If you know shotguns, you know Benelli. One of the most popular firearm producers in the world, they’re the pioneers of the iconic Nova, M3, and Vinci firearms used by SWAT teams and civilians across the globe. Lesser known but still revered, the Benelli Raffaello is another of Benelli’s reputed contributions to the shotgun department. First produced in 1990, the Raffaello is made with slick, simple make features and an oddly elegant appearance that adds a whole other rustic feel. Now, while the Raffaello looks good, it begs an age-old question; does it shoot good?
As far as the Raffaello goes with accuracy, you can expect more of the same due to it being a shotgun. The majority of shotguns will be shooting at the same accuracy, even though Benelli boasts that the Raffaello is improved on that front. Personally, I found it to shoot at the same rate as any other shotgun of the type, but the customization’s ease of use provides plenty of new ways to adjust the accuracy—from barrel lengthening to an adjustable trigger. While we’re at it, the Raffaello’s rail supports a wide variety of scopes as well.
As a semi-automatic shotgun, you might be worried about all of the cleaning you’ll have to do, groaning at the idea of taking the thing apart to wipe it down thoroughly every week or so. Here comes an advantage of the Raffaello; instead of a gas-powered system like most other semi-autos, it uses an inertia-driven system, which was developed by Benelli’s own Bruno Civolani back in the 1960s. This means that the gun has to be cleaned nowhere near as much as most other semi-auto shotguns. I’ve also found that with the Raffaello’s simplicity comes a smaller number of moving parts—this means less work when you DO have to clean it.
With the weight coming in at around seven pounds, the Raffaello seems comparatively light for a shotgun. I’ll be honest, the recoil can be harsh given the weight, but the inertia-driven system inside makes up for it. Everything from the checkered grip to the aforementioned inertia-driven system makes sure the Raffaello feels fantastic to shoot, as I’ve found since I’ve owned it.
Testing the trigger for this gun, I can’t say I’m incredibly impressed. The trigger guard is a little too small for my tastes, and I think that wearing gloves would certainly help with the recoil. Not only that, but the trigger pull is a hefty sitting as I weighed it in close to five pounds. Nonetheless, the trigger is adjustable, so there’s plenty of room to change it around beyond factory settings, which I’d recommend.
Magazine & Reloading
The feed system of the Benelli Raffaello is an internal magazine like most semi-autos. It comes factory built with a 4+1 capacity, which I’ve found to be the standard for hunting rifles of this type. Not much to say about it—it’s easy to reload if you’ve gotten good at reloading internal magazines on shotguns, one shell at a time.
Length & Weight
The Benelli Raffaello sports the aforementioned weight of seven pounds, a little light for a shotgun but acceptable and maneuverable. My Raffaello’s barrel is about twenty-seven inches long, total length being close to forty-eight inches long. There’s so many variants and interchangeable barrels that it’s hard to keep track of just what lengths you’ll probably get, but the barrels range in length from twenty to thirty inches.
In my personal opinion, this is probably the deciding factor for the Raffaello and what makes it stand out beyond its pretty looks. In fact, this is what sets it apart from the Mossbergs or Remingtons. The inertia-driven system is a make or break for this gun and it really makes it. From everything I’ve seen, it improves the recoil substantially. The Raffaello almost feels soft to shoot when compared to other shotguns just because of this low recoil driven solely by its innovative inertia systems. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t kick, however. If you think the 12 gauge might still be a little hard on you, I would suggest investing in a 20 gauge to tide you over.
Here comes the hardest hurdle that the Raffaello sports. While it is a good shotgun that not only looks nice but feels fantastic to fire, the price is especially hefty. £2,599.99 is the list price you can spot it for on most high-end firearms sellers, which translates to around $3,500 dollars in total. So, it’ll set you back a pretty penny, which for those who just want a simple hunting shotgun, it isn’t the best look.
The Raffaello, while a very nice shotgun that will serve you well for years to come, is a bit on the pricey side when it comes to hunting shotguns. It justifies its price well, but the fancy finish and the inertia system aren’t going to be enough to make a difference if your wallet is light. Still, if you have money to spare and are looking for something a little more unique to shoot with, the Raffaello is gonna serve you well.
Richard Douglas is a long time shooter, outdoor enthusiast and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller and other publications.