August 2009

12-Gauge Autoloader Shoot-Out: Beretta, Benelli, and Remington

These models remain the most appealing hunting shotguns, and for skeet, sporting clays, and casual clays uses as well. Here, the Urika 2 Gold beats the Vinci and CTi105 II for all-round use.

Ever since the introduction of the Browning Auto-Five, autoloading shotguns have taken places of the distinction in the hunting fields across the country. The soft-shooting Remington 1100 soared to popularity in the 1960s, popularity that has since waned in favor of more versatile models. Here, we turn our critical eyes to the latest generation of the Beretta 3-inch autoloader, the Urika 2 Gold, the hypebole-laden Benelli Vinci that is new for 2009, and the re-release of the Remington CTi105Śnow designated the CTi105 II, also 'new for 2009.' They are all $1500 or so sticker-priced autoloaders, they all claim to be technically advanced, and they are all offered solely in 3-inch models. We were extremely interested to see if the latest and greatest are what they claim to be, or not. The Beretta Urika 2 Gold, introduced at the 2007 SHOT Show, has finally arrived. The 12 gauge with 3-inch chambers, Optima 28-inch barrel and chokes, is one of the most popular semiauto configurations offered. The Urika 2 is available with a standard walnut stock (as tested) or as the 'X-tra-Grain' version (a wood stock with grain artificially burned in). To say that we have used the Beretta 303/390/391 series extensively over the years would be an understatement. Countless models have come and gone from our working shotgun repertoire. The tested Urika 2 12/28 weighs 7.9 pounds. To compare this to identically barreled guns, an AL390 Gold Mallard weighs 8 pounds and an AL390 DU 12 gauge weighs 8.25. The steel-receiver B-80 12 gauges weigh 8.6 pounds.

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