As I discovered with great joy, the Vinci may look like a 12 but it kicks like a 20. While shooting doves, I wore the same thin PAST recoil pad that I always wear in Argentina, and while it is effective, it will not always prevent a bruise to the shoulder if enough rounds are fired, even when shooting a 20-gauge gas gun. After three solid days of shooting, the outer edge of the strap-on pad had left a small abrasion on my shoulder, but I suffered no bruising or soreness whatsoever. My cheek had become a bit tender, but not once did I suffer from shooter's headache. I've been shooting shotguns for so long it takes something far beyond the ordinary to excite me, and you can believe me when I say I had to occasionally pinch myself to make sure I was actually shooting the Vinci rather than just dreaming about it.
Benelli autoloaders are recoil operated, and to be quite honest, when shooting them in the past I had not found them to be as comfortable to shoot as some of my gas-operated guns. The Vinci is also operated by recoil (or Inertia-Driven, as Benelli describes it), but when the new inline inertia bolt system is combined with a ComforTech Plus synthetic stock with the front and rear sections connected by 12 shock-absorbing rubber chevrons, the rule book is rewritten. Benelli engineers have proven the impossible to be possible--a light, recoil-operated shotgun can actually be softer-shooting than a heavier gas-operated autoloader.
Whereas most of the shotguns introduced during the past half-century are nothing more than 1950s technology with a slightly different twist, the Vinci is a totally new design. For starters, most autoloading shotguns--including both recoil- and gas-operated guns--have their recoil springs located either around the magazine tube in the forearm or in the buttstock. The recoil spring of the Vinci is located within the receiver, just behind the bolt. It is designed to all but eliminate muzzle jump during firing, and it works. While in Argentina we found doubles on doves to be easy, triples to require only concentration along with a smooth continuation of swing-through and "cuatros" as our Spanish-speaking bird boys would shout with glee came often enough to be more than accidental. It was not uncommon to kill the third or fourth bird in a passing flock before the first dead bird hit the ground. A virtual absence of muzzle jump made it possible.
Also, unlike other shotguns, the Vinci is of modular design. It's made up of the buttstock along with three modules, one consisting of the receiver and barrel, another containing the trigger group and forearm and the third consisting of the magazine and its parts. Taking down the gun for cleaning is a snap; while holding down a spring-loaded latch in the bottom of the forearm, twist the exposed end of the magazine and the trigger group/forearm module is released from the barrel and receiver. A tug on the magazine tube module removes it from the forearm. A twist of the wrist removes the receiver and barrel from the buttstock. Since the barrel and receiver are permanently joined together, the fit between them is so rigid I believe the Vinci will be incredibly accurate with slug loads (the receiver is already drilled and tapped for scope mounting, and a variation of the gun with a rifled barrel may be in the works).
Another design detail will be greatly appreciated by big-game hunters. More than one deer out there owes its life to the fact that owners of some shotguns failed to allow their bolts to slam forward hard enough for complete bolt lockup. This won't happen with the Vinci--it will fire even when its bolt is quietly eased to lockup. The gun has a three-inch chamber and functions with ammo ranging in power from target loads to the heaviest hunting loads.
Other features include rotating locking lugs at the front of the bolt, hammer-cocked indicator at the front of the trigger bow, transverse safety button just beyond the trigger, quick-detach carrying sling posts molded into the stock and forearm, integral ComforTech pad in the comb of the stock, vent-ribbed barrel, a very good recoil pad, beveled magazine loading port and cryogenically treated barrel. A bolt release lever on the right side of the receiver also allows the magazine to be unloaded without cycling shells through the chamber. Each gun comes with five screw-in chokes ranging from Cylinder to Full and a choke tube wrench replete with integral thread cleaner. Also included are a really neat plastic carrying case and a shim kit for adjusting drop and cast of the stock to the owner's preference. For now, five 26- or 28-inch-barrel variations are available with optional stock finishes of black, Max-4 HD or Realtree APG. Nominal weight is just shy of seven pounds.
Try a Vinci and you, too, will likely agree that it carries like a 28, recoils like a 20 and shoots like a 12.