Shotgun Review: Benelli M2 Performance Shop Waterfowl

Twenty-diameter shotguns are the hotspot in duck armor now, as hunters discover that loads of Bismuth, HeviShot and even steel on a 20 gauge can do almost as well as a 12 at closer distances. From what you give up on long-range ability with a 20, you get back to light weight and less bounce. Benelli has been one of the leaders of the 20-foot waterfowl gun trend, introducing a rogue version of the “Performance Shop” with 20 M2 semi-automatic gauges to complement the standard M2 line. Most waterfowl weapons are still 12 s, and this was reflected in the weapons we tested last September during our duck weapon test, but we brought with us a Performance Shop M2 with a gauge of 20 to see how it worked.

Benelli inercia semiutos changed the way people think about waterfowl weapons. The pure inertia firing system set new standards for semi-auto reliability when it first appeared in the United States in the late 1980s. Hunters discovered that the new guns were lightweight, easy to maintain, and they were working in conditions that would suffocate a semi-automobile with gas. The Benellis were not cheap, but the hunters who aspired to the best began to buy them.

The famous Super Black Eagle companion, the M1 Super 90, became popular among those who did not need the full versatility of a 3 1/2 inch weapon. In 2004, Benelli lightened the M1 and renamed it the M2. It is made in gauges 12 and 20, and if you visit a pigeon hut in South America, you will likely find that the house rental guns are mostly M2 with gauge 20. Since high-volume pigeon shooting is for regular hunting as is a NASCAR race for a store trip, this approval speaks volumes about the M2’s reliability.

Currently, the M2 is produced in gauges 12 and 20, in synthetic black and kamo versions. In addition to the M2 standard, Benelli also offers Performance Shop M2 in turkey and waterfowl versions.

Benelli M2 Performance Shop Nuts and Bolts


Characteristics of the Benelli M2 Performance store

  • Meter: 3 inches 20
  • Action: Semiauto inertia
  • Capacity: 3 + 1
  • Choking: Rob Roberts lasted T1, T2, T3
  • Barrels: 28 inches, ribbed scale, HiViz mark
  • Finish: Optifade camo
  • Length: 48 ç inches
  • LOP: 13.7 inches
  • Trigger pull: 6.5 pounds
  • Overall weight: 5.9 pounds

Although the idea of ​​inertia weapons had existed since 1910, it was not until the 1960s that the Benelli family joined an engineer named Bruno Civolani in the Italian city of Urbino. The age of inertia really began. And it was only when Civolani installed a rotating lightning bolt on the M1 Super 90 in the 1980s that inertia weapons took the form we know and where we rely today.

Like all inertia weapons, the M2 has a two-piece bolt with a heavy spring inside. As the gun is retracted, the bolt remains stationary and the rotating bolt actually closes tighter as the gun moves backwards. As the weapon slows down, the spring pressed inside the bolt is retracted, throwing it backwards and pulling out the projectile. The return spring on the stock pushes the bolt forward and it picks up a fresh shell from the riser as it moves forward. Because the action of inertia does not use expansion gases as semi-automatic gases do, it remains very clean and has no gas pistons or sleeves in the cartridge barrel to add mass to the front of the weapon.

The M2 has a lightweight one-piece alloy receiver that makes it easy to distinguish from the SBE, which has a two-piece alloy frame and steel. Because the inertia arms are lightweight and the actions do not reduce repulsion as well as gas actions, the M2 features Benelli’s ComforTech stock, which has a very soft butt and pads, as well as rubber needles in stock designed to reduce vibrations. ComforTech really works. I have shot an M2 along with my Benelli of identical weight but without ComforTech, and there is a noticeable change in stroke.

How we tested the Benelli M2 performance store

We took the M2 hunt in the morning and shot targets with it in the afternoon at the Pintail Hunting Club clay range. We tested the gun for both hitting points and to see what the 35 yards hunting load pattern was like. We weighed, measured and checked the trigger pull. Our test weapon had a slightly lower model and made a 57 percent model at 35 yards with the Rob Roberts T2 choke. Since T2 closely corresponds to a modified light grip, that pattern fell within the range I would expect. The trigger was broken at 6.5 pounds, which is a bit heavy, though not a problem for me or the other members of the testing team.

modeling sheet for Benelli M2 performance Shop shotgun
We modeled the M2 performance store at 35 yards. Stephen Maturen

It turns out that the M2 Benelli he sent us to test was exactly the same weapon with which I fired extensively last season, so I know the weapon was modeled quite well with Rio 1-once bismuth 3. I was also able to i did a credibility test all season (which is not as impressive as it sounds, given how bad my season was) and shot the M2 quite a bit at my gun club.

How the weapon worked

Handling and Ergonomics

Weighing in at 5.9 pounds with a 28-inch barrel, the M2 crosses the line between “light and useful” and “very easy to shoot”. For the tide, and for the ducks on the candy, it’s just the thing: easy, fancy and fast on target. As the shooting extends to the limit of range 20, the weapon becomes a little harder to manage and honestly an extra weight would help. That’s how I felt about the gun anyway, after I shot it at home and in Texas. Like all Benellis, it shows well because of the thin front that allows the barrel to sit lower in the hands than is typical with semi-automatic, and the balance is closer to that of a rifle-action weapon than as with a gas semi-automobile. The ComforTech stock really works to reduce bounce and vibration. The weapon was comfortable to shoot.

All M2s have a large triangular safety button, easy to find, easy to turn back. Among the additions added to the Performance Shop weapons are the enlarged bolt handle and the bolt closure buttons, which make it easier to use with cold hands or with gloves.

Workmanship and Aesthetics

The M2 is a nice looking semi-auto. With its sleek lines and stepped ribs it looks contemporary without trying to look too modern. It feels good in your hands and, while synthetic stocks do not involve any craftsmanship, the furniture in the arms looks good and feels good in your hand, especially the slightly enlarged front.

Like any Benelli, the M2 is made from cars that work with extremely tight tolerances. At the Benelli factory, management likes to say, “We do not make Benellis, we clone them.” Weapons are tailored and finished uniformly. This M2 is no exception.


Although the gun we shot is billed as a waterfowl model and the duck armor is definitely his first home, you can absolutely use the M2 for both mountain birds and waterfowl. It’s a bit long for turkey hunting and there is no view, but our gun fired so close to the target point that you can use the bead to make head and neck shots over a swallow if you add a turkey choke. The light weight of the M2 would make it less than ideal as a clay pistol, as a large mass makes it easier to throw clay, but you can use it for some rounds of skis or sports clay.


The M2 fired everything we went through, and I shot mine without cleaning it during a season at home. Never failed in the cycle. However, the only annoying design error of rotary bolts is the infamous “click” breakdown that occurs when the bolt does not close completely. If you facilitate the closing of the gun or if you manage to strike the bolt handle properly, the gun will not fire. Several times when I fired a gun at home, I managed to grab the bolt handle – once with a ghillie suit, the next time with a kamo net – and a wrong shot resulted in the ducks on the candy. I could not help but think that the larger bolt handle made the gun more likely to experience such problems. I have never seen the point of bigger gloves or dropping bolts on hunting weapons (they are great for hunting weapons), but they are now known for hunting weapons and it is hard to find a duck weapon without to. And, honestly, if you hunt on a regular blind, boat or town plan, the chances of running out of your Benelli battery are slim.


The M2 Performance store has many good qualities, but value is not one of them. It costs more than $ 1100 than a standard M2. For that money, you get three choke tubes after trading, an elongated tightening cone, parachute sling and the release of bolts and expanded bolts. You can add all these extras – assuming you wanted them – for much less than $ 1100. Or you can buy a regular M2 and shoot with it. I discovered when I modeled the “Performance Shop” gun compared to some of my other 20s that it shot much better with the Rio bismuth I used, but you should be able to find a personalized choke you like for the weapon without having to spend Performance Buy money.

What makes the Benelli M2 Performance store better

The Waterfowl Performance Shop M2 is at its best in an over-the-counter duck hunt, especially if it is a walk-in hunt where a light and fancy gun makes the difference in indoor and outdoor walks. I could see it as a wonderful pigeon weapon, and even as the ideal weapon to bring in a pigeon hunt in the morning, pigeons in the afternoon. It would also make a nice open area gun. Its long overall length may make it a little difficult to handle on a creeping chestnut or partridge, but for walking in grassy fields for pheasants or sharp tails, it may be ideal.

What makes the gun worse

As much as I like to shoot at the Performance Shop M2, it does not give the value to justify the extra $ 1100 you pay for personalized drownings and forced puppies. It’s a great hunting weapon, but you spend a lot to get extras that only slightly increase the performance of the weapon to the already excellent M2 standard.

Final Thoughts

If money is not an object and you want a lightweight and durable 20 gauge, then the Waterfowl M2 Performance Shop gun definitely deserves a look. While you can add most of the add-ons for much less, the Performance Shop weapon is a ready-made, ready-made deal. It offers every bit of reliability with all the terms Benellis is known for in a lightweight package that is fun to handle.

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