It is a Great Shotgun... Eventually
This isn't the type of article you'll find in mainstream gun rags, exactly why I decided to write it. Many of you have likely had similar experiences with several shotguns, rifles, and handguns, so you'll be able to relate. The subject matter here is a great shotgun, the Benelli M2 20 gauge, with a 24 inch barrel. At least, it is now. I tested the Benelli M2 20 gauge five years ago, in 2010. Although some would rightfully say that I need another twenty gauge like an Eskimo really needs a snow cone, I generally liked it. And, I bought it. It is a Realtree APG®, ComforTech® model, $1599 MSRP.
The M2 has an obnoxious silver center bead on the rib that is just bizarre. Like the fat fellow that when he gets his shoes shined, he has to take the guy's word for it, the same is true of the front bead on the M2. The center bead obliterates the view of the front bead, so whether it is there or not in actual shooting is anyone's guess. Center beads on field shotguns make no sense; a center bead that blocks out the front bead makes even less sense. There is no easy way to unscrew the center bead, apparently a pin vise is an “iffy” proposition (according to Benelli), so attempting to twist it off with pliers broke it off flush with the rib to my immense delight.
The shell stop on the M2 makes it really painful to load shells into the magazine. Painful enough where getting through a box of shells is a sure-fire promininently painfully sore thumb. Benelli Customer Service told me to remove it and hit it with a hammer: it is a well-known issue. Well, I'm not trained in bashing at brand new guns with hammers, so I suggested that the Benelli gunsmiths do the hammering as they have far more experience than I with hammering on new guns. So, the gun went back to Benelli, they apparently beat it into submission, so although still on the stiff side, it is much improved.
The Benelli M2 weighs 6 lbs. On the nose. The M2 trigger, as supplied, breaks at a heavier weight than the entire gun at 6-1/2 pounds. Heavier triggers are less problematic on heavier guns, but the supplied trigger was unacceptable. Benelli Customer Service is quite good. Off went the entire trigger guard to Benelli and it came back at 4-3/4 lbs., a far more reasonable and usable break weight.
The bore of this Benelli M2 as measured by Skeets bore gauge is .620 inch. None of the supplied choke tubes threw acceptable pattern densities past 40 yards, so it was an Improved Modified Trulock Precision Hunter choke that finally did the trick.
So, when asked if a Benelli M2 20 gauge is a “good” gun, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. After you break off the center bead, have Benelli beat on the shell stop with a hammer, have Benelli lighten the ridiculously heavy trigger, toss the factory “Crio” flush tubes in the garbage, kill a lot of paper and end up with a Trulock Improved Modified Precision Hunter extended tube PHCRP20600 (.020 inch constriction) . . .
It is a great gun. Eventually.
Copyright 2015 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.