Available in .308 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor, Benelli’s latest Lupo addition — the HPR BE.S.T. — is a long-range shooter with a custom look and feel that every bolt-action lover needs to try
by Jace Bauserman
I get excited about new-for-the-year firearms. That excitement increases when I know I’m taking the gun on a hunt a few weeks after receiving it.
I know, pump the breaks. Shoot-On isn’t a hunting tip-tactic website, but occasionally, we tease a hunt or two into our editorial lineup. This is especially true when the hunt article incorporates lots of intel on an all-new rifle.
Sure, I love to get a new rifle or shotgun, put it through the testing paces on the range, and then send it back; however, I don’t feel I can provide accurate, in-depth product testing if I don’t use the firearm in the field.
The good news: Not only was I going to get some bench time with Benelli’s new-for-2024 Lupo HPR BE.S.T., but I would also get to take the rifle, chambered in .308 Win. to the Sooner State on a whitetail mission.
I’ve been fortunate to test several of Benelli’s Lupo Bolt-Action builds. I’ve harvested a few critters with them, and enjoy how they shoot. I love that Benelli took several of its award-winning shotgun features and blended them with its bolt-action rifle series.
The all-new Lupo HPR (High Precision Rifle) BE.S.T. looked like a custom rifle build when I opened the Pelican hard case and removed it.
The synthetic stock with interchangeable grip and a push-button adjustable comb height jumped at me from the get-go. With ease, I depressed the black button integrated into the stock and was able to set the comb height at eight different positions.
My next aha moment was the four drop positions, three deviations (neutral, right, left), and six length-of-pull adjustments via different recoil pads with two thicknesses. It was obvious that Benelli wanted its stylish new rifle to fit almost every shooter.
I was also pleased that manipulating a single set screw allows for a grip swap. The rifle could transform from a stock with a solid bottom to one that’s airy and rests perfectly on a shooting bag.
The Picatinny rail was a pleasing sight — these rails make scope mounting easy and ensure absolute lockdown. Other notable first-glance features include the Double Stack Magazine, BE.S.T. treatment, which means there isn’t a weather event this rifle can’t handle, and BE.S.T. Crio Barrel with Increased Diameter and Muzzle Brake.
An Ergonomic & Comfortable Design
After a quick inspection and before topping the rifle with a scope and hitting the range, I wanted to get a general feel of it.
Aside from the well-built stock, I immediately appreciated the wide, flat forearm. A beefy forearm allows the shooter to rest the rifle on or in anything from shooting sticks to a fence post to the palm. The forearm features six M-LOK connections to add a bipod or monopod easily.
Weighing over 9 pounds, the Lupo HPR BE.S.T. is not light; however, with the sling attached to the single M-LOK connection on the stock’s side and M-LOK connection on the side of the forearm, the rifle carries well. When shouldered, even without support, it feels balanced in hand.
I love both grips, and the steep angle of the pistol-style grip slopes aggressively and is narrow at the throat. The trigger housing is not oversized, but I could fit my hand with a slim glove design.
Mounting & Shooting
Steiner’s H6Xi 2-12x42mm scope mounted quickly. The Picatinny rail combined with the adjustable comb created excellent eye-to-scope alignment while keeping a positive cheek weld.
After a quick bore sight at 50 yards, I slapped the bolt back in the receiver and readied myself to send a 180-grain Norma BondStrike Long Range at 100 yards. Before we go “straight send,” though, a few words about the rifle’s receiver and bolt. The upper receiver is steel, and the lower is aluminum, which promises maximum structural rigidity. I like the long bolt release button on the receiver’s left side, and the bolt design is unique. I found it to promote smooth, fast operation.
The first shot at 100 yards off the bench was three inches high and four inches left. I sent two other rounds to confirm. The three-shot group was nickel-sized. I was immediately impressed. The combination of the Progressive Comfort recoil system, the brake, and the rifle’s overall weight, made recoil virtually nil. I could stay within my scope and on target. This built confidence and allowed me to cycle quickly and send the next round.
After six rounds, I touched tears an inch-and-a-half high of the bullseye. Next, I quickly cleaned the rifle using Real Avid products — I love the easy-to-transport Speed Stand. This stand allows you to haul your cleaning supplies to the range. I use it often in the field and on the range.
Move It Back
For my upcoming whitetail hunt, I felt the 180-grain ammo was too beefy. The rifle shot the bullets remarkably well, but my drop at 300 yards was significant. For whitetail, I wanted a lighter-grain-weight bullet. Still, the scope’s elevation dial allowed me to build a quick dope card. I had zero trouble dialing and punching paper with sub-MOA accuracy at this distance.
I recommend a lighter-weight bullet like Fiochhi’s Hyperformance 150-grain SST Polymer Tip Boat Tail for whitetails and other medium-sized game. Along with the Norma round, which I would shoot if hunting elk, the Hyperformance grouped excellently. I tested the round to 500 yards with sub-MOA results.
I shot 48 rounds between 100 and 500 yards over two weeks. Paper was punched and steel was clanged. I shot prone off a backpack, on my butt with BOG shooting sticks, offhand, and on the bench. Regardless of the position or rest method, this rifle delivered accuracy in spades.
Not only do I love how it shoots, but I also applaud the safety position (above the trigger guard behind the receiver), how easy the magazine is to load, and how quick, smooth, and exact the bolt’s operation is.
In The Woods
I love Oklahoma. I’ve had many excellent whitetail hunts in the state over the years and I was excited to be back. The boys at Sandstone Outfitters know their stuff, and after a 1/2-mile hike in the dark, I found a small, rustic shooting house atop a steep plateau.
As the sun illuminated the Oklahoma landscape, I took immediate note of a large winter wheat field out in front of me. I was also excited to see massive pastures full of CRP, timber, and other brush. Beyond the wheat and CRP was the Canadian River.
The rut was rocking. The 15 or so deer on the wheat field vanished before legal shooting light, but the CRP transformed into a chase zone. I watched several bucks run does, and though the closest buck was over 900 yards away, I was having a blast.
Thirty minutes after first light, things went quiet. Yes, the rut was still rocking. I knew deer were up and moving, but I wasn’t seeing much. As I often do when things go quiet during the rut, I stuck my rattling horns out the blind’s front window and hammered them together for a solid 45 to 50 seconds.
I’d just sat the horns back in the corner of the blind and started scanning the field when I spied a buck coming at a full run across the wheat field. I love the magic of the rut.
The problem was the buck was coming fast. I was worried he would get under the hill, out of sight, and come up downwind of my position. After getting the HPR set on the single wooden beam that made up the front shooting window, I ranged the buck at 304 yards and yelled at him to get him to stop. The new range was 276 yards, and the flat, wide forearm provided so much balance that I could find the buck quickly, settle the crosshairs, and make a perfect shot.
The afternoon following my buck harvest, my good friend Scott Sanderford and I took his daughter Ashely out on Scott’s private dirt. It took some searching, but after finding a good buck and making an excellent stock, we closed the distance. The problem was the range was a tad far for Ashley’s .223 Rem. Luckily, before the hunt, Ashley took a few shots with the HPR BE.S.T. All we had to do was change the comb height, and she was driving tacks downrange. Ashely appreciated that the rifle didn’t beat her up, and her confidence with it grew quickly.
Using BOG’s DeathGrip – Infinite Carbon Fiber as a rest, she punched the 250-plus-yards-away buck through the lungs. The buck’s death sprint was short. This goes to show how versatile of a rifle Benelli built.
This isn’t a rifle that I would want to haul around the Rockies after elk or mule deer. It is one, though, I would gladly tote to any destination where sit-and-wait hunting is the primary method. This rifle is ultra-accurate, produces little recoil, and is a blast to shoot.
If you’re in the market for a remarkable long-range shooter built to withstand the harshest terrain and environments and still come out smelling like a rose, Benelli’s Lupo HPR BE.S.T. is an excellent choice.
Benelli Lupo HPR BE.S.T.:
- Caliber: 308 Win.
- Weight: 4,250 grams
- Magazine: Removable 5 shot double stack
- Bolt: 3 locking lugs
- Muzzle Thread: 5/8 in. – 24 TPI
- Connections: M-LOK
- Stock: Modular with Progressive Comfort System
- Comb: Adjustable