Ever since Benelli introduced its innovative and durable Super Black Eagle semi-auto shotgun many years ago, the SBE name has been somewhat revered in hardcore waterfowl hunting circles. For years, hunters from across the country, and likely the world, have used the original Super Black Eagle, and the second-generation Super Black Eagle 2, to bring down a host of winged critters, from the marshes of the deep south to the vast plains of the far north, and to the salty shores of both coasts. The Super Black Eagle has proven itself rugged, reliable and high-performing in all scenarios.
During the 2017 SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Benelli excited fans of this excellent platform and serious waterfowlers everywhere when it revealed that it had brought out the Super Black Eagle 3 for 2017. Impressively, Benelli has managed to further improve on the SBE's design, incorporating elements that enhance ergonomics, functionality and style.
Obviously, the new shotgun retains an inertia-driven action, but it also receives an upgrade in the Easy-Locking System, an improved breech-closing system that eliminates the potential for shooter error when trying to gently close the bolt and prevents it from slipping out of battery if the gun is hit hard or knocked over. This was an issue that had afflicted earlier Benelli models; when a shooter tried to ease the bolt closed on a shell, proper lockup would not occur, resulting in the inability to fire. Benelli addressed this issue in its Ethos line of shotguns, and it's good to see that this same technology is now being implemented in the SBE 3.
Due to the Super Black Eagle's reputation as a waterfowl gun designed to be used in any and all conditions – including extremely frigid temperatures – Benelli designed the new SBE 3 to be very user-friendly to those wearing gloves. The new Super Black Eagle 3 incorporates an oversized bolt release on the receiver, an oversized safety and an enlarged loading port for easier loading in less-than-ideal conditions.
Instead of the typical rounded magazine cap at the front of the magazine tube below the barrel, Benelli has also chosen to utilize a triangular cap with a heavy texture. This design helps to facilitate a more secure grip, even when the hands are gloved.
The engineers at Benelli have also worked on improving comfort with the new Super Black Eagle 3. This includes an Easy Fitting System that features a shim kit allowing for up to eight different cast and drop configurations. And a new stock and forend design, plus a rounded trigger, give the shotgun a smoother feel and make it easier to swing.
In terms of recoil reduction, Benelli uses its third-generation ComforTech stock, which includes additional shock-absorbing chevrons that have been optimized in terms of size and location. The manufacturer has also developed a new cheek comb pad, which it's calling Combtech, that's designed to reduce the impact of felt recoil on the cheek and face. And with some of the heavy 3- or 3-1/2-inch waterfowl loads, any increased reduction in recoil certainly makes a difference.
To meet the distinct needs of hunters, the new Benelli Super Black Eagle 3 will be available in four different patterns: the standard black synthetic, Realtree Max-5, GORE OPTIFADE Timber and Mossy Oak Bottomlands camo. The SBE 3 will also be offered with either a 26- or 28-inch Crio-treated barrel.
The MSRP on the new Super Black Eagle 3 is currently listed at $1,899 for the standard black synthetic and $100 more for the different camo models. For more information, visit the Benelli website, or check out our full specifications on the new SBE 3 below.
Benelli Super Black Eagle 3
Type: Semi-auto, inertia-driven
Chambering: 2-3/4, 3, 3-1/2 in.
Barrel: 26 or 28 in.
Overall Length: 47.6 in. (26-in. barrel), 49.6 in. (28-in. barrel)
Weight: 7.05 lbs. (26-in. barrel), 7.2 lbs. (28-in. barrel)
Chokes: Extended Crio® (IC, M), Flush (C, IM, F)
Sights: Red bar front sight, metal bead mid sight
Length of Pull: 14-3/8 in. (adjustable +/- 1/2 in.)
Drop at Heel: 2 in.
Minimum Recommended Load: 3-dram, 1-1/8 ounce
MSRP: $1,899, $1,999 (camo versions)