I truly am a devotee of old, classic shotguns, but one of the great things about my job as “Shotgun Guy” at Sporting Classics is that I get to shoot all the new stuff. Usually at birds.

True to form, I just returned from South Dakota, where I spent a few days shooting Benelli’s new 828U over/under at pheasants, prairie chickens, and sharptails. The gun will be the subject of my January/February 2018 column, but I wanted to do a little preview for the Daily.

Benelli had two goals in creating the 828U. The first was to develop a 12-gauge over/under that was as handy to carry and use as a lightweight 20 but didn’t have the punishing recoil that you would expect from such a tool.

The second goal was to advance the technology of the stack-barrel so far that the finished product would provide the durability of Benelli’s justly famous repeaters. To do that, its engineers virtually threw the book out the window and designed improvements into virtually every essential system of the gun. As compared to traditional over/unders, the 828U incorporates considerable improvements in its locking system, ejection system, barrels and monobloc, recoil-reduction system, stock adjustment, and a host of other details that help meet its design objectives.

The result is a light, handy upland gun that carries like a 20 but handles 12-gauge shells up to and including 3-inch magnum loads without punishing the shooter. Based on what I saw, I’d say that it will prove to be “tough as nails” to boot, but it’ll take more than a few years to know for sure.

In truth, it looks a little “space-y” to me, but since “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” you guys will have to make your own assessment on that.


Look for Matthews’ full review of the Benelli 828U in our upcoming Jan./Feb. issue, mailing to advertisers beginning this week and available on newsstands January 2.