Benelli M2 Field Semiautomatic 12 Gauge
While many scattergun enthusiasts may prefer the classic appearance of fine-grained wood and gun-metal blue steel in many shooting situations, the fall season seems to bring out the desire for a little camouflage in their shotgun collection. These firearms are designed for rugged, dependable functioning in what can be miserable weather conditions. Like the runt of a litter of puppies, these shotguns are often so ugly that they are considered attractive.
With the stress on getting the job done, the shotgun Gun Tests selected for its testing was promoted as a solid shooting tool, capable of handling field conditions without punishing hunters with excessive recoil or clunky handling performance.
The Benelli M2 Field is also a fast-functioning and popular shooting tool in fields and wetlands across the country. It features a slim design and a synthetic camouflage stock and forearm, plus a camouflage-coated barrel. These features are nearly a necessity for anyone venturing into the wet weather, mud and gunk typical of waterfowl hunting conditions and the unpredictable fall season for dove hunters.
Since field shooting was the test track for our shotgun, the magazine staff cycled a variety of ammunition through the semiautomatic to check out its ability to handle different loads. The ammunition selection for the test included Remington STS Low Recoil 2.75-inch loads with a 2.5 dram equivalent, 1 1/8 ounce of No. 7.5 shot and a muzzle velocity of 1,100 fps; Federal Wing-Shok Flyer 2.75-inch loads with 3.25 dram equivalent, 1.25 ounce No. 7.5 lead shot with a muzzle velocity of 1,330 fps; and Federal Ultra-Shok Heavy High Velocity Steel 2.75-inch loads with 3.89 dram equivalent, 1.25 ounces of No. 4 shot with a muzzle velocity of 1,375 feet per second.
They encountered no malfunctions of any kind with any of the shells. The shotgun cycled the ammo variety with quickness and effectiveness, even in bad weather conditions. Pattern tests resulted in 50-50 coverage (half below and half above) on the patterning board, no matter what ammunition was put on paper. Heres the magazines test report in more detail:
This gun is no slouch in the cycling arena, and while slower than some others, it put rounds downrange in a quick and effective manner.
The test model featured a 26-inch barrel, with an overall length of 47 inches. The shotgun is covered in a Realtree Camo Max-4 camouflage design with AirTouch checkering.
The test staff found the feel and handling ability of the Benelli to be as good as othersthere was very little difference in the field guns when weather and hunting conditions were less than favorable.
The inertial operation of the recoil system, combined with the turning block bolt locking system, provided a different feel to shooting the Benelli. However, recoil with all loads was acceptable and although the Benelli was a little slower in the cycling department, they encountered no functioning problems.
Tipping the scales at 7 pounds on the nose, they liked the heft and easy movement of the Benelli. The length of pull was a shorter-than-normal 14 inches. This allows for the additional padding of a heavy coat or shooting gear. The drop at the comb was 1.5 inches and the drop at the heel was 2 inches.
These dimensions fell within the comfort zone of the test group. If there had been adjustment problems, the M2 also features a shim kit to tweak drop and cast in the stock.
The ComfoTech System in the stock and the Technogel recoil pad lived up to their advertising in reducing recoil, even with heavy loads. While their looks are unusual, they do get the job done. The magazine was a little unhappy with the trigger pull weight of 6.5 pounds, with just a little creep before touch off. A trip to the neighborhood gunsmith for a minor adjustment would be a good idea.
With its 26-inch barrel, the Benelli was quick and smooth to the targets. They found that second and third shots were no problem and the shotgun always did its job in an effective manner. Some of the test team members experienced a little "bite" from the loading port when attempting to shove shells into the magazine. An inconvenience, but worth noting for those people who want to avoid sore thumbs after shooting.
Assembly and reassembly of the Benelli was very easy and uncomplicateda big plus with semiautomatics that must function in rugged conditions.