Every so often, a gunmaker crafts a model that promises accuracy, dependability, and boasts an aesthetic buzz shooters can’t ignore. That’s the case with Benelli’s new-for-2023 Montefeltro. The shotgun shoots like a dream and features a classic design.

by Jace Bauserman

I’ve never been a big bling guy when it comes to firearms. I love to look at them — I’ve spent hours in Cabela’s Gun Library. Still, I never wanted to take a gun — shotgun or rifle — with fancy engraving, gold inlays, et cetera, and head to the field with it. 

The biggest reason isn’t the bling or the flashy nature accompanying firearms with such fine craftsmanship. The biggest reason is I know how hard I am on my guns. I don’t want to ding up a work of art. 

I’ve hunted with and tested many Benelli guns. I love Benelli. Each model I’ve shot has proved remarkable, from the SBE3 to the M2 to the SuperNova to the Lupo Bolt-Action. I’ve hammered limits of geese with the SBE3, smashed doves with the M2, and harvested several big-game animals with the Lupo. When Benelli makes a firearm, I get excited. 

First Impressions

It wasn’t excitement but nerves that shot through my body when I pulled the new-for-2023 Benelli Montefeltro Silver from its gray case. My hands shook while I assembled the shotgun. 

Why?

It has bling. It’s a work of art and features impressive craftsmanship. I didn’t want to drop or scratch it. Assembly, though, as with all Benelli shotgun makes, is straightforward. After assembling the shotgun, I had to lay it on the ground and stare. The shotgun is beautiful. The newest member to Benelli’s Montefeltro line, the Silver features a single-piece nickel-plated alloy receiver with scroll engraving and gold embellishments — a Setter on one side and flushing ruffed grouse on the other. 

The satin shimmer of the select walnut stock gives the shotgun a classic look — something a legendary European gunmaker would have crafted in his shop. The stock and the long walnut forearm are gridded for improved handling. The wood choice on the Montefeltro is stunning. 

The blued barrel with vented rib melts into the nickel-plated alloy receiver. The rib lines up perfectly with the recess in the receiver for right-now target acquisition. The push-button safety is oversized and triangular, which boots functionality. A small rear bead sits midway up the barrel, and a red front fiber-optic sits about an inch back from the muzzle. The end cap is nickel-plated, and the trigger guard is of standard size.

In Hand Feel 

Upland hunting requires a lot of walking. Whether you’re moving along weeded ditches, corn rows, or brush patches, upland hunters want a lightweight shotgun that doesn’t weigh them down. 

At 7.1 pounds and measuring 49.5 inches, this shotgun feels like a feather in hand and shoulders wonderfully. The initial balance, for me, felt like that of a top-end over-under. 

The action is ultra-smooth. I retracted the action with the shotgun empty and locked it in place. The action-release button is located on the shotgun right below the action. The release button, unlike most waterfowl or multi-purpose shotguns, is small. This isn’t a feature I love, but larger release buttons do take away from aesthetics, and when it comes to looks, this shotgun is second to none. 

The length of pull is 14 3/8 inches, which felt excellent. My cheek welded to the high-grade walnut stock, and eye to rib-of-the-barrel alignment was perfect.

Must Note Features

I don’t want to pen a bunch of ink you can read online, but there are some Benelli features on the Silver I want to point out. This shotgun blends style and performance. I cheer the slim forend and low-profile rib, and the Montefeltro is available in 12 and 20-gauge models. 

Like all Benelli semi-automatics, Benelli’s time-tested Inertia-Driven System promises consistent, reliable cycling. With only three main parts: bolt body, inertia spring, and rotating bolt head, not much can go wrong. The system never needs adjusting. Because it is driven by the inertia from the gun’s recoil and not gas, smoke and burnt powder remain in the barrel. 

The 28-inch barrel on the Silver is Crio-treated. This means you get 13.2 percent more pellets on target, and the shotgun comes with Crio chokes in C, IC, M, IM, and F. 

How It Shoots

I’ve always noted in my gun reviews that I care little about how a gun looks. If it shoots accurately and is durable, I want it in my safe. If it’s only an eye-brow raiser, I want nothing to do with it. 

This shotgun is an eyebrow-raiser, but it also shoots like a dream. I spent three days throwing clay targets into the air by hand. My son was at work, and it was fantastic practice. When he did get a day off, we went out together, and I threw him the first clay — a fast crossing flyer. He crushed it. Then, he looked down at the gun, looked at me, and said, “This may be the best swinging, most balanced shotgun I’ve ever fired.” 

Yes, my son is only 18, but he’s shot 20-plus different shotguns. He shoots several thousand rounds each year between clays, doves, and waterfowl. The boy knows his shotguns and fell in love with this one. 

Naturally, Hunter (my son) threw lots of clays for me, and we spent hours cycling 2-3/4 and 3-inch Fiocchi loads. The Montefeltro Silver cycled both low-brass and high-brass loads efficiently. Hulls were blown several feet.

The shotgun throws down wonderfully and swings with an elegant grace any serious shotgunner will appreciate. Each Crio choke was tested and patterned, and the results were exactly what I expected — perfect. Crio chokes throw remarkable patterns. I’ve yet to shoot a load they don’t like, and their pattern density is always impressive. 

Final Thoughts

This season, if you’re in the market for a new upland or clay buster that will become a treasured family heirloom, consider Benelli’s Montefeltro Silver. The shotgun is an instant classic, and at $1,799, it sports a price tag that doesn’t give too much sticker shock, especially for a shotgun with so many fancy-to-do features and jaw-dropping eye appeal.

Benelli Montefeltro Silver Specifications

  • Gauges: 12 and 20
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Chambered For: 2-3/4- and 3-in. loads
  • Action Type: semi-auto
  • Barrel Length: 28 in. (12 gauge); 26 in. (20 gauge)
  • Barrel Finish: Gloss, Blued
  • Receiver Material: Engraved nickel-plated alloy
  • Stock Material: AA-Grade Satin Walnut
  • Grip: Standard
  • Sight: Red-bar front
  • Chokes: Crio
  • Overall Length: 49.5 in. (12 gauge); 47.5 in (20 gauge)
  • Overall Height: 7.1 lbs. (12 gauge); 5.6 lbs. (20 gauge)
  • Length of Pull:14 3/8 in.
  • Overall Weight: 107.20 oz., unloaded (Trapper); 109.70 oz., unloaded (Classic)
  • Safety: crossbar
  • MSRP: $1,799
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Born and raised in southeast Colorado, Shoot-On contributor Jace Bauserman cut his hunting teeth chasing ducks, geese, quail, and pheasants near his southeast Colorado home. The seed that was planted stuck, and Bauserman’s outdoor pursuits grew. He started chasing elk and mule deer in the Colorado mountains with his 7mm Rem. Mag., and coyotes, fox, and bobcats across the plains. In 2003, Bauserman started writing about his adventures. Today, Bauserman is an accomplished outdoor writer. He has served as editor-in-chief of Bowhunt America and Bowhunting World magazines and has penned thousands of articles for top-tier outdoor publications.

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