Benelli's quest for alternatives and winning solutions for the ballistics of its guns has never stopped. Especially leadfree loads require more performance from the shotgun! Looking at the history of the italian brand Benelli, in which the famous Saint Etienne barrels remain unforgettable, passing through the development of cryogenic barrels to Power Bore barrels, it is not difficult to see the continuous evolution of the work of Benelli engineers who now, with the patented Advanced Impact system formula, go beyond the known boundaries.
From the study of the main parameters such as the length of the cone, the diameter, the internal bore, what can be defined as the best possible profile has been identified, in order to redesign the barrel-chole assembly and thus maximise performance. The barrel's internal design is particular and innovative as the chamber is followed by a very long cone ending in the cylindrical part of the barrel (the bore) whose diameter is larger – between 19.6 mm and 19.8 mm – compared to standard barrels and then extends again into the cylindrical area used to insert the choke, in the middle of which the necking begins. Advanced Impact barrels are steel rated and can also use steel pellets even with * and ** chokes, as well as slug loadings. The system will enter the Benelli range in both semi-automatic and over-and-under shotgun models. The chokes, available in two types, one fully internal and one partially external, have new geometries and lengths of 10 and 12 cm. The first section of the chokes, which are only compatible with Advanced Impact barrels, is totally cylindrical and then varies in the necking area. The increase in velocity provided by the new Benelli technology is over 20 m/s. For now, the new barrel technology is available in the 12-gauge 828 S over-and-under and Raffaello Limited Edition semi-automatic.
Video: Benelli Advanced Impact. Interview with Roberto Massarotto
Advantages of the Benelli Advance Impact System for shotguns: faster, farther, deeper
The new Advanced Impact technology has, of course, been subjected by Benelli to numerous tests carried out with as many different types of loadings, both lead and alternative materials. Optical barriers were placed near the muzzle and high-speed cameras placed at different distances along the trajectory of the shots to measure the velocity of each individual pellet. Each ammunition has been tested on a number of rounds to ensure statistical value.
The study showed that the shot fired with the Benelli A.I. system is always faster on average than the shot fired with a standard barrel, whatever the type of ammunition used. Greater velocity obviously translates into longer distances that until now would have been considered at the limit of range, thanks to the greater energy stored by each pellet. From these premises comes the third result achieved of greater depth and penetration of the shot patterns, given by a swarm of pellets retaining high velocities and more energetic impact. The improvement in performance in the tests was found in both 12/76 magnum chambered and 12/89 super magnum chambered shotguns.
Leadfree ammunition: optimisation of steel shot performance with Benelli's Advanced Impact System
A noteworthy aspect is the performance of the Benelli Advanced Impact system with lead and steel ammunition. It is well known that in nature a steel pellet has a lower density than a lead pellet and, in order to have a mass parity, must necessarily have a greater volume and therefore a larger surface area. This results in a faster loss of velocity than lead pellets, due to the increased air friction. In order to counter this intrinsic behaviour, cartridge manufacturers compensate for the difference in performance of the two materials with a higher muzzle velocity for steel pellets than for lead pellets. Thus, although steel is faster as it leaves the muzzle, it also loses velocity faster as it progresses, while lead, while leaving the muzzle at a lower velocity, maintains energy for longer with higher target performance. So, while we can't yet say that a shot fired with the Benelli Advanced Impact system and steel pellets performs in the same way as a shot fired with a standard barrel and lead pellets, the tests carried out show a significant improvement in the performance of steel at longer distances. Undoubtedly, an outstanding result has been achieved by Benelli.