Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 12ga Shotgun Review

shotgun review Aug 24, 2021

Benelli claims that the SBE 3 is the pinnacle of waterfowl hunting, and there are many cool features in all aspects of this gun to support that. From Benelli's unique Crio barrel treatment, to the incredible ease of disassembly and use, this is a gun for the avid-quality-seeking sportsman. When you grab this gun and mount it up, everything about it shouts quality. Lets put it to the test and see if the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 could qualify as the pinnacle of trap shooting as well!  

The Super Black Eagle 3 has an MSRP of $1,999 (Shop the SBE 3 at Reeds) which puts it up there with the higher end semi-auto 3.5" waterfowl shotguns as far a price.

The Video includes the full review of the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 (Real Tree Max 5) but if you prefer to read about it, below is a quick summary.

Quick Specs

  • 12 gauge
  • 3.5" chamber (also available in 3")
  • 28" Barrell (also available in 26" - The 24" has a pistol grip) 
  • 7lbs
  • Length of Pull 14 3/8" Out of the Box. Adjustable with alternate butt-pad options
  • Drop at Comb 1 3/8" (Adjustable with shims as well as various cheek pieces)
  • Drop at Heel 2 1/8"
  • Runs the Crio choke tube system (Comes with 2 extended chokes) 
  • 6 different color variations

Ergonomics/Look & Feel

The SBE 3 really shines when it comes to it's ergonomics.

  • Feels better then most in the hands - pistol grip and forearm are just the right size for me
  • Charging handle and bolt release are a bit oversized - I personally like bigger controls
  • Stock sports the very recognizable Benelli chevrons which help push roil in a more desirable direction. The comfort tech (3) cheek pad is very nice and comfortable as well
  • Trigger guard - again, I prefer larger trigger guards. Could still get a glove in comfortably 
  • Cross-bolt safety is rear mounted and easily accessible
  • Fiberoptic front bead/mid bead (Once you're mounted, IGNORE THE BEAD!)
  • Loading port is only slightly milled out - love when manufacturers put more time and effort into this detail

Trigger 

  • 5lbs 0.3oz (Average)
  • This is right where I like the trigger weight (Lower end of 5lbs) absolutely no complaints here
  • Trigger has a bit a sponge to it, but I found myself outrunning it at times too

Quality of Build

  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. Everything on the SBE 3 comes together very nice. Benelli did an awesome job here - the quality is very apparent
  • The balance is a bit rearwards - to be expected with an inertia gun with lesser components up front. I like this because it gives me more control from where you're actually grabbing it - this may result in more muzzle jump though while you're still learning the gun 
  • The barrel undergoes something called a Crio treatment - This is a process of deep-freezing the barrels to tighten the tolerances on a molecular level. Benelli says that typical hammer forging can cause the barrel to overtime, flex and reshape with the pressures of shooting a lot. This Crio treatment prevents that, which results in less wear and tear, as well as more consistent patterns

Ease of Breakdown

  • This may be one of the easiest guns to disassemble and clean
  • Something to note is that for a full cleaning, you wont have to take out the bolt handle or trigger group. Its very nicely pieced together to get to all the moving pieces without this step
  • One way this could be any faster would be to have one of those forearm caps that comes of with a half twist. Absolutely no complaints - just a thought

Recoil

  • Very sustainable for an inertia gun with target loads.
  • As expected, the 3 1/2" loads can be a workout, but all around the recoil is manageable. 

Reliability

  •  I have been shooting with the SBE 3 for about a year now. I can speak confidently that from the shoulder, you're not going to have too many cycling issues - especially with your lighter target loads
  • I had a couple of hang-ups shooting over the head, but I may be the only guy crazy enough to even consider that
  • I'm not sure why anybody is out here shooting 3 1/2", but if you are, cycling will be just fine

Speed Shooting

  • I find this evaluation valuable because it tests how all the moving parts really come together. From getting on target, having an appropriate trigger pull, recovering from the recoil, and cycling good enough to get back on target. I can't lie to you - it took some time and dedication to accomplish crushing three clays in 1.34 seconds. I found that it seems to shoot a bit higher than what I'm used to, and that the muzzle flip from the lighter front end made getting back on target more difficult for me. I also noticed that at times, I can outrun the trigger.

All around, the Super Black Eagle 3 has a lot of very cool things going for it. I thoroughly enjoy just about everything about it. There are some areas I personally didn't like as much too. I thought that the muzzle jump was a bit much, It seemed to shoot a bit high for my preference, and of course, I couldn't shoot it as fast as other semi-autos. But these are just my opinions - What do you think?

 

Would you like to see a head-to-head comparison with another semiauto shotgun?

Whether our targets in the field or our targets in life, we will only hit what we are focused on so live the #targetfocusedlife

 

Stay Target Focused,

Steve

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