For 2019, Benelli released their newest improvements on their already popular Super Black Eagle line of waterfowl semi-automatic shotguns. The SBE3 offers a series of ergonomic and operational improvements that were tackled after identifying areas of improvement from years of use in the field by shooters of their previous SBE2 line.
While many gun companies take on upgrades to their products based on design for the sake of design, Benelli took a different approach in their upgrade program. This approach saw changes made based on feedback and eschewed changes for the sake of change. This approach kept every feature that shooters had come to appreciate from these shotguns, and only made modifications where they were requested. The new design is the culmination of 10 years of work to improve ergonomics, reliability, comfort, and functionality with an eye toward creating the perfect waterfowling gun.
The first noticeable change is to the Comfort Tech stock. The idea of splitting the stock and adding shock absorbing chevrons to disperse recoil had already proven itself to serious waterfowlers and in their upgraded Comfort Tech 3 iteration, this stock is improved to even better distribute the felt recoil across the entire stock. The engineers also added a Combtech cheek pad to mitigate the slap of the stock against the cheek, making the gun even more comfortable, especially when firing high brass 3-1/2" shells.
The functionality improvements may not even be noticeable with a cursory examination, but include an improved design to the carrier and loading port to provide better cycling and easier loading. They have created a two-piece carrier latch and beveled the feeding gate make it easier to load and cycle the gun with heavy gloves.
As for reliability, the SBE3 continues to be powered by Benelli’s Inertia Drive System for optimal performance and reliability. The ID system makes the gun less sensitive to lighter loads, and also requires much less cleaning, oiling, and maintaining in the field than standard gas driven guns. Benelli has fired as many as 500,000 rounds through these guns without cleaning and maintenance. So when you take the gun into a damp blind or lay it in the bottom of your boat, you aren’t going to worry if it will perform when the greenheads start coming in. It also means that you can use even the lightest 2-3/4 loads to save your shoulder during a long day of ruffling feathers without suffering from feeding issues.
Benelli also made the bolt release and safety larger and gave an outward angle to the drop lever, so all can be easily manipulated with gloves.
When all of these improvements are combined, it is obvious that serious consideration was given to enhancing performance and not to redesign for the sake of selling a new and novel thing that many gun manufacturers are prone undertake. Every modification was based on feedback from the end user.
To say that Benelli has designed the perfect waterfowl gun may be a bit of an overambitious statement, but the new Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 is pushing pretty close to that line.
The SBE3 comes in 17 different configurations, including three versions that a perfect mirrored design for left-handed shooters. They even provide a version with a 24-inch rifled slug barrel. They are offered in Realtree Max-5, Shadow Grass Blades, Mossy Oak Bottomland, GORE Optifade Timber, GORE Optifade Marsh, black synthetic, and a beautiful satin walnut. Each version is adjustable for length of pull as well as for drop and cast, to allow you to custom fit the gun to shooters of most sizes. They even offer a SteadyGrip version in Mossy Oak Bottomland that is fixed with a pistol grip for those who have mobility challenges or who just want better control. They come with 26" or 28" barrels, and the SteadyGrip and rifled slug versions have a 24" barrel.
The Crio treated barrels use extreme cold to help realign the steel for optimal and consistent patterning that makes them extremely accurate and allows for use in extreme environments without worrying about degrading performance.
Other features like the Benelli Progressive Comfort stock helps alleviate felt recoil by using interlaced gel fingers in the butt to dissipate recoil energy, and Quadrafit inserts help make the gun even more comfortable. The SBE3 also comes standard with extended Crio chokes in IC and M, and flush fit chokes in C, IM, and F, with a multitool-like choke wrench, all in a custom fitted plastic hard case.
All of the features aside, the SBE3 really shows itself when you shoulder and swing it. It has a very comfortable and instinctive swing and point of aim, and just flows through the target as if it were self-guided. Shooters of these guns will be amazed at how instinctively they find their target and how quickly and fluidly they can be mounted. Every effort to achieve amazing comfort has been considered by the Benelli designers so they are ideal for long sessions in the field with bountiful birds. Though they are designed for the hardcore waterfowler, I can attest that they also make great upland guns as well as clay busters. From Spring turkey to when you put it away at the end of the season, this gun is a great all-around performer for any shotgun sport.
If you are looking for a reliable and comfortable semi-auto shotgun with outstanding performance, look no further than the newly redesigned SBE3 from Benelli. It is sure to impress. You can see the full line of Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 shotguns at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse.