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Gun Review: Benelli Nova Pump Field Shotgun

Benelli’s tag line is “Simply Perfect.” That may be a touch overstated as I’ve yet to see a gun that can reach that bar. But as pump shotguns go, Benelli’s Nova Pump Field Shotgun can make a lot of good arguments for being considered the top of the pump gun heap.

If the shotgun in these photos looks a little worn, that’s because it is. I’ve owned it for a decade and used it to take waterfowl all over the country. While I might not go as far as “perfect,” the Nova Pump Field Shotgun has been nothing if not reliable.

But the Italian-made Nova isn’t exactly your traditional pump gun. It doesn’t have the classic good looks of an 870 Wingmaster or a Mossberg 500. Rather than hardwood, the Nova is built with a one-piece polymer stock and receiver that Benelli claims increases the shotgun’s strength.

Underneath that polymer is a steel skeletal frame to ensure longevity and durability. Mine has withstood everything I’ve thrown at it. I have been waterfowl hunting with this shotgun all over the country. The Nova has been a huge asset despite differing, sometimes brutal conditions. For example, it was one of the only guns in our group that held up to the brutal salty frigid conditions while hunting Massachusetts in January of 2017.

The fore end is polymer, too and has a unique feature. The Nova allows you to clear the chamber without dumping all the rounds in the four-round magazine. Simply depress the button on the bottom of the fore end, rack the pump and the shell in the chamber is ejected without loading a new one from the magazine.

That allows you to slip another type of shell in if needed or make the shotgun safe without a full mag dump if you have to climb out of a blind, hand it to a hunting buddy, whatever.

And unlike traditional checkering, Benelli has molded a series of grooves into the polymer on the grip and fore end that provide a very positive grip even in wet conditions while wearing gloves.

My Nova’s chambered for 12 gauge and handles everything from light 2 3/4″ target loads all the way up to 3 1/2″ high brass. 

Takedown is just as you’d expect in a pump gun, but the Nova’s magazine cap does double duty. It’s also a takedown tool you can use to punch the pins holding the trigger group in place to give it a good cleaning after a demanding hunt.

The nova can be chambered in 20 or 12 gauge as well as have three different barrel lengths to choose from. 

On top of the Nova’s chrome-lined barrel is a vent rib with a traditional brass mid bead and a fiber optic front sight that really pops.

The Nova has a polymer trigger and guard with a crossbolt safety and slide release button.

After years of testing different rounds my Nova seems to love Remington Hypersonic Steel, Winchester Xpert Steel, Kent Fasteel and Federal Blue Box Waterfowl (#2 to #4) the best. They consistent pattern well and bring me the birds.

This gun has harvested several different species of waterfowl and had thousands of rounds put through it without fail. I have been hunting with it for about ten years now.

With such a variance in conditions waterfowl hunters face, having a gun that will perform and last are of primary importance. My Benelli Nova Pump Field Shotgun has been more than up to that challenge.

Through all of the punishment and thousands of rounds over the years, this shotgun has proven to be one of the most durable on the market today at an affordable price for a well-made pump action shotgun. It has high quality features that one would think could only be available on higher end shotguns. Benelli hit a home run with the Nova Pump.

Specifications: Benelli Nova Pump Field Shotgun

Caliber: 12 gauge (also available in 20 gauge)
Capacity: 4+1 rounds
Action: Pump
Barrel: Chrome lined
Bolt: Rotating
Barrel length: 24 to 28 inches (28″ version tested)
Overall Length: 49.5 inches
Weight: 8 pounds
Finish: Realtree Camo
Sights: Brass mid bead and red fiber optic front sight
Bolt: Rotating bolt head
Chokes: IC, M and F included
MSRP: $549 ($100 less for black synthetic)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * *
This Italian-made shotgun sports a stylish look. That may not be for everyone, but it just works.

Ergonomics: * * * *
The gun mounts and points naturally. The grooved polymer stock and fore end are easy to grip in bad weather.

Build Quality: * * * * *
When Benelli decided to create a pump action shot gun they didn’t leave a stone unturned. The steel skeleton wrapped in high density polymer as well as the rotating bolt head show the quality of this shotgun.

Realizability and Accuracy: * * * * *
The Nova was made to withstand the the elements and the test of time. And this one has. I’ve hunted in many different adverse situations as well as put thousands of rounds through this gun without any failures.

Overall: * * * * *
The Benelli Nova is hands down one of the most reliable and durable shotguns on the market today and is priced reasonably. With this shotgun one can get into hunting without having to spend large amounts of money for a quality gun.

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  1. These were 250 bucks when I looked at one years back. They are a well made gun but I’ve been spoiled to the safety and slide release on the mossberg. I’ve owned and used a wide variety of shotguns and I keep coming back to my mossbergs. I have a Beretta semi that rarely comes out of the safe.

  2. I’ve read that the forend can be a bit loose and rattles on some Novas/Supernovas. Not sure as to how common the problem is or how noisy it can be, but it’s a non-issue for waterfowl hunting.

    I was considering a Supernova at one point for bird and slug gun hunting, but Benelli stopped offering a cantilever slug barrel for the model years ago. Badger used to make a cantilever slug barrel years ago, too. No one seems to offer a Nova/Supernova compatible cantilever barrel now, which was a dealbreaker for me. Went with the SBE2 instead and I really like it, but I would’ve preferred saving some $$ instead…

  3. +1

    I have exact gun with the exact experience. I have done nothing but abuse it but it does not care. Even had to use it as a wading staff once (unloaded). A fantastic price/value gun.

  4. Had one years ago when they first came out and I do regret selling it. I bought an 870 later and it was a piece of junk compared to the benelli which had risen in price a lot by then. I paid 300 for mine and put the recoil reducer in the stock. Got 200 for it which was low.
    I also found the slide rattled and that was why I me that can be addressed and it’s better than an 870 in every regard.
    I pointed a friend to a pistol gripped version when he wanted a self defence gun. With an extension magazine it’s a formidable tool.

  5. I hung up my CZ o/u for upland hunting, and have used my Nova exclusively for 4 seasons now. Dead nuts reliable. I quit missing due to a high comb on my o/u and starting dropping more roosters with the Nova. Is she pretty? No. But does she bring down birds? Absolutely. My go-to, do everything 12 gauge.

  6. Pulling the trigger on a Nova pump is like trying to crush a carrot with one finger. The fore end rattles like roofing nails in a coffee can, and the plastic stock is is unappealing to the eye as well as the touch. However, the Nova is by far the most rugged, versatile, reliable pump on the market today; ridiculously affordable and definitely a best buy!

  7. I bought the Bennelli because I wanted a pump shotgun that came in camo print that had a 3 1/2″ chamber. I was delighted with it the first time I took it duck hunting. It is light, strong, and accurate. The action is smooth, and with the recoil suppressor, I can go through a box or two of shells in a day and not get sore.

  8. Just made first purchase waiting for it to arrive. Benelli Nova 12g pump. I’ve always shot semi’s. I am looking for upgrades for it and not having much luck. Would like a camo wrap, weapon light, sling, recoil suppressor, and ammo tube extender.
    Any help, greatly appreciated.


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