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Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 VS Browning Maxus 2 | Shotgun Showdown

shotgun showdown Sep 02, 2021

If you've got a pretty penny and are looking to get a premier waterfowl shotgun, these options from Benelli and Browning are likely to be at the top of the list. You guys have suggested content around these guns many times, so today we're going to put them head to head and choose a winner. 

The SBE3 has an MSRP of $1,999; The Maxus 2 has an MSRP of $1,899; But you can find both of these guns competitively priced at Reeds:
(Shop the Maxus 2 at Reeds)

The Video includes the full head-to-head Shotgun Showdown of the Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 vs the Browning Maxus 2 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" or 24" with pistol grip)
  • 7lbs 
  • Length of Pull 14 3/8" Out of the Box (adjustable with butt-pad options)
  • Drop at Comb 1 3/8" (Adjustable with provided shims and various cheek pieces)
  • Drop at Heel 2 1/8"
Maxus 2
  • 12 gauge
  • 3.5" chamber (also available in 3")
  • 28" Barrell (also available in 26")
  • 7.2lbs (3.5") 7.0lbs (3")
  • Length of Pull 14 7/16" Out of the Box. The composite stock has a straight heel section that makes it easy for a gunsmith to shorten the length of pull up to 3/4" and refit the Inflex Technology recoil pad.
  • Drop at Comb 1 3/4" (Adjustable with provided shims)
  • Drop at Heel 2"

Ergonomics/Look & Feel

  • Feels better than 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
Maxus 2
  • Feels great in the hands and is well balanced
  • Rubber over-molding for a great grip
  • Oversized charging handle and bolt release for easy operating
  • Quick load feature - I probably wouldn't use this much but it's a neat feature if you use it.
  • Large trigger guard - If you're going to be shooting with gloves on, the trigger guard had plenty of room.
  • Loading ramp on the front of the trigger guard
  • Bored out loading port - This is something I love, there is nothing worse than beating up your fingers loading your gun. Loading the Maxus 2 is a breeze.
  • Forearm cap - Option to add an extended magazine tube


  • 5lbs 11oz (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
Maxus 2
  •  5lbs .06oz Average
  • Crisp trigger with little travel. Feels great!

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 less components upfront. I like this because it gives me more control from where you're actually grabbing it - this may result in more muzzle jump through 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
Maxus 2
  • I always look at the quality of the build relative to the price. Everything on the Maxus 2 comes together nicely and is tight, what you would expect for a gun at this price point.
  • Nickel Teflon coating on the bolt, bolt slide, shell carrier, bolt release, and bolt handle protect, add lubricity, and make it easier to clean.
  • Burnt Bronze Cerakote camo receiver finish, Burnt Bronze Cerakote barrel finish looks great and will be very durable

Ease of Breakdown

  • This may be one of the easiest guns to disassemble and clean. I broke it down today in just 13.8 seconds!
  • Something to note is that for a full cleaning, you won't have to take out the bolt handle or trigger group. It's 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 
Maxus 2
  • Very simple to break down for a gas gun - 29.18 seconds 
  • The components are tighter being that the gun is newer, but once it breaks in, the Maxus is easy to breakdown

Recoil - This was the toughest comparison. Both guns are incredibly light

  • 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. 
Maxus 2
  • The SBE 3 handled Target loads from the shoulder better, but the Maxus took the 3 1/2" black clouds the best
  • The Maxus has the edge for overall recoil 


  •  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
Maxus 2
  • Didn't cycle super consistently right away over the head - I'll be gracious being that it's brand new
  • After a few hundred rounds, I believe this shotgun is ultra-reliable and will run for a long time without issue (when you shoot with the gun against your shoulder 😉)
  • Overall reliability at this price point might as well be a tie - they're both fantastic

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 a previous showdown in 1.34 seconds. This time around I could only hit a 1.40. 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.
Maxus 2
  • I love to shoot fast and this gun does that well. I previously shot a 1.17 (vs the A400 Xtreme Plus). Today, I was able to get one of my fastest times with a 1.23! This gun has really proven its worth with how consistent I can achieve fast times. I would like to get my hands on a 3" model and see if I can run it any faster.


In summary, this was a tough comparison to make. The SBE 3 is a very well-built, popular gun that I'm happy to have. But when it came down to speed shooting, the Maxus 2 proved itself worthy of being crowned my favorite premier waterfowl shotgun. I love to shoot fast, and the Maxus did that for me with no problems. 

Shotgun Showdown Winner...The Browning Maxus 2

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,


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