Benelli supernova camo
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- Last updated: 21/01/2022
As soon as you see and pick up the SuperNova, you know it is a Benelli shotgun. It has that undeniable Italian styling and unique, almost quirky design with modern/futuristic looks that have come to define the company’s products. But all those design features are there for a reason and form the bigger picture with regards to pure function, handling and reliability, which is especially important on this pumpaction 12-gauge model.
The SuperNova is a very comfortable shotgun to hold and operate, plus its great balance and the smooth operating system really does allow a very fast second shot, especially for a pump-action design. This means the gun is just at home in a hide after pigeon, on the shores after wildfowl or knocking over plates at a sporting shotgun shoot.
There are two camo versions (APG and MAX 5 patterns) and a standard black synthetic model.
The steel-framed, SuperNova action is Rilsan coated for weather protection and this model on test has the Realtree Max 5 camouflage pattern applied. So, in my view, guaranteeing maximum resistance to both high and lowtemperature environments.
The action looks like a two-part system but actually has a highly scalloped rear section that also incorporates the trigger guard as well. The front action section is more conventional for a pumpaction but has no proviso for fitting a scope, which is a shame as I do like red dots or scopes for slugs.
The bolt is your typical two-piece, rotating head design. The rear section has a nice non-reflective matte black finish, whilst the bearing surface front end and locking lugs are finished in a nice deep blued finish. Twin elliptical locking lugs locate directly into the back of the barrel for a strong and safe union until you fire or use the bolt release button sited in front of the trigger guard. This is a small metal lever that closes an open bolt or unlocks the action when locked, so a loaded cartridge can be removed.
Extraction is managed by a large single claw, which worked very well on all the test cartridges used, even some of the shallow, rimmed 12-gauge rounds. A long spur set into the receiver sidewall provides positive ejection and the whole bolt movement is very slick and almost operates itself.
Capacity is 2+1 and there are FAC versions available. Feeding is via a bronze coloured, fluted loading ramp that keeps the cartridges at the perfect angle for loading.
The rear action section gives the trigger guard that characteristic Benelli large and dropped elliptical and angular shape. It’s not only eye-catching but allows unimpeded access to the trigger. The trigger blade is smooth and well curved and there is a cross-bolt type safety button located in front of it, within the guard itself. It is well protected and easily accessible.
The whole of the SuperNova has that hardwearing camo coating, making for a practical gun that can be easily cleaned at the end of the day.
Barrel choice is from 24 to 28” but the test gun came with a 26” barrel, which I like. All are chambered for 3.5” cartridges and magnum proofed, so any magnum lead or steel load is no problem for this pump.
Look to the muzzle and the multi-choke system uses flush-fitting chokes. Three are supplied with the gun as standard but mine only came with a ¼ fitted. I had a ½ choke in the spares box so I fitted that for the pattern board test.
The full-length rib is slightly raised and has a humpbacked profile from the rear to the muzzle that leads your eye in naturally. This is further helped by a serrated ‘V’ cut slot in the rear of the action that guides and helps align your eye.
The rib shows eight vented sections beneath it to help dissipate heat and it measures 8mm wide and shows a smooth surface along its length. There are two aiming beads, the first of which is silver and halfway down the barrel, whilst at the muzzle, there is a red dayglo type, so a pretty comprehensive sighting system.
The stock utilises Benelli’s techno polymer ComforTech system. It’s really radical looking and incredibly tactile for a shotgun and, typically, Benelli has thought about where maximum grip is needed, where you are going to place your hands and how recoil and comfort are needed to make shooting the SuperNova pleasant.
Plastic inserts between the stock and the action provide the capability to adjust the cast, drop and comb height of the SuperNova, and this finetuning helps align the eye and make the fit just right.
The pistol grip is very well shaped and long raked, which I like. It helps to achieve a good, unimpeded grip, plus it has some very pronounced, horizontal, raised ribbed sections for extra grip. It works very well and the ribs go right up to the bottom of the action, so your hand does not slip at all. They are moulded in and due to the number and size of these ribs, they offer a far better grip than the usual shallow chequering found on some synthetic stocks.
To further aid comfort, there is a slightly raised comb section made from soft rubber. It feels warm and tactile compared to a plastic stock and helps stop those red cheeks with magnum loads! The rubber insert material is echoed as a lateral line down either side of the stock, in the form of broad chevrons pointing downwards and diagonally towards the pistol grip. These inserts provide a little ‘give’ to the stock on firing. Finally, there is a very nice broad, soft black rubber recoil pad that grips well and helps to keep the recoil low.
The forend is scalloped as well as ribbed for a firm hold and total control when supporting and pumping the action. This multi-faceted design means you can find a comfortable position for the supporting hand from any angle, with a raised rear edge to stop your hand from slipping backwards.
The SuperNova is very well balanced and not at all muzzle heavy, so its weight feels well distributed. Instantly obvious in use is the effortless, smooth pumping operation that allows a speedy second shot capability. As the trigger is pulled, you have a pump assisted de-cock, so the forend almost moves on its own to get that second shot in quick. It all feels very well made and like it’s running on well-oiled rails.
With the ½ choke fitted, I tried some Eley Grand Prix Steel and Gamebore Steel Game X cartridges first. As expected, the distribution of the patterns was a little high from the steel loads.
The 30-gram #4 Grand Prix Steel load shot a total of 147 pellets, which were distributed with 105 outers and 42 inner hits, but the pattern was a bit sparse.
The Steel Game X loads shot a bit lower, with their larger 32-grams of FE3 shot producing 64 inner strikes and 98 outer hits within the 30” pattern board. So, a total of 162 hits and a better overall pattern than the smaller shot size of the Eley steel load, interesting.
Gamebore’s Clear Pigeon is a clear favourite and always a hard-hitting and great patterning cartridge. It proved itself here with a total of 211, #6 shot pellet strikes, of which 120 were in the outer sectors and the remaining 91 pellets in the inner 15” circle, so a superb load for any vermin.
You cannot help but like this pump-action as it takes away that horrible reputation that pumps tend to have. It has that blend of Benelli’s very own design that means, to hell with the rest of the world, we are making it this way because it is better. I have to applaud that. It’s a really tough gun too but as smooth as silk to operate, and that’s what you are paying for.
Overall, a great value and well made shotgun from a premium shotgun maker.