I used to be skeptical when the oldsters from Benelli invited me to take their first-ever over/beneath shotgun on a high-volume South American fowl hunt final 12 months. I didn’t suppose the light-weight 12-gauge, referred to as the 828U, may take the abuse that hundreds of shells can ship to a gun in a single day. I’ve seen strong semi-autos fall to items within the dove fields of Argentina. However much more personally, I wasn’t positive my shoulder was as much as the punishment of the day by day pounding of spicy dove hundreds, interspersed with a gentle eating regimen of magnum duck hundreds. In spite of everything, the 828U with 28-inch barrels weighs solely 6.6 kilos and feels even lighter.
However Benelli was persuasive, so I packed a recoil-absorbing shoulder pad—my looking buddies name it a “sissy pillow”—to assist tame the kick, and I headed to Uruguay’s bird-rich inside to hunt doves, geese, and perdiz, the so-called false partridge of the pampas.
A First for Benelli
The title Benelli, in fact, is synonymous with semi-automatic shotguns. The Italian firm’s household of inertia-driven weapons contains the versatile M4, M2, Ethos, Tremendous Black Eagle, and Vinci. When Benelli introduced it could produce an over/beneath, model loyalists sniffed virtually as dismissively as connoisseurs of conventional Italian doubles. No manner may a stodgy over/beneath proceed the corporate’s repute for technologically superior operation, pronounced the previous. No manner may a double-barreled Benelli, with its trendy styling, perpetuate Italy’s requirements for Outdated World craftsmanship, denounced the latter.
What I found in Uruguay is that the 828U could be very a lot a 21st-century over/beneath. It’s elegant, in the identical over-the-top manner a Baroque citadel is elegant, layered with rococo thrives. And, like different Benellis, it’s technologically superior. The 828U packs extra options into what’s at coronary heart a easy mechanism than you’d discover from its glammy exterior.
Aft of the cryogenically handled—and distinctively separated—barrels, the Benelli’s metal breech block mates into metal races machined into its weight-saving aluminum receiver. The design incorporates stress to the barrels and doesn’t enable it to switch to the floating bolt face or to the hinge pins, the linkage that’s usually first to fail on conventional over/beneath shotguns.
That’s an incredible attribute for a high-volume shotgun, however my shoulder celebrated the Benelli’s much less seen expertise: recoil-consuming buffers embedded within the inventory. The polymer fingers flex in proportion to the directional recoil exerted by prices of various depth. A light-weight goal shotshell would possibly set off just one stage of buffers. A high-brass discipline load would possibly activate two ranges, and a magnum duck load would possibly carry the entire system of baffles into play.
A recoil-reducing gel pad within the comb and a shim system that permits shooters to customise solid and drop to their anatomy—as a lefty, I like a bit little bit of solid—makes the 6 ½-pound 828U a pleasure to shoot with virtually any load. I didn’t want my sissy pillow in any case.
The Birds of Uruguay
Thus far, so good. However how would the gun deal with the number of fowl looking that David Denies’ Uruguay Lodge would throw at us?
Our first shoot was for eared doves. Our group drove into an unlimited cattle pasture and arrange dealing with a grove of spiky timber that seemed just like the hawthorns of my native Missouri. It was night, and doves bombed into the timber seeking to roost. Others rocketed throughout the open pasture. Photographs have been usually tough and required all the things from sustained leads for lengthy crossers to fast factors at acrobatic incomers. I went by 4 circumstances of shells to down possibly 150 birds, not precisely stellar capturing, however these weren’t the routine 20-yard quartering pictures of Argentina, both.
The following morning we hunted geese, a mixture of Brazilian teal, yellow-billed pintails, and rosy-billed pochards. There’s nothing significantly powerful a few South American duck hunt. Little looking stress and copious quantities of corn make for cooperative birds. However the liberal limits and ounce-and-a-half lead hundreds gave me ample alternative to expertise the 828U’s means to tame recoil. My fundamental criticism with the Benelli was that I used to be restricted to solely two pictures.
Even after the gun went down within the Uruguayan mud—a slurry of cow dung and pampas sludge—the 828U stored performing, although I routinely struggled to hit right-to-left crossers.
Every day, we spent just a few hours looking perdiz, little quail-sized flushing birds which are associated to kiwi. Perdiz like to scatter in huge fields of knee-high grass, the place they’ll fly solely when approached by a pointing canine. It’s a recreation for wide-ranging canine and long-legged hunters. And it’s a recreation for the 828U. Of all of the looking I did in Uruguay, the Benelli was finest fitted to perdiz. The sunshine gun balanced fantastically simply fore of the hinge, and it jumped to my shoulder virtually of its personal volition.
It dealt with towering birds and wild flushers. It scratched out doubles on covey rises, and was such an easy-carrying gun, I may have hunted all the best way to Paraguay had I not been referred to as away to hunt extra doves.
One Gun for Each Hunt?
In idle moments again house—normally when the geese cease flying—my pals and I kick a few easy query: Should you may personal just one shotgun, and use it for all of your looking, what wouldn’t it be? Most of us reply a dependable pump gun, although some favor lighter semi-autos for mornings of geese and afternoons chasing pheasants and grouse, plus the occasional wild turkey.
Not as soon as, in years of asking that query, has somebody beneficial an over/beneath. My expertise with the 828U makes it an surprising candidate for the one-gun award.
It isn’t an affordable gun—the wood-stocked model I shot retails for $2,500. However when you think about all of the expertise and styling of the Benelli, it’s on the accessible aspect of Italian over/unders. And its recoil-eating options, plus a mechanism that ought to by no means put on out—and if for some purpose it does, you merely change the metal breech—make it an heirloom gun which you could shoot all you need earlier than passing it on.
The perfect testomony I may give the Benelli is that, after my return from Uruguay, I held onto the gun. I wished to make use of it for Montana’s pheasant and duck seasons. And to indicate it off to my skeptical buddies.