Benelli is best known worldwide for its shotguns. Founded in 1967 and based in Urbino, Italy, the company has been part of Beretta Holding since 2000. The manufacturer's reputation is based not least on selmi-automatic shotguns such as the Benelli Montefeltro Max5, M2 Comfortech Max 5 Camo, Vinci and Super Black Eagle 3 models, which are manufactured in a modern design. Thus, Benelli plays globally at the top in the field of autoloading shotguns. In 2021, the state-of-the-art plant (Industry 4.0) in Urbino produced 325,000 guns. At SHOT Show 2020, Benelli's world's first bolt-action rifle was introduced to the public. The name of the rifle was chosen in reference to the largest predator in our hunting grounds: Lupo is the Italian for wolf. Not only in the USA the Lupo has already found many fans. We at all4hunters.com had the opportunity to test the Benelli Lupo in a variety of hunting situations over a period of five months. Our thanks go to Gert Mürmann from Waffen Mürmann in Wittenberg, Germany, who gave us the opportunity to intensively test the Benelli Lupo over such a long period of time while hunting deer and red deer from a raised hide, as well as in wild boar stalking and night raised hide hunting. Finally, we were able to take the Benelli Lupo on a few driven hunts. You can see in the video linked above on the all4hunters channel on Youtube how the "Italian wolf" performed there (make sure to turn on the English subtitles!).
Benelli Lupo with Steiner Ranger 8 scope, Svemko suppressor and Sako Powerhead Blade ammunition: long-term test
- Bolt-action rifle: Benelli Lupo (barrel length 20") in .308 Winchester caliber with synthetic stock
- Scope: Steiner Ranger 8 2-16x50 universal scope
- Suppressor: Svemko Pure S
- Ammunition: Sako Powerhead Blade 162 grs (10.5 g), lead free
What makes the Benelli Lupo stand out? The manufacturer itself advertises with the slogan: "Dominate the moment". In addition to the Lupo model with synthetic stock that we tested, there is also a wooden stock variant that bears the name "Best Wood". A striking feature of the Benelli Lupo is the angled bolt handle, which initially takes a little getting used to. However, upon closer inspection, the advantage quickly becomes noticeable. The bolt action is extraordinarily fast and smooth, as Gert Mürmann was able to demonstrate impressively with a wild boar follow-up shot during a driven hunt. There is no possibility of hitting the target optic with the hand while repeating. Three optional Combtech cheek pads of different heights allow the stock to be individually adjusted so that the user always has the optimum eye level in relation to the sights or optics used. Hidden in the buttstock is Benelli's Progressive Comfort System, which noticeably reduces felt recoil. Even without a silencer, the Lupo is extremely comfortable to shoot. The rifle's pistol grip offers a very good feel and is grippy and firm in the hand. A major problem with standardized pistol grips is that short, long, thick or narrow trigger fingers require a different reach from the trigger. The Benelli Lupo offers the possibility to vary the trigger reach. A huge advantage of the Benelli Lupo is the modularity of the system. As a hunter, you can easily adapt the stock to your individual needs in both drop and length, so you can create your own custom stock out of the box. The stock length is easily configurable between 350 mm and 385 mm. Benelli brings all these possibilities together under the term "Perfect Fitting". In total, this gives you as a user the opportunity to optimally customize your Lupo in 36 settings according to your needs.
The Lupo action works with a three-lug bolt. Thanks to the BE.S.T. coating, this slides smoothly and quietly through the receiver, repeating as smoothly as butter and at a speed that is not inferior to a straight-pull repeater. The BE.S.T. surface treatment uses a highly innovative carbon-based hybrid technology that is covered by trade secret, but Benelli guarantees it for 25 years, which is unique for a production rifle! Accordingly, the Benelli Lupo provides maximum resistance to corrosion, abrasion, wear and external influences. Magazine capacity is five cartridges for medium and standard calibers and four for magnum calibers. The Lupo uses a double-stack toploader magazine that is smooth and very easy to fill - no cumbersome tricky design: just place the cartridges from the top and press down, done. Inserting the magazine is also very easy, just insert it correctly and press it up until the catch clicks into place.
The Lupo has a two-position safety. This is located in the form of a slide on the stock tang and is easy to operate even when the rifle is cocked. When the slide is pushed forward from the safety position, the gun is ready to fire and a red dot appears, which is otherwise covered by the slide. You can operate the safety very quietly at "almost" all temperatures. We had the Benelli Lupo in use at temperatures as low as -15 °C. A push button on the side allows the bolt to be unlocked so that unloading can be done while the safety is on.
At first glance, the trigger unit is arranged somewhat unusually. It does not sit exactly parallel to the action and barrel. However, upon closer inspection, one finds that the trigger is aligned exactly in the direction of the finger pull, so there is always clean, full contact of the trigger finger to the trigger blade. Trigger pull weight is adjustable and the trigger breaks like glass.
The test scope: Steiner Ranger 8 2-16x50
Together with the Lupo, we put the Steiner Ranger 8 in the 2-16x50 version under the microscope in almost every conceivable and sensible hunting situation. It accompanied us on the stalk, on the raised hide and at the night hunt. In addition, we did not miss the opportunity to test this all-round riflescope on a driven hunt.
Our tip: you can master "almost" all hunting situations with this riflescope. Light transmission is decent and also in the twilight you will appreciate the Steiner Ranger 8 2-16x50. Take a look at our video linked above. Thanks to this riflescope, we hit at decent range on the driven hunt. With the extended field of view and 8x zoom factor, the Steiner 8 2-16x50 is, in our view, the price-performance winner with a clear price advantage over comparably sized premium optics. As of today, that's just under 1,300 euros you can save. Just compare that for yourself.
The test suppressor: Svemko Pur S
The full-titanium suppressor from Svemko comes in proven modular design. It is ultra light and with a weight of 195 grams you can hardly feel it. As with all silencers, the recoil is significantly reduced. The attenuation performance is between 26-29 dB(C) and with a diameter of only 42mm, a maximum field of view is guaranteed. The advantages of the silencer are obvious:
- Less noise in the hunting ground means the game stays close
- Protection of your own hearing and also that of the dog
- Pleasant recoil behavior
With the "Svemko Quick-Mount" system developed by Svemko, you can mount or dismount the silencer very easily before and after hunting: simply put it on, turn it 90° and tighten it. Of course, the usual care tips regarding use and cleaning also apply to this silencer.
The lead-free test ammunition: Sako Powerhead Blade
One of the best available lead-free bullets in .308 Winchester caliber is currently the 162-gr (10.5 g) Sako Powerhead. We had the factory cartridge with this bullet in continuous use over a 12-month period (not just with the Lupo) and can say that game either died right on the spot or traveled only short escape distances. If the hit lands where it should, namely on the shoulder blade, roe deer, wild boar or even red deer are killed on the spot. As with any bullet, there can be follow-ups on "poorly" aimed shots, of course. Our cameraman Matze Haack also had to go through this school during one of the last driven hunts of the season. Nevertheless, the Sako Powerhead Blade provided enough trail signs even in such a case: the escape was already over after a 200 meter long search and the dead boar could could be recovered by the search team. Many thanks to the search team: Jens Hennicke and his Hanover hound Aika from the Schweißhundestation Mitteldeutschland.
Our conclusion on the Benelli Lupo test package
With the Benelli Lupo in .308 Winchester, the Steiner Ranger 8 scope 2-16x50 and the Pure S silencer from Svemko, you have a combio that covers the majority of all disciplines relevant to hunting. It is effective for the raised hide, stalking and driven hunting. Anyone looking for an all-round combination for hunting will find what they are looking for in this set and will quickly be just as convinced as we are. The Benelli Lupo feels at home on the raised hide, thrilled on the stalk and offered good performances that ended with hits at decent distances on the driven hunts.