I own an older Benelli Super Black Eagle (i.e. H & K) which has a traditional flat rib. I have had some difficulty getting the proper fit, as I am 6’3″ and 215# with a long slender face (ugly huh?). The stock seems too short and drop is not enough, even with the shims. I have noticed that the new SBE’s are coming with a raised rib, much like the M1 Super 90 has. The higher rib would seem to allow me a more upright approach to shooting, which feels more comfortable.
However, before I go buy another zillion dollar barrel, I would like your opinion on whether the higher rib will help the problem I am experiencing with the lower rib, i.e. not enough drop. I know it will change my shooting posture, which may be for the better, but what about point of impact? I should also point out that the rib appears to taper downward (from high to low) as you approach the muzzle, what is the purpose of this? Lastly, is an unsightly slip-on recoil pad a viable option?
I feel your pain. I generally shoot a long and high stock. I do a gun review column each month, so I get to shoot a new “standard” (One size fits all! Perfect for everyone!) gun each and every month. I end up festooning my test guns in enough Dr. Scholls moleskin to ease the pain of a gym full of marathon dancers.
Benellis are the worst as to stock length, next to the absurd Parker Repros. Actually, the Benelli stock length is no worse than some others, but the pistol grip is located in such a way that you hold the stock further back and that effectively shortens it. Either way, the Benellis are almost unshootable for men above average stature.
The first thing that you want to do on your Benelli is to get the length right. I first buy a fist full of those hard rubber stock spacers and put them between the recoil pad and the butt of the stock. You could also use a piece of wood or anything else you can find in the cellar. Usually you have to buy the extra long pad screws to take up the length. Sometimes I’ve taped the spacers and a pad on, but that never lasts very long. With your size, start with 15″ and work up in length. My guess is that you will find 15-1/4″ ~ 15-1/2″ about right.
Once you get the length right, then go for the height. Since the stock slopes down from nose to heel, you may find that the longer stock places your cheek further back and thus lower. A stock of proper length will definitely permit you to shoot with a more head forward attitude. Either way, your face will be lowered vis a vis the rib and it may just be enough for you to avoid a new barrel with a higher rib.
You can always test to see what a higher rib would feel like by taping a strip of balsa wood from a model shop onto the top of the existing rib and coloring it black with a Magic Marker.
Will that affect point of impact? Nope, not if the balsa wood or new rib is parallel to the old one. Any rib that is higher at the rear will raise the point of impact compared to a parallel rib IF (big “if”) you shoot along the rib. Many shooters simply ignore the rib and shoot off the muzzle. If you find yourself looking at the rib while you shoot, take up golf. Where a gun impacts depends only on the relationship of the muzzle and the aiming eye. Nothing else matters. All the rib does is affect glare and permit an artificial alignment when the gun is shot from a premounted position. Since no one in their right minds shoots Benellis for clay targets, I’ll assume you use your Benelli for game as it was intended. If that’s the case you don’t shoot premounted and you shouldn’t worry about the rib. Just worry about where your eye goes based on where your cheek fits and where the muzzle is. What goes on between the eye and the muzzle doesn’t really matter in a game gun.
Lemme see now. That’s Dr. Scholl’s moleskin, bunches of stock spacers or scrap wood, extra long pad screws, balsa wood, Magic Marker. Yup. That’s more than you need for do-it-yourself dentistry, but it’s enough to mess up your gun. Once you get things taped, spacered, screwed and Magic Marked in place so that it fits you the way you think you want, shoot it for a while to check it out. Make adjustments as necessary. Then dump the mess off at your gunsmith along with a bottle of single malt. If he’s good, he’ll make that Benelli look like a gun again and it will actually fit you. Which will make you almost unique in the world of Benelli owners.
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)