OK then, let's talk about the Benelli M2 Tactical and the M4 Tactical

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Thread: OK then, let's talk about the Benelli M2 Tactical and the M4 Tactical

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    OK then, let's talk about the Benelli M2 Tactical and the M4 Tactical

    Well, I have an 870 tactical shotgun. I just ordered a Mesa pistol grip stock and Surefire LED fore-end for it, so it's not going anywhere.

    But I have some Christmas money saved up and I want to get a semi-auto with it. After watching Magpul's "The Art of the Dynamic Shotgun", I have no doubt that I want a Benelli. It's not that they push the Benelli, it's just that every operation they do, including slug swaps from cruiser safe and cruiser ready conditions, is simpler, cleaner and easier with the Benellis and I've discovered another method that I find better than what they demo for the Benelli. Sooo...

    The two choices are the Benelli M2 Tactical and the Benelli M4. Both have the pistol grips, both hold 5+1 rounds. Both shoot a wide variety of loads reliably.

    The M2 (You'll have to click the pistol grip option to see the PG version):
    Benelli Shotguns | Benelli M2 Tactical

    The M4:
    Benelli Shotguns | Benelli M4

    There are three major differences:
    1- The M4 (7.8 lbs) weighs 1.1 lb more than the M2 (6.7 lbs). Of course weight cuts both ways - heavier: reduced recoil but heavier to carry/manipulate etc., lighter: heavier recoil but slightly easier to carry/manipulate.
    2- The M4 is gas operated, the M2 uses Benelli's inertial system.
    3- The M4 normally goes for right at $1700; the M2 for about $1179 - that's about $500 difference. HOWEVER, and this goes tilt the playing field a bit: I found a new M4 locally for $1525 which is a great price and that would only be a difference of about $350.

    The manual of arms, reliability, etc. is essentially the same. Barrel lengths are the same - 18.5". The M4 comes with a mounted Weaver rail and ghost sights; the M2 comes with ghost sights and the receiver is tapped for a Weaver 93A rail.

    The M2 Tactical with the PG seems to be pretty hard to find; the M4 for $1525 appears to be impossible to find except for the one I've found locally.

    So what I'm looking for is reasons to pick one over the other. Thoughts?
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    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
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    I would go with the inertia system - runs cleaner, less internal fouling.
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    I've owned both & sold my M4. I'm an M2 fan. The lighter weight (IMHO) doesn't appreciably increase recoil because the inertia system (again, IMHO) seems to spread the subjective shove over an ever-so-slightly longer time-frame, lessening the recoil impulse. But that never showed-up having a negative effect on my split-times. (*but the reason for that could be that my skills weren't fast enough for the difference to become apparent. )

    The weight savings, in fatigue factor & transition speed, made it an easy decision for me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10thmtn View Post
    I would go with the inertia system - runs cleaner, less internal fouling.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    I've owned both & sold my M4. I'm an M2 fan. The lighter weight (IMHO) doesn't appreciably increase recoil because the inertia system (again, IMHO) seems to spread the subjective shove over an ever-so-slightly longer time-frame, lessening the recoil impulse. But that never showed-up having a negative effect on my split-times. (*but the reason for that could be that my skills weren't fast enough for the difference to become apparent. )

    The weight savings, in fatigue factor & transition speed, made it an easy decision for me.
    That all seems reasonable. It does make me wonder what all the to-do over the M4 is about though.

    Am I correct in thinking that the gas tubes on the M4 is one more thing to clean, which requires more disassembly?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    That all seems reasonable. It does make me wonder what all the to-do over the M4 is about though.
    I don't know either. It's probably because they look cool.

    The M4 is a gas operated semi auto just like a million others out there. There really isn't anything special about them other than the name Benelli. A name, by the way, that is famous for it's inertia system guns.

    M2 all the way my friend and don't look back.

    Just as an aside, you may want to look and see if Franchi is making a tactical shotgun to your liking. They are a subsidiary of Benelli and run on the same I-drive system.

  7. #6
    MJK
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    The USMC tested and adopted the M4 in 1999. That may be a factor to consider in your purchase decision.

    BTW, the Benelli M4 is not gas-operated in the sense that a Remington 1100 is. The M4 has two short-stroke self-cleaning stainless steel pistons whose cylinders are mounted at 4:30 and 6:30 on the barrel under the handguard. Upon firing, gas is ported to these cylinders to move the pistons toward the rear. They in turn contact the boltface forcing it rearward. Guided by cams engaged in slots, the boltface rotates until it unlocks as it continues its movement. After unlocking the bolt/carrier system then moves rearward due to recoil, thus allowing completion of ejection/cocking/reloading cycle.

    It's a very ingenious and reliable weapon system. I've put thousands of rounds through my M4 without a hiccup.

    Here's more info from Wikipedia:

    "History

    On May 4, 1998, the U.S. Army Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ issued Solicitation #DAAE30-98-R-0401, requesting submissions for a new 12 gauge, semi-automatic combat shotgun for the US Armed Services. In response to the request, Benelli Armi SpA of Urbino, Italy designed and built the Benelli M4 Super 90 Combat Shotgun. On August 4, 1998, five samples of the M4 were delivered to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, and after intense testing, the M4 had beaten the competition. In early 1999, ARDEC awarded the M1014 Joint Service Combat Shotgun contract to Heckler & Koch, USA subsidiary for importation of the Benelli M4 Combat Shotgun. The first units (count of 20,000) were delivered to the United States Marine Corps in 1999. During testing, the prototype was named XM1014, but after adoption, the 'X' was dropped, and the weapon was officially designated the M1014.
    Design

    The M4 was the first gas-operated shotgun produced by Benelli. Its function is designed around an entirely new method called the "auto regulating gas operated" (ARGO) system. The ARGO system on the M4 opened the door for Benelli's development of the R1 rifle line. The design uses two stainless-steel self-cleaning pistons located just ahead of the chamber to function opposite the rotating bolt, thereby eliminating the need for the complex mechanisms found on other gas-actuated automatics. Benelli accomplishes this level of reliability through the simplicity of the mechanism. The ARGO is a short-stroke system that incorporates only four parts. It consists of two symmetrical shrouds containing two small steel gas pistons.

    It is also self-regulating for cartridges of varying length and power levels. It can fire 2.75 and 3-inch (76 mm) shells of differing power-levels without any operator adjustments and in any combination. Low-power rounds, such as less-lethal rubber pellets, must be cycled manually.

    The sights are military-style ghost ring and are adjustable in the field using only a cartridge rim. The MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny sight rail on top allows use of both conventional and night-vision sights, while retaining use of the original sights.
    The M1014 Combat Shotgun being used in training by a US Marine.
    US Marines in Fallujah, Iraq, 2006.
    Serviceability

    Also touted is the modular assembly basis of the weapon. It allows an operator to exchange the various assembly groups (barrel, buttstock, forearm, etc...) without the use of tools. Especially useful in the field, the process is quick and allows the weapon to adapt to a changing tactical environment.
    Durability

    Preliminary testing of the M4 puts its reliability at the top of the scale. It can reliably function for at least 25,000 rounds without replacement of any major parts.[2] The steel components of the weapon feature a matte black phosphated corrosion resistant finish while the aluminum parts are matte hard-anodized. These finishes reduce the weapon's visibility during night operations.

    The weapon requires little maintenance and operates in all climates and weather conditions.[citation needed]
    Collapsible Buttstock

    The buttstock is collapsible on the M4 Model (designated 11707) but will not collapse on the M1014. This is because the M1014 was manufactured before the U.S. 1994 assault weapon ban expired, whereas the M11707 has been manufactured since the ban expired therefore not subject to the terms under the ban. Collapsing the buttstock shortens the weapon by almost 8 inches, allowing easier storage and transportation; furthermore, it permits better maneuverability around tight corners and over obstacles. The M4 is also available with a fixed stock (pistol grip and semi-pistol grip styles are both available). The M4 is no longer sold today with the skeleton fixed stock (model M11707) to civilians. Benelli only sells the M4 with a fixed pistol grip style tactical stock in the United States. However, the collapsible butt stock can be purchased by civilians in Canada.
    Rail Interface System

    The Rail Interface System or Picatinny rail, built into the top of the shotgun accepts scopes, laser illuminators, night-vision sights, and flashlights. Most modern military firearms have similar structures.
    A Benelli M4 with a Rail Interface System
    Benelli Tactical and the M4

    Benelli Tactical is a division of Beretta's Law Enforcement (LE) division. Benelli Tactical manages the sales of all Benelli tactical shotguns to law enforcement, government, and military entities. The M4 shotgun is sold in three configurations: M4 Entry with a 14 in barrel; M4 with a 18.5 in barrel; and M1014, which is an M4 with the "M1014" nomenclature on it for military usage only. M4 shotguns sold through Benelli tactical are available with the collapsible buttstock. Benelli Tactical and Beretta LE have maintained the belief that the collapsible buttstock, while no longer illegal in the United States, is still only to be made available to law enforcement and government agencies. Benelli Tactical/Beretta LE will not sell these stocks to private individuals. Benelli Tactical does sell the stock piece for retrofitting the pistol grip stock for $150. The stock must be direct-shipped from Italy, however it and other aftermarket stocks are commercially available and not restricted by the United States.

    Suggested retail price of the civilian version is around $2899. An NFA stamp is required to purchase or own the 14.5" barreled model only since this model is considered to be a Short Barreled Shotgun or SBS. Standard magazine capacity of the civilian version is 4+1, although it is possible to fit 5+1 and two shot extension tubes are sold by Benelli as well as some other companies. Some LE models have become available to private individuals on the secondary market."
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJK View Post
    The USMC tested .....individuals on the secondary market."
    OK you like the M4. It's cool, I get it. My question to you is this: Since it is heavier, more expensive and has less capacity than the M2, what makes it better?

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    It's not better. It's just "cooler" - because it's a civilian version of the M1014.

    Having used the M1014 - I disliked it a lot. That was with the adjustable/collapsible stock - very uncomfortable to shoot with. Plus the gun is needlessly heavy. The military ones are full length mag tubes at least.

    I have an M1 - modified my bolt carrier so I can have a round "ghost" on the carrier - so now it's a 7+1+1 gun with 2.75" shells. It is lightweight and handy. Excellent shotgun. I don't have experience with the M2 but from what I've seen they are a slightly fancier buttstock on an M1. I don't have experience with the M4 but if you can't get a full length tube for it.....what's the point?!

    My M1 has never had any problems cycling anything I've fed it - from light trap loads to heavy 3" magnums. I remember disassembling and cleaning the M1014s, and they just seem unnecessary to me - extra parts, extra complicated, extra heavy, extra expensive. In theory if they could fire non-lethal rounds semi-auto - then it is justified. We used Mossbergs 500 pumps for that though.

    So...another vote for the M2.

    Austin

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    Quote Originally Posted by atctimmy View Post
    OK you like the M4. It's cool, I get it. My question to you is this: Since it is heavier, more expensive and has less capacity than the M2, what makes it better?
    Re-read the man's post. Slowly this time. The M4 is much more than just "cool". :)

    This is the crucial part of the extensive military testing IMO:

    " Preliminary testing of the M4 puts its reliability at the top of the scale. It can reliably function for at least 25,000 rounds without replacement of any major parts.[2] The steel components of the weapon feature a matte black phosphated corrosion resistant finish while the aluminum parts are matte hard-anodized. These finishes reduce the weapon's visibility during night operations.

    The weapon requires little maintenance and operates in all climates and weather conditions."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coltman 77 View Post
    Re-read the man's post. Slowly this time. The M4 is much more than just "cool". :)

    This is the crucial part of the extensive military testing IMO:

    " Preliminary testing of the M4 puts its reliability at the top of the scale. It can reliably function for at least 25,000 rounds without replacement of any major parts.[2] The steel components of the weapon feature a matte black phosphated corrosion resistant finish while the aluminum parts are matte hard-anodized. These finishes reduce the weapon's visibility during night operations.

    The weapon requires little maintenance and operates in all climates and weather conditions."
    That it can last for 25,000 without major components being replaced isn't really a big deal. Most any gun can do that. You might need some springs every 5k or 10k rounds - but those wouldn't be considered "Major Components". What other shotguns were competing with the Benelli during the "semi auto combat shotgun trials" in 1999?

    The context of these paragraphs might lead you to believe that the gun doesn't need to be cleaned except every 25,000 rounds. This is absolutely not true. That it operates in "every clime and place" is just semantics - if you use the right lube, and the right ammo - of course it will work. I don't see what the big deal is about the Benelli M4. It's black to it doesn't give away your position at night....ok, so is the M2.

    Once a U.S. manufacturer makes extended magazine tubes for them - I could see it as a reasonable thing to consider. But 5+1 in a ~$1600 shotgun for defensive purposes doesn't make much sense to me.

    Austin
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    ....and also - I was going to say that I've never had a bad experience with the M1014, except for it's additional weight and uncomfortable stock - but then I remembered. They won't cycle breaching rounds reliably. Probably doesn't matter for most people - the gun was apparently designed for 00 buck and slugs according to the literature I've read on it - but I thought it was worth mentioning. It ran fine on the range with birdshot, buck and slugs though.

    Austin

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    Quote Originally Posted by aus71383 View Post
    That it can last for 25,000 without major components being replaced isn't really a big deal. Most any gun can do that. You might need some springs every 5k or 10k rounds - but those wouldn't be considered "Major Components". What other shotguns were competing with the Benelli during the "semi auto combat shotgun trials" in 1999?
    Not a big deal? Serious military testing means nothing to you?

    We obviously have very different views of military testing. I'm out of this thread, just can't suffer fools.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coltman 77 View Post
    Not a big deal? Serious military testing means nothing to you?

    We obviously have very different views of military testing. I'm out of this thread, just can't suffer fools.
    So just to get this straight, you'd take a gun that was heavier, had less capacity and costs half a grand more because the military extensively tested them?

    Really?

    Did the military test the M2? Do you even know what they tested or their parameters for said tests?

    You do know that Benelli's inertia drive system is considered to be the "Glock" of shotgun actions because of it's simplicity, reliability and function, right? In fact, Benelli's I-Drive system is what made the company a household name. Hard core water fowlers are putting hundreds of thousands of heavy magnum rounds through them. They are quite robust and the SBE shotgun is the one all others are measured by.

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    It's a low pressure gun. Sure it has moving parts, but there's no reason to expect any gun to need "major components" replaced before 25,000 rounds. Military 00 buckshot is 2.75" - which is under 15,000 psi. I don't know the exact chamber pressure on 12 gauge shotguns - but they have plastic shell casings!

    1911s last 50k-100k all the time - there are plenty of them out there with more rounds through them than that. Nothing needs to be replaced except springs.

    AR-15s easily last 30k rounds - and if you have a chrome lined barrel (like you do in a Benelli M2 or M4) in your AR-15, there's no reason to expect it to last less than 50k rounds. 100k would be a reasonable expectation. This is with a very high pressure cartridge - over 50k psi.

    Semi-auto shotguns simply shouldn't be expected to "wear out" and need "major components" replaced after 25,000 rounds. 100,000 or more is what I would expect with proper maintenance - at a minimum.

    I don't know what guns were up against the XM1014 during the testing - it's possible it was the only gun even being tested! Now if you can find out what other guns were tested, and why they failed - I would tend to agree that the M4/M1014 is superior to those guns in that application.

    For me - the M1014 was a worse shotgun than my own M1 Super 90. It cycles slower, it's heavier, it's more expensive - and it only has a 5 round tube in the civilian version. In the military application - it can't cycle breaching rounds reliably. So you're better off with a pump - at least you can keep your hands in place while you're using it, instead of having to manually cycle the bolt each time. This is why I recommended the M2 over the M4. Lasting 25k rounds just isn't impressive at all. The article is written to wow and amaze you - but all of the facts are hum drum boring run of the mill stuff.

    My opinion only....based on my experiences.

    Austin

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    Ah - and as for "military testing" in general. It is very political and dirty.

    From what I've seen (and done!) people pick what they want - then they make up criteria that the product they want will be able to meet. This ensures they can't get screwed into a cheaper version of the same thing.

    Then maybe they make a phone call - and they might say, "We're going to be looking for a shotgun - the official request will be published in a couple months, but it's just a formality. We want your gun. I'm emailing you a copy of the 'draft' or criteria and the application for submission. Let me know if anything needs to get changed on the criteria - we want to be sure your gun can pass the tests. Also - start filling out the application now, because when we publish the request, there will only be a 24 hour window that we'll be accepting applications. Cool? Let me know if you need anything...."

    That - is how things "get done" sometimes. I'm not going to say that is exactly what happened when the Joint Service Combat Shotgun - and I don't really care either way - but it wouldn't surprise me at all. The military got the gun they wanted, and Benelli got to develop a new gas system and have the cost offset by a military contract. Win-win.

    But I'd still rather have an M1/M2....

    Austin

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