A few weeks ago, I asked Benelli for a Super Black Eagle II thinking, “there’s no way they’ll actually loan me one.” But they totally did. Many thanks to Benelli, especially Carter Miler for expediting the shipment so I could have it for the weekend to go dove hunting. And while I’m thanking people, many thanks to Central Texas Gun Works for being so quick (and cheap) with the transfers. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I opened the slim grey case, but seeing a camo SBE II neatly tucked away surely made me happy . . .
Benelli ships the gun broken down in a sturdy plastic case that also has slots for all the chokes – five in total – the choke tool, and lube. They also includes a very well-written manual in 10 languages and the shim kit necessary to change the drop should the gun not fit you right out of the box. All of this is neatly tucked away in a pretty compact case that’s slim enough to throw in a large duffel.
The Texas Hill Country was kind enough to bless me with rainy, windy, almost chilly weather for my inaugural dove hunt meaning there weren’t a lot of doves flying, but there was no shortage of mucky weather to subject the SBE II to in the field. I didn’t pack mud in the action or anything, but the SBE II got a little wet and didn’t immediately turn to a bucket of rust so on that front, things are going well.
I found that the SBE II points naturally for me, though I have to take a “light” cheek weld to line up the sights. I’m going to toy around with the shim kit to see if I can make it fit me better. A note on those sights though – I’ve traditionally used shotguns with a single gold or brass bead at the muzzle.
They work okay, but I’m really loving the Benelli sights which use a fiber optic bead at the muzzle, and a steel bead about halfway along the middle of the barrel. You can easily tell when the gun is lined up perfectly as the steel bead completely covers the red fiber optic front sight. It’s a fine way of doing things, and made hitting clays (the only thing flying) much easier.
Overall, I’m pleased so far with the SBE II though there’s a lot more testing and hunting to be done with it. This being my second shotgun review ever, and my first for a hunting shotgun, I’m learning. Since this will be a fairly long term-test, please leave a comment below about specific items you’d like me to address.
At the moment, I want to pay close attention to how the gun patterns with different chokes at 40 yards using a variety of different loads, as well as reliability. But beyond that, I don’t know what wingshooters are looking for so let me know what you need.