By far the coolest shotgun I saw under the Benelli tent was their new for 2016 Ethos sporting a three-inch 28 gauge chambering. While I spend most of my time in the field with heavy-hitting three or three-and-a-half inch twelve gauge guns, I’m attracted to the new for 2016 Ethos for two reasons. The first is the cool Barbour waxed cotton field jacket I’d have to wear whilst carring a $2200 shotgun out in the field . . .
The second is the fact that it’s a total pussycat to shoot. With 2-3/4″ loads, it was on par with some of the 9mm carbines I’ve shot. Where the excellent twelve gauge Ethos tips the scales at a hair under six and a half pounds, the 28 gauge version is slightly over five and a quarter. And boy can you feel the difference.
Shouldering the gun is second nature, and it swings beautifully thanks to the light weight, and excellent balance. The relative lack of recoil makes follow up shots a total breeze, but if my experience today is indicative, you’ll likely not need them as this gun flat out hits what you’re aiming for. I only ran 10 or so rounds through it, but there was a significant amount of dead clay pigeons on the ground when I was done.
For those whose first thought was, “3-inch 28 gauge? Madness!”, know that Benelli and Fiocchi have teamed up to ensure just such ammo available once this gun hits shelves. Our contacts at Benelli indicate this “magnum” 28 gauge will offer similar ballistics to your typical 20 gauge loads in a smaller, more nimble package. My main contact at Benelli has his eyes on some for some upcoming bird hunts, and I’ve asked if we can pretty, pretty please have one for some longer term testing. Watch this space.