Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 | 20 Gauge Shotgun Review

shotgun review Dec 17, 2021
         

 

Today we're taking a detailed and in-depth look at the semi-auto, inertia driven, Super Black Eagle 3 in 20 gauge! This is one slick shotgun from Benelli. I've done a review on the SBE 3 12ga (Check it out here) which had only been in 3.5 inch, so I'm super pumped to try the new 20 gauge out and check out the differences like recoil, weight, speed, and all around durability. 

The full in depth review is on my YouTube Channel (Target Focused Life) but if you prefer to read, here's a quick breakdown on paper.

 MSRP

  • This Super Black Eagle 3 is going for about $1,699 ($1,799 for camo)
  • I was able to get it at REEDS SPORTS well below that (Check it out here)

 Quick Specs

  • 20 gauge - Inertia operated  
  • 3" chamber 
  • 28"  Barrell (26" available)
  • 5lbs 14oz - Very light 
  • Length of Pull 14 3/8" Out of the Box - Adjustable with spacers
  • Drop at comb 1 3/8" - Shim kits available
  • Drop at Heel  2 1/8" - Shim kits available
  • Drop at Comb is adjustable with shims
  • Comes with 5 chokes 

Ergonomics/Look & Feel

  • I've always loved the feeling of a Benelli in the hands
  • Love the forfend grip and its curvature. It is a bit slippery without rubber inlays 
  • Trigger guard is nicely sized
  • Pistol grip is very comfortable, solid to grab, not too big
  • Cross bolt safety is rear-mounted 
  • Charging handle and other controls are not oversized but manageable
  • Bolt release is very easy and textured nicely
  • Loading port is very easy given the 20 gauge size - very nice loading ramp
  • Has the comfort tech 3 recoil reduction system - very cool

Trigger 

  • 4lbs 13.1oz (Average)
  • Feels great - it resets nice
  • This trigger has a clean break and not a lot of pre-travel

Quality of Build

  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. Everything comes together as expected, very, very nicely
  • Overall phenomenal - not much else to say here! I would love to see larger controls, and maybe rubber inlays, but that's just my personal preference

Ease of Breakdown

  • As expected this inertia gun came apart simple with minimal parts - hats off to Benelli for keeping it easy
  • Overall very easy, efficient, and smooth due to the very high quality materials
  • This gun is unique in the way that the top half of the receiver is connected to the barrel - no need to take out the trigger group for a full cleaning

Recoil

  • Feels very good - nothing into the face. As you'd expect with a 20 gauge
  • Also note that the gun is ultra light - the minor added recoil is a trade off I'd take any day for the carry weight of this Benelli
  • I genuinely really enjoy how this gun is feeling
  • I did notice my hand slipping with my cold hands on the new synthetic materials

Reliability

  • Over the head didn't cycle as consistently - this is because this Benelli is inertia driven, and my grip was slipping
  • The SBE 3 worked great when shot quickly from the shoulder 

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. 

  • The fastest time I could accomplish with the SBE 3 20 gauge today was a 1.32
  • I'm frustrated with how much I struggled with this gun - it was COLD out and my hands were near numb!
  • A lot of my issues were coming from the fact that I was mis-mounting from time to time, resulting in slower/less consistent shots and cycle times
  • Doing this speed test actually gave me good insight as to where I, the operator can improve in regard to really getting gin tune with the gun before trying a whole lot of fast shooting
  • At the end of the day this SBE 3 is a reliable little gun, which is by all means worth the price. 

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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