Sunday, March 27, 2005

BAG day came early

'Buy A Gun' day, April 15th, that is. I had thought of buying something appropriate, say an AK-47. However, the prices on the damn things never came down any after the AWB went away, and it's not worth that much to me.

I have been looking around for a 12 guage pump, something with a shorter barrel. Then, a couple of months ago, I saw a Benelli Nova Special Purpose. If you're not familiar with it, Benelli had an idea for the receiver/stock design: the steel part of the receiver is a shell that is molded into a polymer cover which is part of the stock. So the receiver is as rustproof as you'll get, and the stock is virtually unbreakable. There's a cavity inside the stock where you can add in a recoil absorber if you wish. The one I found has a wing-protected post front sight and a fully-adjustable ghost-ring rear, which is what first caught my eye. I picked it up, looked it over(hmmm), then picked out a light on the wall and shouldered it. No adjusting required, the sights just lined up. I tried it a few more times, same result; it just fit me perfectly. Slick action, 4-round magazine(more 'hmmm'). So I set it back in the rack, and kept it in mind.

A few days ago I went back to that shop and found out two things: the shop is closing(Damn!), and they had everything on sale, putting the Nova just within reach. Despite my intention to hold off 'till April, the next day I went back, took it off the rack and said, "I'll take it".

First thing was field-strip, clean and oil, which is a very simple process. Pull the magazine cap, release the slide, and the barrel pulls off. Use the tip of the cap to push loose two pins in the receiver, and the trigger unit comes out, the bolt lifts out, and the slide comes off. The bolt is a solid piece with a rotating head with two locking lugs that cam into the breech of the barrel. The barrel itself is 18.5" long and chrome-lined. It goes back together about as fast as it comes apart, too.

Next day I headed to the range. I didn't have time to go to the nearest outdoor range where I could have tried slugs at 50 & 100 yards, so 25 yards was it. (Last time I bought slugs or buckshot was a while back, one slug box- Winchester Super-X- was marked $1.49 with an Otasco sticker). I had one box each of Remington & Winchester slugs, a box each of 00 and No. 4 buck, and a box of Federal 7 1/2 birdshot.

I used a standard blue silhouette target(the range calls them 'smurfs'), and used slugs first at 25. The first two were on opposite sides of the center oval, about 2" apart, the third overlapped the first. Further shots gave the same results, which made me a very happy man.

Buckshot followed, with 00 putting 8 of 9 shot in the upper chest at about ten yards, one shot going over the shoulder. No. 4 buck gave similar results, definate goblin-stopper results at down the hall or across the yard ranges.

This thing handles fast, too. First shot, being off a rest, I hadn't intended to rack the action until I'd spotted the shot; instead I fired and racked it without thought. It unlocks and the slide just naturally comes back and goes forward again, and that is how it went again and again. Bang-clack-clack and you're back on target(very happy man, here).

After using all the slugs and most of the buck, I stoked it with birdshot and tried that at about ten yards. This is a cylinder-bore barrel, no choke, and I was surprised at how fast the birdshot spread at that range, a pattern a good 18-24" across. And again, fast repeat shots were no problem. Bang-clack-clack-bang, fast and smooth.

After I got it home I pulled the barrel to clean it. Not too dirty. I ran a brush with Corrosion-X back & forth a few times, let it sit a few minutes, then wrapped a 2x3" piece of t-shirt around the brush and pushed it through once. Held up to the light the bore gleamed. Wipe off the bolt face, and it's done. Fastest cleaning I've done in a while.

I'm very happy with this shotgun. Nicely balanced, fast handling, easy to clean. Benelli has a gel-type recoil pad I think I'll get eventually, and I may get the magazine extension. With the plug out you have four rounds of 2 3/4" ammo(it's chambered to take 2.75", 3" and 3.5") in the magazine; with the extension you get three more 2.75 or 3" from what I've read. And if you like the idea you can put a base on the receiver to mount a scope or red-dot sight. And a Sidesaddle to hold four rounds on the left side of the receiver. And you can get tritium sights that replace the factory ghost ring & post...

Dammit, this could get involved. And expensive.


Zendo Deb said...

early is good, late is good, buying is good.

Firehand said...

True enough.

Interesting thing: remember how Dirty Harry's .44 sounded in the movies? This piece firing Remington 1oz. slugs on an indoor range sounds just like that.

Anonymous said...

have the same shotgun w/all the goodies , you won't find better for the $$$... rem and win and mossberg suck quality control wise ... made big $$$ repairing them when we had the gunshop , NEVER had a benelli pump come in for any reason ...

Firehand said...

Hmmm, I had heard some comments about Mossberg being a bit uneven on QC, but hadn't heard that about Rem & Win before.

In any case, your experience with Benelli is encouraging. I'd read various things in magazines, but it's always nice to hear from someone who actually had to work on the things.