When I was testing out the new Benelli Performance Shop SBE3 Turkey shotgun, I really could not get a miss at 25 yards shooting at life-size turkey targets. The loads I used didn’t matter, either. Federal, Hornady, Remington, Winchester—all of them did a great job with the gun putting many, many pellets on target.
It almost seemed unfair. The big toms I’d be chasing this spring wouldn’t have a chance. Not when this shotgun consistently put 30 to an amazing 40 pellets into my target.
What Benelli has done with this shotgun is take its standard Super Black Eagle platform—already a heck of an impressive shotgun—and upgrade it in specific areas to make it a superior turkey hunting gun.
For example, the SBE3 Turkey has a 24-inch barrel for better maneuverability in the field. The barrel also sports a series of ports along both sides and several inches back from the muzzle to mitigate the recoil of heavier turkey loads and provide quicker follow-up shots, and added control is gained from the textured pistol grip.
The Walk around
From front to back, the SBE3 Turkey is finished in Mossy Oak’s Bottomland camouflage pattern for optimum concealability. The shotgun operates on Benelli’s proven inertia-driven action with Easy Locking System on the bolt. All SBE3 shotguns have lengthened forcing cones for more uniform patterns, along with enlarged bolt handles and custom bolt release levers for easy operation even with gloved hands.
The SBE3 Turkey comes standard with a Burris® FastFire II™ sight installed and already zeroed with Federal Premium Ammunition. Computer printouts are provided to show actual points of impact in 10-, 20-, and 30-inch circles. Available in 12-gauge only, the SBE3 Turkey can easily handle 2¾-, 3-, and 3½-inch shells. The SBE3 Turkey arrives with one Rob Roberts XFT turkey choke, five Benelli chokes, oil, and a wrench, all of it packed in a durable gun case.
My initial shots were with 3-inch Remington Nitro Turkey shells loaded with #6 shot, and the Burris Fast FireII put them right on target at 25 yards. I ran six more brands of shells through the SBE3 Turkey, and each of those required me to adjust the Burris to get the pattern zeroed. No problem. A small, flathead screwdriver adjusted the elevation and windage controls.
I didn’t experience a single failure to feed a shell, a double feed, or a jam up. The bolt went back easily for loading and snapped right into place; the bolt release was easy to work, and the bolt smacked forward nice and securely.
The trigger? Well, it’s a shotgun trigger, better than many I have used but still with some take up and stacking. Nothing terrible, but this isn’t a competition rifle trigger that breaks oh-so cleanly. At 25 yards and shooting from a rest, the 3-inch Heavyweight TSS loads from Federal, with their #7 and #9 tungsten shot load, averaged 30 hits on the vital zones of my targets’ head and neck areas. The 31/2-inch shells, with the same shot mix, put an average of 35 pellets into the vitals, while one shell laid in an amazing 40 pellets.
The old-school Bottomland camouflage pattern will hide the SBE3 Turkey gun from big toms and especially those sharp-eyed hens, who always seem to bust me. You will have a difficult time finding a better choice for hunting gobblers than the Benelli Performance Shop SBE3 Turkey shotgun. It will last you for many years of hard field use. Hence, Benelli’s 10-Year Warranty.
SPECS: Benelli Performance Shop SBE3 Turkey
Chambering: 23/4, 3, and 31/2 inches
Barrel Length: 24 inches
Overall Length: 45.75 inches
Weight: 6.8 pounds
Stock/Receiver/Barrel Finish: Mossy Oak Bottomland
Chokes: 1 Rob Roberts XFT choke, plus C/IC/M,IM/F Benelli chokes
Sights: Burris FastFire II; HIVIS CompSight
Length of Pull: 143/8 inches
Drop at Heel: 21/4 inches
Drop at Comb: 11/2 inches
Warranty: 10 years
Learn to hunt turkey the Michael Waddell way, click here.