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Old December 18, 2001, 07:25 PM   #1
SIGarmed
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So what do you think about the Benelli M3?

Its both a pump and semi-auto so I guess its probably reliable,at least as a pump. It would be a perfect home defense gun for me. Is this any improved over the M1 or is it just an M1 with the added pump feature? I'm assuming it doesn't like light loads either. I hear there is reliability problems with the M1.

Last edited by SIGarmed; December 18, 2001 at 07:51 PM.
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Old December 18, 2001, 09:42 PM   #2
Dave T
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I don't know what other people are going to tell you but I will pass on my own experience. I am a retired LEO and for all the years I carried a badge my shotgun of choice was the Rem 870. I carried one and taught shotgun with one (I was my department's firearms instructor for my last 6 years).

During my LEO career and during all the competition I shot in (IPSC and Steel Combat matches) I saw lots of people and cops trying various semi-autos. When they worked they were impressive. Invariably they would malfunction or other wise fail, which reinforced my confidence in the old 870.

A couple years after retirement I had a chance to buy a used but unfired M3S90 for way under the retail price. I decided to try it as I had been reading good things about them. As a "trial by fire" I decided to shoot it in our clubs combat shotgun match without cleaning it until it malfunctioned. Figured that would give me a good idea of its reliability.

Some where in excess of 350 rounds of Federal 2 3/4", #6 Heavy Game Loads, I finally cleaned the damn thing because it was getting imbarassing for people to see how dirty it was. It never did malfunction.

I've also put several boxes of 00 Buck and Slugs through it. I guess you'd say I've become a believer. Oh, and I never have used it as a pump!
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Old December 18, 2001, 11:37 PM   #3
Templar
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Well, I recently purchased a Benelli M1S90 Tactical and I've put over 400 rounds through it without a malfunction, cleaning after the first 300 rounds. I have a buddy who owns a M3S90, and he has had excellent luck with his as well, nary a hiccup in several thousand rounds, all of which in semi-auto.

The M3 can use a folding stock, while the M1 cannot because of the recoil spring tube in the buttstock.

The pump feature is neat if you want to play around with "less lethal" rounds like the rubber buckshot or slugs, or tear gas rounds. Otherwise, it should cycle even the lighter birdshot loads after a break in period of about 500 rounds (this is as per the Benelli sales rep).

Only negative thing I think about the M3 versus the M1 is that the M3 barrels do not come with choke tubes. The M1S90 Tacticals now come with the 3 basic tubes, F,M, IC. The M3 barrels are IC, which realistically will do most anything you need to do with a combat shotgun.

Buy the Benelli, you won't be sorry. It's amazing how damn simple the mechanism is.
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Old December 19, 2001, 07:46 AM   #4
Dave McC
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My $.02....

The Benellis have a good rep. I've doubts about the wisdom of the auto/pump combo, tho. Here's why...

Back when I instructed, we had some goose and duck hunters among our COs that used 1100s. Even tho 870s start to shuck themselves when fired, these folks would sometimes blow a relay by failing to pump as needed.If they did this on the range, they'd do it during a crisis.

And, a defensive shotgun has little need for a less lethal capability. Agency weapons might, tho more specialized tools should be available that will work better.

So, if this should be used strictly as an auto, why have the extra parts, complicated MOA, more weight and higher cost of the convertible?

Also,Dave T,darn near all the autos I saw in "Practical" competitions malfed on occasion. Since an 870 is so dependable, I still regard it as the best choice for "Serious" shotgunning.
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Old December 19, 2001, 10:32 PM   #5
Dave T
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Dave McC,

I agree about the semi-autos malfunctioning. That's why I stayed with the 870 so long. My point is that based on my experience, and several others I know, the M3S90 has proven to be as reliable as my old 870 was.

The M3 is a simpler action that the M1. I know it sounds like it should be more complicated but it really isn't. That's why I decided to buy the M3 when I had never considered the M1. And, there is a thumb actuated locking ring at the front of the forearm that must be deliberately released to turn the M3 into a pump. No chance of accidentally pumping it when it's in semiauto mode. One final benifit, for us old 870 shooters. The safety is in exactly the same position so all that training comes in handy.

Not trying to sell you on a Benelli. Just passing on my experience. If you prefer your 870, you're well armed. Enjoy!
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Old December 20, 2001, 04:34 AM   #6
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My experience with my M3 mirrors that of DaveT in the ten years that I've had it. It's certainly been equal to the performance and reliability of my 870 which I've had for twice that period.
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Old December 20, 2001, 08:18 AM   #7
Dave McC
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Thanks for the input,guys, sounds like oneheckuva good tool for crisis management.

I'll stick to my 870s, but I'm glad there's an alternative that's close in reliability.
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