Benelli upgrades a classic for 2024. If you’ve been looking for an entry-point clay shotgun that will also serve admirably in the hunting fields, the new Montefeltro Sporting model just might punch your ticket.

by Larry Case

The Benelli Montefeltro shotgun was first introduced in 1983 and has rightly gained the title of “elegant workhorse.” From the pheasant fields of Kansas to the dove grounds of South Carolina, this shotgun earned its spurs as a dependable, fast-handling scattergun. The Montefeltro soon found its way to the skeet and sporting clay venues as well and is considered a staple for shooting clays. Now, Benelli has added to the Montefeltro line of shotguns the Montefeltro Sporting model, which has features the clay shooter will appreciate but serves double-duty as an earnest hunting gun.

First Test: Benelli Montefeltro Sporting Shotgun

Benelli did a redesign on the Montefeltro in 2004 with some minor changes. More significant changes came along last year in 2023. The bolt release on the new Montefeltro is not a large round button but is bar-shaped and big enough to find easily but not so big that you might bump and close the action by mistake. The safety on the new Montefeltro is round and directly behind the trigger guard. The bolt handle isn’t overly large, as I have seen trending on semi-auto shotguns in recent years. It is just about right. Benelli reshaped the receiver of the Montefeltro on the 2023 redo, giving it a sleeker look that also helps with faster reloads.

The ease in making reloads are the most significant changes (to me) on the new Montefeltros. A milled out, larger loading port makes loading a breeze with cold or tired fingers. The other loading feature is a relaxed magazine spring, which, to me, is simple yet near genius. If the mag spring is too heavy, it is going to make reloading a pain.

First Test: Benelli Montefeltro Sporting Shotgun

Benelli terms the panels on the gun where you would traditionally have checkering as “Air Touch.” It is not really checkering but small round cuts similar to stippling. I didn’t think I would like this when I first heard about it, but the “checkered” panels on the grip and forearm are fine, giving you a solid grip on the gun.

The forearm and the grip are noticeably slimmer than the pre-2023 models, making the shotgun easier to point. Maybe the biggest change in all Benelli shotguns in 2023 was the implementation of the Inertia-Driven System that effectively ensures the bolt will stay in battery if the gun is inadvertently bumped or the bolt is not slammed shut.

Montefeltro Sporting Model

All the changes that occurred in 2023 are featured on the Montefeltro Sporting model, which, as mentioned, is new for 2024, but the gun carries some new features of its own.

First Test: Benelli Montefeltro Sporting Shotgun

This shotgun includes a high-profile vent rib with a mid-bead and a red bar front sight. The combination promotes good eye alignment down the barrel and an elevated hold to better see clays and birds.

First Test: Benelli Montefeltro Sporting Shotgun

To aid in quick follow-up shots, the Montefeltro Sporting comes with barrel porting to reduce muzzle rise and to mitigate felt recoil.

Since proper fit is essential to promoting good form and accuracy, the Montefeltro Sporting comes with a shim kit for drop and cast adjustment. This is important! As we have said before, if the shotgun does not fit you, you will not be at your best on the clays range or in the field. The ability to adjust the drop on the stock from the top of the rib to the comb (roughly where your cheek meets the stock), and to the heel (top portion of the butt of the stock) is huge. If you have the gun fitted properly, you will shoot much better.

If you want to better understand how proper fitment through stock adjustment can make a HUGE impact on your shooting accuracy, check out this video from Benelli. It is a short yet highly educational presentation that illustrates how drop and cast can be fine-tuned and the results you can expect:

As noted, the new Montefeltro Sporting is built around the Benelli Inertia Driven system, which ensures reliable cycling of the lightest to the heaviest field loads and improves balance compared to standard gas-operated systems. The Montefeltro Sporting is offered in 12- and 20-gauge 2 ¾- and 3-inch chambers with 30-inch and 28-inch barrel lengths, respectively. IC, M, and F extended Crio chokes are included.

On the range. The new Montefeltro Sporting may not have actually been put through what would be called a torture test, but it certainly got a bunch of shooting with a wide variety of ammo. The main thing to be reported here, in my estimation, is that the Sporting Model shot them all without any hiccups.

First Test: Benelli Montefeltro Sporting Shotgun

Federal High Overall, Federal Gold Medal and Paper, Federal Speed-Shok, Remington Premier STS, Remington Gun Club Target Loads, and Fiocchi Field Dynamics and Golden Series ammo all were shot on trap and skeet and 5 Stand ranges. No jams, no failures to feed, eject, or extract. In truth, I expected a few problems here, as some of the other ammo we ran through the Montefeltro Sporting were not exactly new shotshells — and some were old reloads that were not exactly “pretty.” The Sporting model ate them all.

I found the Montefeltro Sporting to be a lot of what I expected. The shotgun handled well in that it seemed to point easily and swung gracefully on target. Here is one reason I think it did this: the 30-inch barrel.

First Test: Benelli Montefeltro Sporting Shotgun

For years now, many of us shotgunners have moved more and more toward shorter barrels. Turkey shotguns, especially, have gotten  shorter in recent years. But we are talking apples and oranges here. The Montefeltro Sporting model is meant primarily for trap, skeet, and sporting clay ranges. If you have not shot a 30-inch barrel for a while, you may be amazed how the longer barrel helps with your swing and follow-through.

The trigger on the Montefeltro Sporting model I tested broke at a crisp 5.5 pounds and the shotgun weighed in at a comfortable 6.7 pounds. With all the improvements on the Montefeltro line plus the added goodies of the barrel porting, the classy grade “A” wood furniture, the high-profile vent rib with mid-bead, and the stock adjustment options, the Montefeltro Sporting model is a lot of shotgun for an MSRP of $1,649.

First Test: Benelli Montefeltro Sporting Shotgun

Benelli Montefeltro Sporting (12-ga.) Specifications

  • Chamber: 12-ga.; 2 3/4- and 3-in.
  • Action: Benelli Inertia Driven
  • Stock: A-grade satin walnut
  • Receiver: aluminum, black anodized
  • Barrel Length: 30 in.
  • Barrel Finish: blued gloss
  • Extended Choke: IC, M, F
  • Sight: red bar front, mid-bead
  • Length-of-Pull: 14 3/8 in.
  • Drop at Heel: 2 3/8 in.
  • Drop at Comb: 1 3/8 in.
  • Capacity: 4+1
  • Overall Length: 51.5 in.
  • Average Weight: 6.7 lbs.
  • MSRP: $1,649
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Larry Case hails from the mountain state of West Virginia, and has been a shooter, hunter, and outdoorsman his entire life. Larry served 36 years as a DNR Law Enforcement Officer, retiring with the rank of Captain. Although he leans toward shotguns, he enjoys all firearms and any kind of hunting. He owns too many dogs, not enough shotguns, and is forever looking for a new place to hunt. Larry loves to mentor new shooters and hunters. You can catch more Larry's entertaining perspectives at GunsandCornbread.com.

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