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Vinci review from THE OUTDOOR WIRE

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by wireguy, Apr 1, 2009.

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  1. wireguy

    wireguy TS Member

    Jan 29, 1998
    FEATURE Benelli Vinci Field Test Editor's Note: Today, a byline from one of the best-known names in outdoor reporting. J. Wayne Fears has written about virtually every element of the outdoors, and is one of the most admired and sought-after writers out there. Today, he gives you his exclusive field test of the new Benelli Vinci shotgun.

    By J. Wayne Fears

    It was one of the best kept, but most talked about, secrets in the shooting industry - the Benelli Vinci. What is it?

    The Benelli Vinci-three piece construction based on Benelli's existing shotgun and R-1 rifle line
    On March 17, six selected gun writers arrived at the Pica Zuro Lodge near Cordoba, Argentina to be given a sneak preview of the Vinci. Our mission was to shoot the "secret" shotgun as much as we could at the millions of eared doves that populate the Cordoba farming area. If the shotgun could be torn up, it was our job to do it. These were production guns sent from Benelli in Italy, not fine tuned prototypes. Included in the group was Lane Simpson of Shooting Times, Todd Smith editor of Outdoor Life, Nick Sisley well known shotgun freelance writer, Payton Miller of Guns & Ammo, Kyle Wintersteen of the NRA publications, and yours truly.

    Shooting with us would be the Benelli USA executives and the two engineers who designed the gun. During this intense shooting, their job was to troubleshoot potential problems. The first day, at the introduction of the Vinci, we writers were told the gun was designed to be "the most reliable, fastest shooting, softest shooting, three-inch, 12-gauge, 6 lb.- 9 oz. shotgun in the world, with a simple design". We looked at each other and thought, "Oh yes, we've heard that before".

    Then, a high impact black plastic box was placed in front of each of us. It looked like it could have held a clarinet. We were invited to open the sleek designed box. Inside was the mysterious Vinci, a modular designed semi-automatic shotgun, neatly laying in three groups - barrel/receiver group, trigger group/forearm and QuadraFit buttstock group.

    As we were instructed, we pulled out the barrel/receiver module group and were shown that it was an In-line Inertia Driven action completely within the Vinci's upper receiver. The entire operating system, including the short bolt and return spring, functions on the same axis as the bore. The Vinci design provides the balance by keeping the weight at the center of the gun. The 26 or 28-inch barrel and choke is a Crio system, which means they freeze them to -300 degrees to produce an even grain in the metal for truer patterns and cleaner shooting.

    Next, out of the case, came the trigger group/forearm module which contains the trigger assembly with the physical properties of the R-1 rifle, safety, shell carrier and self-contained tube assembly. This module had a V-Grip non-slip surface molded into the forearm and an improved ergonomic relationship between the wrist position and the trigger-angle.

    Finally, the third module, the polymer QuadraFit Buttstock with ComforTech Plus came out. We were told it would reduce the recoil by up to 72 %. The stock can be custom fitted to the shooter by use of comb and butt pads. The ComforTech Plus System gives a constant level of recoil reduction throughout the complete range of loads from dove loads to turkey loads.

    Before we were instructed on how to assemble the three modules, one of the Benelli engineers showed us how easy it was to disassemble the Vinci's simple but functional bolt. Without tools, it took less than a minute. He showed us how the design of the bolt reduced movement during recoil that resulted in less muzzle jump enabling quick second and third shots. It was also pointed out that the Vinci's in-line action never needed adjusting and will cycle anything from 2 ¾-inch dove loads to 3-inch magnum turkey loads.

    To assemble the three modules required no tools and took less than a minute, making the Vinci easy to break down for traveling and quick and easy to clean.

    The acid test. J. Wayne Fears fires the Vinci-he fired it 4,249 other times, too, with only three shotshell failures.
    The proof, to a bunch of suspicious gun writers, would be witnessed during the next three days of shooting. The area where we were hunting has an estimated population of over 80 million eared doves (very similar to our mourning dove). They are resident birds and nest four to six times a year. In short, they are eating the local farmers out of business. If the Vinci could hold up to our shooting, we would kill thousands of doves that would be cleaned and donated to a mission where 1500 underprivileged children were fed.

    Long story short, records were kept on how many shotshells we each shot. In three days of shooting, I shot 170 boxes of shotshells, that's 4250 shots. I was using two Vinci's. Not once did I have a gun malfunction. I did have three shotshells that failed to fire. At the end of the shooting, my shoulder was not bruised nor my cheekbone sore. That's speaks volumes, as five years ago I had an ATV accident which shattered my right shoulder into seven pieces so I am very recoil conscious.

    Many things impressed me beyond the reduced recoil. The guns were so balanced that it was like shooting a high dollar, fitted, over-and-under. Muzzle jump was slight and I could get back on targets as fast as I could pull the trigger. That pleasant surprise took some getting used to.

    The other writers shot as much or more than I did. Each day we shot more than a lifetime of shooting for most shotgunners. The other gun scribes results were the same as mine. No bruises, no malfunctions, little muzzle flip, and hits of 60 to 80 percent using Improved Cylinder choke tubes. One thing we all noticed was how clean the Vinci's shot. They were lightly cleaned each evening and gave malfunction-free shooting each day.

    In all, 15 production Vinci's were shot 87,950 times without a malfunction and with a high percentage of hits, many out to 70 yards.

    By the end of the third day of shooting we were all talking about buying a Vinci for our own hunting. I could see a real potential turkey gun in the Vinci. Lane Simpson best summed it up when he said, "The Vinci feels like a .410, shoots like a 20-gauge and has the power of a 12-gauge". Our skepticism of the first day was laid to rest; this really was a new shotgun that was going to set the bar high for all others.

    Before we left Argentina we were sworn to secrecy by Benelli that we would not discuss the Vinci until noon on March 31. Now you know what we know. You can see the Vinci at www.benelliusa.com and look on the web site for a slide show of the torture test we did in Argentina. It's called "Torture Test in Paradise".
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