Benelli M2 Cerakote
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- Last updated: 23/12/2019
The M2 range of semi-automatic shotguns is one of the best on the market and Benelli have a very good reputation with this model. Available in many guises, this test gun, the Cerakote finished model, is both at home breaking clays or out hunting. It uses the same inertia type bolt operating system and has a black/grey synthetic stock but this model differs in that it has a tough Cerakote finish to it. The Cerakote finish is an applied surface coverage system that adheres to the metals pores and forms a protective surface from the elements. It is a polymer ceramic composite coating that when applied to metal gives a high resistance to abrasion, corrosion, wear, chemical attack impact strength as well as hardness. It also repels dirt and moisture and has a certain amount of lubrication factor, so it is smooth on bearing surfaces such as bolts. Available in a wide range of colours, this ultra-smooth grey Tungsten finish stops reflections.
Overall Benelli’s have a bit of an understated elegance to some models and this M2 has that rugged wildfowltype look, but smooth, wellengineered mechanics beneath its practical outer shell.
I like the Benelli stock, as with an inertia design the forend is characteristically shorter and I find it allows the supporting hand to cup the end for a really good hold. The forend is nine- inches, well 10 with the screw on end cap, and has very well-defined deep finger groove and dimpled pressed in checkering give a good grip. Max width is 1.75-inches, so a nice comfortable hold. There is also a rotating sling swivel attachment to the large securing nut that is very handy for a sling.
The stock is made from Benelli’s Techno polymer which is a tough moulded construction and here finished in a grey/ black colour. It is quite hard feeling and a bit echoing, but with a light textured fi nish to it is strong for all hunting chores. You also have 12 chevron insets made from Comfortech material that is designed to give the stock some fl ex to it on fi ring and thus absorb recoil, which keeps the fi ring cycle comfortable. It does not interfere with the inertia system either so very well thought out.
I like the rear butt section of the stock as it has a long, raked pistol grip with a checkering pattern impressed into the surface as dimples. Between the pistol grip and receiver are plastic inserts that can adjust the comb height as desired. Length of pull of this model was 14.25-inches which worked fi ne for me.
You also have more Comfor Tech features, one of which is the welcome soft polymer pad that straddles the comb for 5.25-inches, providing a soft and comfortable cheek to gun weld. Feels warmer too! The Comfor tech gel soft recoil pad is profi led to mount quickly and stay put in the shoulder and does soften recoil.
With an inertia driven system you have fewer moving parts than a gas operated system, and this helps to reduce the friction foul up due to dirt build up. Combine with the fact that there are no moving parts under the forend and the whole system is lighter and very reliable.
The inertia system allows the Benelli to have a fast cyclic rate but still have a positive lock up on closure and then cartridge movement from magazine and fi nally ejection. The M2 system works very quickly – when the cartridge is shot the magazine stop catch is released so a new cartridge is ready on the mag follower. Now as the M2 recoils, that rearward thrust motion sets up inertia in the bolt head, which locks tightly into the barrel recesses momentarily, and a spring within the bolt now compresses. When the recoil reduces this stored energy, the bolt spring then initiates the rearward movement of the bolt body which disengages the bolt from the barrel, and the spent case is ejected. A new cartridge is then fed from the mag follower sitting there earlier.
The Benelli M2 uses a rotary bolt system that is smooth, reliable and safe in use with its two opposing lugs that sit into recesses at the barrels’ chambers end. They are large and sit at a vertical 90-degree angle with a generous 0.5-inch bearing surface. Extraction is via a single hardened claw extractor on the rotating bolts head, with all the test ammo being fl ung well clear. There is also a small bolt release below the ejection port and the slim black trigger breaks cleanly and there is a cross bolt safety if needed.
I also like the addition for the provision for mounting a scope or red dot sight on the dovetails cut into the one-piece alloy receiver top.
This model comes with a 28-inch barrel and has a ventilated rib of 7mm width and this model has a stepped up rib profile that at 2.5-inches from the action the rib rises and then angles down to meet the muzzle. It is very nice and really does help lead the eye naturally down and along the rib to the single small red dayglo bead at the end. The six vents beneath the rib are large and progressively get smaller to the muzzle end.
This 28-inch barrel is hammer forged like a rifle’s barrel and, I stress, relieving the barrels will ensure uniformity in the steel`s integrity. Next, they are chrome lined for durability and have a 3-inch steel shot-proofed chambering.
Complete with the M2 Cerakote are a set of five multichokes along with the stock adjustment shims. The chokes are Benelli`s own Crio type at 2.75-inches length and has a slow tapered lead in, and steel shot chokes are included in the set, so handy for wildfowl.
The Cerakote finished with the Grey Tungsten colour is really a good idea and its application to the barrels and action areas not only give a unformed smart appearance but greatly improve the wear and tear factor. It is both slick and highly durable and certainly weatherproofs these guns for extreme hunting trips.
The inertia system, as its name implies, needs a certain amount of energy to operate the system correctly so low powered or light loads should not be used. I fitted the ½ choke tube for these cartridges. I would use above 24-gram shot charge weight for best results.
Gamebore Clear Pigeon, 32-grams No 6 shot loading with a fibre wad gave, as usual, very uniform patterns with a total of 217 pellets strikes on the board with 148 pellets in the outer section and 69 covering the inner portion. Fed and ejected perfectly and was light on the shoulder too so great for extended shooting sessions.
Hull Steel Game Extra is a good 28-gram loading of FE3 shot with a plastic wadding. This cycled the action reliably and shot a total of 148 pellet strikes on the boards with 69 inner and 79 outer pellet strikes. Great steel load with down range performance and reliable feeding too.
Eley Pigeon Select, 30-gram No 6 shot load with plastic wad and through the Benelli we had 194 pellets hit the board with 123 within the 30-inch outer circle and 71 within the inner 15-inch circle. Nice well dispersed shot pattern with no holes for game to slip through.
Finally, Gamebore Black Gold Game. This fibre wadded 32-gram No 5 shot load is a great performer and the M2 digested them with ease. We had 74 inner strikes and 90 outer hits for a total of 164, great load and hard hitter.
I also shot some Gamebore Clear Pigeon, Eley Alphamax, Gamebore Velocity and Interstate buck shot through the M2 Cerakote and all functioned without a hitch.
I like semis and pumps and the Benelli M2 in any guise is spot on, while the new Cerakote system elevates the M2 to the next level and makes the £1645 price tag very reasonable. It was utterly reliable in testing with great pointability and natural swing and recoil was hardly perceivable. A great gun for any application, just change chokes or ammunition and start shooting.
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