I recently found out that the law enforcement agency that I work for has chosen to sponsor and send me to the next police academy that is offered in our area. My dad though it would be a good idea to surprise me with my desired shotgun for a “Congrats on the Academy/Early B-Day” gift. After an extremely filling meal of the best BBQ ribs and brisket in East Texas (Country Tavern- check it out if you are in then Longview/Tyler/Kilgore Texas area), my dad pulled a long box from the back of his truck and I opened it to find a 28” Vinci in 12ga with the black finish.
I was first blown away by the gift and then I was blown away by not only the gun but the entire package: case, gun and all the accessories. The case itself is really something to see. I have an SBE2 that comes in the standard Benelli hard case but the long, diamond-profiled case of the Vinci is very impressive in the way all of the gun’s components and accessories are housed securely in their own lil molded-in section of the case. The bottom section of the case holds the butt stock module, the forearm/trigger group module, a molded case that holds the four choke tubes not being used as well as a t-handled choke tube wrench, and also has a spot for what I am guessing is the extended magazine tube once I can get my hands on one. The top half of the case holds the barrel/receiver module behind a white hinged lid.
I would love to say that after a quick wipe down of the gun I was ready to hit the range but that would just not be true. The initial cleaning took about two hours due to the amount of packing grease that was covering every inch of the gun’s metal parts (not complaining because I enjoy cleaning my guns). After the gun was all cleaned up and free of the grease I applied a light amount of oil to the appropriate parts and assembled the gun. It went together easily and with NO slop or movement between the three modules. This is a great looking gun and shouldered quickly and comfortably. The SBE2 I have is 26” and I chose the 28” barrel because I feel that 28” guns just swing a bit smoother for me when shooting. The new INLINE Inertia Driven action in the vinci is a neat design that works, as far as i can tell, exactly like the original Inertia Drive Action but does away with the recoil spring housed in the buttstock. The bolt and recoil spring assembly is all attached together and it housed inside the reciever/barrel module. From my shooting both guns over the past couple of weeks i notice that the Vinci seemed to have less muzzle rise than the SBE2 with the same loads.
The next day I was able to hit the local range, East Texas Rifle and Pistol Club, and went through 300, rounds busting clays launch from a mounted, manual trap. The gun fired and cycled all 300 rounds (Federal #8 bulk, Winchester AA Sporting Clay #7.5 and Heavy Handicap #8, Winchester SuperTarget #8, and some Remington Gun Club #7.5) flawlessly and I was able to break probably 90% of the targets thrown. I did not have to change the stock shim to any of the supplied shims because the gun felt perfect as it was set up from the factory. All of the rounds were fired in about an hour and a half and while I wasn’t expecting to be sore from the shooting I was expecting to feel more than I did. The recoil from the new “Inline Inertia Driven System” coupled with the “ComforTech Plus System” was almost completely unnoticeable! The new design of the ComforTech plus system still utilizes the the swappable rocil pad for LOP and a gel comb pad that can be swapped out for taller or shorter comb pads. Also the same chevron inserts in the sides of the buttstock but the chevrons on the vinci are a fair amount bigger than on my SBE2 and seem to allow for greater dampening of vibration. You can see the larger chevrons in the pic above with both guns together. The Vinci's recoil pad was noticably softer than the pad on the SBE2. The outside of my shoulder was sore and that was only from keeping my right elbow up for so long while shooting! The “V-Grip” design on the forearm and pistol grip was very comfortable in the hand and had a surprising amount of traction for a sure hold while shooting with gloves and barehanded. Two of my favorite features on the Vinci are the redesigned grip angle, which in my hand has a more pistol-like grip angle and allowed for a straighter trigger pull than my other shotguns, and the trigger itself. This grip angle allowed for a more comfortable orientation between my hand and forearm as the grip angle on my SBE2 begins to pain my wrist a little bit after extended shooting. You might be able to see the difference in the picture of both guns together. Oh, and dont mind the beagle. Ha. The trigger on the Vinci, from what I have read, has been adapted from Benelli’s MR1 rifle and allows for a shorter pull and crisper break. The trigger, in relation to the goofy looking trigger guard, placed my trigger finger in perfect position for a consistent and comfortable pull on every shot. When shooting, I don’t even feel a “break” in the trigger, just a smooth rearward pull then BANG. Honestly, the only thing I don’t really like about the Vinci is the placement of the safety, in front of the trigger as opposed to behind. The safety, while easily turned on and off is just beyond the tip of my index finger so I actually have to change my grip to reach it and then return to my shooting grip.
After putting about 700 rounds through the Vinci, at clays, the number of malfunctions I had racked up was still a big ole goose egg, ZERO! On September 29, 2012 I was joining some fellow shotgunners to participate in my first sporting clays tournament. This would be my first time shooting in an organized tourney and I was excited, to say the least, to see how I would shoot and to really put the Vinci through the ringer on the course. The shoot, at Rose City Flying Clays in Tyler, TX, was a benefit raising money for the Wounded Warrior Foundation and had a great turn out. The clouds also showed up in record number and they all brought their friend rain with them too! I was interested in seeing if the constant down pour would affect the function of the Vinci but after about 5 hours of shooting in an unrelenting rain the malfunction count was still ZERO. I also can say that the “V-Grip” serrations on the grip and forearm offered great purchase on the gun even when completely wet. Not once did I feel as though I had anything less than complete control of the gun. Two teammates were shooting Brownings (a Maxus and a Gold Hunter I believe) and about halfway through the course they began having numerous malfunctions including FTFeed, FTFire, FTE, FTC and the occasional “I dunno what the hell happened.” After talking with them they kinda decided it was the rain and the guns being gas-operated that was causing problems. They were both impressed that a 3-week old gun ran as perfectly as it did in the conditions offered up by Mother Nature that day. Needless to say everyone and EVERYTHING was soaked that day. After the tourney I came home and thoroughly cleaned and oiled the Vinci and found no rust or debris anywhere on/in the gun.
I am happy to say that I will recommend, not only a Benelli but, the Vinci to anyone who is interested in a quality autoloader intended for use for anything from trap to SC to hunting. This gun has thoroughly impressed me and all others who have had the chance to shoot it. I give this gun 9 out of 10 because of the safety button location and while I can’t offer up all of the technical explanations that Mr. Randy Wakeman had in his review of the Vinci, I will say that this gun is AWESOME!