Heavy Recoiling Benelli

Dear Technoid,

I love my Benelli ME field gun, but it kicks the devil out of me! Not that I mind the pain, but I have been told that a combination of forcing cone lengthening and “lazerporting” would substantially help. Someone recommended “the Shotgun Shop” in California.

Do you know of anything else I could do for recoil control, and have you heard of the Shotgun shop? Is lazerporting any different than Pro-porting from Magnaport?

What would you recommend?


Dear DH,

What you are trying to do is like trying to take the kick out of a mule by reasoning with it.

The Benelli kicks an entire ton because it is

1) fairly light and

2) is basically an inertially operated system, not gas operated. Gas operated guns seem to space out the recoil pulse better. Add to that the fact that you are probably using sturdy field loads in it and there you go.

I haven’t measured the cones in the Benellis, but if they are short then long cones will indeed help very, very slightly. I have seen long cones done by The Shotgun Shop and their work in this area has been very impressive. That said, if the gun does come with short cones and you lengthen them, you might be altering the recoil pulse just enough to make the Benelli even crankier on marginally light loads than it already is. Benellis are right on the edge with light stuff and any barrel work can effect that.

As to porting- why on earth do people keep on thinking that porting a shotgun barrel that is 80 to 100 thou thick can have any practical effect on recoil? Yes- porting does work to reduce recoil on high powered rifles. I once shot a 7# (all up weight) .338 mountain rifle with a KDF muzzle break that had about the same recoil as my .308 M70. I was amazed. AND amazed by the noise too.

Muzzle brakes work on high power rifles (and tanks and field pieces) because

1) the gas pressures at the brake are extremely high. 55,000 CUP (copper units of pressure) is not unusual for a high power rifle. A .338 runs that pressure for a relatively long time too. A rifle bore is relatively small, so a great deal of that pressure is left at the muzzle.

2) A muzzle brake, like that KDF on the .338, is THICK. The metal was at least 1/4″ thick. This gives plenty of forward surface for the gas to push against. It is the gas pushing forward against the walls of the brake that reduces the recoil by pushing the gun forward. Vectoring the gas out to the sides does little to push the gun forward.

The thinner the recoil brake the less well it works because the gas has less to push against. Also, the less gas that is doing the pushing, the less well it works. Now lets look at a ported shotgun with that in mind.

First: Shotguns generate pressures so far below those of high power rifles that they have to be measured (old style) by crushing lead pellets, not copper. There is very, very much less gas pressure for the shotgun to work with.

Second: A shotgun barrel is very, very much thinner than a rifle muzzle brake. Your barrel, in the area where it would be ported, is probably .080″ to .10″ thick. The effective rifle brake is at least .25″ thick.

Third: The area for gas expansion in a shotgun barrel before the gas gets to the ports is many times greater than that in a rifle. Even assuming that the effective length of the barrels is the same, a 12 gauge shotgun has more than four times the interior area. This means that the comparatively low initial gas pressure of the shotgun is even more “diluted” by the time it gets to the ports.

Don’t get me wrong (as if that would be a first). Porting shotgun barrels DOES technically work. My point is that it doesn’t work ENOUGH to make a noticeable difference in rearward recoil. Porting is slightly more effective in reducing muzzle jump, but even then its effect with standard target loads is minimal.

Bottom line: porting and coning your Benelli is not going to work well enough to make any real difference and it may cause problems. If you want to reduce recoil enough to notice, shoot lighter shells or get an auto that runs on gas, not inertia.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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3 Responses to Heavy Recoiling Benelli

  1. Xam says:

    OR fatten up that gun with some weight.


  2. Kelly says:

    Bruce, I think you left out an important point in your response – get the gun fitted to the shooter. As you have remarked on a number of occasions, the Benellis tend to be very short-stocked. Poor gun fit can really add to the felt recoil, as you can get a lot of cheek slap, which is no fun at all. Benellis have shims for adjusting the drop and cast, and you can get different thicknesses of recoil pads to change the LOP.


  3. Bill E. says:

    I can’t add to this discussion, but I found the question posed by DH a bit confusing in that he says he gets smacked by his Benelli, but he does not “mind the pain”. Yet he is trying to find what barrel alterations can be done to reduce “the pain”. Hmmmm that is kind of confusing to me.
    I have a very strong aversion to pain and all the inertia guns I have tried seem to really pound me silly. I know it is not technically possible, but they seem to hurt me more than a fixed breech gun using the same ammo. Maybe none of the Benellis and their ilk fit me, and that would explain the terrible punishment they inflict on me.
    For that reason I do not now or ever, intend to own that type of action on a shotgun. The Technoid is absolutely correct in that you should try the various gas semi autos if you want to reduce the felt recoil. They have allowed me to keep shooting and are far less punishing than the typical inertia design ones. The softest shooting guns are going to be gas auto operated and heavy. In my search I found the Remington V3 to be the softest shooting of all that I had tried, but it is no longer available.
    My Holy Grail of shotguns is a 12 gauge that recoils no more than a low velocity projectile out of a pellet rifle!


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