Gear & Accessories Shotguns The Ethos of Shot: Benelli Ethos Review John Taylor March 3rd, 2014 | More From John Taylor Share0 Tweet Email Say the word Benelli and most hunters think of the Super Black Eagle II, a staple in the waterfowler’s gun rack. Now upland bird hunters have a Benelli all their own, the new Ethos. The Ethos combines the reliability of the proven inertia operating system with light recoil and fast handling, all necessities when a rooster bolts from a cornrow or bobwhites whir out of a honeysuckle tangle. Last spring, I had the opportunity to shoot the Ethos at clay targets and pheasants in Italy. Sleek in appearance, the inertia operating system was developed by a Danish gunsmith named Christian Sjörgren in 1903. Called the “Normal,” it’s an odd name, but one that reflected the simplicity of the system. When a Benelli is fired, the mass of the breech bolt remains stationary while a carefully calibrated spring pushes against the rotating bolt head, forcing it into tighter engagement with its matching cuts in the barrel extension. By the time the gun fully recoils against the shooter’s shoulder the shot has cleared the barrel and, aided by the spring, the bolt begins to move rearward, rotating the bolt head out of engagement, ejecting the fired hull and picking up a fresh round from the magazine—all in milliseconds. Benellis are very clean-shooting guns. Of course inertia-driven shotguns come with one distinct disadvantage: recoil. Although most upland hunters shoot 2¾-inch loads, the Ethos is chambered for 3-inch shells too. Many are familiar with Benelli’s recoil-killing ComforTech stock with its collapsible chevrons that absorb much of the recoil. But because of the Ethos’ wooden stock and forend, the ComforTech system didn’t fit with its aesthetics. So Benelli engineers and designers developed a new, somewhat similar Progressive Comfort System concealed within the buttstock. The PCS resembles a tree consisting of a center and two branches. All are constructed of a flexible plastic and the two outer branches’ leaves interweave with those in the center. They all work together to provide a flexible interlocked shock absorber, and according to Benelli, provide a 50 percent reduction in felt recoil from their ComforTech system. The 1-ounce loads we shot resulted in mild felt recoil. Benelli’s Dynamic Inertia System is also tuned to shoot and reliably cycle light loads, including ⅞-ounce shells. If you have concerns over the durability of the plastic leaves, Benelli’s engineers put 100,000 rounds through the gun without failure. Other new features include fast loading, which derives from an improved and redesigned two-part carrier latch, and the loading port is beveled. The bolt release itself has a newly designed detent that ensures positive lock up, and the bolt handle is larger. The magazine cap is both longer and incorporates a spring-loaded synthetic plunger that ensures against seizing should the wooden forend swell. The wooden stock is adjustable to a 15-inch length of pull with spacers and should a shorter pull than the out-of-the-box 14⅜ inches be necessary, the stock can be cut to 13¾ inches without disturbing the PCS. In addition, the stock’s comb features an insert of soft synthetic recoil-absorbing material that prevents the transfer of vibration from the shooter’s cheek and inner ear at the shot. These inserts are interchangeable to provide adjustment for drop. Of course like any Benelli, the Ethos comes with a shim kit that permits changes in drop and cast. The stocks, forends and barrels are all made in Beretta factories. The Crio barrels—bored to the standard .725 inches—and chokes are cryogenically treated, i.e. frozen. The result is a realignment of the steel molecules of the barrels and chokes that produce more even patterns due to more stable and predictable barrel flex and vibration. The vented ribs are made of carbon fiber to further reduce weight. Furthermore, they are interchangeable to fit differing shooting requirements—field, sporting clays, etc.—and in the event of damage, can be easily replaced. Each Ethos cones with three quick-change fiber-optic front beads (red, green and yellow). Below the barrel is a newly shaped and sleeker forend for better ergonomic feel and forward hand control. The receivers are tastefully engraved by Giovanelli. The high-strength aluminum receivers of the Ethos for the U.S. market will be anodized black or nickel-plated. Of course the test of any shotgun is in the field. One afternoon we were taken to a nearby range where to shoot sporting clay-style targets. There the guns handled very well, and even though numerous rounds were shot with this very light shotgun, recoil was indeed mild. The following day we went to one of Italy’s hunting clubs where we hunted pheasants. There, too, the Ethos was up to the challenge of birds flushed out of short grass and in timber thickets. For those hunters who prefer semi-automatics for upland gamebirds, the Ethos promises much, and delivers even more. Specifications Manufacturer: Benelli, www.benelliusa.com Action: Inertia-driven semi-auto Gauge: 12 Trigger: Single Safety: Cross-bolt trigger blocking in rear of guard Magazine: 3+1 Barrel: Crio steel, carbon-fiber vent rib Chokes: Crio Cyl., IC, Mod., IM, Full Sights: Quick-change fiber-optic beads (red, green and yellow) Stock: Oil-finished AA-grade European walnut Length of Pull: 13¾ to 15 inches Drop at Comb: 1½ inches Drop at Heel: 2¼ inches, stock adjustable for drop and cast Overall Length: 47½ inches Weight: 6½ pounds Finish: Anodized or nickel-plated receiver with blued barrel. MSRP: $1,999 (anodized); $2,199 (nickel-plated) GALLERY: GUN DOG's Best Gun Reviews 1 of 7 <h2>CZ Super Scroll Combo</h2>The Super Scroll over/under is built on a box-lock 20-gauge frame, and comes with an extra set of 28-gauge barrels and forend, all in a fitted aluminum hard case from Americase. Both barrel sets have automatic ejectors, (thanks to the 20-gauge frame), and five flush-fitting choke tubes are provided with each gauge. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2013/12/17/cz-super-scroll-review/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> <h2>CZ Super Scroll Combo</h2>The Super Scroll over/under is built on a box-lock 20-gauge frame, and comes with an extra set of 28-gauge barrels and forend, all in a fitted aluminum hard case from Americase. Both barrel sets have automatic ejectors, (thanks to the 20-gauge frame), and five flush-fitting choke tubes are provided with each gauge. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2013/12/17/cz-super-scroll-review/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> <h2>Perazzi MX28B</h2>The “heart” of any Perazzi is the locking system. I’ve never seen a Boss over-and-under, but evidently the Perazzi lock-up is similar if not the same. Barrels pivot on trunnions, as almost all of today’s over/unders do. Two bolts extend forward from about the midpoint on each side of the receiver to lock into lugs built on both sides of the monobloc, just under the ejector areas. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2013/11/11/perazzi-mx28b-review/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> <h2>Franchi Affinity</h2>The narrow fore-end, aluminum alloy receiver and simple Inertia Driven system also make the Affinity a very lightweight semi-auto; the 12-gauge version weighs only about 6.4 pounds while the 20-gauge weighs just 5.6 pounds. Despite the light weight, I shot most of a box of Black Cloud 3-inch ammo through the Franchi without excessive discomfort. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2013/10/07/double-duty-franchi-affinity-review/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> <h2>Weatherby SA-08</h2>The Weatherby SA-08 is a modern gas-operated semi-automatic made in Turkey by the well-respected firm of ATA in Istanbul. The Waterfowler is a 12-gauge, 3-inch magnum, especially outfitted for ducks and geese, although it would be perfect for turkeys, too. It is striking in appearance, as it’s decked out in Mothwing Marsh Mimicry camo pattern that is not only darn good to look at, but also blends well in a duck blind. This tough finish is applied by a special “dipping” process that adheres it to all metal and stock surfaces. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2013/10/15/turkish-precision-weatherby-sa-08-review/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> <h2>Caesar Guerini Ellipse EVO</h2>It is interesting that the balance point or center of gravity of the EVO is slightly farther forward than the normal balance on the hinge pin. Some of this is due to the longer stock and the nicely figured walnut; not exhibition-grade, but pleasing to the eye. Many might dismiss this as being butt heavy, but until I checked the balance point, 5 ⅛ inches in front of the trigger, I was unaware of any misbalancing of this gun. In fact when calculating the moment of inertia of the EVO, the measure of how much effort it takes to swing the gun on a bird, it measured very close to the “ideal” British side-by-side game gun. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2013/07/15/caesar-guerini-ellipse-evo-review/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> <h2>Browning Maxus Hunter</h2>The Maxus Hunter is a perfect companion for the upland hunter or clay shooter who still values the feel of a well-built, classically-styled field gun. It was designed for hard work and has the same heavy-duty guts as any of the other Maxus variants.The Maxus handles very well, partly because it is slightly nose-heavy, making the gun point naturally and swing smoothly on passing shots. The forearm is relatively narrow for a gas gun, and I much prefer the Maxus’ rather flat-sided forearm to bulkier, fatter competitors. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2013/06/17/browning-maxus-hunter-review/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> <h2>VersaMax Shotgun</h2>The VersaMax is easily field-stripped without tools for cleaning. After the magazine cap and forearm are removed, the barrel is free to be pulled from the receiver. A twist of the wrist removes the bolt handle, allowing the bolt to be pulled forward and out of the receiver. Pushing on the firing pin with a finger while turning the bolt on its side and giving it a light tap frees the retention pin of the firing pin for removal. <p></p> <a href="http://www.gundogmag.com/2011/05/24/the-versamax-shotgun/" target="_blank">Read the full review</a> Share0 Tweet Email Load Comments ( ) Don’t forget to sign up! 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