- 1 Comments
- Last updated: 14/12/2016
Benelli semi-autos have a great reputation for reliability, style and sound engineering. The latest model is the Vinci, a modernistic, modular gun that the firm (now owned by Beretta) have introduced as the last word in live quarry repeating shotguns. First impressions are good, as it looks stylish and trim. Indeed, it only weighs seven pounds, so, it is lighter than many modern semis! Benelli are generally lighter than the opposition because of their recoil/inertia operating system which reduces overall weight.
This Vinci is genuinely novel. Not only does it look different, but has all sorts of intriguing features. First it is modular with three, sub-assembles - barrel/upper receiver/bolt, stock and forend including mag tube and trigger mechanism. This is something really unusual as it does not disassemble in the accepted way. To strip; remove the forend by depressing a catch at the front and twisting what looks like a large nut. The magazine tube on the test gun was detachable, but this area is to be modified to comply with UK law by the time you read this. It’s weird but rather wonderful.
Let’s Twist Again
The butt cleverly attaches by an interrupted thread to the back of the receiver. It may be removed once the forend and its allied bits are off simply by twisting. Benelli have sensibly incorporated their tried and tested, ComforTech, anti-recoil system which has a rubberised coating for better grip. This by means of a moulded recoil pad and rubber chevrons set into the build really does reduce the kick and improves control no end, which is most noticeable with heavy loads. So you get and a stock that can be simply removed (or swapped), which is easily adapted to fit by means of shims which alter cast and drop.
So let’s consider the action and though using Benelli’s recoil/inertia system has been upgraded when compared to previous guns. It has only three primary parts: the main bolt body, rotating head and a short, stiff spring which connects them. Locking is by twin lugs directly into the chamber extension. If you’re not aware; Benelli’s operating system does not use the more accepted gas piston design of guns like the Remington 1100 for example.
Operation is simple – The bolt head remains locked into the barrel as the mass of the bolt body hurtles forward on firing. This compresses the connecting spring, and when it gets to maximum tension, the rotary bolt unlocks and all the reciprocating parts move back together. The fired case is ejected, another cartridge engaged and the working parts moves forward back into battery energised and chambering a new cartridge. What brings them forward? A spring within the receiver and not one in the stock as is the more usual arrangement on self-loading shotguns (gas or inertia). As no gas is involved in the operation smoke and burnt powder are confined to the barrel on firing, rather than being directed back into the mechanism so keeping everything cleaner. Plus the reduced mass of the working parts means a fast action cycle too.
The simplicity and light weight of the design offers handling benefits too. Because there are no springs, action bars or gas collar/piston under the forend, there is critically less weight forward as well as in the middle and rear of the gun.
The unusual spec continues. The hammer forged 3” chambered barrel is permanently screwed into the upper receiver and cryogenically frozen during manufacture. This sub 300°Fahrenheit process changes the surface properties of the steel along with its internal molecular structure. Benelli make big claims for this, noting that the grain becomes more even and the internal surface slicker (reducing friction between the barrel wall and the wad and shot). Which could make fouling less likely.
The chokes are cryogenically treated too, and have an internal profile with a more gradual taper than the usual which, with the other features, tends to tighten patterns according to the advertising literature. The bore is a normal 18.4mm, however (and might usefully be enlarged).
Finally, the barrel is perfectly in line with the receiver and its operating parts. This increases efficiency. This is what Benelli says: “The Vinci’s In-Line Inertia Driven® system cycles shells faster than ever. But, to take advantage of this speed, it was necessary to reduce recoil and minimize muzzle climb. To accomplish this Benelli developed the ComfortTech™ Plus system, which decreases muzzle climb by 14- to 42% and quickens recovery time to let you get back on target 40- to 68% faster than the competition. Without adding weight, ComforTech™ Plus also allows the Vinci to retain superior balance when shouldering and firing the gun.”
Does this stand up? To a degree! The Vinci shoots naturally but it does kick a bit. I had the chance to put a large number of shells through it at both the West London Shooting Grounds and at Andy Castle’s West London Gun Club. The gun is lightning quick with 28” barrel as tested (30” tubes are coming soon). It is surprisingly steady thanks to the good purchase offered by its modernistic and ergonomic shapes and rubberised finish. It points well. But, it is not light-recoiling as noted and it prefers a diet of 30-gram plus shells.
In a live quarry weapon, this is not as important as in a dedicated a clay busting machine unless one prefers light loads (I don’t for most of my game and clay shooting). I certainly rate the Vinci on the design front, it could be useful for pigeon shooting, or, if you want to carry a gun on the marsh. Its modular system is more than a gimmick too and offers real versatility.
• Different and clever
• A look you’ll either love or hate
• A radical step forward in semi-auto design
PRICE: from £1,475