August 20, 2012

Benelli Super Sport Comfortech 20 Gauge

There are two sides to the competitive shooting coin—one side is the challenge of being the best you can be and the other side is just being able to have a little fun. Picking the right shooting tool to handle both sides of this coin has become a lot easier with the availability of a good number of quality, fine-handling 20-gauge semiautomatics. These small gauge shotguns provide the shooter with a lighter, quicker target-busting tool that also carries the freight in the field during bird-hunting sessions.

Gun Tests Magazine recently took a look at the Benelli Super Sport No. 10635 Comfortech 20 Gauge ($1,700) in a clay-crunching challenge.

Here's what they found:

The shotgun was made in Italy and featured a synthetic stock and forearm. It had a 28-inch ported barrel to help reduce recoil and our test team placed increased emphasis on function and handling ability—and also factoring in the price tag as another ledger entry.

Our test ammunition for the trio included Estate Super Sport Competition Target 2.75-inch, 2.5-dram-equivalent shells in No. 7 1/2 shot (muzzle velocity 1200 fps); and Winchester AA Super Sport Sporting Clays 2.75-inch, 2.5-dram-equivalent shells in No. 7 1/2 shot (muzzle velocity 1300 fps). We patterned each of the shotguns with both types of ammunition, using Improved Cylinder chokes when firing at paper set up 25 yards downrange.

Gun Tests June 2008

Gun Tests agreed that this is a fine shooting tool that handled well and functioned without flaw. The price tag was a big factor in its grade for the Super Sport, but if that doesn't bother you, they thought it was an edgy-looking shooter that they liked a lot.

The patterns was 60-40 (more hits below the center than above the center). The Super Sport also patterned slightly to the left.

The contrast of the brushed stainless receiver and the glistening carbon-fiber stock and forearm are the first features to leap out as the Super Sport comes out of the box. We found the appearance to be quite attractive and different for a competitive shooting tool. While we did not encounter any problems holding the Super Sport, the slick and shiny finish on the stock and forearm was our least favorite.

The slim forearm and slight palm swell on the grip, complete with stamped checkering, provided a solid foundation for moving the Super Sport into targets. We liked the ComforTech system gel recoil pad and comb insert, although there was some concern by a few of our team about the slickness of the pad. A slightly rougher surface on the recoil pad would provide a more solid contact in the shooter’s shoulder.

Gun Tests June 2008

Although the surface was a little slicker than they would have liked, they found the thin grip and checkering allowed for easily handling of the shotgun.

Concerning recoil, while the system is advertised as being able to reduce felt recoil by as much as 48 percent, we did not experience such a drastic reduction. Recoil was certainly manageable and well within the comfortable limit, but our shooting experience simply did not produce the advertised results. The difference in recoil between the three shotguns with both brands of ammunition was negligible.

The Super Sport had an overall length of 48.75 inches, with a length of pull of 14.25 inches. Drop at the comb was 1.25 inches and drop at the heel was 2 inches. We could find no fault in any of the dimensions, and the fit was fine for all members of our team. The weight of the shotgun was 6.1 pounds, only slightly heavier than the other two test guns and a difference that we considered a non-factor.

We were a little disappointed in the trigger-pull weight, which touched off at 6 pounds. A lighter touch off around 5 pounds would improve the smoothness of shooting the shotgun and could be achieved with a trip to the local gunsmith.

Acquiring targets over the 10mm tapered ramp with the white mid-bead and red front sight was a shooting pleasure and target breaks were the most solid of the three 20s. There were no functioning problems with either type of ammunition.

Gun Tests June 2008

The brushed stainless receiver was an instant eye-catcher, giving the Super Sport good marks for appearance.

The Super Sport operated on the Inertia Driven system that features only three moving parts—the bolt body, the inertia spring and the rotating bolt head.

Not only is this system effective (although we found it is slightly louder than the gas-operated shotgun) and lightweight, it makes the Super Sport much easier to disassemble, clean and reassemble. That is a favorable factor for any shotgun enthusiast. Spent shells were ejected with authority during our tests, which we consider another plus.

Overall, this is an ideal competition shotgun that can easily serve double duty in the field.

GUN TESTS GRADE: B-. A fine shooting tool that handled well and functioned without flaw, the price tag was the chief obstacle in our grade for the Super Sport. We believe that the extra $200 to $300 could be better spent on more ammunition, unless the looks of the Super Sport are a deciding factor in your purchase.

Comments (8)

My first Remington 870 was bought when I was 16 years old. Then I could buy a box of Remington Shur Shot for $2.50. That was my hunting and Skeet shooting gun because I had no more shotguns, just one shotgun. It is (because I still have it and it is in a 95% condition) a Wing Master, with impress fleur de lis checkering, RKW “Bowling Pin” finish, and vibra-honed parts. That was as Remington advertised it on those years. Price? The astounding sum of $115.00. New in box. In those years I was a high school student, and getting that $115.00 for buying a gun was no small feat. I started it on dove hunting and did fine with it. Then it came the duck season, and there it proved what a great gun are these. The next year my brother Albert bought another one in 20ga. Those guns really became famous in our hunting area, where the Browning Auto 5 was queens. What anything could do the best and most experienced hunters in the zone with their Auto 5’s, we surpassed it. Remington 1100 hunters had a lot of troubles with them. Being unknowledgeable of how to clean an 1100 properly was very frequent to find one struck out in the field. An 1100 is an excellent gun in the hands of a knowledgeable gun owner. Just strip it completely every 300 shots, and give it a well detailed cleaning, and you will enjoy the almost recoilless shooting of these excellent guns. The other very important thing to watch is for the condition of the gas system O rings. After hunting almost twelve years in a row with the 870 I bought a used Auto 5. But that is another story. My 870 have seen more ammunition through the barrel, than most hunters will never shoot in two lifetimes. Once in a while I take it out to the skeet range and still can shoot 25’s with it. Have no fear of buying an 870, it still is the best pump action shotgun in the world.

Posted by: Firemouth | August 27, 2012 6:45 AM    Report this comment

Firemouth, I believe you know of what you speak. I suspect that with the wealth of experience you have amassed, many of us could take lessons and advice from you. That said, I have always had a fondness for the Remington M870, since I always figured it was about as good a pump shotgun as was available. I have owned some of them, and from what I am hearing you say, I'd best be getting out and purchasing a tactical M870 to add to my home defense armory.

Posted by: canovack | August 26, 2012 5:00 PM    Report this comment

I have owned and shot EXTENSIVELY both Remington 1100 and the Benelli. Right now a have a Cordoba in 20ga. that is the same gun as the one being discussed, but with a matte black finish all around. Why the Benelli is a more costly gun? The answer is simple, it is a better gun. It is better built, more reliable by far and a lot more durable. No 1100, no Mossberg, no any other semi-auto shotgun in the world can match that. The Benelli is the best semi-auto on the market. And all that OBJECTIVELY. And that is being said by a shotgun shooter that really loves his 1100’s and 11-87. No recoil operated shotgun is going to kick less than an 1100 or an 11-87. I have shot millions, yes I said MILLIONS of shotshells only adding the totals of of the Benelli’s and the 1100’s plus the 11-87. When you go to South America to do volume shooting (and when I say volume I really mean it) you will learn why a Benelli is worth every penny is charged for. By the way is the only shotgun that can stand the pace without literally disintegrating its guts. I have seen many guns fail in the field, but not of Benelli brand. 1100’s, 11-87’s, Beretta 391’s, Teknis and Xplor 400’s are better guns for clay target shooting, because all of them kick a lot less than the Benelli, being the 1100’s and the 11-87’s my favorites for that purpose. If I go hunting, I’ll pick the Benelli. The only shotgun that can exceed the Benelli reliability is not a semi-auto. No shotgun ever built will surpass the Remington 870 in that department.

Posted by: Firemouth | August 26, 2012 4:01 PM    Report this comment

I just don't understand why Benelli shot guns are way over the price of other shot guns. My Mossberg 500's and old Remington (Browning) hump back, and Stoger's do just as good if not better as long as I take good care of them. Oh and can't forget Momma's Remington 870 youth, and good old fashioned coach gun.
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Posted by: bear1 | August 23, 2012 6:15 PM    Report this comment

I would never pay that kind of money for a plasticky stocked gun. For way less money you can get a Remington 1100 sporting clays gun with a knock out beautiful wood stock.

I also have never shot an inertia gun or long or short recoil gun that did not kick harder than gas operated guns like the Rem. 1100.

True, inertia guns can be more reliable but that is often only after many hundreds of rounds are fired. In either case most people are either too lazy or to ignorant to realize that gas operated and inertial operated guns need good lubrication consisting of both grease and oil to be reliable as well as frequent cleaning.

Posted by: wild romanian | August 23, 2012 1:47 PM    Report this comment

Why is this "sport" gun priced even higher by 300 + dollars than their vinci hunting gun with g4 camo? What is different about them?

Posted by: bravo106 | August 23, 2012 12:43 PM    Report this comment

I have owned the 12 gauge version of this gun for about 2 years. It's a great gun - but not worth $1850. The Comfortech comb inserts and recoil pads are also ridiculously priced. And the carbon fiber stock & forearm are actually just plastic with a carbon fiber look. Reliability of this gun is unmatched by the many semi-auto shotguns that I own. If money is no object and reliability is critical then by all means buy Benelli.

Posted by: GunRunnerCT | August 23, 2012 11:22 AM    Report this comment

I understand the reasoning behind owning a shotgun battery of a variety of gauges and actions, since shotguns like other firearms, can be specialized to a number of different uses. That said, my shotgun battery is no longer tailored to the shooting sports, as it was in my younger years. It is now intended for more mundane purposes such as home and personal defense. I still have several different types, but my choices tend to gravitate toward 12 gauge long guns and .410 bore handguns plus a Circuit Judge.

Posted by: canovack | August 22, 2012 4:59 PM    Report this comment

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