Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun



Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun- The Benelli® M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun is built to handle fast and use hard. The M2 operates with Benelli’s Inertia-Driven® System that has proven itself in the field to be ultra-reliable, cycling both 2-3/4″ field loads and 3″ magnums interchangeably without adjustments. The recoil operated Inertia-Driven System is the epitome of simplicity, with just 3 main parts, that operates cleaner than gas operated semi-automatic shotguns. The M2 uses a rotating bolt head with steel locking lugs that lock into the steel barrel extension creating a steel-to-steel lock that becomes even tighter during firing. The M2’s weather resistant synthetic stock together with a dimpled checkering pattern on the pistol grip and fore-end, provide an incredibly secure grip in wet or dry conditions. The buttstock utilizes Benelli’s Comfor Tech® recoil reduction system that reduces recoil by as much as 48%, enabling shooters to stay on target for fast follow up shots. Benelli uses Crio® System barrels on their M2’s that feature cryogenically treated barrels with an even-grained, slick surface that minimizes pellet deformation. The Crio® choke tubes are also cryogenically treated and extend into the barrel deeper than standard tubes, producing tight, uniform shot patterns that down birds at maximum shotgun range. The M2 Field has a matte black finished barrel with a lightweight ventilated stepped rib, and a red bar front sight and mid bead. The Benelli M2 Field is an outstanding semi-auto shotgun for duck hunting, upland game hunting, or shooting anything that flies. Comes with 5 Crio choke tubes (C, IC, M, IM, F), wrench, and a hard gun case.

Strong and simple inertia operation
Cycles both 2-3/4″ and 3″ shells without adjustments
Comfor Tech recoil reduction system
Crio System barrel and choke tubes
Lightweight and fast handling
Includes 5 choke tubes and hard gun case
Benelli M2 – a ‘workhorse’ semi-auto
If you had to sum up the Benelli M2 semi-auto in one word it would be, ‘practical’. It has been designed like every semi-auto should be, where function dictates design. After all most semi-autos are workhorses. They are not designed to look pretty; they are designed to perform even in the toughest conditions. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

That is not to say the Benelli is a boring gun. You might consider a pair of ‘practical’ shoes rather dull, but not the M2. It has personality aplenty and, more importantly it is fun to shoot. I will explain what I mean later in this article, but first I want to explore the reliability of the M2 that has won it a place in the hearts of shooters.

The Beretta M2 semi-auto – in the field
Used by many a gamekeeper, the M2 has proved itself in the field over the years. The latest version comes in a Realtreee Max 5 camo, which would make it ideal for fowling. Some might say that the colour is a bit too yellow for the UK, but to be honest as long as the camo breaks up the outline of the gun and stops any ‘shine’ from the barrel, that’s all that matters to me. However, the camo also makes it ideal for summer pigeon shooting because it would blend in so well with a field of stubbles.

Another important function of the camo, which extends to the metal parts, is that it provides a rust proof coating, vital for when you are on the marsh. It is also useful inland when shooting pigeons because nothing rusts the metal parts of a gun than a spot or two of blood from your quarry.There is a choice of camo finished, the other being Realtree APG, so you can pick which camo you think fits better with your surroundings. The synthetic stock also comes in a dull black for those who eschew guns that look like a cabbage patch. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

Synthetic stock
The good thing about the synthetic stock is that it is not adversely affected by water. It doesn’t warp and it can be easily wiped clean. A dimpled effect on the neck of the stock gave good control in wet conditions and the black rubber insert on the comb gives some protection against recoil, as does the Comfortec gel butt plate, which is nice and squidgy to soak up recoil.

Another element that helps absorb recoil is the semi-auto action. The M2’s is inertia operated. This means the action is cycled by the recoil of the cartridge, rather than by gas from the explosion. The good side of this is that there are no fiddly gas parts to get gunked up and cleaning is easy. The downside is that these types of guns tend to prefer heavier load cartridges to fully load the inertia spring and cycle the action. We tested this gun with 24g and 28g cartridges and it functioned flawlessly. Considering you would be putting heavier loads than that through the gun then there should be nothing to worry about when it comes to its performance in the field.

Famous action
The M2 uses Benelli’s famous rotating locking bolt action. When the shot is fired all the fixed parts of the gun go rearward with the recoil. The bolt and inertia spring are in effect free-floating and initially remain where they are. This difference in motion (inertia) between the bolt and spring and the rest of the gun causes the spring to compress between the rear of the bolt and the bolt head. After the recoil begins to dissipate this strong spring releases and the power of it rebounding unlocks the rotating bolt head and throws the bolt rearwards, which in turn ejects the spent shell and recocks the hammer. The bolt then meets another spring, which shunts the bolt forwards and on its way picks up the next cartridge that has been released from the magazine and forces it into the breech and the bolt rotates causing the breech to lock up and become ready to fire again. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

This all sounds complicated but it happens in the blink of an eye and is one of the simplest and most robust semi-auto actions around. It is robust because there are relatively few moving parts. This design also means there are no moving parts in the fore-end giving it a slimmer profile and brining most of the weight back into the hands of the shooter making. This makes the gun wieldy and fast handling.

Target acquisition with this gun was superb. The gun followed where your eyes moved and you could get onto the clay immediately. A broad ventilated rib on the 28-inch barrel finished with a fibre-optic bead also aided the sight picture. I couldn’t help but think that this gun would be superb for pigeon shooting where the birds are coming thick and fast.

The breakdown
Thanks to the simple action breaking this gun down for cleaning is relatively simple. You unscrew the front nut, remove the fore-end and barrel together and pull back the fore-end so it is removed from the barrel. You then remove the cocking handle from the bolt (this can be a little fiddly) and then the bolt comes out. Simple.
What confused me slightly was the holding open button being placed down near the trigger guard and the safety catch. Initially I kept looking for it on the main body of the action, but the bolt release button was positioned there instead. As there are relatively few moving parts cleaning is easy and some of the people I know rarely clean their M2 and they still work perfectly. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

The Benelli M2 has a three-inch chamber and so can for magnum cartridges and is proofed for steel, so it’s ideal for wildfowling. It comes with five removable chokes, which means you have every type of target covered. You also get a range of shims for the stock so that you can set up the stock the way that suits you.

When I tested the gun on the clay ground at E. J. Churchill I fitted it with the improved cylinder choke because that’s what I am used to. I have to confess the first two targets I missed. They were challenging crossers, my nemesis, and it took me a little while to get used to the gun because the comb was lower than I was used to. Had I had more time I would have adjusted the fit of the gun with the shims provided.

I got my eye in after a couple of attempts at the crossers and felt much happier. The gun cycled quickly and efficiently with the no. 7 ½ shot cartridge with a 24g load. Not bad for an inertia operated gun.

Light fantastic
The main thing I noticed was how light the gun was and how light the recoil was. I wasn’t aware of the cocking handle going back and forth, like on some semi-autos I’ve used. The lightweight action really rattled through the rounds. As I said earlier, inertia systems are not like gas operated guns in that they don’t get coked up with residue so you could fire the Benelli all day and not have a problem. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

The other more important thing that struck me about the gun was how fast it handles. With the weight firmly placed into the shooter’s hands the M2 was very pointable. Target acquisition was superb. I just pointed the gun and pulled the trigger. In the field I find some of the best guns are so light and wieldy that they become part of you. It means there is no lag between seeing your quarry and getting your gun on aim. This makes it ideal for walked up shooting, pest control or pigeons shooting.

The gun I tested was a three shot, with two cartridges in the magazine and one in the chamber. However, if you need a larger capacity magazine for serious pest control then an eight shot version is available for those with a firearms certificate. Loading the gun was easy and comfortable with no sharp edges on the loading gate or the breech.

The gun comes in a range of barrel lengths. I tested the 28-in version and that handled beautifully. Those who shoot from the confines of a hide might prefer a shorter barrel because it’s less likely to get caught on the hide netting.

After using this gun for an hour or so I could see why it has become a favourite with gamekeepers and professional pest controllers. It is lightweight, handles beautifully, and is robust and reliable. It also requires very little cleaning and can handle heavy load magnum cartridges when needed. I would have preferred the gun to be a bit cheaper, but let’s be honest, you have to pay for quality and the Benelli M2 is quality. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

Need to know
Weight: 3.2kg
Barrel: 24, 26, 28in (tested)
Length of pull: 14 ½ in adjustable with shims
Drop: adjustable with shims
Rib: ventilated
Editor’s verdict
The Benelli M2 has built an awesome reputation for fast handling and reliability over the years. It has become the gamekeepers’ favourite and we all know that anything that can stand regular use by a gamekeeper must be well built.

It is cleverly engineered. Like all brilliant mechanisms the action is simple but effective with minimal moving parts. There are only three primary moving parts, the inertia spring, the rotating bolt head and the bolt body. This makes for an impressive rate of fire and with no linkages or gas parts the gun is super light and very clean. It makes a very light game gun and would be a useful tool against all kinds of vermin.

Scores on the doors
Build quality: 24/25
Handling: 24/ 25
Styling: 22/25
Value for money: 23/25 .
Gun Review: Benelli M2 Tactical ComforTech
Tactical shotguns aren’t supposed to be pretty. They’re supposed to be brutal. The uglier and more intimidating, the better. Trust the gunsmiths at Benelli to turn their back on this tradition of fucile da caccia super bruto. The Benelli M2 Tactical auto-loading (semi-automatic) 12-gauge is gorgeous. Its sleek design, minimalist lines and dark brooding looks generate love and affection long after its American and Brazilian cousins’ machismo starts to grate. But the M2 Tactical is more than just a pretty face. This gun’s beauty lies deep within its unassailable combination of form and function. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

Most auto-loading 12-gauge shotguns use some form of gas-operated feeding system. Benelli’s M2 semi-automatic shotguns are inertia recoil weapons. In other words, they use the kinetic energy generated by the gun’s recoil to eject the spent shotshell and load a fresh one.

The system has three basic moving parts: bolt body, inertia spring and rotating bolt head. The M2 operates by means of a spring that’s freely interposed between the locking head and bolt.

As the gun recoils during firing, the inert breech bolt moves about 4 mm forward, compressing the spring. When the spring is fully compressed, it overcomes breech bolt inertia and thrusts the bolt to the rear, under residual pressure. The gun extracts the shotshell case and reloads another shell from the magazine tube.

The spring pressure is designed to delay the opening of the action until after the shot has left the barrel. This compensates for the different pressures produced by cartridges of varying power. No adjustments necessary.

The M2 tactical’s fully-automatic inertial recoil operation is simple; there are less parts to weigh you down or go wrong. It also eliminates the drawbacks of the barrel recoil systems (barrel vibrations) and gas-operated systems (the need to clean gas outlets and possible malfunctions under adverse climatic conditions).

The M2 runs clean; the gun blows all of the gas and crud—otherwise accumulated by shotshell discharge—out the barrel. The detritus does not blow back into the bolt area, as it does with many gas piston systems.

The Benelli M2 Tactical breaks down like most other auto-loaders: take the screw-cap off the magazine tube and let the disassembly begin. The barrel slides off, the bolt slides out. Done. It’s easy enough to reverse these steps and put things back together, with no extra parts sitting on your workbench.

I usually test a tactical rifle or shotgun’s “user friendliness” by giving it a quick visual inspection, without referring to the operations manual. I ran into trouble when I cocked the slide into the locked open position and tried to find different ways to get it to slide forward. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

The Benelli M2 sports the usual bolt release lever on the right side of the aluminum receiver. It also has a “cartridge release lever” that doubles as a “cocked hammer” indicator. It’s positioned just forward of the trigger, also on the starboard side of the receiver.

Trying to get the bolt to move forward, I pressed this button. Unfortunately, my left index finger was inside the bolt. The damn thing released with such ferocity that the extractor actually went through my finger and drew blood.

This was definitely a “my bad” event; yet another reason why you, me and everyone else should read the operations manual before touching any new weapon for the first time. After that debacle, I went to Benelli’s excellent website and downloaded the needed information.

Less obscure and certainly less painful: the M2’s triangular-shaped safety button is nestled just aft of the trigger guard. It engages and disengages with a simple lateral push sideways.

The standard adjustable LPA ghost ring sights give you a tremendous sight picture. They’re easy to adjust for slug shooting. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

The good folks at Remington were eager to support our Benelli M2 Tactical field test. They provided TTAG with a large quantity of 2 ¾” and 3” shotshell ammo in a variety of flavors and varieties.

Since the M2 Tactical’s is a home defense shotgun first, a hunting or target weapon second, I was eager to see how it patterned with the various Remington buckshot loads. These which 8-pellet 000 buck, 9-pellet 00 buck, 16-pellet #1 buck, 27-pellet #4 buck, both 7/8-oz high velocity and 1-oz standard velocity slugs.

I also fired some butt-kickin’ 3” 1 ¼-oz magnum loads in BB and BBB flavors. I added in a few of my own Remington birdshot loads, specifically the Heavy Dove #8 and the Gun Club load in #7.5 (the 1200 fps variety with 1 1/8-oz of lead shot).

Most competitive tactical shotguns feature a cylinder bore barrel. Some lack the potential for screw-in chokes. The Benelli M2 tactical offers a threaded barrel that accepts a six-pack of choke options. Ours had an “improved choke” setup that helped keep the buckshot patterns nice and tight downrange.

The best-shooting load for this gun on the day: Remington’s standard 9-pellet/00 buck shotshell. The ammo produced a fairly tight pattern at 3-yard, 5-yard, 7-yard, 10-yard and 15-yard intervals. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

As a rule of thumb, most short-barreled tactical shotguns will shoot a pattern that spreads out roughly one inch for every yard downrange from the muzzle. This forumla yields a 5-inch wide pattern at 5-yards, a 10-inch wide pattern at 10-yards, etc.

When you only have 9-pellets doing your talking, a 10-inch wide spread at 10-yards is not a good thing; it minimizes stopping power and increases the chances of collateral damage.

The combination of the Remington 9-pellet 00 buck and the Benelli M2 with the I/C choke produced a tight 2-inch pattern at 3-yards, a 3” x 3” spread at 5-yards, a 4.5” pattern at 7-yards, a 6” x 6” kill zone at 10-yards and a 9” x 8” pattern at our outer limits of 15-yards. Not bad. The other buckshot patterns stayed within the usual 1” spread for every one-yard downrange norm.

I put over 325-rounds of Remington 12-gauge shotgun ammo downrange during the M2 Tactical field test. Benelli’s proprietary inertial recoil system ate up every type of standard 2 ¾” and 3” magnum shotshells with the hunger of a starving hyena. It never failed to go “boom.”

Buckshot, birdshot, slugs, BBs, low-brass, high-brass, whatever. Load ‘em in, rack the first one in the chamber, pull the trigger and Benelli’s uber-reliable inertial recoil system did its thing time and time again. Wash the lead off your hands, rinse and repeat.

The bottom line on the firing line: the Benelli inertia recoil operating system is ultra reliable with just about any type of ammunition you can throw down the pipe, even low-power birdshot.

Not one shot failed to feed, fire or eject. Forget the old days of semi-automatic unreliability. I would stake my life on this gun; just like Benelli’s military, police and civilian customers.

Bonus! After shooting over 325-rounds of heavy-hitting shotshells over two target sessions, I didn’t require any physical therapy on my right shoulder. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

I’m 6’3” and weigh 248-lbs. I’m in decent physical shape. But still . . . 325-rounds of pounding from a 12-gauge jackhammer is usually enough to bring a pro-wrestler to his knees. I was saved by this weapon’s “other” unique characteristic: the ComforTech Plus stock. Three innovative components make up the ComforTech system.

First, the ComforTech Plus Recoil Pad reduces felt recoil. Its contoured shape spreads the recoil force over a larger area, while its gel interior extends the recoil force over a longer period of time.

The ComforTech Plus Stock divides into 12 synthetic, recoil-absorbing chevrons, arranged diagonally from the heel of the buttstock to a point just behind the pistol grip. The stock is designed so that the exterior shell flexes outward to further dampen recoil.

The ComforTech Plus Comb Pad cushions the cheek during recoil and provides a slick surface that allows your cheek to slide along the comb during recoil. This eliminates friction resistance and insulates your face from shock and vibration.

The net result: a home defense weapon that reduces both actual and felt recoil, allowing for much faster follow-up shots. A 12-gauge shotgun doesn’t require a visit to the orthopedic surgeon after an extended day at the range or a run-and-gun tactical shotgun event.

The Benelli M2 Tactical Pistol Grip runs $1179 with a $150 rebate mail-in rebate good until July 31. The M2 Tactical ComforTech costs $1329. The M2 Tactical Standard (with standard iron sights) is yours for $1219. Unless you’re dead set on the pistol grip or want to add a fancy optical of your own—and don’t mind taking the shoulder abuse—the ComforTech model is the one to have. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

These are all msrp. Even so, all three Italian home defense shotguns are expensive pieces. All of them are worth it.

That said, plenty of lower-priced alternatives—including the Benelli SuperNova Pump—will provide equal service in the heat of battle. But the Benelli M2 Tactical ComforTech has “it.” Reliability, ergonomics, accuracy, long-term dependability and . . . charisma. That special something you feel when you’re firing a no-compromise weapon upon which your life may depend.


Barrel Length: 18.5 in.
Capacity: 5+1
Chokes: IC, M, F
Type of Sights: Ghost Ring
Length: 39.75 in.
Length of Pull: 14 3/8 in.
Drop at Heel: 2 in.
Drop at comb: 1 3/8 in.
Weight: 8.00 lbs.


Style * * * * *

Sleek and sexy, lean and mean; it’s the best looking tactical 12-gauge autoloader on the market.

Reliability * * * * *

Thanks to its super-reliable proprietary inertial recoil system, the M2 Tactical shot everything we could throw at it, from bargain birdshot loads to 3″ magnums. Benelli M2 Field Semi-Auto Shotgun

Customize This * * * *

The built-in Picatinny rail holds add a variety of optics on top. However, the ghost ring is fine at home defense distances. I’d like to see 360-degrees of rails, especially at the elevated ticket price.

Overall Rating * * * *


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