In 2016, Benelli's venerable Super Black Eagle turned 25. The first inertia gun that could truly manage the might of 3½-inch magnum shotshells, it quickly became a favorite among scattergun owners. In the early 2000s, Benelli upgraded its by then legendary design and released the Super Black Eagle II. For the past 12 years, it's been the gun of choice for the most dedicated waterfowl hunters, among others.
The SBE II reigned supreme for nearly 12 years. Finally, at SHOT Show 2017, Benelli made the announcement that might remove it from the top of the mountain with the introduction of the Super Black Eagle 3. Here are five things you need to know.
1. The ergonomics have been redesigned.
The SBE 3 features a different grip angle than its predecessors, and the ford has been slimmed down. Both changes are meant to make it easier to swing and point than prior Super Black Eagle designs.
2. The controls are enlarged.
In a bit of a takeaway from the Benelli Ethos, the Super Black Eagle 3 features enlarged controls. The larger bolt release and safety and an outward angled drop lever make the SBE 3 easier to operate than ever, even in gloved hands.
3. It features a new recoil system.
The gun features an evolution of Benelli’s Comfort Tech recoil system, which is designed to effectively turn the entire stock into a recoil pad. Engineers took things a step further with the SBE 3, introducing a new cheek comb pad, which they’re calling Combtech. It cushions the shooter from facial impact under recoil.
4. Four versions will be available.
The Super Black Eagle 3 is available now in a black synthetic model, and the Realtree Max-5 version that's pictured below. In mid-2017 they'll be joined by Mossy Oak Bottomland and Gore Optifade Timber variants.
5. It's shipping now—and it's not cheap.
The black synthetic model and the Max-5 model are on their way to dealers as you read this. You should find both on the shelf in the $1,600-$1,800 range. That price may seem steep, but the Super Black Eagle line has always been one of the pricier scatterguns on the market, and for good reason. Premium quality begets premium pricing.
Want to know more about the Super Black Eagle 3? Don't worry—there's a full "Hardware" of it planned for it in a future American Hunter print edition. Stay tuned! Don't receive our magazine? Rectify that here.