Thinking of Benelli means thinking of semi-automatics even before arriving at the city of Urbino, in Italy, that since the company's beginnings has seen the fame of these guns grow among hunters around the world. After more than 50 years of history, the Urbino-based company is presenting within the walls of the city that is a symbol of the Italian Renaissance a set of semiautomatic shotguns that is meant to be a tribute to the values of Italian art and tradition in the world.
With the aesthetics of its engravings, the Magnifico Set of Five celebrates the art of hunting, Renaissance genius and the history of the Benelli company. Inside the Ducal Palace in Urbino, together with colleagues from the national and international press we had the chance to know the set of five semiautomatics that makes up a family consisting of two 12-gauge shotguns, two 20-gauge and one 28-gauge shotgun.
Accompanied by Benelli management, in the presence of Anna Rita Moretti, wife of the company's president, and Elena Gregori Daverio, widow of art Philippe Daverio, we were able to learn about the reasons and choices that led to more than five years of work to make what is an actual work of art in the gun industry. The Magnifico Set of Five, until some lucky collector decides to make it his own, is a true Italian ambassador of the Renaissance, hunting, the noble sentiments that animate it and the art to which it has always been linked. More than 2,000 hours of work went into the handmade engravings on each gun – the result of symbolic choices, never left to chance as evidenced by the different subjects for each gauge, hunting scenes and environments ranging from lake landscapes to dog hunting in the hills of Montefeltro, the land of Duke Federico, lord of Urbino, condottiero and symbol of enlightened Renaissance culture.
Video: Benelli Magnifico Set of Five
Details of the Magnifico Set of Five
The semiautomatics' hand-carved receivers, based on the most prestigious Benelli Executive series, are stainless steel and obviously inertia-driven but with modified and hand-finished mechanics to ensure perfect couplings. From the mechanics to the themes of the engravings, everything tends toward elegance and balance of form as shown by the trigger guard in which the proportions of the golden ratio can be found, a symbol of perfect harmony of form, present not only in Leonardo Da Vinci's works, but also recalling the shape of the helicoidal staircases of the Torricini (small towers) in the Ducal Palace of Urbino, in yet another homage to the city. Same attention to design is found in the folding bolt handle, which folds down to provide continuity with the guns' slender lines. A yellow gold sky is a characteristic feature of the set on the sides of the receiver in the 12-gauge, amid lake vegetation and mallards flying toward the horizon.
Dogs and pheasant hunting themes inspire the engravings on the 20-gauge shotguns, while the gamebird portrayed in the 28-gauge semiautomatic it is the quail. in various settings with hounds. Common to all semiautomatics that make up the Set of Five is the floral motif consisting of oak leaves and acorns with embossed rose gold settings. Made from the most sought-after grade 5 walnut wood, the handmade stock sports an oil finish applied by master craftsmen, who are also responsible for mounting the wood. The recoil pad is made of buffalo horn. The components of the five guns in the set are marked with the last two digits of the gun serial number.
The barrels of the five semiautomatics are made of chrome molybdenum steel and hand blued. For the 12- and 20-gauge, the length is 70 cm, while it measures 65 cm in 28-gauge. The barrel features a fixed choke ** (two stars) for the 12-gauge, while *** (three stars) chockes are fitted in the 20- and 28-gauges. The rib is flat with hand-made checkering, with a gold front sight bead. The Magnifico Set of Five could not come in an ordinary case. It comes inside what is a work of art within a work of art, a case entirely handcrafted from wood and leather, decorated with an engraving of Leonardo da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine, a symbol of Italian genius around the world. When one happens to think of hunting as one of the noble arts, born of primitive human needs and becoming over time an expression of passion for nature and beauty, it is not simply being rhetorical. Also by making these so preciously symbolic guns, Benelli has managed to concretely demonstrate that.
For more information on Magnificent Set of Five please visit the Benelli website.