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Benelli special 80 info


Dom93
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I'm hoping to find out more about this benelli special 80 I inherited in box still wrapped from my grandfather who passed away. Most of the manuals are in Italian and I'd like to know as much as possible about it as it means much to me (history, rarity, specs, ect.) any help is appreciated

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Benelli SL-80

     Notes: Introduced in 1978 to replace the old Benelli Autoloader, the SL-80 (also known as the 121 SL-80) is a range of shotguns which was designed for civilian, police, and military work.  The SL-80 and its later versions are available in a variety of finishes, construction materials, and degrees of fanciness, from basic bluing to versions which are built using the finest quality of walnut root and engraving with gold inlays and plating.

     At their heart, however, all members of the SL-80 series are semiautomatic recoil-operated shotguns, stressed to fire both 2.75-inch and 3-inch shells with a variety of different special shells and loadings (though for best results, Benelli recommends that only standard loadings be used in the series).  The SL-80 series is well known for the ability of its semiautomatic action to cycle very quickly while producing lower levels of recoil than comparable shotguns – though they still kick a bit hard compared to modern gas-operated semiautomatic shotguns.  A shotgun expert named John Satterwhite once took an SL-80 with an 8-round extended magazine, loaded an additional round in the chamber, and then fired at a target so fast he emptied the gun before the first expended shell hit the ground – and still attained a decent amount of hits on the target!  In fact, the use of recoil operation instead of gas allows the use of extended tubular magazines of almost any length (even ridiculous lengths extending beyond the muzzle of the gun, which has been done as an experiment), without any significant engineering problems.

     The basic civilian SL-80 is dark walnut-stocked with a semi-pistol-grip wrist and no recoil pad for the butt.  It’s a basic sort of shotgun with a blued finish, steel metalwork, and barrels of barrels of 23.625, 25.625, or 27.5 inches, and fixed chokes which are normally Modified, Cylinder, or Improved Cylinder (though others were available upon request).  Normal sights consisted of a ventilated rib above the barrel with a bead at the front of the rib, but rifle-type sights were available upon request.  Standard magazines held five rounds, but this could be made smaller (depending upon the regulations of the country of the buyer) by use of plugs, and extended magazines could easily be mounted as noted earlier.

     There are several civilian variants of the SL-80, such as the Caccia hunting model, which primarily differs in the variety of finishes available, the addition of a recoil pad and sling swivels, and the different types of sights and ribs which could be mounted.  The Special 80 was also basically identical to the standard SL-80, but was lighter due to the use of the light alloy Ergal for the receiver housing instead of steel.  A Trap version was also built, which was heavier, used only a 27.5-inch barrel, a wider sighting rib with day-glo plastic front bead, and came only with a fixed choke of Improved Cylinder.  A Skeet version was also built; the SL-80 Skeet came in a variety of finishes and fanciness, a 25.625-inch barrel, a wide sighting rib, and threading for variable choke tubes.  A Super 80 Skeet was also produced, with the Ergal receiver.  A single 20-gauge variant, the 201 SL-80, was produced; this was offered only with a 25.625-inch barrel, fixed Improved Cylinder choke, and simple notch and bead sights instead of a sighting rib.  Finally, a specialized slug model was built; this version has a 21.625-inch non-rifled barrel, fully-adjustable rifle-type sights, fixed Cylindrical choke, a stock with a true pistol grip, and a rubber recoil pad on the stock.

     Several military and police versions of the SL-80 series were also produced, called the 121 M-1 series.  The basic 121 M-1 uses a weatherproofed walnut stock with a semi-pistol grip and a standard extended magazine; the steel metalwork is blued and the stock finished so that both are almost black in appearance.  The stock also includes a ventilated rubber recoil pad which is thicker than those used by civilian SL-80s equipped with recoil pads.  The magazine includes a barrel brace to further strengthen the gun.  The 19.75-inch barrel has a fixed Cylindrical choke.  Sights are rifle-type, with the rear sight being fully adjustable and the front sight having a florescent white insert.  The early 121 M-1s were unable to cycle shells without firing them; most, however, have a shutoff switch which allows manual loading and unloading of the chamber.  The 121 M-1 is able to fire virtually any sort of 2.75-inch or 3-inch shell, including round types which semiautomatic shotguns normally find difficult to use, such as riot-control munitions, light-propellant loads, “hot” loads, and other wildcat combinations of propellant and/or pellets (and of course, a variety of slug types).  Unfortunately, the very long recoil spring of the SL-80 series prevents the use of the folding stocks the military and police like so much, but Benelli would supply the 121 M-1 with a Choate Zytel synthetic stock and fore-end, which includes a true pistol grip instead of the semi-pistol grip wrist of the standard 121 M-1 as well as a thick ventilated rubber recoil pad.  (This stock can also be put on civilian SL-80s, but it was not done by Benelli.)

     Production of the SL-80 series ended in 1986; the civilian versions were replaced by a variety of more specialized shotguns (both in grade and use), and the military and police versions were largely replaced by the M-1 and M-3 Super 90 versions (and later by other models).

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