The Vinci comes in a good choice of colours including black, brown, green or Realtree
Today was the official UK launch of Benelli's new semi-auto, the Vinci - a 'revolutionary' new design, we learned - held at the excellent West London Shooting School courtesy of importers GMK.
My experience of Benelli's shotguns is limited; I've used the all-black M2 for pigeons, and I once shot a woodcock with a 20-bore Montefeltro. The M-series are popular with keepers for a rugged vermin control tool - you'll often spot one strapped across the handlebars of a quad bike, or rattling around the back of a Land Rover.
It's fast - really fast. See how the next shell is in the chamber before the empty has gone six inches
This one, dubbed the Vinci, is entirely new. The only part they haven't changed, apparently, is the inertia spring behind the bolt. It's certainly an interesting design. The gun breaks into three main parts: action/barrel, fore-end/trigger, and stock. This potentially creates a problem with police and customs, as the barrel and fore-end bear different serial numbers - GMK are talking to the police about it, but the simplest option would be to use the barrel/action number.
The design allows a compact, business-like shape, with no recoil spring protruding back into the stock. All the working parts are nicely between your hands, and it has a solid feel as the action shuts, like a well-engineered car door (some autos feel like a bag of spanners when you close the bolt).
Missed again! I really was shooting like a right doofus
There's huge amounts of design, ergonomics and engineering gone into the gun's every detail. There are nice touches like the removable rubber butt pad and cheekpiece, both of which can be interchanged with different sizes to get the right fit. There's a system of interchangeable shims in the stock to adjust it further.
Then there's the excellent synthetic stock material, the choice of colours. Even the special case is a design miracle, looking like it ought to contain the latest surface-to-air missile. The marketing is slick too, with an action-movie style video.
It's a wonderful example of modern technology brilliantly marketed, and yet... I couldn't hit a barn door with it! Fair's fair, I'm hardly a great shot. But it really didn't suit me. And I felt the recoil sharply, despite all the graphs and charts to prove otherwise. It cycled fairly reliably with the 32g shells we were shooting, but we weren't able to try anything lighter so see how it would cope with them.
This may be exactly the gun you're after for pigeon shooting, wildfowling or general pest control. Or it may not. My advice would be: try before you buy - that goes for most guns of course, but I think this one may be more Marmite than most.