Benelli Nova Pump Action Shotgun Review (Updated Feb 2019)

Last Updated: by Aiden Williams

Benelli’s slogan is “Simply Perfect.”

This may be a bit exaggerated as I am yet to find a firearm that reaches that standard. But, as far as pump action shotguns are concerned, Benelli Nova certainly raises the bar for its competitors.

I have had mine for quite a while now, during which time I’ve been able to hunt hundreds of waterfowl without any problem.

So, just what makes Benelli Nova such a reliable gun? Read on to learn the features, benefits, and drawbacks of this pump-action shotgun.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Pump-action Shotgun

There are tons of great deals on pump-action shotguns. But, before you spend your cold, hard cash, there are a few factors you should take into account.

Gauge

If this is your first time to buy a shotgun or any other firearm for that matter, some terms might sound too complicated.

No need to worry, however, as we’ll break down some of the terminologies for you. In this case, gauge is simply the diameter of the gun’s barrel. Subsequently, it also refers to the size of rounds that the shotgun can shoot. The most common are 12gauge and 20gauge. Here is a breakdown of shotgun gauges starting with the smallest:

  • 410 bore – due to the small size, these shells are often reserved for hunting small game or for personal defense.
  • 28 gauge – this is yet another small-sized shotgun shell. The 28-gauge rounds are incredibly lightweight; a factor that makes them suitable for hunting pheasants and upland birds.
  • 20 gauge – this is ranked as the 2nd most popular type of shell in the US. It’s great for hunting and target shooting.
  • 16 gauge –It’s not the most common even though it’s usually regarded as a ‘jack-of-all-trades’.
  • 12 gauge – this one is the most popular. The 20-gauge shells are usually at the heavy end of the spectrum. Not to worry, however, as several manufacturers are refining their design to make them lighter. They are ideal for hunting both small and big game.
  • 10 gauge – this shell is not as common as the 12gauge. Perhaps this is because it’s very heavy. However, it’s great for hunting waterfowl.

Barrel Length

If you like starting contentious discussions online, then you should go to a shotgun forum and inquire which barrel length is the most suitable. Of all the controversial topics in the firearms industry, this particular one evokes a lot of responses from equally-passionate proponents as there are opponents. For those that really want a longer barrel, and would still want to use a Benelli, the Benelli M4 is probably a better pick.

One would think that picking a barrel length is the easiest task. As it turns out, it’s just as difficult as having to learn the science behind choke tubes. So, what’s the verdict on the length of the barrel?

To find the best barrel length, there are two factors that come into play: swing and balance. Essentially, shotguns that with long and heavy barrels, swing more smoothly while the short and light barrels are easier to maneuver.

A long-barreled shotgun has most of its weight on the muzzle. This alters the balance point by moving it forward, ahead of the action. The weight-forward is what helps to smooth the swing.

To some extent, picking a barrel length also depends on where you’ll be shooting from. For instance, if you’re hunting rabbits in thick cover, a long-barreled shotgun will be a hindrance.

Plus, you need to factor in portability. If you have to carry your pump-action shotgun for a long distance, then you should prioritize portability over balance.

Weight

Shotgun weights range from 6 to 10 pounds or more, but a majority of them weigh about 6 ½ to 8 ½ pounds. All things considered, a heavy gun is easier to shoot than a light one.

  • Pick a light shotgun (weighing 7 pounds or less) if: you’re into hunting upland birds and turkeys since you have to walk for long distances. And, if you don’t have the upper body strength to carry a heavier shotgun.
  • Pick a heavy shotgun (one weighing in at 7 ½ to 8 pounds) if you like target shooting and hunting waterfowl. The additional weight helps in absorbing recoil; thus, providing a smoother action.

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Overview of Benelli Nova Shotgun

Benelli Nova was released back in 2009. It’s the predecessor of the more advanced Benelli SuperNova shotgun.

This shotgun is very popular among fans of pump-action shotguns. And, even though it’s the semi-automatic shotguns that made Benelli famous, the company has incorporated a lot of cutting-edge features into their Nova model.

The Benelli Nova comes in many configurations such as:

  • Tactical – it’s a 12gauge with 2 ¾”, 3” and 3 ½” chambers. It boasts a black synthetic finish and non-ComforTech stock with a barrel length of 18.5 inches.
  • Field – this one comes in 12gauge and 20gauge. The 12gauge is chambered for 2 ¾”, 3” and 3 ½” while the 20 gauge is chambered for 2 ¾” and 3”. Both shotguns have a black synthetic finish, non-ComforTech stock and barrel lengths of 24 and 26 inches.
  • Field Compact – it’s a 20gauge that works with 2 ¾” and 3” shells. Its finish consists of Realtree APG and its barrel length is 24 inches. You can also find the Field Compact in a black synthetic finish.

Features and Benefits

The most distinct feature of Benelli Nova shotgun is that it’s a single-piece stock and receiver. Simply put; this shotgun has incorporated its polymer stock and receiver into one unit.

There’s an unobstructed black recoil pad covering the hollow stock at the rear. The shotgun grip, which leads into the action of the gun, consists of a metallic feed ramp and an ejection port located on the left. Inside the breech-loader, the movement of the bolt is facilitated by the parallel bars attached to the forearm.

The frame of the Nova is made of heavy-duty plastic. Mine shows no dents or marks despite the abuse it’s been subjected to. That said, it’s important to note that this shotgun has a somewhat unconventional look. Some say that it’s too plain and, frankly, I agree. When compared to the likes of the Remington 870 Wingmaster, the Nova looks overly-big and unattractive.

But Benelli Nova is not the kind of shotgun that you buy for its looks. I’m all for well-designed firearms, but if you’re looking for a shotgun that can stand the test of time, Nova is your best bet.

Like the stock, Nova’s forearm is also constructed from a polymer. It’s used to support the two guide bars that extend into the main stock. The forearm is also capped in rows of raised lines. Unfortunately, the ribbing can end up injuring your hand.

On the bottom section of the Benelli Nova is one of its coolest features—a push-button that controls the magazine’s feed. Basically, you can unload a shell from the chamber without releasing rounds from the magazine tube.

The barrel of the Benelli Nova is completely vent-ribbed and threaded for screw-in chokes. One thing you’ll love about this shotgun is that it comes with full, modified and improved cylinder chokes as well as a choke device.

Of all the steel-made components in the Nova, the barrel is the largest. Naturally, steel is a very durable material. But Benelli has taken things up a notch by adding a parkerized finish on this barrel. Parkerizing is a technique of protecting steel from corrosion by coating it with phosphate. This method also increases the steel’s resistance to wear.

Performance

What the Benelli Nova lacks in looks, it makes up for in performance. This is one of my favorite pump actions to shoot because it’s very comfortable to use. It has high-end ergonomic features that make handling smoother than other models.

Furthermore, its accuracy is always on point. When I started using this shotgun, I had very few misfires and this is only because I used to hold the firearm at an odd angle. So far, I have fired more than 5,000 shells and I have not encountered any problem.

Accessories

Benelli Nova shotgun is ready to use right out of the box. But if you want, you can always customize it by adding or changing some components. Some of these accessories are designed for the 12gauge and others for the 20gauge. Having a good flashlight, for example, is usually a good option.

Slings

This is one of the most common accessories, and it’s easy to see why. Let’s say you are going on a 3-day hunting trip and have to haul your shotgun around. The best way to keep your hands free and your firearm ready for action is to use a sling. What’s more, a sling enables you to carry your Nova on the side or back as opposed to having it in front of you.

Magazine Extensions

Benelli Nova has a 5-round capacity. If you need more firepower, you’ll need a magazine extension tube, which allows you to use up to 7 rounds in one go. We recommend getting either Nordic Components or TacStar tube extensions.

Clamps

If you decide to purchase any of the aforementioned accessories, then another handy attachment you might need is a support clamp. This is the part that holds the other accessories in place. Thanks to the quick-detach mechanisms, these clamps are fairly easy to use.

Sights

Benelli Nova comes with factory sights, which consist of a metal bead mid-sight and a red bar front sight. Although they work just fine, they are not suitable for use in extreme conditions. If you like hunting at dawn or in the wee hours of the night, you might want to upgrade to sights that work better in these settings.

Competitors

Overall, Benelli Nova is a great buy, but when you’re shopping for pump shotguns, there are other options that might seem better. So, how does this shotgun stack up against its competitors? We’ll compare Nova to the Mossberg 590 and Remington 870.

Quality

There is no disputing that Nova is a sturdy and functional pump action. The polymer construction of the single-piece receiver is strong and this makes Nova is as durable as other shotguns made of traditional wood-and-blued stocks. With the Nova, you can subject it to many bumps and no marks will show.

Furthermore, polymer construction is able to withstand extreme summer and winter conditions. The same cannot be said for their metallic counterparts which start rusting after winter romp.

Perhaps the only drawback is the parkerized finish of the barrel is less resilient than blued or stainless finishes. Even though this doesn’t affect the performance of the gun, it’s important to note that this is one area where Nova falls short.

Value

Depending on the type of shotgun you choose, you can expect to spend between $500 and $700. In comparison, Benelli Nova is pricier than most budget-friendly Mossberg and Remington models. Then again, you always get what you pay for.

The action of this shotgun is smoother than its counterparts. It also feels sturdier and has better sights and controls.

Also, Nova is the only pump-action shotgun that I can say, has never disappointed me on the field. So, although it costs more, it offers a 100% return on your investment.

Aftermarket Support

Although I have praised the Nova for its excellent value for money, there’s one sector where this shotgun disappoints: aftermarket support.

Most people will buy shotguns with the intention of customizing them to their liking. Remington and Mossberg took this into consideration, which is why they offer quality add-ons. As an example, customers can transform the Remington 870 into a tactical shotgun within 30 minutes and at a very small cost.

By contrast, you will spend almost double this cost for a similar project for the Nova tactical shotgun. So, if you want a pump action with a high level of customization, Benelli Nova is not the best.

Pros and Cons

  • Benelli Nova has several advantages, one of which is that it’s lightweight. For instance, the Nova Field Shotgun weighs a measly 6.6 pounds. This lightweight design makes it very portable; you can carry it for long distances without getting fatigued.
  • The large size of Nova’s trigger guard is another plus. It allows you to shoot comfortably while wearing gloves on your hands. This factor comes in handy when you go hunting in the cold season. The majority of shotgun trigger guards are way too narrow to allow your gloved finger to fit through.
  • ComforTech recoil reduction system integrated into some of the Nova shotguns offers immense benefits. Essentially, this feature cuts the recoil by about 52% over similar pump shotguns.
  • And, thanks to the ridge-patterned checkering on the forend, it means that you’ll have an easy grip regardless of the climatic conditions or texture of your gloves. Benelli Nova is great for waterfowl or turkey hunting. It’s also suitable for hunting pheasant, deer, dove and any other small game you can think of.
  • The downside to Benelli Nova is that it’s not easy to customize. This is because the receiver and stock are reduced to a single unit.

General User Impressions

  • Most people who have used Benelli Nova seem to like it. They particularly like the shell-stop button, which allows them to empty chambered shells without releasing rounds from the magazine.
  • They also like the firearm’s adaptability in that it can shoot both target loads and 3.5” magnum shells.
  • Another feature many buyers loved was the variety of shotguns to pick from. You can get Benelli Nova in 12 or 20 gauge and with different barrel lengths.
  • However, some users complained about this shotgun’s limited range of accessories. The most common accessories you can get are the IC, M and F chokes. With some of the accessories, you’ll have to purchase them from other dealers.

Our Opinion

  • Benelli Nova is a feature-packed and reliable pump action shotgun. We like that the polymer stock and receiver are integrated into one unit to provide unparalleled strength and weather resilience.
  • The Italian styling that consists of high-tech ergonomics blends perfectly with Nova’s innovative engineering. Some of these ergonomic features include the noticeable grooves on the grip and forend instead of traditional checkering.
  • And, thanks to the rotary head locking lugs and double-action bars, this shotgun works well with all kinds of shells ranging from target loads to the 3 ½” magnums.

Frequently Asked Questions about Benelli Nova

How can I find a Benelli dealer?

If you want Benelli Nova shotgun, the best place to buy is from a Benelli dealer. Visit this page to find one near you.

What kind of maintenance does my shotgun need?

The maintenance you perform will depend on three things: the number of rounds you have fired, type of hunting you do and the type of powder in the rounds.

  • Exterior sections and the bore—clean and lubricate with gun oil after every use
  • Bolt rails and recoil plunger—apply some lubricant at the end of the day
  • Gun—disassemble the parts, clean and oil after every season.

Final Thoughts

The technology that Benelli has put into its Nova line of shotguns is incredible. This pump action has state-of-the-art features that make its handling very easy. If you factor in the polymer construction, you end up with a functional and durable gun at a decent price.

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Check out this semi-automatic from a one of Benelli’s competitor’s, the Beretta A300.

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