Holly Heyser
      December 4, 2012

      Thanks, Matt! If I’d put my outtakes in the video, you’d've really been laughing because that firing pin went flying a few times.

  2. avatar
    Average_Casey
    December 4, 2012

    This is just me thinking but I would suggest trying something other than a Benelli. They are nice but not the only game in town. Winchester/Browning/FN makes very nice shotguns as well as Remington.

    • avatar
      Lolinski
      December 4, 2012

      No love for the Ithaca 37? And I was wondering does there exist a shotgun which can switch calibers between 12,16 and 20 gauge(preferably pump or autoloader) or would I have to get a custom job done( would like a Ithaca 37 in multiple calibers, that would be ideal)

      • avatar
        Jim B
        December 4, 2012

        Of course there are double where you can switch gauges but I don’t think it is possible in a repeater.

        Ithicas are good guns. I had a girlfriend that had one and loved it. She shot left handed and appreciated the bottom ejection instead of having the empties flying across her face. I was never much of a pump fan. My first gun was a double have owned mostly doubles with a few autos. In fact I don’t think I ever hunted with a pump in the US although I have in Africa where Remington 870s seem to be in every camp. 870s are a good pump. I know this retired biologist that used to shoot seals off the coast (they don’t do that anymore!) and he said they used Winchester Model 12s and 870s. Despite the M 12s reputation of being the best pump ever made he said the 870s held up in the harsh environment much better.

  3. avatar
    gunenthusiast
    December 4, 2012

    OK wow. Excellent Review. RTFM. This should have told me you were a woman with a refreshing approach to a review. Reading the manual first. This is generally not in male dna. I would have never known the nub was for pushing out the pins. Or that the machined ledge was for pulling them further out. Thanks for the review.

    • avatar
      ChainsawWieldingManiac
      December 4, 2012

      Totally agree. Fantastic review! TTAG needs to send more guns for eval to this writer. Her perspective is fresh, and her writing is a pleasure to read.

    • avatar
      Holly Heyser
      December 4, 2012

      Sometimes I even RE-read manuals. I’m that weird!

  4. avatar
    JustAJ
    December 4, 2012

    I’ve fondled this gun in my LGS, and while I can appreciate how smooth the action is compared to my Mossy 500, I’m not a shotgun guy so would never buy one. Good review though!

  5. avatar
    OHgunner
    December 4, 2012

    Great review. I’m glad to see that the shotty ran well, as its on my “to-buy-soon” list. This review just might have bumped it up one gun higher on the list!

  6. avatar
    jwm
    December 4, 2012

    For me it’s about the pump gun. When I was a kid we were still getting paper hulled shells. I saw auto loaders choke on wet days duck hunting but the pumps kept on ticking.

    Since then I have stuck with pumps and break actions in shotguns. I know that the ammo is much better today but I see no compelling reason to switch.

  7. avatar
    TheSleeperHasAwakened@wakeup.org
    December 4, 2012

    I own a Benelli Nova and a SuperNova and love both of those guns!

    • avatar
      Benedict Gomez
      April 12, 2013

      Can I ask why you own both? Is one 20g and the other 12g?

  8. avatar
    Jim D
    December 4, 2012

    Great writing! Very well put together article. Now, before you give up on a pump gun, please please please take a good look at the Winchester SXP! Very nice light gun that seems to fit well. I am a big guy but my daughter is quite petite and she loves it and really shoots it well. I do too. It deserves a look, maybe you could review it for us (please)

    • avatar
      Holly Heyser
      December 4, 2012

      Thanks, Jim. And don’t worry – I haven’t given up on pumps! I really was disappointed when I realized it wouldn’t work for hunting for me, because I really enjoyed shooting it.

  9. avatar
    Dyspeptic Gunsmith
    December 4, 2012

    1. As you said, gun fit is important. In shotguns, gun fit is of major, major importance. This is because shotguns don’t have a rear sight on the rib – the rear sight on a shotgun is your eye. If the comb of the buttstock puts your eye too high or too low when you mount the gun, you’re going to miss high or low (respectively) quite frequently.

    A well-fit shotgun should allow you to throw the gun up to your shoulder and face and result in a consistent cheek weld that gives you a consistent sight picture.

    Some shotgun shooters will specialize their gun’s fit and sight rib for one purpose – eg, trap guns. Trap guns have very high ribs and very high combs to keep the shooter’s head up, to keep his eyes up, which keeps him from missing targets because his face was scrunched down on the gun. Trap shooters also like a different sight picture – the front bead should be pretty far under the point of impact.

    Many guns are too long in the pull for many women, and don’t have high enough combs – because most mass-produced shotguns are sized for the average male. Today’s larger males (6’0″ and up) find that many guns are too short in the pull. Short women (5’0″ to 5’2″) might need 0.75″ or more lopped off the butt to bring the pull in to where they mount the gun correctly. There are two things to look for in the length of pull – what’s the angle of your grip hand’s elbow when the gun is mounted (90 degrees or less is what we’re looking for) and where is your grip hand thumb in relation to your nose? Your grip hand thumb should be 0.75 to 1″ in front of your nose when your gun is mounted.

    Women with, um… er, vast tracts of land… would benefit from having the toe of the butt angled outwards. Some people like a bit of cast off, especially if the buttstock has a cheekpiece, or if they have a wider face than average.

    The eye mounting point is checked in a way that looks unnerving to non-gunsmiths: We make certain the gun is unloaded, ask the customer to “just throw the gun up” and then the gunsmith positions his eye at the muzzle and looks backwards down the rib to see where the customer’s eye is in relation to the rib.

    2. Cleaning a pump in 30 minutes and you’re not a professional gunsmith? You’re doing quite well. Take a bow there. Remember to pull any removable choke, clean the threads, coat them with a bit of copper anti-seize before putting the choke back into the barrel. You can find anti-seize at your auto parts store.

    Never clean the barrel without the choke in and never store the gun without the choke in. The barrel at the muzzle is very easily dented or crushed without the choke in the barrel. Cleaning brushes can make a mess of the threads. Chokes that aren’t cleaned at least once/season and have anti-seize applied are often destined for an appointment with a gunsmith to get the choke out and the threads cleaned up because moisture and dirt gets into these fine threads and the shooter can’t get the choke out easily.

    3. 8 pounds could be a tad on the heavy side for a modern single-barrel shotgun for upland hunting. You could look at 20 gauge guns – you won’t be giving up anything in upland or clay loads, but you’d give up the capability that 3″ 12ga shells provide for ducks/geese/etc. For upland guns (doves, as you mentioned), 20′s and 28′s are very nice, because they’re often a fair bit lighter and as a result they swing faster.

    • avatar
      Holly Heyser
      December 4, 2012

      I’m a huge fan of proper fit, and I recommend gun fittings for all the women I meet who are new to hunting (men too, but mostly I work with women). While my arms are a good length for most guns out of the box, my neck is really long, and my cheekbones are really high.

      I had my gunsmith (Dale Tate) fit my first Beretta (391, 20 gauge), but when I got the 3901 in 12, there wasn’t a lot he could do with a plastic stock. I ended up getting an adjustable-comb stock for it, and that was the year my shooting really took off.

      The stock is a total pain in the butt because it takes a round washer, not the fitted washer Beretta stocks use, and that means it comes loose really easily – so easily that I keep a torque wrench in my car when I’m out hunting. But it works for me, so I put up with it.

      I also got a stainless steel bolt tube to get around that rust problem. With the crazy storms we’re having in Cali this season, that should be good for a little peace of mind.

      Oh yeah, I think I’ll never go back to 20 gauge – it is SO much easier to find steel shot for a 12 gauge. Also makes it easier to mooch rounds off of friends in the field when I’m shooting like crap :-).

      • avatar
        jwm
        December 4, 2012

        That’s when you know who your true friends are.

  10. avatar
    GS650G
    January 17, 2013

    I had a first gen Nova 10 years ago. I liked it and the gun was quality. I installed a recoil reducer in the stock, didn’t do much in my opinion.
    The only complaint I have was the forearm slide would rattle a bit. It made a lot of noise and that was that. I sold it because of this excessive play and bought a 870. The Nova was a better gun in most regards but that noisy slide was a problem.

  11. avatar
    Nathan
    January 5, 2014

    Does it require extensive work to switch the safety to left handed? Or is it a simple disassemble of the trigger assembly and flip it around?

  12. avatar
    simon [kiwi] keating
    March 6, 2014

    I enjoyed your review,better than the sexist pillock on the other one I found.Took delivery of my gun a few hours ago,looking forward to shooting this weekend.I have a Winchester s x p black shadow,ok,I’m not well liked at our clay shoot,but I bring ‘em down [English traditions and such] Keep up the work.Thanks. Kiwi

  13. avatar
    Lorna
    March 20, 2014

    Ooooooh Ms. Holly!

    I stumbled across this and I’m glad I did. I love to shoot and I LIKE to think I can take a hit… but I’ve learned the hard way: uncomfortable guns are a misery to shoot and you don’t shoot them well.

    Nothing is more aggravating – when you’re walking around with a busted-up shoulder and bruised-up pride – than hearing some 6ft 250 pounder tell you (a 110lb wee skinny thing): just put some fat on, and man-up.

    Gee whiz, why didn’t I think of THAT sooner…?

    Great perspective, great article, I have super monkey fingers, so I’m going to go try one out! :-)

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