Benelli started the release of the Vinci series with a swirl of mystery. They had a glass case at SHOT Show with nothing but an oddly-shaped plastic case inside and two guards standing in front of it. Genius. Who didn’t want to know what was in the case? Of course, as we all were soon to learn, it was the Vinci, a modular-designed shotgun that had several new things going for it. Who had ever heard of a one-piece barrel-action design on a shotgun? Then to have the trigger and magazine and the buttstock be separate pieces that could all be assembled in relative short order. And what about the recoil system? No, this was a new gun indeed.
Follow up a year later and what do we get? The aptly named Super Vinci. It featured all the same design elements of the Vinci, but was chambered in 3-1/2-inch 12 gauge shells. Goose and turkey hunters were excited and eager to get their hands on this new Benelli. I know. I was one of them. Well eager quite doesn’t cover it. I was contacting them from the moment I heard about it to get my hands on the gun. When you’re a hard core waterfowler, you want the best gun you can get. Was the new Benelli on par with the famed Super Black Eagle? We’d soon see.
I had the opportunity to test and hunt with a Super Vinci for an entire hunting season. It arrived right before Michigan’s early goose season and I held onto it through the following turkey season. I first took the scattergun to task on some clays in the backyard and noticed it didn’t care for light field loads. It shot them, but wasn’t cycling as fast as it did with bigger loads with a little more “umph” behind them. You’re better off feeding this beast something a little on the heavier side to start with. Once you started feeding it what it likes, the Super Vinci sings, and like all Benellis with their awesome Intertia system, it takes four to five boxes of heavier loads to get the gun broken in correctly. Once you get past that, it’ll shoot anything you stuff in there.
My test gun was decked out in Realtree MAX-4 camo and the finish was very highly detailed. This was a serious waterfowler model with a 28-inch barrel. It came in the distinctive Vinci hard case with an assortment of Benelli’s Crio-Choke choke tubes and oil designed specifically for Benelli shotguns. The finish was bright and vibrant and it really stood out in my gun cabinet but not in the field, which is important.
Benelli stated the gun weighed in at seven pounds and that is pretty accurate. It doesn’t even feel seven pounds when you’re using it, however, because of the balance. Benelli has the balancing act dialed in. This was easily the lightest feeling shotgun I’ve held. The first time I pulled the trigger, which was with a 3-1/2-inch shell, I have to admit, I lost my grip on the gun some.
I cut my teeth shooting 3-1/2-inch loads out of a Mossberg 835 that had a 24-inch, non-ported barrel. I loved that gun, but it sure took a toll on my shoulder. I’ve shot the larger loads out of many a gun since and found that the Super Vinci handles them very well. As with any shotgun that shoots a 3-1/2-inch load, you have to mount the gun correctly to your shoulder. The Super Vinci is no different. But the gun was designed with a few things to relieve the forces the recoil will deliver upon the shooter. The stock features Benelli’s ComforTech system that allows the butt to slide across your face as you shoot. It sounds weird, but it does work. The recoil pad is great too.
The gun also feature’s Benelli’s Inline Inertia system, which cycles the action based upon the recoil of the initial fired shell. It works fast and no one does recoil-operated systems better than Benelli. You want a shotgun to go “boom” when you want it to go “boom.” The Super Vinci goes “boom, boom, boom” as fast as you’ll need it to. The felt-recoil is less than most other shotguns in the class once you know how to hold it. I was impressed. It is different than a Super Black Eagle, which is an awesome gun. It reduces the felt recoil, while still keeping you on target. I was very impressed.
I had the opportunity to be the guest of Benelli and Federal Premium ammunition on a pheasant hunt in South Dakota. Federal was showcasing their new Prairie Storm FS Steel load, a nontoxic upland game load based on the ever popular Black Cloud waterfowl ammo. We had a plethora of new Benellis to play with. Several ultra-light shotguns like the 20 gauge Montrefello and the awesome new Legacy 28 gauge. In past experiences, I learned to not take a 12 gauge pheasant hunting. Not because it was too much gun, it’s just usually heavy. Along with all those beautiful upland guns were several Vincis and Super Vincis. I have to admit, I more often than not grabbed one of the Super Vincis for our hunts. I was used to the feel of one by then and liked the idea of carrying the extra “oomph” of the 12.
So how’d it do on pheasants? The guns did anything I could have asked. They killed birds, felt good, and worked well. I never had an issue and often walked the outside lines so I could take the slightly longer shots. Later, back with my original test gun and in the fields for geese, it made shots with ease, swinging out of the layout blinds and getting on the birds that were locked in over the Hard Core decoys. The gun fit me well and killed birds. Enough said.
The bottom line on buying a Super Vinci is that you want a gun that will shoot every time, is lightweight, and superbly balanced. If you’re like me, you demand a shotgun that will shoot any load you put through it reliably and accurately. That is why you would buy a buy a Benelli in the first place, right? They aren’t cheap, but there is just something about them. I have a friend in the outdoor industry who once said something about Benelli fans being as loyal as they come. There is a reason for that. I like shotguns that work when I want them to, regardless of the conditions, the loads or anything else. That is what you get with the Super Vinci. I’d still have that shotgun if not for the price, which was the only real downfall. Starting around $1,800, the shotgun isn’t cheap, but it may be worth it.
First image courtesy Benelli, other images by Derrek Sigler