Odyssey to a Benelli Ultra Light

It had been happening for quite a few years … I spent time marching through pheasant fields in western Kansas and Nebraska carrying a far-too-heavy semi-auto shotgun and wearing myself out super early in the 10-mile trek. At one point, my pheasant-hunting mentor and I-wish-big-brother, Jim Millensifer, held my gun as I crossed through a fence and said, “Well, for starters, Barb, you need a lighter shotgun!” He then showed me the gun he carried, a Benelli Ultra Light. Fortunately for me, my husband was on the trip and noted that I instantly, and I mean instantly, fell in love with the balance, the look and feel of Jim’s gun. Guess what I got for Christmas that year? Moreover, that gift completed the odyssey to find the perfect gun for me for pheasants (and other things).

Sponsored by Benelli

Benelli Ultra Light is a Game Changer

Babbs pheasant Benelli ultralight
Here I am in the field, shooting my Benelli Ultralight and downing a pheasant that popped up. (Heather Francis photo)

It has been a game changer in the pheasant field for me. I have improved my shots with this 20 gauge by several percentage points – going from one downed pheasant to three on the last trek out during the Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic, and that was three for three. So technically, I hit 100%. The year before, the same thing happened – three for three.

Babbs with Benelli Ultra Light Five Stand
Here I am on the Five-Stand the day before the pheasant hunt.

I’ve also taken this gun to the range and shot 18 or 19 in skeet and trap, and frankly, as we all know, I ain’t no shotgunner. In the Five-Stand last year before the Classic in Kansas, I surprised myself and pointed that gun at the clay and dusted it about 90+% of the time. I guess all the stars aligned for me behind the great gun.

Benelli Ultra Light
My Benelli Ultra Light with chokes and, uh-hum, a pheasant’s tail feathers from last year’s hunt.

Why I Like the Benelli Ultra Light

Benelli claims this shotgun is the “upland hunter’s dream.” For me, it changed my game afield, and actually makes me want to practice. It’s like the gun becomes an extension of my arm, as I point toward the sky – in hopes of having a delicious pheasant dinner in the future.

Babbs and Jessica White
Jessica White, of Wander Woman Kansas, and me after the hunt.

It’s built with Benelli’s patented Inertia Driven System, which means less cleaning because gas, smoke and burned powder soot follow the shot out the barrel, instead of driving back into the action area through a gas operating system. It has three main parts: a bolt body, an inertia spring and a rotating bold head. This means less time getting the gun clean, because there is no piston/cylinder disassembly and scrubbing, and no scrubbing of all the receiver internals. 

Benelli Ultra Light upright

Benelli also claims the reload is fast, and now that I think of it – it is. 

The current model listed on the Benelli website includes the following features:

  • Barrel Length: 24″ 
  • Stock: Satin Walnut with WeatherCoat 
  • Overall Length: 45.6″ 
  • Weight: 5.2 lbs 
  • Magazine Capacity: 2+1
  • Crio barrel and choke tubes – Crio C, Crio IC, Crio M
  • Type of Sights: Red-bar front
  • Chambers either a 2-3/4-inch or 3-inch shell
  • Length of Pull: 14-3/8″ 
  • Drop at Heel: 2-1/4″ 
  • Drop at Comb: 1-1/2″ 
reciver Ultra Light Benelli

And, there’s more to like:

  • Featherweight alloy receiver
  • Lighter magazine tube
  • Carbon fiber rib

MSRP: Depends on the gauge and features selected, but currently ranges from $1669 to $1799

This will be the gun that I put into my granddaughter’s hands when she is a few years older. This will be the gun I hand to women when we hunt together, to try. This gun is already a family legacy and part of our heritage – the gun that Granny downed a few birds with, and carried all over the country.

women's group RNC 20
My team for the Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic, included Outdoor Mentors leaders, as well as the girls who won scholarships and came as youth hunters, along with Jessica White, of Wander Woman Kansas. (Heather Francis photo)

Discover more about Benelli’s line of Ultra Light shotguns.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.