When a new gun comes my way for a look, the very first thing I want to understand is what’s different about it. After all, if there’s nothing different, better, or at least less expensive, then what’s the point?
In the case of the Benelli 828U over and under shotgun, I think the “what’s different” question is answered by new design approaches to a very old type of gun. Over and under shotguns have been around for quite some time and have changed relatively little over the decades. Cosmetically, the Benelli 828U looks like a slightly more space age take on the classic double, but the under the hood features are what stand out as the unique elements of this shotgun.
The Interesting Features
Let’s walk through some of the features that I think add some uniqueness to the Benelli 828U.
One of the first things you’ll notice is that the rib is made of carbon fiber. You’ll see that telltale fiber pattern on both sides while the top is a non-glare matte black finish. The rib is not a structural part, so why not make it as light as possible? The rib is also easily removable by loosening a small screw just behind the front sight. The standard rib is low, but you can easily swap that out if you like. Up front on the rib, you’ll find a short and small diameter red fiber optic tube. It’s visible, but subtle, and won’t distract your eye too much from the target you’re tracking. There is no center bead, but I imagine with the removable rib design, either Benelli or someone else might offer that configuration at some point.
The opening lever also takes a slightly non-traditional approach. Most over and unders start off with a nicely centered opening lever that moves to the side to open the action. Benelli has apparently decided to favor ergonomics over tradition, so the lever is placed to the far left of the receiver when the barrels are in the closed position. That makes a lot of sense as the lever is much closer to your thumb and therefore much easier to operate. You’ll also notice that it’s curved, again to follow a more natural thumb movement. Who said that lever has to be straight and centered?
Rather than the traditional inset release lever, the fore-end stock is removed with a button on the leading edge of the stock that pushes in towards the receiver. I have to assume this design tweak was done to keep the fore-end stock nice and clean, with checkering all around. There’s nothing to get in the way of your support hand.