Oh boy, I love shotguns, and I’ve always loved Benelli. Well, kind of. I loved their semi-auto shotguns. For basically ever, I’ve ignored the SuperNova, Benelli’s flagship pump-action shotgun. I’m a Mossberg man, but I’ve also grown partial to the Benelli SuperNova. Thanks to a few Christmas gift cards to Bass Pro, I ended up owning one. It was on clearance, and after my gift cards, I paid less than a hundred bucks out of pocket.
From that experience, I learned two things. First, holy crap, Benelli makes a great pump action! And second, I will never purchase another gun from Bass pro. They really have no idea how 4473s work, how background checks work, or even how state laws work. But let’s focus on that first point. After spending a lot of time shucking shells with the Benelli SuperNova, I’ve realized it’s criminally underrated.
In fact, instead of giving you a basic review, I’ve come up with five reasons why the Benelli SuperNova is an amazing tactical shotgun.
1. The Action
The Benelli SuperNova is a weird gun that is kind of ugly. Those crazy Italians went and made a polymer receiver shotgun with a polymer pump and stock. It looks ugly, but gosh dang, that action is smooth. Crazy smooth, and it glides rearward.
When left in a cruiser-loaded condition, the rotating bolt seems to exert rearward force on the action making it much easier to work the action for the and for subsequent shots. The rotating bolt of the Benelli SuperNove ensures the weapon very easily and effectively extracts and ejects the shotgun hull.
The action of the gun makes follow-up shots fast and reliable, and with a manually operated weapon, speed matters.
2. That Big Long Pump
Look hard at the Benelli pump. Does it seem fairly long to you? Well, it should. It’s huge, very long, and goes from the top of the action all the way back and covers about a quarter an inch of the receiver. Why does that matter? Well, most pump shotguns have a fairly short pump design that makes it harder for shorter shooters to effectively reach and work the pump.
Magpul’s own SGA series features a pump design with a slightly extended pump that just tries to do what the Supernova does. This weird pump design works for shooters of all sizes and beyond that, the SuperNova pump allows you to have more room to work.
Benelli’s long pump design allows you to work the pump in closer quarters, work the action in odd shooting positions, and allows your hand to slip rearwards on accident when things get hot, and you slip.
3. The Magazine Disconnect
The magazine disconnect is a big button on the bottom of the pump, right in the middle. Your magazine is the tube. When you retract the pump slightly and hit that button, a round won’t feed from the tube into the chamber.
Why is this valuable? Shotguns are very versatile weapons, and you can use a wide variety of loads. You might want to transition from one load to another in the middle of a fight. Maybe you want to switch from buckshot to a slug. Well, press the button, eject the buckshot round, and now you can insert a slug to take that long-range shot.
This is known as a slug select drill. The button on the Supernova makes this drill blazingly fast. Much faster than any standard shotgun. With most shotguns, this can be a slow, multi-step drill. With the SuperNova, it’s fast and easy.
4. Sights and Optics Ready
Gosh damn, it’s good to see shotguns coming with good sights and being optics-ready. Shotgun beads still work well, but Ghost ring sights and red dots work a whole helluva lot better. The Supernova comes drilled and tapped, and you just gotta remove the plastic plugs and slap an optics mount of some kind on it.
The SuperNova uses the same scope mount footprint as the Benelli M4 and M2, so you are open to a ton of mounting options. You can attach a standard rail, or even better, and you can attach some of the numerous mounts like the Scalarworks Sync mount, which places the optic so low it co-witnesses with iron sights.
The SuperNova ghost ring sights are fantastic. They are easily adjustable, made from metal, and feature two big white dots make alignment quick and easy. Shooting slugs or even Federal FliteControl is easy and accurate with these sights.
5. A 3.5 Inch Chambering
Will you need 3.5-inch shells for defensive shooting? No, heck, you won’t even need three inches. Does the 3.5-inch chambering matter? It can be super handy for maximizing versatility. In a bad situation or a situation where ammo is hard to find, it could be handy to be able to chamber even 3.5-inch loads. It’s better than nothing.
Better than that, the SuperNova’s massive ejection and loading port make it easier to load smaller shells. If you use 2.75-inch shells, you have lots of room to reload your gun. The ejection port is massive, and you can very easily port load the weapon in the event you run completely dry.
Since the loading port is so massive, you can easily load spare rounds into the magazine tube. This makes reloading a round or even two at a time fairly quick and easy. On my first day shooting it, I’ve achieved port reloads that I never have with my standard 3-inch chamber shotguns.
The SuperNova — So Bright You Have to Wear Shades
The Benelli Supernova is an incredibly capable shotgun. Out of the box, it’s almost the perfect pump gun. The four-round tube magazine leaves something to be desired, but you can easily attach a magazine tube extension. I used one from a company called Sellution MTB, a mountain bike company, that gave me three extra rounds.
I’d also like to see the stock trimmed to have a shorter length of pull. The 14 and 3/8s inch length of pull isn’t very comfy and feels massive. My next upgrade will likely be a reworked stock with a shorter length of pull. To be fair, I have those same issues with a variety of shotguns, in fact, most shotguns, so I won’t complain too much.
I feel like the Benelli SuperNova might be the best pump action shotgun currently on the market. It’s easily the most modern on the market, and I think American shotgun makers could learn a thing or two from the Benelli shotgun. What do you think? Is this Italian stallion for you? Let me know in the comments.