The Benelli SuperNova – An Italian Kind of Shotgun

Remington and Mossberg rule the world regarding pump-action shotguns. Seriously, these beastly cannons have long ruled the pump shotgun market. However, neither gun has changed much in the decades since they were produced. Benelli might be known for their semi-auto shotguns, but the pump-action SuperNova deserves a look. Mossberg and Remington haven’t done much to change their old designs, but Benelli took the pump action to new levels.

The Benelli SuperNova implemented a variety of features we don’t see on those classic American pump actions. This includes a polymer receiver and trigger guard, a magazine disconnect on the pump, and the foresight to make the capacity easily expanded. I’m sad I waited this long to get my hands on a SuperNova and only did so because of a screaming good price.

Benelli is often synonymous with expensive. However, the SuperNova is a very affordable pump-action shotgun competitively priced with the same offerings from Mossberg and Remington. In fact, mine was priced a little lower than the 590 on the rack, so I grabbed it and decided to let’s see what a Benelli pump gun can do.

Inside and Outside of the SuperNova

There are a dozen different configurations of the SuperNova. I went with the tactical model with the standard field stock. It’s outfitted with the standard 18.5-inch barrel and four round magazine tube. A pair of ghost ring sights sit across the top of the receiver, and the overall length is 39.75 inches.

On the outside, it doesn’t look a whole lot different. It appears to be a pretty typical pump-action shotgun. Once you start handling the weapon, you see a few differences. For one, the loading and ejection chambers are huge. The SuperNova chambers 12 gauge shells up to 3.5 inches!

The receiver and trigger guard are polymer with an internal steel frame. The trigger guard is absolutely massive. Benelli made the Ghost Ring sights easily adjustable, and they can be very precise for slug use. A big button on the bottom of the pump allows you to eject a shell from the chamber without dragging one out of the magazine tube.

This makes slug select drills an absolute breeze, or for tactical use, you can swap from buck to breaching or to another specialized round.

The Ergonomics Of the SuperNova

This might be the first shotgun I know of with a reversible safety. It’s a nice little feature for lefties. The pump release sits in front of the trigger guard and allows you to activate it with either hand easily. The huge trigger guard will accommodate gloves for those stuck in states with real winter.

The SuperNova comes with a shim kit that allows you to easily adjust the height and cast of the stock. I found it perfect out of the box, but different sized shooters might want to make it easier to use the sights via these shims.

The shotgun’s fairly light, at least on average with most standard tactical guns, but lighter than most 3.5-inch guns. Additionally, the forend is super long and easy to grip regardless of your size. Benelli puts together impressive guns, and the SuperNova is no different.

Unfortunately, the 14 ⅜ inch length of pull makes the gun longer than necessary and a little less enjoyable to shoot.

Hitting the Range

Are you using 3.5-inch shells for home defense? It’s not likely, but Benelli built the gun to use them, and that offers you a few advantages for defensive or tactical use. First, 3.5-inch loads deliver some serious recoil, and Benelli built the SuperNova to be comfy. The stock uses Benelli’s Comfortech recoil reducing stock design to tame that recoil. You can also install an optional mercury weight to help reduce recoil.

Those huge ejection and loading ports make it a lot easier to load those short 2.75 inch shells. Topping off your tube or popping an emergency reload in the port is simple and quick. I might never need the 3.5-inch potential, but I love what it entails.

The SuperNova recoils mildly, at least compared to other pump-action shotguns, and delivers a smooth shooting experience. The pump-action glides rearward quickly, and the rotating bolt helps push the pump back. Cycling the action takes no time and effort and keeps things running fast and hard.

I fired two shots in under two seconds with buckshot onto the chest of a man-sized target. Laying down fast follow-up shots is fairly simple, especially for a pump-action shotgun.

Rotate It

That rotating bolt tosses those hulks out of the way with ease in a consistent manner. It’d be tough to get one stuck in the chamber with a bolt that applies two different forces to the ejection of the shell. Benelli’s SuperNova is super reliable, and even the cheapest buckshot I fired didn’t get hung up in the gun.

Those ghost ring sights make directing slugs easy. I didn’t fire many, but I sighted in with three at 50 yards and rang steel repeatedly. Ghost rings get touted for slug use a lot, but loads like Federal FliteControl benefit greatly from ghost ring sights as well. Those loads offer a longer effective range and benefit from adjustable ghost ring sights.

The SuperNova ghost ring sights are wide and open. You can get them up and on target easily and quickly. Speed matters in CQB, and these sights embrace speed as well as precision. If you don’t like the sights, the receiver is tapped and mounted for an optic rail.

Going Super

The SuperNova doesn’t offer you the same massive aftermarket as the Remington or Mossberg options, and sure you might need to be creative to get the proper accessories in place. However, there are a number of options to outfit the weapon with a light and magazine extension and even a stock option or two.

If you want something a little more modern in the pump gun world, the SuperNova has you covered.

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and teaches concealed carry classes.