Benelli Lupo Review
Benelli Lupo Rifle Review – Professional deer stalker and big game hunter Peter S Jones reviews the new LUPO rifle from Benelli.
My dad reminding my mum in the supermarket; “Eh, don’t forgetti the Spaghetti” has become stuck in my mind as I write this. I hope that our Italian cousins will forgive my childlike recollections of my father’s lazy stereotyping, and if they are inclined to do so, maybe they will forgive me when I venture a more flattering stereotype by asserting – ‘those Italian’s seem to know a thing or two about style'. Not all of them of course, the kids rudely refer to my Italian work colleague as 'Sloppy Giuseppe' because of his obvious lack of any style. But when it comes to the new Benelli Lupo not only are you unlikely to ‘forgetti the Benellli’, it’s also certainly a rifle that is anything but sloppy.
In fact, if I dare risk further lazy sterotyping, I find it extremely attractive, in fact, were I to liken it to a car in terms of design, I would say that it were something of a Lamborghini. And like the Lamborghini, it’s not subtle in design and as a result will, I am sure, provoke somewhat of a ‘Marmite’ reaction.
Personally, I love it, the looks that is. But what about the substance of the rifle?
The LUPO is Benelli’s first attempt at a bolt-action rifle and it has been carefully engineered as a chassis-style rifle, with modular adjustability that is designed to optimise shooter comfort.
That’s not to say that Benelli are new to guns, far from it, I myself owned an old Benelli Semi Auto over 25 years ago and at that stage it had been around the block a few times. Indeed, Benelli have had a solid reputation for shotguns for years, with the Benelli Super Black Eagle having been a huge hit in the U.S for some time. And perhaps that is why it is in the U.S that Benelli have chosen to launch the new Lupo.
Packed with no fewer than seven new Benelli patents in a rifle that has a 3 shot sub MOA guarantee, the Lupo has clearly been built not just around accuracy but also fit, which has been achieved through its ability to customise the stock via its ‘perfect fitting system’ which including two raised cheek pad options.
Accuracy is enhanced not only by the level of comfort provided, but also from a precision crio-treated, free-floating barrel attached to a hardened steel barrel extension, bedded to a steel block in the alloy receiver.
There’s also the built-in ‘Progressive Comfort system’ and ‘Combtech’ cheek pad, that has been modified from Benelli’s shotguns, a system that has been engineered with sets of interlacing fingers that are designed to flex and absorb recoil, all adding to extra comfort for the user, especially when using larger calibres.
That leads us nicely onto the subject of calibres. Here Benelli have squarely targeted the American market, with calibres in just .270 Winchester, 300 Win’ Mag’ and every American’s favourite - the .30-06 Springfield. I understand that Benelli intend to launch the Lupo in Europe before long and here it will be crucial to add some other variants. Benelli, if you are listening, you are going to need to offer, .243, .308 and probably 6.5x55 to reach a sufficiently wide audience. Let’s see if the message gets through!
In fact, on a serious note, it’s a great shame, because my understanding is, that had it not been for the dreaded virus, the Benelli Lupo would have been heading for the UK very soon. As it is, time will tell, I am in the dark. Even more so for the fact that Benelli have, despite our email requests, failed to engage with us about their intentions. That said these are strange times and so, we should all cut one another some slack.
So, what other features are of note? Well I keep coming back to the comfort fit which along with the bold design seems to define this new rifle. One feature of this is the ability to adjust drop, cast and trigger reach with ‘shims’ that allow the stock to be set in one of 36 different positions, this improves the shooters ability to reach perfectly onto an adjustable trigger and ambidextrous top safety.
There is an excellent detachable box magazine which comes in a double-stack configuration, with a partial divider that loads like a single stack. Cartridges can be loaded either with the magazine removed, or top loaded, something of which I am a huge fan.
The Lupo’s cutaway bolt also cleverly works with the magazine, allowing the magazine to insert fully into the receiver without protruding from the bottom of the gun, something which is pretty damn cool and adds to the overall aesthetics of the rifle.
A threaded muzzle provides the option of adding a moderator or more likely in the U.S a Muzzle-Break and the Benelli ‘Airtouch’ grip surface provides a safe and firm hold on the rifle in all weathers.
All things considered, it appears that with their first entry into bolt action rifles, the brains behind this fascinating new rifle have done enough to ensure that we will not be able to ‘forgetti the Benelli’ anytime soon.
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