When it comes to Benellis, Mark Stone makes no bones about the fact he’s an out and out fan, and the Super Sport is his idea of clay breaking perfection
Let me say from the outset that Benelli’s Super Sport is not a new shotgun hot of the production line, in fact it’s been around for a good two years or so. However, for some reason – possibly due to price - it’s never been the recipient of the accolades it rightfully deserves. Mind you, £2,095 for a competition specific semi-auto does have a habit of keeping sales figures down to a more select number. But where other makes and models strive to convince you that the price tag they’ve attached is worth your financial while, in the case of Benelli’s Super Sport the gun itself does the talking although the rather eccentric grey plastic travelling case still looks at odds with its comprehensive contents.
Two piece - sweet
Benelli’s Super Sport is the competitive version of the game orientated Raffaello, as those foreign types, especially Italians and Scandinavians, actually use semi-autos for a whole variety of live quarry shooting… how dare they indeed, don’t they know its unsporting? But whilst those European types flaunt the sporting rules, what Benelli has come up with is a style of semi-auto that to my mind knows no equal. Fitted with a carbon effect synthetic stock that incorporates the Benelli ComforTec system, the sporter style feeds into an open semi-pistol grip with palm swells either side and enlarged panels of raised stippling, all these effects echoed by the extra long rounded forend that also integrates extended curved finger grooves.
The gloss back 30” barrel comes ready ported, the two panels of exhaust holes starting three inches rearward of the muzzle. The effect of these series of small holes is to allow excess gasses that build up in the barrel behind the shot and wadding to vent before they reach the muzzle. Equally, by angling the holes back along the barrel the exiting gas actually pushes the gun gently downwards removing unwanted muzzle flip; the end result being more controlled shooting. Steel proofed for those who need it, the barrel is topped off by a raised 7mm vented rib that steps up just above the 3” chamber before flattening out again an inch before the muzzle.
A real unique touch though is the two-piece alloy-steel combination receiver. Housing the familiar Benelli two-piece rotating bolt, on removal of the barrel the lower matte silver alloy section instantly parts company with the black steel upper which in turn means the bolt can be lifted clear with no effort, maintenance is easy and reassembly quick and idiot proof. Similarly, this slightly unusual design is more or less the transition stage between the standard style of receiver and Benelli’s revolutionary three piece Vinci. Designs aside, the bolt release sits in the usual place just below the ejection port, the bolt lock to the right front of the polymer trigger guard and the cross-bolt safety to the rear, so operationally its as traditional as any semi-auto comes.
Before we get into the Super Sport’s physical aspects its worth taking a moment to explain exactly what the Benelli ComforTec system actually is, recoil reducing techniques that personifies the fact that the best designs are usually the simplest. Initially the bolt extension or ‘rat’s tail’ travels on as near a ‘horizontal to the gun’ plane as is possible to achieve, the energy or inertia of the fired cartridge pushing the bolt and protrusion backwards against the spring situated within the stock which when compressed sends the bolt forward again, chambering the next round in the process. With no gas valves, vents, slides or forwardly located springs to dissipate and turn the fired cartridge’s energy into the cyclic process, this means all the recoil heads towards your shoulder. Enter ComforTec, a series of energy dissipating gel chevrons along with a gel comb and ergonomic recoil pad.
Once sufficient energy has been utilised in the cyclic process the chevrons that run from the base of the pistol grip to the heel of the stock expand sideways when the remaining recoil energy reaches them so deflecting the bulk of the force away from the shooter. In turn the gel comb cushions the upward movement against the cheek, whilst the recoil pad deforms once again absorbing and distributing the last dregs of recoil. It all sounds somewhat unusual but take my word for it, in that it works extremely well, to a degree that all the Benellis that feature the ComforTec system are as soft, if not softer, to shoot than their gas driven equivalents. The fact that there’s no gas system also means the inertia Benellis are some of the slimmest, svelte and distinct single – barrelled shotguns on the market.
Out of the box the Super Sport should fit almost everyone, although basic modifications can be made. The gun as a whole weighs an exact 8lbs with drops at comb and heel of 1 9/16” and 1 15/16” , these dimensions taken from the raised rib. Length wise the pull is 14¼” mated to an average trigger weight of 6lbs 1oz, the smooth non-adjustable blade displaying a crisp and predictable breaking point. But whilst none of these measurements are fixed, the gentle cast and drop instantly variable by fitting one of the supplied shims, the alternative non-standard raised comb and extended recoil pad available from GMK are best ordered out from the outset. For me though the basic Super Sport is a perfect fit, my view along the rib revealing nothing more than the front red bead and smaller central pip, the format encouraging the ‘head-up’ position many other manufacturers are now trying to catch up with.
The attitude of the Super Sport is flat; a fact confirmed after fitting the Arrow Laser Shot. The gun balances directly beneath the ejection port which gives a more neutral, centred between the hands effect, the overall attitude being of a gun that’s easily controlled yet encouraging the shooter into a more relaxed, maintained, considered style and swing. But whether you need to slightly alter the Super Sport or not, one point you can rely on 100% are the Crio long multi-chokes, these tubes throwing one of the most evenly distributed, consistent and reliable patterns of any factory supplied restrictions.
I loaded up with Express’ performance orientated World Cup fibres and Supreme plaswads, both containing 28grams of my favoured 6 shot and notorious for their punchy delivery. Taking on sporting, skeet and some unofficial trap targets resulted in some noticeably high scores from the outset. The end result was just four birds away on the ESP, a straight at the skeet and three second shots at trap. To put it another way, the Super Sport was on target straight from the off, the sensation being of a shotgun I’d been shooting for years. The fact the gun was breaking forty yard plus distance targets with nothing more than ¼ choke fitted meant the Super Sport’s degree of flexibility was enhanced even further by virtue of the wider consistent pattern.
The problem I have reviewing any Benelli is that I’m a genuine fan. Truth is it that the basic inherent Benelli layout is perfectly suited to my own style and dimensions, so when it comes to high end semi-autos, to my mind you just can’t get any better. Equally, Benelli and the Super Sport make no ambiguous claims, instead the gun just delivers time and time again to a degree this gun will flatter the shooting of even the most mediocre clay breaker. And does the ComforTec system work? Yes, the physical effect of the two top Express loads reduced to an almost insignificant level whilst the factory porting ensures the muzzle remains fully controlled even when rapid shots are needed.
The reason why
Given the current financial plight, investment such as £2,095 on nothing more than a competition shotgun can at times seem hard to justify. However, to plead the Super Sport’s case, if you’re looking to buy a clay breaker that’s equally at home as a sporter, a slightly longer barrelled skeet gun or, much to most trap exponents’ surprise, more than competent as an occasional DTL tool, Benelli’s Super Sport is without doubt the smoothbore to go for. In other words this Benelli does the lot, does it well, exudes quality, enjoys in my opinion sublime handling, great build quality and genuine top-end performance plus. For those who consider looks just as important as ability, the Super Sport more than looks the part straight out of the case so no fancy, expensive add-ons are required.
As I’ve said before not every shotgun suits every shooter, but from my own perspective there’s just something about Benelli’s Super Sport that sets it apart. Not only is it the overall aesthetics and feel, but the ability of this design to do everything asked of it to my mind allows this semi-auto to constantly transcend expectations. Once you’ve become familiar with the Super Sport, a process that should take no more than a short round of clays, with this Benelli in your hands you feel that no target is beyond you. If you can’t break clays with a Benelli Super Sport, chances are clay shooting isn’t for you!
|Name||Benelli Super Sport|
|Type||Single – Barrel|
|Calibre||12 – bore / 3” Chambers|
|Action||Inertia semi – auto
|Capacity||3 x 12-bore cartridges
|Barrels||30 – inch multi – choke|
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