Benelli Overview Table of Contents
In 1988, the 3½ inch 12 gauge shell made its first appearance, and firearm manufacturers were eager to take advantage of the new load and its intriguing possibilities. One of the first to jump on board the 3½ magnum train was Benelli, with the release of the Super Black Eagle (SBE) 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun. The original SBE was designed and produced in the late 1980’s, and made available in 1990-1991. It was advertised mainly as a waterfowl gun – one meant to be used for hunting ducks and geese, with its powerful 3½ inch chamber capacity. It is indeed a great duck and turkey gun, but it functions just as well with smaller game, such as squirrels, doves, and pheasants. The larger bore had the option of taking anything from traploads to serious buckshot shells, and it did its job very well.
For many years, the SBE was considered something of a standard Benelli has always strived for excellence, and it is no surprise that the SBE grew ever more popular. Later on, in 2004, came the SBE’s successor: the SBE II.Some quick stats for the SBE II. For the purpose of these stats, we will be looking at the ComforTech stock with Black synthetic finish, which is also one of the less expensive models:
Super Black Eagle II, by Benelli: Specs
- Gauge – 12 gauge
- Action – semi-automatic
- Weight – 7.3 lbs. (unloaded)
- Length of barrel – 28 inch, Crio treated
- Length overall – 49.6 inches
- Chamber – 2¾ inch, 3 inch, 3½ inch
- Magazine capacity – 3+1 (2+1 for 3½ shells, not accounting “ghost loading”)
- Sights – red bar front sight, bead mid sight
- Finish – black synthetic
- Stock – ComforTech with AirTouch technology. Reduces up to 50% of recoil, compared to similar shotguns. Comes with shims for re-adjustment and customization.
- Chokes – cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, and full – all cryogenically treated to ensure maximum performance under the harshest of conditions, and an overall reliable and consistent shooting experience.
- Manufacturer suggested retail price – $1,799
The SBE II retained everything which made the original SBE a very popular shotgun, and introduced a few new features.
Differences between Benelli Super Black Eagle I and II
So, what are the main differences between the SBE and the SBE II? Some very important changes were implemented, and it is clear that Benelli definitely did their research before releasing the SBE II.
First off, the ComforTech stock. This is crucial, because it really does reduce a lot of the recoil if you are shouldering it correctly. Heavy duty 3½ inch shells will have to produce some noticeable recoil, no matter how padded your buttstock is, but the ComforTech system does everything to facilitate an improved and easy recovery, and more precise follow up shots. Second, the trigger guard is bigger, and it provides easier access to the trigger, even with gloved hands. The trigger guard is also designed in such a way so there isn’t much snag or pinch on your fingers. At least, it does not happen quite as easily as with the original SBE trigger guard.
Third, a more advanced cycle tube, for quicker consecutive shots. The SBE was fast enough, and the SBE II is even faster. It cycles the shells as quickly as you can pull the trigger. Exhibition shooter Tom Knapp was known to use one on occasion, even though his “go to” Benelli was usually the M2. Tom showed us all what the SBE II is capable of, and even though he is gone, his name lives on. Fourth, the barrel and chokes are Crio treated, which significantly helps to protect those sensitive areas. It improves on anything having to do with the bore of the shotgun, and makes certain that even though the heat becomes intense, the barrel and chokes will remain unharmed. The Crio treatment guarantees these parts a long life and sustained functionality.
Fifth, AirTouch technology checkering on the grip and forearm. Whatever kind of conditions you are in – wet, dry, cold, hot, etc. – your hold on the weapon will remain as secure and strong as it can. The SBE II’s ergonomics are far superior than that of the SBE, and it shows. Last, but not least – the look. The SBE II has a bit of a sleeker look to it, in my opinion. This is especially true to those limited edition 25th anniversary shotguns. Man, would I love to get my hands on one of those…
Maintaining the Benelli Super Black Eagle II
The inertia-driven system is one which greatly helps with maintenance. Unlike the gas-operated actions, Benelli’s system is simpler to take care of. Cleaning and maintenance have their own section in the owner’s manual, so there is no point in repeating what is already written there. The one thing I do want to mention, is a cleaning procedure which is not currently addressed in the manual. Residue (from powder, dust, dirt, and other outdoor-related buildup) can cause the shotgun to jam, even with loads which should not be causing any issues. The normal strip and clean does get a lot of this out, but there is one area – the recoil spring and assembly – which requires more attention than it is usually given, and which is critical to the continued smooth operation of the SBE II. This procedure is typically done once or twice a year, normally after a period of serious shooting (a season, for all intents and purposes).
To be clear – cleaning and oiling the recoil assembly does NOT mean taking out the spring. It means cleaning it, while it is still inside the tube. It is never recommended to remove the spring, since it is under a lot of pressure. Keeping the spring clean and oiled is one of the most important jobs there are, and it could save you a lot of grief and frustration in the future. If you want your SBE II to remain the fastest, easiest, and finest semi-automatic shotgun in your arsenal, you need to keep it happy. That essentially means cleaning it, and feeding it the right kinds of shells.
Benelli Super Black Eagle II Accessories
The SBE II is seriously amazing, even without any accessories. However, some customizing can really help out. Remember, accessories are there to improve functionality. They are there to keep both the firearm and shooter safe. They are there to provide the person looking through those sights, with the best shooting experience possible. Good accessories do all of that, without compromising the weapon’s operation or the shooter’s needs.
So, here are a few accessories which may be appropriate for the SBE II, but certainly not limited to that particular Benelli model.
Benelli Super Black Eagle II Sling
Even if you don’t get another accessory as long as you and your SBE II both shall live – get a proper sling. It is important to keep your hands free, and to be able to maneuver around. This remains true whether your SBE II is designated as a home defense weapon or a hunting weapon.
Benelli Super Black Eagle II Magazine Extension Tube
The SBE II has a 3+1 factory standard, but many times there will be a need for greater firepower. Magazine extensions need to be used with caution, since different states have separate laws and regulations regarding ammo limit, etc. Make sure you comply with your local rules and obey the law.
Benelli Super Black Eagle II Barrel Clamp
If you are attaching a magazine extension tube to your SBE II, you may want to consider adding a clamp onto the tube. The barrel and extension tube are held firmly in place, with the help of the clamp. Benelli has a relatively cheap, albeit effective, clamp – but, if you are interested in something sturdier (perhaps with a rail option at the bottom of the clamp), go with another company.
Benelli Super Black Eagle II Shell Carrier / Side Saddle
The magazine extension tube mentioned above is a way to make sure you have enough shots inside of your weapon. A saddle or carrier of some kind is a way to guarantee that you are covered on the outside as well. Accessories which carry various numbers of shells are available for Benelli shotguns, and among them the SBE II.
Benelli Super Black Eagle II Recoil Pads
The SBE II has the ability to fire some serious lead. 3½ magnum shell will tear your shoulder apart, especially if you are an inexperienced or younger shooter. Even with the ComforTech stock, a recoil pad can be a very productive and useful idea. If you’d like to sport some black and blue marks on your body, go right ahead, but it may be a good idea to invest in recoil management devices. It’s a judgement call, as always, but the larger shells are known to produce quite a kick, so be prepared.
Benelli Super Black Eagle II External / Internal Parts
These include replacements to factory parts which come standard with the SBE II: things like springs and pins of all kinds, trigger guards, bolt releases, charging handles, levers, safety buttons, and even sights. Whether you are looking to replace old factory parts with new ones, or to replace factory parts with improved versions, there is a whole world of modifications and upgrades to explore, depending on your needs. It’s cool to be tacticool, but not at the expense of the firearm’s normal function.
— Matt Hicks (@hilljack1991) June 27, 2016
Benelli Super Black Eagle II Warranty and Conclusion
Benelli offers a limited 10-year warranty on all of its firearms. As with most (if not all) firearms warranties, they become void once any modifications have been done to the weapon. If you do decide to mod your SBE II, be aware of what you are undertaking, and do so with caution and care.
Benelli has been designing and producing quality firearms since the 1960’s, and from the way things are looking, it will continue to be a standard, a bar-setter, and a tried and true battle or outdoor companion.