Benelli Black Eagle 2 shotgun: There’s nothing black about this gun, but rest assured this semi-auto can be had in that colour, if you want it.
We opted for a look at the latest Black Eagle in Max 4 camo pattern – and very nice it is, too.
Regardless of the livery you choose this has been designed as a wildfowling gun, but it’s also well at home pigeon shooting or being carried around the rough shoot.
The test gun came with a 28in barrel, sporting one of its main selling points – an extremely versatile 3.1/2in chamber that handles a huge range of cartridges, including big loads carrying steel shot.
You can choose a 26in barrel if you want and left-handers will be pleased to hear a suitable version is available for them in 28in format.
Theoretically you can use all sorts of cartridge lengths in this gun, but in practice you will find, like me, it works best when fed a diet of 2.3/4in (70mm) shells and bigger.
The makers have fitted the barrel out with an 8mm ventilated top rib which is slightly raised to give a flat sighting picture. It certainly points nicely and handles extremely quickly, but in spite of that felt recoil is negligible.
The ‘comfort tech stock’ helps enormously in this respect because it has been made flexible by the introduction of a series of slots through the stock itself. These slots have then been filled with rubber plugs and the stock fitted with a polymer cheek pad to reduce the amount of recoil felt not only on the shoulder but also at the face.
In addition to this the gun comes with a new polymer recoil pad with dedicated profiles to suit either right or left hand shooters. Another nice touch are the stock shims which enable the owner to alter the drop of the stock to suit. Also boxed is an extra recoil pad that can be clipped and unclipped quite easily if you decide you want to alter the length of the stock.
With the original long pad in place, the length of pull is approximately 14½in which, in my view, is a little too short for a lot of people. It would’ve been better to take it to a maximum of, say, 15in.
Although the pad system is very good, there doesn’t appear to be any way in which the gun can be made longer. Benelli need to look at this shortcoming and do something about it because it spoils an otherwise excellent product.
One plus point is the over-sized trigger guard which makes it easy for a glove-wearing wildfowler to get his finger on the trigger.
This gun comes apart with the top of the action frame integral with the barrel thus leaving the mechanism fully exposed when the barrel is removed. All this looks a little odd to start with but it does make cleaning very easy and effective.
That said, the gun is a little more complicated to put together until you get the hang of things and the secret is to make sure the bolt link is correctly placed allowing the bolt to travel rearward.
As with all other Benelli semi-autos, this new model recycles through inertia from the fired shot; for a split second the gun recoils backwards, but the bolt is compressed forwards.
At the point the gun finishes its recoil backwards, the bolt is thrown backwards and ejects the fired cartridge. It then picks up a new cartridge as it comes forward. Less cleaning needs to be done as there is no gas exhaust working the mechanism and there are no moving parts under the fore-end.
The BBE2 is also available with a wood stock and, as said earlier, in black synthetic too. Regardless of spec the gun comes with an ABS case, five long steel-proof Criochoke choke tubes and accessories.
Benelli is right up there with the best of semi-auto makers.
This gun is lightning quick in the reloading department, and ultra reliable, too.
If the makers addressed the stock length problem, they’d have a winner on their hands.
Build quality: 9
Value for money: 8