BENELLI ETHOS 28
THE CROSSOVER SUB-GAUGE
There are some hunting operations where the line between wild and stocked birds isn’t very clear. These premium lodges usually put out large quantities of birds early in the season, and by the time your dog points them, they fly and act much like wild birds. I joined some friends at one such place a couple of seasons back: Pheasant Bonanza in Tekamah, Nebraska (pheasant bonanza.com).
I used this hunt as an excuse to see whether Benelli’s thennew Ethos 28 ($1,999; benelliusa.com) with its larger 3-inch chamber could hold its own against such roosters. I was fairly skeptical that an extended-length 28-gauge could offer much more ballistically than the traditional 3⁄4-ounce payload. As it turned out, the nimble Italian-made semi-auto had no difficulty knocking birds out of the sky. Even when shooting 1-ounce loads, the 28’s recoil was as soft as a mother’s kiss, giving us many opportunities for doubles on the lodge’s excellent roosters. — j.b.s.