For Kyle Wintersteen, the Benelli Vinci was not a “love at first sight” type of gun. Frankly, he had serious reservations about the gun’s aesthetics, especially its rather bulbous trigger guard and unconventional lines.
Bird boys (l. to r.) Facundo “Trucha” Santillan and Jean Carlos were hardworking and wonderfully enthusiastic. Each morning, Carlos used the machete he’s holding to carve a rather intricate blind for his hunter.
Unlike any semi-auto ever devised, the Vinci breaks down into three parts (Benelli calls them modules): a barrel/receiver, trigger group/fore-end and buttstock. None of the bird boys—let alone the writers—had ever seen a shotgun quite like it.
Benelli’s Jason Evans shoots the Vinci. Notice the muzzle position. Recoil was quite negligible for a 6.9-pound 12-gauge. As with other Benellis, the Vinci features the “ComforTech Plus” system, which consists of a smooth, friction-reducing comb, a good recoil pad and flexible chevrons in the stock.
During three days of hunting, I put 302 boxes of 12-gauge (Estate, three kinds of Fiocchi and some extremely dirty and inconsistent locally made shells) through the Vinci and had zero failures to feed or extract. Overall, our group of outdoor writers and Benelli employees fired 87,950 shells without any reports of malfunction. Those numbers ought to impress anyone.
After the hunt, I had a small, recoil-pad shaped callus on my shoulder—possibly from the friction of several thousand gun mounts—but there was no bruise, no cherry on my cheek and no detachment of my retinas. My hands actually fatigued sooner than my shoulder from gripping the gun and possibly due to stock/fore-end vibration. I’d fired 302 boxes of shells, but I definitely could have continued.
The ease and extent to which the Benelli breaks down for cleaning and transport is an impressive innovation to say the least. Vinci cases are small and convenient for transport. And if the old adage, “If I shoot a gun, I clean a gun,” means anything to you, the Vinci will definitely make life easier. The Vinci’s trigger assembly and magazine tube are accessible within seconds.
The Vinci’s lower receiver is a little thick in the middle, but its bulk is in the right places; it balances between the hands, where it should (some shooters prefer a forward balance, but they are not to be trusted). Handling is reminiscent of the Benelli M2, with an intuitive mount and smooth swing devoid of the choppiness so often accompanying light shotguns. At times during the hunt my shooting was about as good as can be with a shotgun (which still isn’t very good, but that’s no fault of the Vinci).
For me, the Benelli Vinci was not a “love at first sight” type of gun. Frankly I had serious reservations about the gun’s aesthetics, especially its rather bulbous trigger guard and unconventional lines. Then I shot it—7,550 times to be precise—during a 3-day dove hunt in Cordoba, Argentina. Turns out, I just had to get to know it better.
During the course of hurriedly loading 7,000-plus shotgun shells, I committed a rather silly mistake several times over: sticking a shell into the magazine brass first. With some shotguns, this would have caused serious aggravation and put the hunt on hold. With the Vinci, I just pressed the magazine release button and the shell ejected before anyone noticed that I’m an imbecile.