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I’d like to say that Benelli’s videos had nothing to do with my decision to buy an M2 and M4. I’d also like to say I’m not too old to date Texas Babe XoX. But that would be wrong. The latest video from Big Ben tempts water-fowlers with the Super BlackEagle II. While I was thinking that reliability was the SBE II’s unique selling point—the gun eats everything and doesn’t so much as burp afterwards—the Italian company claims world superiority in the weight, speed and comfort categories. Or is that all three combined? Anyway, the cheapest [wood stock] Super BlackEagle II retails at $1569. The Performance Center pistol-grip version will set you back a not inconsiderable $2949. So worth it—if only because you can email friends a link to this video with “My gun” in the subject bar.

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  1. Awesome video! I was out practicing with my Benelli M2 this morning. I think they are the best shotgun made. BTW the ComforTech is the real deal!!

  2. Italy makes a lot of quality firearms (e.g. beretta, benelli, tanfoglio). I try to give Italians a hard time regarding their strict gun control, especially since they are producing them in massive numbers for our personal consumption.

    I knew a guy once from Milan that complained endlessly about America’s wanting for guns and how we “don’t need them.” He was a funny tool. Funny he didn’t even know the sheer amount of exports Italy was making to the US in gun sales.

    • There are several places in Europe that make fine shotguns. Italy, indeed, makes some pretty nice shotguns.

      The Basque region of Spain makes some of the better bang:buck “nice guns.”

      There are still some very nice guns out of the UK. There are very nice guns out of Germany. There’s one or two out of France (the Darne’ is just a really trick action to see open and close). Liege, Belgium used to produce some excellent shotguns, some under the Browning name, and many other names forgotten since WWII.

      But Italy seems to dominate the US market in shotguns more today than any of these countries, both in utilitarian and Nice Guns. I don’t know why American gun makers seem to want to ignore the river of money that is leaving this country for Italy. We used to build very nice shotguns… and then Americans became obsessed with buying really crappy shotguns at the lowest possible price from American companies (think 870 and Mossberg 5xx or 8xx), and then Americans seem disposed to buy Nice Shotguns from Italy at a price where Americans could be making those guns here and employing people here.

      There’s times that the confluence of stupidity from the American gun consumer and American gun companies really irks me. The issue of how much money gets sent to Italy to buy things that aren’t any nicer than what we used to build really, really irks me.

      • “Used to build” is the key phrase. I bought, some years ago, a very nice pair of Renato Gamba skeet guns. They’ve been flawless. The double barrels were forged in Austria, and excellently aligned. The removable trigger groups have the barrel selector just above the trigger. There was no American equivalent at any price. Labor is cheap in Italy? No. Short or small-run manufacturing in the US has been slaughtered by bureaucracy and health-care burdens which foreign manufacturers do not face. The NRA is portrayed as a massive funder of politicians, though it doesn’t come close. It trails, amongst others, seven unions. Our decline began in 1963, but few Americans know the history well enough to do other than disagree. My generation (me included) became lawyers and physicians based on the obvious trend to punish the owners of manufacturing plants, unless they have DoD funding. Next case.

        • “Short or small-run manufacturing in the US has been slaughtered by bureaucracy and health-care burdens which foreign manufacturers do not face.” Are you making me laugh on purpose???

          NO ONE has more restrictive, bureaucratic, and burdensome labour practices than Italy, followed closely by France, the UK, Germany, etc. Talk about health-care burdens…all of the European manufacturers have the hated “single-payer” socialist healthcare that Americans like to say is so ruinous.

          And yet…they can still produce beautiful guns at a profit, and America cannot. Maybe the fact that the best and brightest of your generation decided to become doctors, lawyers, and bankers rather than inventors and craftsmen has something to do with it…

        • I happened back to this post 1.5 years later….

          Small Italian manufacturers, like their Swedish, French, and most other Euro peers, do not have a health care burden. The payment for health care is part of the individual’s social taxes on their income tax return….if they have income. The paperwork burdens are very high to start a new corporation or factory, and favor old businesses, big or small, that are long established, and that’s who is making the Italian guns. The health care system assures apprentices they won’t have to do without. None the less, I think the truth about fine shotguns is something like this: The clientele for fine shotguns actually prefers Italian, British, and German products. The foreign manufacture makes them, perhaps, more special. Americans are doing very well with fine rifle manufacture these days: they benefit from good but mass-produced actions which are then refined by the small manufacturer, then fitted with fine wood. In shotguns the action, barrels, locks, are such a key ingredient that that process probably doesn’t apply. Robots/CAM will fix much of this problem eventually, as they have in the semi-auto shotgun category. We won’t get a london best gun, but we’ll get something closer to a Perazzi base gun, and for less money. I hope. The custom gunstock makers can then grow a good domestic business on those barrelled actions. There’s always hope.

  3. Italian guns, Italian cars, Italian women, Italian clothes, Italian jewelry, Italian food, Italian wine, Rome, Sicily, and Milan. These are a few of my favorite things.

  4. Pretty sure the only way I’m getting a Benelli anytime soon is convincing the spousal unit that the only way I’m going to get onto the podium in competitive shooting is with top-tier equipment. And hope she doesn’t figure out that it doesn’t necessarily take a $3k shotgun with $500 worth of upgrades to do well…

    • If you’re interested in a shotgun made for serious competition, you owe it to yourself to check out the products of Caesar Guerini.

      • The Basque region still has many excellent double-gun makers. Their prices are well under Long best-gun prices.

        • I know of the guns you speak, and agree that they’re very nice and good value.

          The CG’s, however, have several design features that cater to competitive shooters that shoot a lot. They wear very well, because they’re designed to remain tight as they wear.

      • Heh. I should mention that I’m more of a 3-gun/action shooting enthusiast than a double-gun type, but damn are those some fine-looking guns.

        On the other hand, I keep meaning to take my Weatherby 459 to the lovely shotgun ranges at Livermore-Pleasanton R&G to see if anyone gets outraged at my choice of equipment. 🙂

  5. I would put Beretta Urikas up against the M2 or SBE II. I know the dove outfitters of Argentina use Beretta over the M2 or SBE II because they handle millions of rounds through their guns in a year. It’s not unheard of for a Beretta to spit out 2000 rounds a day shooting doves. The M2 falls just short of the Beretta in handling the cheapest, dirtiest ammo and stay held together. The dove outfitters literally shoot these guns until parts fly off or forearms melt. I wouldn’t pass up an M2 or SBE II, just that it’s not the toughest, most reliable italian semiauto.

    • I’m not judging anyone, but personally I just don’t see the attraction of slaughtering doves by the thousand. It sounds like a tiresome “I did it to show that I could do it” challenge, not something that would be fun after 2K rounds in one day.

      Personal opinion only. I’m sure there are folks who’d give up a year of their lifespan for a top-notch dove shooting trip to Argentina. I’m just not one of them.

      • Its not on my list of things to do at the moment. I just know people who have given up a chunk of money to go and do such hunting. I lived vicariously through their experience.

  6. Attn Shooters:
    The laws of physics no longer apply (to the Benelli Sales Staff)
    That Is All

  7. I totally support a global economy- I like my firearms Italian (Beretta & Benelli), my kitchen knives Japanese (Global) and my whiskey whisky (Scottish).

    • I would not want to share a range with the “star” of this clip. His trigger safety issues were making me uncomfortable just watching on video.

  8. I’ve shot the Super Black Eagles and they indeed are very soft-kicking semi-autos. The ones owned by my hunting buddies are very, very reliable and pretty easy to clean.

    That said, for simplicity and reliability, I cannot name another modern semi-auto shotgun that delivers the bang:buck of the Beretta A390, as I’ve stated before.

    NB that waterfowl guns address a different set of requirements than upland game guns, or sporting/skeet clays guns or trap guns. A serious shotgunner might have a gun for each pursuit: Something like a Benelli for waterfowl, a classic side-by or pump gun for upland game (pumps with 5+ round magazines in areas and hunts where you can have more than two rounds in the magazine), and then a O/U or single-shot for clays or trap. Waterfowl loads are heavier and faster loads than what you’d use for most upland game, and heavier yet than AA loads for busting clays.

    Trap guns are a whole ‘nother issue. Trap shooters are off in their own world of shotgunning.

    But as for taking a pic and mailing it to friends with the title “My gun…” Not a Benelli. It would be a high(er) grade Parker, Fox, LC Smith, Lefever, Browning Superposed, Winchester Model 12 Pigeon Grade, etc. If money were no object, then I’d be into Parker A grades.

  9. Can’t be any softer-kicking than my Mossie 930 SPX. The thing kicks like a kitten.
    Doubt it’s any faster (for my non-pro self). Shoots as fast as I can pull the trigger.
    And if it’s any lighter, it can’t be by much. SPX is a featherweight.

    But it IS a Benelli and you gotta love that. Like comparing a BMW to a Volkswagen, I suppose. I’d take the beemer every time if I could afford it.

    My SPX was less than $700 with tax. It hasn’t choked on anything I’ve fed it, and it holds 7+1 right out of the box.

    I didn’t have $1569 to spend on a shottie. Spent all the big bucks on the AR and M1A 😉

  10. I don’t care how much rubber you glue to the stock an inertia operated shotgun is going to kick harder than a gas gun. The inertia operation is more reliable when you want to shoot mass amounts of ammo without cleaning, gas guns are also reliable if you clean them properly. I have owned about every model of the inertia guns at one time or another and they work. I bought an early Benelli 1200 that uses the same inertia system and is very light, barely over 6lbs if IRC, that thing gave me a serious ass whipping shooting a course of 75 full power slugs that included some from prone. The light inertia guns aren’t bad with light loads but with magnums…ouch. The 1100\1187 are my go to shotguns from trap shooting to 3 gun, and I carried one on duty. Other than a broken firing pin during a trap tournament they have always performed for me without the beating. I have learned how to take care of them, it’s not difficult and the info is available on the net, parts are dirt cheap and available too. I have not tried the Versmax yet but hear good reports.

    I had an Benelli M4 and it shot soft and smooth as butter, unfortunately someone offered me way more than I valued mine.

    If I was voting for the lightest kicking shotgun ever at comparable weights it would be a close call between the Browning B2000 and the Beretta 303.

  11. I don’t know about the Eagles but I can shoot my M4 about as fast as my 9mm competition gun; splits at .17 sec. It has been eating everything including the low recoil rounds.

    • I have the same experience. And I can shoot heavy loads (1 3/8 oz high dram equivalent buck) without the slightest pain.

  12. The Browning Maxus will put any of the Benelli shotguns to shame in terms of “softest shooting”. Not even a contest.

  13. I’ve never shot a SBEII but the short recoil action of the old Browning Auto 5 really makes the gun pleasant on the shoulder. Speaking of which, what ever happened to polished wood and deeply blued steel?

    • Polished wood and deeply blued steel you ask? Again, check out the Maxus Hunter version. A beauty that puts most plastic hunting guns to shame AND is the softest action available. As for the A-5, pure perfection. Technically the A-5 is a long recoil action, but yes, when set up correctly, it is the standard. I have several A-5’s still being hunted with in my family and even the one from circa 1948 still keeps shooting come rain, sleet or snow!

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