American Rifleman - November 2021 - 48

BENELLI
a way to quickly unlink them so the bolt could
move independently as a semi-automatic.
So, in 1987, Benelli released its original M3, a
pump/semi-automatic convertible shotgun. In my
opinion, it should have been the end-all. But the
market-often pushed and pulled by trends and
whims-is a fi ckle beast.
In the early 2000s, Benelli updated the original
An added benefi t
of Benelli's hybrid
M3 action is the
ability of the bolt
to lock back after
the last round
is fi red in either
mode. A bolt knob
makes it easy for
shooters to manually
operate the
bolt carrier while
in semi-automatic
mode. The textured
bolt-release
button is located
on the right side
of the receiver,
just below the
ejection port.
When it rebounds, it pushes the bolt head
forward (even as the gun is traveling backward),
rotating it via a stud-and-channel system to
unlock its bite on the barrel extension and subsequently
succumbing to the rearward momentum
of recoil. As the gun's momentum slows against
the mass of the shooter's shoulder, the bolt
fl ings backward, extracting the fi red shell from
the chamber and ejecting it via a spring-loaded,
L-shaped ejector on the inside wall of the receiver
that slides to accommodate various shell lengths.
All the while, the bolt's travel continues to
compress a recoil spring, which on most Benellis
is hidden within the buttstock. Once this spring
bottoms out, it returns the bolt forward to the
chamber, but not before it picks up another shell
from the carrier and shoves it into battery. The
whole process happens in about 1/5 of a second.
The system's genius is that it requires no
gas ports to foul and no moving barrels like the
long-recoil actions before it-and it has fewer
moving parts to wear and break. Gas and grime
from the shell are blown out of the barrel rather
than cycled back through the gas ports and into
the action as in gas guns. As a result, the inertial
system is incredibly reliable and self-regulating.
It'll shoot any length of shell in any order without
adjustment, so long as the gun's build and the
ejection port is strong enough and long enough to
accommodate it. It's also faster-cycling than most
gas actions, a trait that allowed exhibition shooter
Tom Knapp to hit 10 fl ying clays with an M2 Super
90 in 2.2 seconds. The action is also inherently
light, thanks to its simplicity (Benelli's 20-ga.
Montefeltro weighs just 5 lbs., 8 ozs.).
Fairly certain it could steal a hearty share
of the semi-automatic market with its fast and
reliable inertial action, Benelli realized it could
convert the gun to a pump-action fairly easily,
because, unlike gas-powered actions, very few of
the inertia-driven action's parts are wildly different
from a pump. Basically, all its engineers had
to do was devise a way to link the bolt to the
gun's unlocked fore-end on demand, then provide
because, unlike gas-powered actions, very few of
the inertia-driven action's parts are wildly different
from a pump. Basically, all its engineers had
48
gun's unlocked fore-end on demand, then provide
NOVEMBER 2021
AMERICAN RIFLEMAN
M3 by building it on a smaller frame, making it
lighter. It also altered the gun's appearance slightly
by giving its furniture a more rounded, updated
look. Essentially, the M3 Super 90 is a top-end semiautomatic
with every bell and whistle-and also an
emergency switch. In normal times, when shooting
standard or heavy loads, the M3's inertial, autoloading
action functions fl awlessly.
But, when reduced-recoil loads or less-thanlethal
options need to be manually chambered
and extracted, the user can simply twist a collar
mounted under the fore-end cap. This minimal
movement unlocks the fore-end and engages the
action rods of the pump system, instantly converting
the M3 into a pump-action.
Returning the control disengages the action bars,
locks the fore-end in place and allows the inertia
recoil system to function as a semi-automatic. Unlike
most Benelli inertial guns, the M3's recoil return
spring is located ahead of the receiver around the
magazine tube, so a spring tube in the buttstock isn't
needed. This allows the stock to be swapped for a
folding or collapsing style if the user so chooses.
The M3's design is pure, simple engineering
genius; it gives the user all the advantages of a
semi-auto with the reliability of a pump-with
a small movement that, with practice, takes less
than a second without sacrifi cing shooting position.
And, as I learned by shooting it, the hybrid
action grants several surprises: First, in pump
mode, the need for an action-release button typical
of pumps is eliminated, thanks to the rotating
bolt head that locks into the extension with the
action pushed fully forward. To open the action,
simply pump it back.
Secondly, after the last round from the
magazine is ejected, the action locks open even
when in pump mode. This prevents the shooter
from inadvertently pumping the gun when the

American Rifleman - November 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Rifleman - November 2021

Contents
American Rifleman - November 2021 - Cover1
American Rifleman - November 2021 - Cover2
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 1
American Rifleman - November 2021 - Contents
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 3
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 4
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 5
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 6
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 7
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 8
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 9
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 10
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 11
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 12
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 13
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 14
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 15
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 16
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 17
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 18
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 19
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 20
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 21
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 22
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 23
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 24
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 25
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 26
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 27
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 28
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 29
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 30
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 31
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 32
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 33
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 34
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 35
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 36
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 37
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 38
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 39
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 40
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 41
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 42
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 43
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 44
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 45
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 46
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 47
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 48
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 49
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 50
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 51
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 52
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 53
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 54
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 55
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 56
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 57
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 58
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 59
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 60
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 61
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 62
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 63
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 64
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 65
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 66
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 67
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 68
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 69
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 70
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 71
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 72
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 73
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 74
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 75
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 76
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 77
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 78
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 79
American Rifleman - November 2021 - 80
American Rifleman - November 2021 - Cover3
American Rifleman - November 2021 - Cover4
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