Benelli SBE 3 3.5in vs 3in cycling??

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Thomasj1107

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Nov 25, 2019
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The only time I've ever had any trouble with either my SBEII or SBEIII cycling light loads (Walmart grade #8's on pigeons) was if I hadn't cleaned them recently. I have gone entire duck seasons without cleaning them, and depending how many cockleburr fields I had to walk through (and the gun picking up dirt and trash from them), they still cycle duck loads just fine. I think if you are willing to take 15 minutes to clean them they are the most reliable option out there.

Do you pay attention to the dram weight or 7/8 oz vs 1 etc when you purchase?
 

jaytaylor

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Sep 8, 2020
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I don't pay attention to the dram weight. For nuisance pigeons, I buy the cheapest shells I can buy. I think some of them are 7/8oz and others are 1 oz.
 

LongWayAround

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You may have trouble cycling lite loads with the brand new spring. Eventually, you will have trouble cycling heavy loads without a replacement spring.

The solution to both is to buy a a new spring. Wolff makes +25% and -25% springs.

I bought my SBE used so I never had a brand new spring but I did eventually replace it.
 
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Thomasj1107

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You may have trouble cycling lite loads with the brand new spring. Eventually, you will have trouble cycling heavy loads without a replacement spring.

The solution to both is to buy a a new spring. Wolff makes +25% and -25% springs.

I bought my SBE used so I never had a brand new spring but I did eventually replace it.
Why would you ever have a problem cycling the heavy load down the road?
 

LongWayAround

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Why would you ever have a problem cycling the heavy load down the road?
The recoil spring wears out over time.

It's kind of a pain to replace, but not major deal. Mine had cycling issues for a while before I replaced the spring but it has been steadfast ever since.

Also, my gun is an original SBE so maybe things have changed...

If I were buying new today and didn't care about 3.5" shells, I would buy the M2.
 

Dave C.

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As an avid Benelli user and avid duck hunter, I have an SBE II along with an M2 and many other Benelli's. I bought the SBE years ago and in 20 yrs have never put a 3.5" load through it. I have put many cases of 2 3/4 loads through it though without a problem. The newer SBE's have better springs compared to the old SBE I. You won't have a problem either way but as many have said, the guns are mass-produced and often need breaking in or a good thorough "cleaning" off the shelf, especially on the camo versions. There is usually a layer of some kind of primer or something that I believe is used in the dipping process on the rails that prevents the bolt from a smooth cycle. This will wear off after a case is run through it or you can take it apart and clean it and run some steel wool over the rails to remove it and it'll cycle fine without "break-in." Sucks that you have to do this with a brand new $2000 gun but the reality is it's true with nearly every gun off the shelf.
All that being said, if I was in the market for a new gun that I didn't intend to ever put 3.5" loads through(and I've killed hundreds of honkers and geese over the yrs with 3" loads), I would buy an M2. You'll save $500-600 and they're just as good IMO. SBE's are overrated and I say that as an owner of over 6 Benelli shotguns.
 

Remington92

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Apr 3, 2018
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Comparing my SBE2 vs my Winchester sx2 (inertia vs gas) the Benelli is 100% more reliable with everything including light stuff. I use my SBE2 for everything from shooting trap league to goose hunting. I don't think its ever choked on me, cant say the same for the Winchester..... Also have a M2 tactical that's a great shotgun. The weight difference in the SBE2 and M2 is negligible and the SBE2 eats everything I feed it so I like having the option of 3-1/2" goose and turkey hunting. Also as others have said cleaning the SBE2 is much easier since the top of the receiver comes off with the barrel.

I should also add I got a smoking deal on my sbe2 when it was new and basically gave same money as I would have for a M2
 
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