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Posted: 7/15/2010 12:58:40 PM EST
I came across a new M3 for $1,070 out the door. Is that a good deal? I have two Mossberg 500's one is a hunting combo model and the other is my "Tacti-cool" shotgun with collapsable stock, pistol grip, and ghost ring sights. Is having a semi-auto really worth it? Some say pump's are the only "reliable" shotguns. Any of you guys with an M3 or M4 please chime in with your exsperience with them.
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 2:26:28 PM EST
I have an M1 Super 90 that has never failed. I believe my shoulder would give out before the gun would.
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 3:15:49 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/15/2010 3:16:22 PM EST by Paps-Zapf]
Typically, if you are going to have an issue with a Benelli auto, it will be with light "hunting" loads.
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 3:35:16 PM EST
Originally Posted By MJay:
I came across a new M3 for $1,070 out the door. Is that a good deal? I have two Mossberg 500's one is a hunting combo model and the other is my "Tacti-cool" shotgun with collapsable stock, pistol grip, and ghost ring sights. Is having a semi-auto really worth it? Some say pump's are the only "reliable" shotguns. Any of you guys with an M3 or M4 please chime in with your exsperience with them.


Stop thinking about, and buy it for this price. If you don't like it you can still sell it for a profit. Besides, with the M3 you get both a pump and a semi-auto.
Link Posted: 7/15/2010 5:23:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By MJay:
Is having a semi-auto really worth it? Some say pump's are the only "reliable" shotguns.


A semi-auto is great and much easier than a pump when shooting things like skeet or sporting clays. As far as "reliable" goes this is the way I see it: with a pump I am the weakest link (shortstroking etc), with a semi-auto the gun is the weakest link (jamming). Now with good quality ammo I have went thousands of rounds in my Benelli M2 without a single jam/misfire except for bad ammo primers. In a high-stress situation (HD or hunting) the gun will not get scared/excited so there isn't the possibility of screwing up because I'm scared or excited.

ANYWAY with that little aside over, I have been nothing but happy with my Benelli and the people I have heard from about their M4s have been nothing but happy. You could cruise on by the Benelli forum (http://www.benelliusa.com/forum/index.php) for some more questions either before or after your purchase.
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 3:04:14 AM EST
BUY IT!!

I have always loved the M3's and have only heard good things about them. I just recently went from a pump to a semi and I have not regreted it at all. I stripped it down and clean it and it has run perfectly for me (I bought an older Benelli Montefeltro). I would snatch that thing up in a second if i was you. Only one gun store around me has one, new, and they want just shy of $1600 for it, BEFORE TAXES. And as one person said before, If you dont like it, you could easily sell it for what you paid, if not more.

Good luck
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 4:47:23 AM EST
[Last Edit: 7/16/2010 5:08:28 AM EST by CJan_NH]
My M3 is about to celebrate it's 20th birthday. Since buying it new in January of 1991 I have put many thousands of rounds through it. Everything from lightweight bird/trap loads to the heaviest 3" magnum buck and slug loads-and everything in between. Back when it was new it couldn't cycle AA trap loads in automatic mode-no problem though, I just cycled them through via pump

I've had many other shotguns come and go over the years (including several Franchi SPAS 12s), but the M3 has remained a constant.

I will never sell it.

Ever.

When evaluating the reliability of other shotguns, I use my Benelli as the benchmark. This is why I've bought and sold so many others over the years-nothing can touch the reliability of the Benelli. Today, the only other two shotguns I own are 870s, which in my opinion set the reliability bar for a pump shotgun.

As you gun enthusiast yourself you know that in our world there is a lot of hype, and there are a lot of "fanboys" for one brand or another. That said, when it comes to a Benelli autoloader the hype is all true. Whether it be the inertia drive of the M1/M2/M3 or the gas system of the M4 nothing is going to put lead on target faster and with less fuss than a Benelli.

Buy it Around here M3s are nearly impossible to find, and when you do find one they are frequently north of $1200 used.

Here's mine:


The only other thing I would suggest is with lubrication. While I use oil to lube the bolt and trigger pack I use grease on the slide-it stays put better than oil. Good luck!

ETA: It will take 150 to 200 rounds to break in your new M3 (). Use full-power loads to facilitate the break in process, not the reduced recoil tactical stuff. Once broken in, it will cycle just about anything in automatic mode.

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Link Posted: 7/16/2010 5:12:45 AM EST
CJan_NH, I was wondering when you were going to chime in
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 5:33:39 AM EST
Originally Posted By BlindFaith429:
CJan_NH, I was wondering when you were going to chime in

Ha ha!

I wanted to make sure I had enough time to give the OP a thorough, well thought out answer-with the reasoning behind my suggestions. Great deal or not, $1000+ is still a LOT of money for a shotgun, any shotgun. If I was presented with this deal though I'd probably dislocate my shoulder grabbing my wallet so fast
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 5:47:37 AM EST
I have an M3T but I could take or leave it honestly. Many people buy a convertible like this because they think "oh well, if it won't cycle on auto I can use it as a pump". Odds are, whatever is fouling the nearly invincible ID action, it will foul the pump-action also. Convertibles were not developed as a back up to the primary automatic system but rather so specialty rounds could be used and cycled rapidly. This would include tear-gas and less-lethal ammo. If you aren't doing that with your convertible, you aren't using it for what it was designed for.

I also don't think its fair to say that a Benelli ID is any more/less reliable than a pump. In my experience, the ID guns give alot less grief operator induced or otherwise than alot of the pumps out there... To me, its like saying a revolver is more reliable than a Glock. Thats hardly an accurate statement.

As a guy who uses these guns professionally and has for years, I would say stick with a M1/M2.
Link Posted: 7/16/2010 6:13:22 AM EST
XM287-the M3T is the version with the folding stock, isn't it?

I' ve always wondered how the recoil spring works on that particular version. On my M3 the recoil spring in is the buttstock-kind of like an AR. Where is it on yours and how does it work?

Thanks in advance for the info

Link Posted: 7/16/2010 4:20:24 PM EST
Cjan_NH - you sure about your recoil spring being in the buttstock? Mine is not. Take it apart and see if you have the recoil spring around the magazine. The fixed stock version of the M3 takes the same butt stocks as an M1, and as such uses the recoil tube from an M1 to attach the stock, but there's nothing in the tube. Maybe that's what you're seeing? Either that or I've gone senile and am wrong (which is always a possibility ).

OP - sounds like a good deal. If you like it and can afford it, go for it.

Of course depends on what you're getting it for. Just to have, to occassionally shoot, to compete with (and in what), or to use on duty? I note below that lack of chokes is one reason I'd choose something else for certain things.

Also, is it a pre-ban that comes with extended mag and pistol grip stock? Or a post ban? I won't get into the 922R debate, but realize there may be issues with putting those evil features on it if it didn't come with them. And does it have the sights you want? Rifle, GRS? Which ones are "better" is of course a whole other discussion ...

As a previous poster stated, I won't sell mine. It's just cool - the convertible semi/pump is plain neat. And to have a spring assist pump (that will close the pump for you) AND have a LRBO (you never get the click on an empty chamber like with any other pump I've used). But ... for any serious use other than specialty rounds I'd reach for something else first. In the Benelli flavor, that's my M1. Why? Because it's lighter, smoother, more reliable (I've had a few stoppages with the differing recoil design of the M3 - hasn't been fatal as I've immediately switched to pump and kept running), allows use of sidesaddles (forearm of M3 in pump will interfere with those I've tried on it), runs a Surefire fore end without issue, and comes from the factory with screw in chokes.

Again - sounds like a fair price at today's going rate (I'd not priced one for quite some time so had to check before saying this as I've had my preban for ages) so go for it if you like it based on its pros and can accept its cons.

Link Posted: 7/16/2010 5:04:39 PM EST
Originally Posted By jowga:
Cjan_NH - you sure about your recoil spring being in the buttstock? Mine is not. Take it apart and see if you have the recoil spring around the magazine. The fixed stock version of the M3 takes the same butt stocks as an M1, and as such uses the recoil tube from an M1 to attach the stock, but there's nothing in the tube. Maybe that's what you're seeing? Either that or I've gone senile and am wrong (which is always a possibility ).

No, my recoil spring is definitely in the tube in the buttstock-there is no spring around the mag tube on mine. My M3 is an older one though (1991 vintage) with a one piece, seven round mag tube.
Link Posted: 7/17/2010 9:36:43 AM EST
OP - sorry for the slight redirect - but think I at least answered your question in my previous post in this thread. Plus I'm hoping this is somewhat on-topic as we're discussing pros/cons/differences of the M3 - oh I also just brought up below the potential for the pistol grip stock to cause cycling problems (numerous threads elsewhere on that). Let me know if you'd prefer we take this off-line or to another thread ...

Cjan_NH: My M3 is also an older pre-ban H&K-marked unit with the single-piece 7-round mag tube and factory PGS and GRS (although I prefer the Benelli field stock and rifle sights for speed, I've left this one in the golly-gee-whiz all the cool features setup just because it's neater to me that way. Possibly also related to my occasional cycling problems as the PGS can contribute to that). As I have a number of shotguns, I reached way in the back of the safe to pull this one out to confirm there is a recoil spring around the mag tube - there is and I can see it even without disassembly - below the barrel behind the fore end. The action bars that retract when both the bolt is retracted (on semi) or the pump is engaged to them (on pump) compress this spring.

Never worked an on-line picture account - if you're interested you can email me and I'll send you some pics. Pretty sure I also have the manual in electronic (pdf) form that shows the setup. Very curious that the gun may have been made with two totally different recoil systems ...
Link Posted: 7/17/2010 10:37:52 AM EST
It comes with the pistol grip stock and ghost ring sights. If I did get it, it would be my primary defensive shot gun. My mossberg is basically set up the same way except it is obviously a pump and I have a Surefire fore end on it. I thought about a Mossberg 930 SPX but they have no accessories available for them. I guess if I wanted a semi-auto set up just like my Mossberg then I would need to get an M1 instead of the M3. The M1 has a Surefire fore end available for it.
Link Posted: 7/17/2010 11:43:17 AM EST
I had a M1...........sold that and got the M3.
Link Posted: 7/17/2010 3:18:02 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/17/2010 3:27:34 PM EST by jowga]
MJay - defensively, and with proper (heavy enough) loads I think it will be exceptional. Only possible detractor is lack of chokes - depending on your load choice and expected ranges, that may not be an issue at all and you may prefer not having a threaded choke that could back out. And if you like ghost ring sights, those are a more expensive option on the gun so add to its value.

If you have any cycling issues, consider getting the field (straight) stock, or just get familiar with where the pump switch is - it can be used quickly and naturally once you get used to it. But as long as you're not trying to run too light loads or hang too much stuff from the gun, it should work great. I also have field stocks for my Benellis, although I've left the PG on the M3 just because it's cool . My M3 also came with the factory light mount, but you can do the same with the tube clamp mounts that are available - as you've already got a Surefire fore end, you obviously like the mounted light, but as you know there's not one available for the M3 (unless they've started making one recently). Plus side of the M3 is being most likely used on semi auto, there's no issue with the light or switch wire hanging or hanging up with the pump action like if you mounted a similar setup on your Mossberg.

So - great gun, extremely reliable with proper loads, can go high round count without cleaning if need be (many gas guns would choke trying to shoot a similar number), and lots of cool features.

On the proper loads part: some Benellis (my M1 one being one) will run with absolutely any load. It eats the cheap Wal-mart bulk pack stuff all day, which is a good test for a semi. It wouldn't do that until I lost the PG stock, though (it would run heavy defensive loads). That's where my M3 is - it's not reliable with light loads, but I've got the PG stock on it at the moment. Don't care as I can be on pump in a heartbeat, and this is an awesome gun even on the pump setting. Now YMMV - I have a tendency to lean into a shotgun more so I can increase my ROF, and that's counter to what an inertia shotgun needs to function - you may never have an issue with reliability. I think it WILL work reliably with heavier loads, and MAY work reliably with lighter loads depending on the particular shotgun and your shooting style. Just make sure you've got a good load in it for you before depending on it defensively.

ETA: MJay's comment about getting an M1 just sunk in after I hit submit. Also an option - counter to what JTWO did, I kept both - my M1 with a Surefire is my go-to defensive shotgun (although I'm more of a rifle and handgun sort of guy), and my M3 is there as part of the collection. Of the two, I started competing with the M3 first, then went to the M1 once I got one of those (my current competition shotguns I'll save for other threads). As noted in my first post in this thread, the M1 is lighter, smoother, more reliable, has chokes, and a Surefire fore arm. The chokes were a significant part of that choice as the heavy steel plates at longer ranges in some matches were simply too much for the open-choked M3 to handle. But, if the switch action interests you, I think the M3 would also provide exceptional service provided you verify your loads (as you should do with any firearm).
Link Posted: 7/18/2010 12:57:51 PM EST
That's a great buy! Mine was $1100 used.
I love mine. It's not the most compact defensive shotgun around, for sure.
With some custom work, mine has been outfit with a Comfortech stock, Ti charging handle, oversize cartridge release button and safety.
Spent a chunk of money on the hunting barrel, so it's a very versatile scattergun that runs the cheap ammo just fine. I need to recountour the rear, lower corners of the receiver to match the new stock.
Once that's done, it'll need to be refinished and I was thinking some sort of tan.
The goal was to have one shotgun for everything. I was already committed to it when I was given a Mossberg for free. For all of that money, I would probably do things differently, like sell the Mossberg and buy an M2 and Red Label instead.
Regardless, it's a great gun and I don't see myself ever letting it go.
Buy that one and enjoy it!

Thanks,
Lee
Link Posted: 7/22/2010 6:03:35 AM EST
So what did you end up doing?
Link Posted: 7/23/2010 12:38:49 PM EST
I am curious as to how this worked out too.

Besides, not my money, go for it if you haven't.
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