Benelli Super Sport Comfortech 20 Gauge
There are two sides to the competitive shooting coinone 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 abilityand 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.
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 shooters shoulder.
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.
The Super Sport operated on the Inertia Driven system that features only three moving partsthe 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.