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Unobtanium

Highest Round Count Benelli (M4) Failure

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Some of you may, or may not be aware of Henderson Defense in Las Vegas. They were nice enough to communicate directly with me via Facebook to bring me this data, so I want to give them a shameless plug before we begin the data, as well. They're a good company, run right, and benefit our Veterans as well as The Public At Large. (All text-blocks as quotes are attributed to Ron, the VP of Henderson Defense/Battlefield Las Vegas, and have been posted as best I can to preserve the context in which he made said statements).

https://www.battlefieldvegas.com

 

 

As I said, first, a message from Ron, the VP, to give a glimpse inside his business, and who he is as a manager/VP. This was posted in 2015, and his business has increased in volume exponentially since then, so his employee count, etc. is likely no-longer close to accurate.

First, every single day that I am there (and I work six days a week at least 10-12 hours a day) I hear "oh my God.. I had no clue that's what it's really like" or "how did those guys do it during (insert W***, Korea, Vietnam, OIF, OEF)" and the "wow.. I never wanted to touch a gun in my life but that's the most fun I think I've ever had". The customers DO walk away with an appreciation that THEY have because 90% of our guests don't own a weapon, let alone have ever seen a real, functioning example in person. Their only knowledge of a gun is from a movie where some actor holds two Uzi's or AK's and sprays across the scene killing every bad guy in sight. My staff are allowed to talk ZERO politics with guests and it always puts a smile on my face when I hear "I am from NYC/San Francisco and we just don't like guns but wow... that was SO different than what I thought it was going to be like... can I buy something like this where I live".

 

 

Now, add to the fact that over 90% (actually higher but I don't have the time to do the math) of my staff are either prior service or still in the Guard/Reserves and the respect and appreciation factor just doubled with our guests. Every single one of my RSO's is prior service or Guard/Reserves (as well as all our drivers and my managers) and a majority of them are OIF/OEF combat vets. You can hear their appreciation when they start asking "so ALL of you were in the military.. my gosh, thank you so much for your service (and I would bet 99 out of 100 people have never uttered those words in their life).

 

 

As for the making money comment... I don't employ 58 people just to give me something to do, of course it's to make money just like any other business model. It's called capitalism and that's what we do. I don't judge people for their occupations because as long as it's legal and you feel comfortable with it, all the power to you.

 

 

I deal with GI's everyday that have heavy baggage they brought home with them from Iraq and Afghanistan. Nobody ever says the "PTSD" word because the minute you do, you're a "faggot" or "*****". Meanwhile, as the employer I see it through their eyes and hear it in their words. I feel that I have a VERY generous policy towards PTO and if things are bugging you, take it. It also means that if you need to change from RSO to driver or driver to armorer, then so be it. It's put us in a bind more than once but since I claim we provide a "military experience", I as the employer, am also working in a "military experience". Everyday isn't sunshine and roses but I wouldn't trade a single one of my staff because they each bring their own "military experience" to work with them and that is what's made us so successful. I could go on and on about my staff because I know each of them by their name and they continue to raise the bar on what I think model employees should be. Quite a few of my guys are still in their twenties and medically retired from injuries they sustained while overseas. It lays heavy on my heart how these young men are so physically and emotionally damaged (IED's, blast injuries, falls, etc) but we adjust OUR schedule around them, not like most standard businesses.

 

 

Lastly, there are places like the ones you described here in Vegas. I know for a fact they are in it for the money and it's just an equation of how many customers can they get through the door and how fast can they get them through. They have the "gun girl" RSO's with hot pants, fishnet stockings and low-cut tops and that's 100% fine with me. They are providing a service to customers and they providing jobs. My problem is when they endanger employees and customers with ****** safety practices. We try to avoid hiring staff from other ranges because nobody wants retreads from places with bad practices but occasionally there are some gems among them. I know exactly how many ranges can give two shits about employees and lead hazards, throwing away filters contaminated with lead right into the garbage, writing employees up and firing them for having high lead levels (so OSHA doesn't find out how bad things are) or the TENS OF THOUSANDS of dollars we spend each month to ensure a safe environment for both my staff and guests. That may seem like a stretch to some of you but trust me, I would rather be spending that kind of money each month on something else but it what it is. It's the cost of doing business and keeping my staff safe.

 

 

As for the little girl in Arizona, the day that happened I had SO many of my RSO's come up to me and say, "damn Doc, you're right about those mini subguns". My staff had always asked for them (and the new RSO's as they came on board) but I always told them no little subguns unless we have a front strap for the wrist AND a suppressor. I must give credit to Tony D over at The Gun Store because he's the one that advised me specifically against the micro or mini Uzi's because of the rate of fire and transfer of weight with the heavy bolt causing the weapon to act like a teeter totter. I do have MAC's (.45, 9mm,.380) but again, they have huge and heavy Bower's suppressors to keep them down. Also, my staff has ALWAYS had the discretion to choose if a customer is suited for a particular weapon. If my RSO's don't feel comfortable with the customer and the weapons they chose, they are getting substituted with something can do and I usually refund the customer as well. It's worth the extra ammo so everybody is comfortable.

 

 

One last word about my staff. I hired a new driver two weeks ago. He initially turned in an application four weeks prior but let one of my managers know that he had used marijuana three weeks prior. My manager told him that we drug test and it wasn't a good idea to submit an application. He did come back in after waiting about three weeks and my manager spotted him submitting the application. He notified me and I told him lets review his application before just tossing it. Everything looked good; infantry E5 who was running and gunning and DD-214 matched up with application. I told my manager to go ahead and interview him on the spot. After all was said and done about his service, he called him out on smoking pot. He admitted that he's had issues adjusting since being home and he was hoping that it would help him relax but instead made him more depressed. He said he heard about a place where it' mostly GI's working together in a military-style environment and he was hoping he would fit in. I told my manager to hire him on the spot and start issuing him uniform, boots and get him out for a whiz quiz and background check ASAP. Two days later he walked up to me and asked if he could talk. I said of course as my staff know that I have an open-door policy for personal matters. He told me that he thinks this is the best thing that's ever happened. He said he's tried to get jobs at other places but when you go from 100 miles per hour to zero it hits you hard. When just a couple months ago when you were shooting people down range and you have your boys with you everyday life gets turned upside down when you can't talk about it with fellow employees who will think you're crazy and going to do something stupid. He looked at me with those same eyes I get from so many of the staff and said thank you for doing this. He said he needed to get back in uniform, he needed to talk to guys who are on his level and have been there, done that and can cope with words that come out of his mouth.

 

 

So, I am 100% at ease with myself, my business practices, my staff and the experiences that I feel our guests truly do appreciate here at Battlefield Vegas.

 

 

V/R

Ron

 

 

To put into perspective just how large his operation is getting to be, they just bought a new (to them) M60A1 tank, with functioning main-gun, they own an M134 which you can fire, etc...

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Now...on to the technical stuff as relates to the Benelli M4, garnered over 5+ years of their experience with a Benelli M4 SBS...

 

When we opened our range in October of 2012, we started off with my personal Mossberg 500's, Remington 870's, SPAS-12 and Benelli M4. The Mossberg (I can't recall which actual SKU) had a longer barrel and was a newer production shotgun. The Remington was an older police trade-in that I purchased as group. These were older guns that mostly steel parts (not the plastic or aluminum trigger housings), wood furniture and a parkerized finish. The Benelli M4 was my just recently acquired SBS and was factory new when put on the line. The SPAS-12 was purchased at our retail gun store as a trade-in from a customer. I didn't know anything about round count or how well it worked or didn't work. Since opening, we've expanded our line to the Saiga-12 (SBS), VEPR-12's (full-auto) and Chinese double-barrel coach guns.
-1/22/2017

 

 

I know I've promised to a shotgun thread but I will say this. We get a MAXIMUM of 5-6 weeks out of a Mossberg or Remington pump-action before it's down. Sometimes we will only get two weeks out of them before they are hard-broke. I can't say one is better than the other BUT... we've had a Benelli M4 on the line since DAY ONE and it has yet suffer from parts breaking. Granted, it only gets about 1/5 of the use but it's closing in on FOUR years and not one problem.
-8/29/2016

 

 

This quote should give you an idea of the volume they see at their range...consider the economics at play, here...

 

 

I don't know the name of the parts that are breaking on the Remington's but we would have to remove the rivet(s) on the left side of the receiver in order to repair it. The other parts that both shotguns (Mossberg and Remington) lose very early, are the "forks" that operate the slide. They both last about the same time and I can't say one is better than the others. We did have some older police trade-in's Remington's with the wood furniture that lasted the longest. We spoke to rep's from both companies at a private tradeshow and both of them didn't seem to believe us in how short of a life-span the shotguns have on our range. I wish we could just use Benelli M4's but customers want to hear the pump-action sound that they've heard on every movie, tv show and video game.

We consider shotguns disposable at this point and it's not worth the time to repair them. We will probably just start listing them on a Gunbroker account and sell them in lots as "fixer-upper's" because we don't have time to sell them one-by-one and then have to deal with customers telling us they want to return it because it's not easy to fix as they thought.. or they didn't know it was broken (though the ads CLEARLY stated they were), etc...

9/11/2016

 

 

We have a Benelli factory SBR that has been on the line since day one OVER four years ago and it runs and runs and runs. Mossbergs and Remington pump-actions will get 3 and at MOST 4 weeks of use before they are hard-broke. It's been abused with 00 buck, birdshot and even higher velocity frangible but nothing has taken it out of action.

If I ever had to have one shotgun for the rest of my life, it would be the Benelli M4.

-1/5/17

 

 

As for the Benelli, that is the longest working shotgun in our inventory. It has been on the line since day one and after inspecting the records, it actually did suffer one parts breakage. The part that broke was the rear sight and not related to any shooting or over-use (staff member dropped it). It may not be used quite as often as the pump-action shotguns but it goes on the line daily and there are plenty of people who want to shoot it thanks to all the video games that it's featured in. We've used 00-buck, "light recoil" buck, birdshot and frangible buckshot and it eats anything that we give it and never fails to cycle. The Marine RSO's all have prior experience with Benelli M4 and really love it and the fact that it continues to work and work always leads them to boast about how well the Marine's choose their weapons.
-1/22/2017

 

 

I'm on my flight heading home and tried to come with a fair and conservative round count for the Benelli. It would be fair to say that using the lowest daily round count and then estimating down (instead of rounding up), I believe it's fair to say that the Benelli M4 has seen at least 40,000 through it since it started out here on the range.
-2/19/2017

 

Hi Jonathon, one part FINALLY broke after the 5 year mark. The part that broke was the piston I believe. I will verify for you tomorrow to be sure.
-3/26/2018

 

I'm glad you decided to purchase the Benelli after reviewing our experiences. It's not a cheap purchase but that old saying of "buy once, cry once" definitely applies here. It's a pricey shotgun but if I could only choose one shotgun to own, hands down this would be it. I don't mind paying for a quality product if it delivers and I definitely wouldn't steer somebody into a shotgun that may affect the family budget if it didn't stand up the way it has.
Edited by Unobtanium

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Great post.

 

A broken piston is easy to replace. I assume you could still rack the bolt manually to get the gun to work.

 

I have often thought about firing an M4 without the pistons to see what would happen but I've never gotten around to it . . .

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The M4 will function with one piston, albeit a little more sluggishly. Found out when I snapped one. With the one I have 15k through, the receiver looks brand new aside from the beveled edges of the ejection port.

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