This past September marked my 4th year with my 26" Benelli Vinci. Thought I would give a long term review of how the gun is holding up, and the good and bad experiences I've had over the past 4 years. The Vinci was my first high $ semi-auto shotgun (previously hunted with a tried and true 870). I did lots of research and decided to go with the Vinci over the Xtrema 2. Unfortunately, I didn't keep a round count log with the Vinci (I did start doing this for all my gun purchases this past year), but I would estimate that I have north of 6,000 rounds through the gun. I usually fire a case of 3" steel during the season (250 rounds), along with roughly 1,000-1,500 2 3/4" rounds spread throughout the year spread between clay shooting and dove hunting (this is a conservative estimate). During this time I have replaced no springs or wear items on the gun.
I'm a fan of the modularity of the Vinci platform. I appreciate the ease at which I can disassemble and thoroughly clean the gun. I also like that the action system is contained within the barrel and doesn't extend into the stock. I hunt in brackish & salt water all season long. The peace of mind knowing that I don't have an action spring rusting inside the stock unbeknownst to me is a relief. The gun is a quick pointer (for me) and I appreciate the light weight in the field. I am also a big fan of the safety location. When I grab the gun, my index finger naturally lines up on top of the safety. No changing grip or struggling to disengage it when I'm about to shoot. The safety engagement is still crisp to this day, a big plus. I don't like "mushy feeling" safeties.
The action/inertia springs seem to be wearing well. Recoil impulse using 3" 1 1/4 1500fps loads hasn't increased dramatically since new. The springs feel like they can easily make it to 10,000 rounds before replacement. The ejection pattern of the shells continues to remain consistent since the gun was new. I do have finish wear on the inside of the barrel/receiver from the cycling action of the bolt/bolt carrier roughly 6,000 times. The wear seems to have stabilized and I've switched gun lubes from Hoppes #9 to Slip 2000, which I also use on my AR15 and my handgun collection. The trigger pull has also smoothed up (although it was never rough or gritty) but through 4 years of use, the parts seem to have "meshed" together into a very smooth and crisp trigger pull. After cleaning the barrel I can discern no noticeable wear. The cold hammer forged barrel appears to be wearing well. I sold the Benelli Crio choke tubes and have switched to Patternmaster chokes. I'm getting some wear on the stock's recoil pad, but it's mostly superficial.
I'm also impressed with the durability of Benelli's hydro-dip camo finish. I don't baby my guns, and they sometimes don't get throw into a waterproof, shockproof and goose-down filled gun case on hunting trips. It gets stacked, along with the rest of the gear in the back of the pickup or in a boat on the way to our hunting spot, then it gets slung over my shoulder and gets banged around by the decoys while walking in/setting up, before finally being placed in the marsh/woods/trees while I toss out decoys. The gun has been dunked several times by accident, and continued to work flawlessly during the hunt.
No gun is perfect. While there are many positives about the Vinci that I love, there are also several negatives. Last year, I had issues with loading the first shell into the magazine tube in the morning/during clay shooting, etc. The issue continued to worsen in severity, causing the gun to jam on several occasions and reached the point where I had to force each shell into the magazine tube. I disassembled the magazine tube and found the problem. The inside of the tube and the follower were both extremely caked in carbon from firing the gun over the previous 3 years. The carbon caked up to the point that the follower would jam up when shooting and trying to load the gun. I used a toothbrush to clean the inside of the magazine tube and used some 200 grit sandpaper to remove the carbon from the magazine follower. This seems to have fixed the issue so far in my clay shooting this year. I will be keeping a better eye on the carbon buildup throughout the rest of this season, and urge every Benelli owner to check their magazine tube follower for excessive carbon buildup and to clean accordingly.
I've also noticed that this gun seems to get considerably dirtier than some of my friends shotguns (Remington 11-87, Beretta Xtrema 2) after shooting only 50-100 rounds. While the dirt/carbon/grime doesn't impede the function of the gun, it is somewhat of an annoyance. I've grown to ignore the issue, and clean the gun every 4-500 rounds. Also, don't overlube this gun. It will only cause more dirt/grime/carbon to accumulate inside the action. A very light film on the bolt carrier/inertia spring/bolt will do it.
Perhaps the biggest issue I have with this gun is its tendency to rust. If I hunt on a foggy morning, I'll have surface rust on the bolt handle, bolt, inertia spring, etc. Rust also forms quickly on the shell catch release lever. I've also had to remove some rust where the barrel screws onto the stock. Now, before you say "It's because you abuse/don't clean/misuse your shotgun", this issue does not happen to my friends Xtrema 2, 11-87s, Stoeger, etc. I'm not sure if this is a specific issue with *my* gun, or if Benelli has extremely crappy rust preventatives on a $1,400 gun, but it is very annoying. I wish that Benelli would incorporate something like Beretta's "Aqua Technology" to prevent rust inside the action of the gun. The camo dip is doing fine at preventing rust on the outside of the firearm, but the rate at which I can get rust on the action of my gun is upsetting (after every hunt). I'm very glad I don't have an M2/SBE/SBEII because odds are that the action spring inside the stock would be severely rusted.
I've been pretty satisfied overall with my Vinci. It has been a very reliable and durable companion to me in the marsh and on the clays courses. I haven't had any issues with the dreaded "Benelli click" and the gun continues to function as smoothly as the day I got it. I recently decided to paint the gun (much from the inspiration on this forum) because I was tired of my APG turkey camo. Turned out pretty well (will get pics up when I return to town). After this season I will most likely go through the gun and replace all major springs and give the gun a general "tune-up". I may also have the bolt group coated with Cerakote after this season to combat the rust issue. In all, even with its quirks, I can give the Vinci a thumbs up and hope it will continue to serve me well over the next several seasons.