30 June 2022

The history of the Benelli Inertial System

Like any manufacturing creation, the Benelli semi-automatic shotgun has also been affected over the decades by continual evolution, with various milestones marking its path.

The continual evolution of the inertial system

The evolution of the Benelli inertial system runs all the way through the history of the Benelli semi-automatic shotguns. In particular, we highlight:

  • 1973 - Benelli built its first 20-gauge shotgun, the SL201 a unique acronym for Super Luxury 20-gauge number 1 – again with inertial operation, sensing the possibilities stemming from a more compact firearm that was lighter in weight, thanks to the smaller gauge.
  • 1983 - The inertial system underwent a first, important evolution in the Montefeltro semi-automatic shotgun, the first to adopt the bolt with rotating locking head. Additionally, the receiver design changed, no longer open at its upper part but wraparound and, to which was applied, at its lower part, the trigger guard with trigger mechanism, easily detachable.
  • 1985 - The Super 90, with the introduction of the cutoff and the plate kit to vary drop and deviation; a further turning point in the design revolution heralded by the Montefeltro semi-automatic.
  • 1987 the birth of the Raffaello semi-automatic marked, in practice, the synthesis between the initial Benelli architecture as far as concerned the steel sleeve inside which the bolt slides, which at this point is now no longer screwed to the barrel, but connected to the upper part of the firearm frame, with the rotating locking head first introduced by the Montefeltro semi-automatic shotgun.
  • 1991 the iconic Super Black Eagle, another turning point that has shaped the history of both the brand and the inertial system itself, is its application, for the first time, in a 12-gauge Super Magnum shotgun (89 cartridge case), a must for waterfowling.
  • 2009 Benelli launched the revolutionary "In-Line Vinci Inertia System" mechanical system, put into the Vinci semi-automatic, where moving parts move along the barrel's axis all for the benefit of reduced muzzle.
  • 2009 small gauge debut: two 28-gauge semi-automatic shotguns, both characterized by the line's extreme elegance and lightness. Inertial system usage with small gauges too is a cutting-edge choice.
  • 2013 marks another innovation in the world of inertial semi-automatics. The Raffaello Power Bore, an update to the successful 1987 model, presents the Easy Locking system, the most recent evolution of the inertial system. Reliability and safety are the watchwords of this innovative bolt locking system, which, being designed to be anti-recoil, significantly limits the mechanism's accidental retraction and easily returns to closure simply by pushing the handle forward. Thus, the shotgun will always be ready to fire.
  • 2014 the inertial system has always also been used in shotguns produced for left-handed shooters and this range extends to the 20-gauge as well, making Benelli the manufacturer with the world's widest range of semi-automatic 12- and 20-gauge shotguns for left-handed shooters.
  • 2017 Super Black Eagle becomes Super Black Eagle 3 where the inertial system is applied to the Super Magnum bore for waterfowling
  • 2018 sees the birth of the Raffaello Be Diamond, Benelli's highest tech semi-automatic, with inertial operation, and BE.S.T. treated making it more resistant to corrosion.
  • 2019 the Raffaello Accademia Limited Edition is born, a limited series with precious engravings, the design of which was created in collaboration with students from the Accademia di Belle Arti d'Urbino. The collaboration with the Accademia has continued for years and has led to the creation of many works within the company.
  • 2020 the semi-automatic Montefeltro Mygra cal 20 is born, light, stable and fast with a 70 mm chambered cryogenic barrel and dedicated chokes: Wide Shot and Long Shot.
    It is also the year of the Ethos 20 Super Sport and Ethos 28 Super Sport semiautomatics that are easy to handle and fast. Made in a carbon fibre camo. Power, control and stability are their distinguishing features. The Easy Locking and Easy Loading technologies ensure easy loading and unloading for a shotgun that is always ready to fire.
  • 2021 The Black Eagle is born, a semi-automatic rifle with 76 Magnum chamber which derives from the best seller Super Black Eagle 3 and from which it takes its unmistakable look. A reliable fierarm in any hunting environment. With 76 chamber, it is synonymous with extreme reliability.
  • 2022 The iconic semi-automatic shotgun in the Benelli range, the Montefeltro, is revamped. The shotgun’s functionality comes directly from its design. The redesigned receiver guarantees perfect balance and aiming, as well as immediate activation of the operating buttons.

Advantages of the inertial system

The Benelli inertial system has a number of undoubted advantages.

The limited number of components gives rise to simple, functional and extremely reliable mechanics, with few moving parts while shooting. In fact, the barrel remains stationary at the time of shooting, differing from what occurs in long barrel recoil shotguns which, further to this, require a more complex construction and absorb perceived recoil poorly.

Having fewer components than those gas-operated, its main "rival" of the time, was based on a simple assumption: anything that is not present can't weigh it down, can't break, can't create deposits.

In fact, in the inertial system, the gases generated by the combustion of the propelling charge do not reach the firearm's mechanics, helping to keep the semi-auto shotgun cleaner and requiring minimal maintenance; furthermore, all the pressure generated by the cartridge is used for the ammunition thrust and not also to work the weapon, bringing about greater firing energy and superior ballistic performance.

The absence of functional bulk beneath the fore-end, which in turn is more streamlined and defines the style that has made Benelli shotguns absolutely unmistakable. All Benelli semi-automatic smooth barrel shotguns – with the sole exception of the 1998 M4 model, at the express request of the Marine Corps – work using the inertial system.

The identification is now complete and utter: builder and mechanism become an indivisible duo which means, without a shadow of a doubt, you can't mean inertial system without meaning Benelli.


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