Well the best time of year has finally come to a sad end; migratory bird hunting is closed here in Washington state. The year had good it’s days and it had it’s not so good days, but the one thing those days all had in common was the Benelli Super black Eagle II (SBEII) sitting next to me in the mud and marshes of Washington. I should say my expectations for the SBEII where high but maybe they were too high. The season started off well with lots of birds in the blind, daily bag limits reached with little to no effort and a gun that outperformed my expectations. The gun has a good swing and feels great when firing, the HiViz Sights make sighting in birds easy and quick, the Rob Roberts chokes pattern well and seemed to give me the ability to drop birds from distance I would normally never attempt with my previous shotgun chokes. The large bolt handle and paddle bolt release made the shotgun easy to manipulate in any weather condition with or without gloves on.
But then one fast paced day full of birds circling and decoying in our spread without hesitation I heard that dreaded sound, “click”. This could be the worse sound a hunter with a dozen widgeon feet down in his spread could ever hear. With a quick rack of the bolt handle though I was off and shooting again still managing to drop one bird. At first this just seemed to be a fluke, I told my berating buddy and myself it’s not the gun it must have been me. Crouching in the knee-deep marsh calling birds and pulling jerk cords you tend to not pay attention to your gun sometimes half-submerged in water. But then the following hunt the same thing happened again and a few hunts after that as well. Now it wasn’t fluke but a recurring nightmare as birds would be feet down in my spread then flying away spooked by my deafening click and ensuing swearing. Want to know what is one of the worse feelings a bird hunter could have? Constantly thinking will my gun fire this time? Of course, being the stubborn man who I am I stuck it out for the season without taking it to a gun smith. I did trouble shot the problem on my own trying different brands of ammo which did seem to help when I changed from Kent shells to Federal Premium shells and going from 3 ½ inch shells to 3 inch shells. Although in my opinion it shouldn’t matter what shell size I run, my gun says it can shoot 3 ½’s and it should shoot them every time no problem. Now that the season is over I will dive in and get to the bottom of the issue.
Another issue I encountered was the cheek and butt stock rubber would dimple and swell when exposed to water for any length of time.
This should be something that should never happened to a duck gun and seems to be a recurring issue with many of the SBEII’s. Although a quick call to Benelli and customer service was quick to next day ship a replacement pad.
But other than those two things the gun ran great, it shot hundreds of shells and dropped piles of birds. The camo finish looked great and held up to a beating of tree branches, snow, ice, mud and salt water. The gun is comfortable and shoots well the ComforTech recoil reduction seemed to make shooting a box of 3 ½ inch goose loads in a day easy and pain-free.
I am and always will be a lover of Benelli they create a quality product and best of all they back it up with awesome customer service. Even with my issues I have had with this gun I would buy it again; the gun feels perfect and is a great high-end waterfowl gun. Though as what seems to be the new normal in the retail world Benelli announced the arrival of the new Super Black Eagle III which I’m sure will also live up to the Benelli name and product reputation, hopefully it won’t go click.
The Benelli Super Black Eagle II Performance Shop Edition features.
- Inertia Driven system
- ComforTech recoil reduction system
- Crio barrel
- Polished action
- Paddle bolt release
- Large bolt handle – suited for gloved hands
- Paracord sling
- Magazine Capacity: 3+1
- Chokes: 3 Rob Roberts Custom Triple Threat®
- HiVIZ Comp Front Sight and Metal Mid-Bead with multiple color inserts included
- Barrel: Lengthened forcing cone
- Weight- 7.3 Lbs
- Overall Length-49.6″
- Barrel Length – 28”
- Length of Pull: 14-3/8″
- Drop at Heel: 2″
- Drop at Comb: 1-3/8″
- Minimum Recommended Load: 3-dram, 1-1/8 oz. loads
Author – Eric Gouge is a former Marine Corps infantryman who served with 1st Battalion 4th Marines, he deployed to the South Pacific and Persian Gulf as part of the 13th MEU in 2005 and served as a machine gunner with Charlie Company, Weapons platoon. He then joined the Surveillance and Target Acquisition platoon and deployed again in 2007 to Al Qaim Iraq where he served as STA Team One’s Point Man leading combat patrols.