PUBLISHED: 10:01 16 December 2020
This stunning Benelli Supersport UK Special Edition semi-auto has sooth recoil and enough weight to handle longer targets; Vic Harker reviews
The self-loading shotgun, invariably dubbed the automatic, has enjoyed long periods of popularity as succeeding generations have woken up to its ingenious design and its mechanical function.
Benelli is a wholly owned partner in the Beretta Group and the two companies continue to push the boundaries of technology, both in gun design and development in metallurgy. The Supersport UK Special Edition is, as its designation suggests, particularly efficient. Designed specially for the UK market, its general appearance is both elegant and restrained. The Benelli Supersport UK Special Edition model incorporates non-ported barrels, extended chokes, an oversized bolt handle and bolt release. This, together with a silver-plated action body and carbon-fibre stock and fore-end, creates a sober but elegant appearance not usually found on a semi-auto shotgun.
This version of the Benelli semi-auto operates on the same basic principle of inertia operation, with a fixed barrel utilising the kinetic energy of gun recoil, still the most important, ingenious feature of these guns. Benelli claims this makes it the strongest and most reliable shotgun of its type available. Relying entirely on the forces generated by the explosion of the cartridge, the bolt is driven rearwards to compress a powerful inertia spring in the stock. At the same time, the spent cartridge case is ejected and the bolt re-cocked as another cartridge is chambered. In the case of the in-line driven ejector system, it never requires adjustment and can efficiently cycle every kind of cartridge regardless of the differing pressures they develop. It’s also a very clean system, as gas smoke and burnt powder stay in the barrel rather than being blown back into the firing mechanism. The rotating bolt is exceptionally strong and secure, locking into the barrel even tighter during firing.
The ComforTech recoil reduction system and Technogel pad mitigate felt recoil by nearly 50%, helping you get on target more than 65% faster for follow-up shots. The recoil pad itself is particularly effective, distributing recoil over a longer period. The comb, locating under the shooter’s cheekbone, also absorbs recoil, and its smooth surface allows the cheek to move along the comb under recoil. The face of the stock and the opposite side are inletted with 24 recoil-reducing inserts. Taking the form of chevrons, they are situated diagonally from the heel of the stock to behind the pistol grip. Again, this design distributes the peak force of the recoil over a longer period, and felt recoil is sufficiently reduced.
The non-ported barrel, together with the detachable chokes, employ cryogenics in their manufacture. Frozen to -300°F (-184°C), this process relieves the stresses caused by hammer forging and creates an even-grained, smooth surface. This means less resistance to wads and the shot load in their travel down the barrel. This Benelli’s barrel is 30” (76cm) long from the front of the receiver to the muzzle ends; however, it is extended by approximately 1” (2.54cm) using one of the five extended chokes provided, which are produced by Benelli and also used in their 828 OU Sport.
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At a little over 7lb (3.25kg), the Supersport is a lightweight by modern standards, but a combination of a very long receiver and a 30” barrel results in a gun that is both pointable and has enough weight up front to handle very well on longer birds. That and a combination of a well-fitted stock and low recoil gave the Supersport an excellent combination of enough weight and the right kind of handling for modern Sporting targets. With these characteristics and a stock that fitted me well, shooting the Supersport delivered the kind of good results I expected; that is to say, long targets were not a problem, and at the same time the Supersport was quite quick enough on shorter, faster ones.
I liked the way the Benelli handled, the way it shot and its looks. Few semi-automatics could be described as good looking, but the combination of state-of-the-art metallurgy and the carbon fibre stock not only looks great but is very tough and superbly finished. The Supersport is not the cheapest auto-loader on the market, but from a technological point of view in terms of design and mechanical function, it’s one of the very best auto-loading shotguns and comes highly recommended.
Model: Super Sport UK – Special Edition
Bore size: 12
Barrel Length: 28” (71cm) & 30” (76cm) Non Ported
Action: Inertia recoil
Chokes: Five hand detachable Benelli chokes
Rib: Low Step
Stock: ComforTech Full Pistol Grip
Weight: 7lbs 2oz (3.25kg)
Suggested retail: £2,615 inc VAT
UK Distributor: GMK
Telephone: 01489 579 999