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Benelli: Great Shotguns, When They Work

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I recently purchased a Benelli 12-gauge Supernova Tactical shotgun. I was so excited until I got it home, and it wouldn’t eject shells.

That was frustrating, but the fixable problem was nothing compared to the response I got from the respected, Italian gun maker. I decided to share my experience to give you all a picture of Benelli’s idea of customer service for the little guy.

About three months ago, I decided to buy a new, pump shotgun. I did exhaustive research. I looked at Remington, Mossberg, Winchester and others. I read reviews until my eyes ached.

They all looked good, but for me, the Benelli Supernova was it. For $500, it seemed packed with impressive features such as a recoil-reducing ComforTech stock, ghost ring sights, 18-inch barrel, polymer-encased steel receiver, and superb ergonomics.

I filled out my paperwork in late April, and I had to wait a day for my background check to clear at Gander Mountain. As I said, as soon as I got it home on April 27, I loaded it up and watched each shell extract and dangle halfway out of the ejection port.

I was dumbfounded.

Benelli vs. Gander Mountain

After several attempts, I accepted that I would have to send it back and called Benelli the next day. The customer-service rep was a nice-enough woman. I briefly explained the problem to her.

DSC_0622She told me the ejector had probably fallen out during shipping to Gander and was sitting loose in the box.

I checked the box. No extractor. She told me this happens fairly often, which really surprised me. Anyway, she said she would ship me the ejector assembly – free of charge. The parts were on backorder, so it would take four-six weeks.

Ok so at this point, I was getting a little aggravated. First of all, the owner’s manual doesn’t even cover removal or installation of the three-component ejector assembly.

Also, I was surprised that this woman would diagnose the problem over the phone without wanting Benelli to inspect the shotgun. There was never an offer made for me to ship the shotgun to Benelli, so they could fix it.

I told her I was very unhappy that this would happen in the first place with a company like Benelli, and that I now would have to wait up to six weeks for them to ship me a part so I could try to handle it on my own.

She told me I should be frustrated with the Gander Mountain for selling it to me that way.

So I called Gander Mountain and told them my sob story. I asked what they were going to do for me since they sold me a defective shotgun. The managers at Gander started off by apologizing to me – something I never got from Benelli.

Gander would not let me return the shotgun – something about store policy and paperwork had already been filed with the ATF. They offered to ship the shotgun to Benelli with notes on the problem and bug them until it was fixed.

I returned it to Gander May 1 and their gun tech confirmed it didn’t work and it was in fact missing the ejector assembly. Interestingly enough, they said this has never happened before and were shocked by Benelli’s response to the problem.

Gander shipped it out that day, and they called me May 13 to tell me my gun was back and it was fixed.

Benelli installed a new ejector assembly and test fired it, according to the letter they sent with my shotgun. Still no apology though.

As promised, Benelli did mail me the ejector, ejector spring and ejector pin a couple of weeks later – free of charge.

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So Is Benelli Worth It?

Dealing with Benelli definitely took the fun out of buying a new shotgun. But after it was fixed, I decided to put it behind me and give the Supernova a chance.

I have to admit, now that all the parts are there, the Supernova is a thing of beauty. The fit and finish of each component is just beautiful. The texturing on the stock and pump make it easy to find a comfortable grip.

The safety is located just forward of the oversized trigger guard, making it very easy to find with your trigger finger.

I would have liked a five-shot magazine tube instead of the Supernova’s four-shot magazine. I’m considering a magazine extension.

The steel receiver is encased with a heavy polymer. I assume it’s for weather protection. For now, it’s one less thing to worry about protecting from surface rust.

I took it to the range recently and had no problems with shell ejection. The Supernova can take up to 3 ½ inch shells, but I stuck to 2 ¾ inch for this trip. I tried to shoot a range of different shells – Federal 00 buck, Federal 1 once rifled slugs and Brenneke Special Forces Maximum Penetration Magnum 1 3/8 ounce breaching slugs.

The ghost ring sights offer a very clean sight picture and are easy to bring back on target quickly for follow-up shots. The indoor range only went out to 15 yards, so it’s hard to say how effective they are out to 100 meters. I don’t foresee any issues though.

I was a bit disappointed with Benelli’s “recoil-reducing” ComforTech stock. Benelli claims that other shotguns kick more than 40 percent harder without the sophisticated ComforTech stock.DSC_0619

It’s hard to tell without a side-by-side comparison with a standard stock shotgun, but … it still felt like I was shooting a 12-gauge shotgun.

The extra-spongy, gel recoil pad did help with the 00 buck and regular slugs, but the Brenneke 1 3/8 ounce slugs just snickered at Benelli’s ComforTech. I only shot two of the Brenneke’s, but the recoil was so severe it left me with a dull headache for the rest of the afternoon.

My shoulder showed no bruising or marking of any kind though, so maybe there is something to the ComforTech.

So looking back – now that my temper has cooled -- I have no regrets. I was disgusted by Benelli’s customer service in dealing with what was, by all indications, a shotgun that left the factory without the ejector assembly. On the other hand, Benelli makes a superior shotgun. Overall, the Supernova has exceeded my expectations.

I am completely happy with my Benelli now. But knowing what I know now, would I do it all over again and choose the Benelli?

I’m not sure. I hope this review helps someone out there.

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