First Look: Benelli ETHOS Autoloading Shotgun

By Randy Wakeman

Benelli ETHOS Autoloading Shotgun
Illustration courtesy of Benelli USA.

The Benelli Ethos was introduced last year in Europe, launched by the Benelli Batgirls as the “Benelli Raffaello Power Bore 12.” At the time, Benelli USA had no idea when or if it was going to be released to the American market. Renamed “ETHOS,” it was more or less officially launched at the 2014 SHOT Show in Las Vegas and is currently shipping, making its way through distribution.

The Benelli website with rare exception states the weights of their shotguns far lighter than they actually are. Of course, Benelli is not alone, for website specifications are often inaccurate. The 26 inch Ethos is listed as being 6.4 pounds. It is more like 6-3/4 pounds, meaning a seven pound gun when you are actually chasing pheasants with it. Still, it is a tad lighter than the Vinci and a bit heavier than the walnut Browning A5.

The easiest way for me to describe the Ethos is as essentially a bit heavier, far softer shooting version of the Benelli Ultralight. (My test Ultralight was 6 pounds 3 ounces with a 24 inch barrel.) The most obvious differences, compared to the Ultralight, are the “Progressive Comfort” recoil pad and the AA grade walnut stock. That brings me to the subject of price, $1999 MSRP for the Ethos blued and $2199 MSRP for the nickel-receiver version.

Those familiar with Benelli will not be surprised, for Benelli autos historically run up to the $2900 mark and beyond at suggested retail. The Benelli Ultralight runs $1669 2014 MSRP. A camo Realtree Max-4®, ComforTech® Super Black Eagle II is $1899 2014 MSRP. The wood and the progressive comfort recoil pad easily justify the increased price. No one in their right mind would put out an upscale model with better wood at a lower price than classic models already in the line. The discount retail price of the standard Ethos is currenty about $1800.

Until my test Ethos arrives, I cannot comment with any exactitude, but at SHOT I found it to be a responsive shotgun with a good trigger for an autoloader, easy to load, comfortable to shoot and easier on the eyes than most made today. A full review will follow.

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Copyright 2014 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.