It is a Great Shotgun . . . Eventually

By Randy Wakeman

This is not the type of article you will find in mainstream gun rags, which is why I decided to write it. Many of you have likely had similar experiences with shotguns, rifles and handguns, so you will be able to relate. The subject matter here is a great shotgun, the Benelli M2 20 gauge with a 24 inch barrel. At least, it is now.

I tested the 20 gauge Benelli M2 in 2010. Although some would rightfully say that I need another twenty gauge like an Eskimo needs a snow cone, I generally liked it. Thus, I bought it. It is a Realtree APG, ComforTech model, $1599 MSRP.

The M2 comes with an obnoxious silver center bead on the rib that is just bizarre. Like the fat fellow who, when he gets his shoes shined, he has to take the guy's word for it, the same is true of the front bead on the M2. The center bead obliterates the view of the front bead, so whether the latter is there during actual shooting is anyone's guess. Center beads on field shotguns make no sense; a center bead that blocks out the front bead makes even less sense.

There is no easy way to unscrew the M2 center bead. A pin vise is an iffy proposition (according to Benelli), so attempting to twist it off with pliers broke it off flush with the rib, to my immense delight.

The shell stop on the M2 makes it really painful to load shells into the magazine. Painful enough that getting through a box of shells is a sure-fire sore thumb.

Benelli Customer Service told me to remove it and hit it with a hammer, as it is a well known issue. Well, I am not trained in bashing at brand new guns with a hammer, so I suggested that the Benelli gunsmiths do the hammering, as they have far more experience than I with hammering on new guns. The gun went back to Benelli, where they apparently beat it into submission. Although still on the stiff side, it is much improved.

The Benelli M2 weighs six pounds on the nose. The M2 trigger, as supplied, breaks at 6-1/2 pounds, heavier than the entire gun. The stock trigger pull was unacceptable. Benelli Customer Service is quite good. Off went the entire trigger assembly to Benelli and it came back at 4-3/4 pounds, a far more reasonable and usable pull weight.

The bore of this Benelli M2, as measured by a Skeets bore gauge, is .620 inch. None of the supplied choke tubes threw acceptable pattern densities past 40 yards. A Trulock Precision Hunter Improved Modified choke (PHCRP20600 with .020 inch constriction) finally did the trick.

When asked if the Benelli M2 20 gauge is a good gun, the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. After you break off the center bead, have Benelli service technicians beat on the shell stop with a hammer and lighten the ridiculously heavy trigger, toss the factory Crio flush choke tubes in the garbage, kill a lot of pattern paper and buy a Trulock Improved Modified Precision Hunter extended tube . . . it eventually becomes a great gun.

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Copyright 2016 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.