Benelli 20 gauges: Montefeltro vs. UltraLight


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Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
February 10, 2010, 12:29 AM
Is it worth $400 more to save 3/10ths of a pound (5.5 vs. 5.2 lbs)?

I'd also be worried that if you needed to replace the front sight on the Ultra-light, the carbon fiber rail into which the sight is threaded could strip easily. I'm thinking hard on a Montefeltro - anything else as light as these two in 20 ga (or in the same ballpark - under 5.75 lbs) besides the Franchi 48 AL? Thanks.

Also, is the 24" barrel really less intuitive/good of a feel when swinging on flying birds than a 26"?

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earlthegoat2
February 10, 2010, 12:34 AM
Probably not worth it but when you are already spending 1100 on a name, why not make it 1500?

If it was me I would get the Franchi 48 AL and actually get what I was paying for.

The barrel length does not have an effect for my shooting.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
February 10, 2010, 12:58 AM
So you feel the Franchi is higher quality than the Montefeltro? More reliable? Should be softer shooting than the Benelli inertia gun, correct?

1KPerDay
February 10, 2010, 01:58 AM
They both pop you pretty good compared to gas guns. I'd go with the franchi also, just because I love them.

But the ultralight is pretty cool... :)

doberman
February 10, 2010, 03:39 AM
Cool thread! I thought I was the only one.

I've also been looking for a good lightweight 20ga. I'm getting older and don't care to lug around a 7+ pound 12ga for Grouse (M1Super90). Too heavy and more gun that is needed for the purpose IMO.

My heart has been set on a Montefeltro for a long time. If $$ wasn't an issue I would have had one years ago. I've been waitng for one to come up used but they are few and far between.

Alternatives are the M1/M2 series. Same deal.

Looking over my list I complied some years ago, 5 to be exact, the 48AL is one I considered. Though I don't recall why I checked a (NO) by it?
It is in my price and weight range. Tell me more about the 48AL.

Is this a gas operated shotgun?

Virginian
February 10, 2010, 07:17 AM
Franchi 48 is long recoil action. Since it has been around since 1948 one could say it is a proven design.

chas08
February 10, 2010, 07:59 AM
Probably not worth it but when you are already spending 1100 on a name, why not make it 1500?
Either way, they are "performance not worth the price"
JMHO/YMMV

JimKirk
February 10, 2010, 09:17 AM
I have a Montefeltro that I've shot sporting clays with. I can say that it has never failed me in any way. Light, easy to handle, shoots where it points and is just an all round good gun. I would not go with the Ultra lite for the weight, maybe the looks but not the weight.
I shot clays every Sunday for five years straight and sometimes during the week, In that time, I never had even one hangup, wait wait ... I did, we shot Activ shells and reloaded them and I had a burr on one of the plastic rims that would not feed out the magazine. I cut off the burr and went back to shooting.
You will not find a faster shooting gun than the Benelli, it is simple made and not a lot of parts.
The price is a little higher than others, But I feel that was worth it me.

Jimmy K

ArmedBear
February 10, 2010, 09:41 AM
The 48AL is a long-recoil action, like an Auto 5.

It has normal geometry, not like an Auto 5, but long-recoil is not something everybody loves. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of stuff moving around in my shotgun anyway, and a barrel that moves isn't my favorite thing. However, the things are light and they balance well, and there's a lot to like about the 48. They don't have a cult following for nothing, that's for sure.

WRT the Montefeltro in 20: I hunt with a guy who uses one most of the time. It's a great gun, with great balance and light weight. I can't remember it ever misfeeding or having any issues, in any kind of weather.

Personally, I would choose the Monte over the Ultralight, without question. The 20/26" Montefeltro is a well-balanced shotgun. IMO the 20/24" Ultralight is not.

The saved weight comes off the forward end: an Ultralight is essentially a Montefeltro fitted with 24" barrel with a carbon fiber rib, and a shorter foreend with a 2-shot magazine instead of a 4-shot magazine. Benellis are not muzzle-heavy anyway, since they have no gas system or pump foreend. There's nothing forward of the receiver but a barrel and mag tube.

The result is that the Ultralight is a butt-heavy gun with almost zero natural swing to it. The Ultralight is nice for carrying, but not for wingshooting. The regular Montefeltro, OTOH, feels really good, and is plenty light enough.

To those who decry the price/value equation, all I can say is, look around. It's not pretty out there. The 48AL is a tad cheaper. Otherwise, we who like 20 Gauge are not exactly faced with an overwhelming number of options in quality autoloaders. Winchester catalogs the SX3 in 20, now, at $1200 MSRP and a good deal more weight. The 391 Teknys Gold 20 is nice, but a fair amount higher than that, and the base model 391 is a lot heavier, at least per Beretta USA's website, which is terrible about giving good spec's.

Cabela's has an exclusive Beretta model: the 391 Urika Ultralight, which resembles a Teknys without the green stripe. It's a nice gun, under 6 lbs. in 20, and it is often on sale for $1050-$1100. Personally, I REALLY like the way a 391 handles shells, for field use. It's definitely worth a look, but it's certainly no cheaper than a new Monte.

The same friend with the Monte sometimes uses a Franchi 620, which is nice but not quite as good in the hands as the Montefeltro IMHO. The current version, the 720, is what, 900 bucks retail, I think. There are cheaper 20 Gauge semiautos, but none of them are in the same class as the above-mentioned guns. So for those who say a Benelli costs more than it's worth, yeah, I've thought that, too. I don't own one. However, it's hard to point to a competing gun that's dramatically lower in price, if you really look.

Back to the original question: Due to the handling of each gun, I'd go with the Monte in 26", not the Ultralight, even if they were the same price, and even though I have a real desire to go lightweight next season for chukar. The Monte is light enough. Hell, I'd buy the Monte if it cost MORE than the Ultralight, because it handles so much better.

I'd take a look at the Cabela's 391 Ultralight, too, if you have a desire for a gas-operated gun, as well as the 48AL if you like long-recoil. I'd pay extra for the Beretta shell handling, so the 720 doesn't excite me all that much. But the 48 does offer light weight and good handling, at a substantially lower price than the Benelli.

BTW a 26" Beretta 686 White Onyx weighs 6 lbs. flat, if you can do with 2 shots (2 chokes, too, so it has an advantage).

Any semi that's light and cheaper than than the 48 is a Turkish gun, these days.

evbutler462
February 10, 2010, 11:33 AM
Beretta discontinued the Franchi AL48 in 12 gauge in 1998 when it purchased the Luigi Franchi Co. It was a competitor to the Benelli inertia action at half the price. Now you can only get the 48 in 20 or 28 gauge new. If you want a 12 gauge, you'll have to buy used. They run around $400 and are well worth it. I'd say $1000 is a lot of money to save in this economy.

All of the guns mentoned are good quality and reliable. I am a fan of the 48. The barrel sliding in and out doesn't bother me at all. I don't even notice it. It would be hard to find a better gun than the 48. It is as good as any gun mentioned. Buy what you can afford. I did and I'm a poor man who can't afford the high dollar guns.

ArmedBear
February 10, 2010, 11:37 AM
I have yet to find a 48 in 20 for $400, except for an old gun with a plain barrel. Having tried them, I don't do plain barrels any more.

earlthegoat2
February 11, 2010, 06:18 AM
So for those who say a Benelli costs more than it's worth, yeah, I've thought that, too. I don't own one. However, it's hard to point to a competing gun that's dramatically lower in price, if you really look

That is a sentiment I have been trying to communicate to folks for quite awhile. I hate Benellis but I know they are better than anything under 700 dollars or ANY Remington.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
February 12, 2010, 01:46 PM
That is MOST helpful info fellas, espec. Armed Bear - thank you, sir.

I've got a hankerin for the Monte 26" in 20 ga with the silver engraved receiver, but it's even MORE than the Ultralight, at around $1,450 new! :eek: :)

Balrog
February 12, 2010, 01:54 PM
I have owned both the Benelli Montefeltro and the Ultralight. I sold both.

The Montefeltro is a pretty good gun. It is well balanced, swings well, and points pretty naturally for me. The Ultralight is too light, and I would swing past targets, then have to try to slow the gun down and let the target catch up. I could not shoot the Ultralight as well as the Montefeltro. The Ultralight is nice if you are doing a lot of walking, but when you start shooting, you would rather have the Montefeltro. I do not find the recoil bad with either, but I am not particularly bothered by recoil.

It will make shotgun snobs mad, when I say this, but if what you are going to be doing is shooting skeet/clays, quail hunting, and dove hunting in the US, there is really nothing that you will do with a Benelli or Beretta that can't be done just as well with a $400 used Remington 1100. While I would much prefer the Montefeltro, to the Ultralight, I would just as soon have a Remington 1100 as the Montefeltro.

I have owned Benellis and Berettas, sold them, and now just have a Remington 1100. I love when someone makes fun of my 1100, shows off their Benelli, and then gets humiliated when we start shooting.

But if you want a Montefeltro, it is a good gun. I would not go with the Ultralight.

ArmedBear
February 12, 2010, 01:55 PM
BTW here's the Beretta Ultralight that Cabela's has: http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=207363

I think it's the same weight as the Monte, but it will be softer-shooting. It's a good-looking gun, too, with decent walnut and without the Xtra-crap Beretta has been putting on some stocks.

ArmedBear
February 12, 2010, 01:56 PM
Balrog, for one thing, he's talking about 20 Gauge guns... An LT-20 weighs 7 lbs., and while I personally would much rather spend the money on a used 390 than an 1100, that's neither here nor there. It weighs 7 lbs. too. Neither gun would replace a 20 Gauge Montefeltro in the field, if that's what someone wants.

Balrog
February 12, 2010, 02:01 PM
Neither gun would replace a 20 Gauge Montefeltro in the field, if that's what someone wants.

I am not sure I understand what you mean. The Montefeltro is a good gun, but for what I do with shotguns, it doesnt matter if it is a Montefeltro, or an 1100. I am not dove hunting in Argentina. I think it would make more difference there.

I guess there was no reason to bring up the 1100, since he is interested in Montefeltro v. Ultralight. Of those two, I would definitely prefer the Monte.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
February 12, 2010, 02:04 PM
AB, that Cabelas UL 391 Urika may be *just* the ticket I think; great tip there....assuming they'll ship to my FFL, since there are no stores here.

and yes, all input is definitely appreciated; however I am enamoured with the light light semi guns (under 6 lbs) for 20 ga.

oneounceload
February 12, 2010, 02:05 PM
I love when someone makes fun of my 1100, shows off their Benelli, and then gets humiliated when we start shooting.

Oh please.......:banghead:

First I own an 1100, in 28 gauge - nice and heavy for targets, but it isn't a serious target gun.

1100's at one time ruled the skeet fields....about 40 years ago. They have been replaced by more efficient and effective guns from a variety of makers. I don't recall seeing ANY 1100's on a sporting field, let alone in the top finishers' hands. The ONLY semi you see is the 39X series currently.

If you're stationary hunting, then the heavy 1100 isn't too bad for things like doves at a peg - as long as you have an extra O-ring, spring or two and a cleaning kit.

In 20 gauge, especially for hunting where you're walking a lot, weight means everything. I chased chukar in hills similar to Armed Bear's locales - he knows how it always seems to be walking uphill all day after them. Something sub-6# is extremely desirable.

If your 1100 fits you and you like it, keep shooting it. But it, like it's pump brother, are NOT the best guns in the world. Jacks of all trades and masters of none.

oneounceload
February 12, 2010, 02:07 PM
Dr. Tad - does it HAVE to be a semi? There ARE alternatives in the 6# or less range with two tubes - either superposed or side by side.....

Balrog
February 12, 2010, 02:08 PM
I knew someone would make a post like that if I brought up the 1100, that is why I should not have. I agree they are not given much respect these days, as people have moved on the Benellis and Berettas. I am no more efficient or effective with a Benelli or Beretta than I am with an 1100, and I see a lot of guys shoot very poorly with more expensive shotguns than an 1100. The 1100 is a little heavier. I generally shoot a 20 gauge though, and prefer the way the 1100 swings with its extra weight. I think really light shotguns swing to fast and I tend to get ahead of targets with them. I do no think the 1100 is the best shotgun in the world, and did not say that.

ArmedBear
February 12, 2010, 02:10 PM
I am not sure I understand what you mean.

If someone is asking about a sub-6 lb. gun, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume he's not asking about guns that weigh 7 lb. and up. Argentina's got nothing to do with it.

Also, as a former 1100 owner, I can't stand the 1100's shell-handling system in the field. It's convenient for skeet shooting, but nothing short of horrible in rough country where you want to unchamber occasionally for safety. That said, from what I know Benelli isn't really any better, other than that you don't cut your fingers reaching in the receiver. AFAIK only Beretta and Brownchester do anything to directly address the needs of the hunter who goes more than a few yards from his vehicle.

I see a lot of guys shoot very poorly with more expensive shotguns

True. And I've seen some pretty damned good shooters with K's and P's. It has nothing to do with anything, though.:)

Balrog
February 12, 2010, 02:11 PM
Ah, OK i gotcha now. Yea, like I said in an earlier post, I should not have brought up the 1100 since he is intersted only in Montefeltros and Ultralights.

I have not noticed a difference in the way the 1100 and a Benelli handles shells.

oneounceload
February 12, 2010, 02:12 PM
As I said - I own one in 28 gauge - lot of fun - once I added an 8oz weight to the mag cap to maintain a good swing. Not getting rid of it either - it will be my "If I live to 80 and can still shoot go-to gun" - but that does NOT make it the best for field use.

Dr. Tad - when you get sub 6#, my advice is to try before you buy, especially if you haven't shot light, whippy guns before. They are a challenge to control well

Balrog
February 12, 2010, 02:15 PM
Dr. Tad - when you get sub 6#, my advice is to try before you buy, especially if you haven't shot light, whippy guns before. They are a challenge to control well

Definitely agree with that. I bought an Ultralight thinking it would be great for quail hunting. It is nice and light to tote while following the dogs, and it is great, until the birds start flying. Then you realize it moves faster than the birds.

ArmedBear
February 12, 2010, 02:16 PM
Dr. Tad - when you get sub 6#, my advice is to try before you buy, especially if you haven't shot light, whippy guns before. They are a challenge to control well

True. I have been liking my new 6 lb. 686, though. The weight distribution is different from a semi. And my friend's Monte is all right, with a 26" barrel. I would not go 24". A Cordoba 20 with a 28" barrel swings quite well -- maybe a little too well for flushing birds as opposed to the passing doves it's designed for.

oneounceload
February 12, 2010, 02:20 PM
Agreed - shorter than Churchill's beloved 25" for birds gets insanely difficult. If possible I like them about 5-14 to 6-2 with long barrels - in the 28-30" range - keeps the swing smoother without added weight

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
February 12, 2010, 04:58 PM
You guys won't believe this - a guy on another board just put up a Franchi Veloce, pristine/like-new O/U 20 ga 28" 5.5 lbs, for sale for $900. I said I'll take it, but then noticed the SPF post right above - too late! :mad:

JimKirk
February 12, 2010, 05:25 PM
Doc
I've owned a 1100 20 ga, I now own a 1187 20 ga and I now own a Montefeltro 20 ga.

If you want to change springs and o-ring and have to clean it often get one of the Remingtons.

If you like to shoot and tote a gun get the Monte. Clean when you get ready.

If you're used to swinging a 8 lbs gun and you pickup a 6 lbs gun, you gonna swing it to fast. You will have to adjust your swing, but that is YOU not the gun. It would be no different than Babe Ruth picking up a 26" - 26 oz baseball bat. He would over swing for a short time but any good batter can change up his swing.

If I could not own the Monte... it would be the 391 or an over & under... of course in 20 ga.


Jimmy K

Balrog
February 12, 2010, 05:57 PM
If you want to change springs and o-ring and have to clean it often get one of the Remingtons.

I hear this said often. I used the same O ring in an 1100 from about 1980 to 2005. The only stoppage the gun ever had was when I let the gas port holes get totally clogged up. I finally replaced the O rings in 2005 after reading on the internet that these were prone to wear out and break. The O rings looked terrible when I took them off, they had no stretch, were pretty brittle, but they were still intact and functional. I have never changed springs in an 1100. What springs need changing? I surely need to change main, they have been in use since 1980 and certainly must be getting worn by now.

That said, I have no doubt the Montefeltro would theoretically be more reliable.

If you're used to swinging a 8 lbs gun and you pickup a 6 lbs gun, you gonna swing it to fast. You will have to adjust your swing, but that is YOU not the gun. It would be no different than Babe Ruth picking up a 26" - 26 oz baseball bat. He would over swing for a short time but any good batter can change up his swing.

I agree with you on that, and that is no doubt the problem I was having with the Ultra Light.

ArmedBear
February 12, 2010, 06:03 PM
If you're used to swinging a 8 lbs gun and you pickup a 6 lbs gun, you gonna swing it to fast. You will have to adjust your swing, but that is YOU not the gun.

I'd like to add something to this: if you match the gun to the application, you don't really consciously adjust at all.

If I use my favorite quail gun for Sporting Clays, where the clays fly smooth arcs over longer distances, I have to force myself to swing. If I use a long, heavy gun for quail, I have to force myself to snap-shoot with a gun that wants to swing more slowly and steadily.

If, however, I shoot the quail gun at quail, and a Sporting Clays gun at clays, there's no such adjustment. The gun naturally wants to do what I need it to do.

But... I'm right there with Balrog on this one: there isn't much that the Benelli Ultralight does naturally very well, since it's so butt-heavy and muzzle light. Even an ultralight gun can be butt-heavy; it's all about balance, not just overall weight.

oneounceload
February 12, 2010, 06:15 PM
If you're used to swinging a 8 lbs gun and you pickup a 6 lbs gun, you gonna swing it to fast. You will have to adjust your swing, but that is YOU not the gun.

Which is exactly why I added the weight to my 1100. After shooting a 8.5# Gti with 32" barrels, the weight and different MOI were so totally off, I couldn't hit the barn from the inside.

Every now and then when I want to mess with my head, I'll take my 32" 12 O/U, a 26" 20 SxS, and my 25" 28 gauge semi to the range and switch between rounds of 5-stand. Talk about making you concentrate!

JimKirk
February 12, 2010, 10:42 PM
I could see the swing problem with the ultra lite. I guess I've always been a fast swinger anyways. I grew up hunting quail in South GA, being a short guy(now short & round), I had to get on the birds quick or I couldn't see over the bushes. So I busted butts as so as they got up. I carried that over to sporting clays too, shoot at first sight.

As far a o-rings, I had to replace several on my 1100 before someone stole it, along with a magazine spring and a trigger spring. Maybe I got a lemon! I did kill lots of quail with it though.

I'm sure Benelli and Beretta all makes some lemon too.

Jimmy K

COK
February 13, 2010, 08:46 AM
I have a 20ga Montefeltro 28 inch that is a perfect grouse gun for me. Personally that is about as light as I would like to go. For me it balances well and is a joy to carry all day.
I may have the record on the O rings on a 1100, 36 years between changes, but I only hunted with it and shot on average about 200 shells per year.
The 1100 is a 12ga so the Monty feels like a feather in comparison.

45crittergitter
February 13, 2010, 04:08 PM
I also have a 20 Monte and a 20 391. I absolutely love the Monte and really really like the 391. I would go with the longer barrel.

It is my opinion that these very light guns (<6#) are very well suited to smaller people with less muscle and arm length. A 300# linebacker may find them a bit wispy to swing, while a 125# teenager may find them far easier to hit with than dad's 8.5# duck gun. I'm a little guy, and I hit about 2 to 3 TIMES as many birds with my 20 ga. Monte than with any 12 ga.

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