Benelli MR1 rifle critique

Benelli’s MR1 is a development of their ARGO rifle (sold in the United States as the R1), which is itself related to the excellent Benelli M4 shotgun, in use by the US Marine Corps as the M1014.

While the M4 makes good use of the ARGO gas system and offers a true  – if expensive – improvement over combat shotguns of the past, the MR1 is, in my opinion, a significant step back from current and former automatic and semiautomatic rifles. Most of these issues relate to the ergonomics of turning a tube-fed semi-auto shotgun into a magazine-fed semi-auto rifle. I explain more in the video.

Benelli MR1 Critique

Given the price of the MR1 and its ergonomic shortcomings, I think that the Kalashnikov platform would be a much better choice, and the Czech Vz-58 better still. They offer some of the same features such as a gas piston operating system and a chrome lined, hammer forged barrel, but at a much lower price point and with comparable, if not improved, control locations. From a US perspective, they’re much more available with features that Benelli isn’t willing to import, and are supported by a strong aftermarket presence.



Andrew Tuohy

Andrew Tuohy was a Navy Corpsman with the 5th Marine Regiment. He makes a living by producing written and visual content within the firearm industry, and he also teaches carbine courses. He prefers elegant weapons for a more civilized age, and regularly posts at Vuurwapen Blog.


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  • snmp

    In fact with CIP country weapon you need to have for proof mark of the weapon with more 20% hight pressure of the more powerfull compatible ammunition.

  • Andy from West Haven

    Whoever thought that the placement of the mag release was a good one needs to be banned from firearms development entirely.

    That right there was the deal breaker for me.

  • Matt Groom

    1:9 is practically ideal for 5.56, since it will stabilize anything and everything that can be fed from an AR-length magazine, including MK.262, 77grn OTM. Even a 1:12 will stabilize bullets of up to 64 grains with good accuracy, and I have shot 69 grain SMKs out of my A1 barrel with usable accuracy at 300m with an open sighted (A2 upper) AR. I know, I was shocked, too. The difference between match winning accuracy and fight winning accuracy are actually pretty far apart, and if you care about BCs, then the 5.56 is probably not the cartridge for you.

  • cc19

    Doesn’t do anything for me. Their shotguns are superb (own an M4), but I’ll stick to the good old AR or AK for my rifle.

  • MibZ

    Wait…what? Either I can’t comprehend things very well when I’m sick or this is a bizarre idea. This is a conversion from a tubular shotgun to a magazine-fed rifle? What is the point?

  • andrew

    Matt, 1/9 is not ideal for 5.56. It simply will not stabilize 77gr until it hits the transonic region. If you have not shot past 300 yards, you can’t be expected to know this. You can do a lot with 1/9, but you can do more with 1/7.

  • Matt Groom

    You are incorrect, Andrew. Find a 1:9 AR and try it.

  • andrew

    Matt, I shoot 600 yard competitions quite often, and have owned a number of 1/9 ARs. I am quite aware of what they are capable of.

  • Bob Z Moose

    I was looking forward to this gun. Given Benelli’s other entry into the rifle market (the R1) and their track record of great ergonomics on their shotties, I would think they would have done a better job. Oh well, I guess it’s back to want a Polish AK or one of those semi-auto Galils Century is putting out.

  • Matt Groom

    Andrew,

    I have also shot a number of competitions with ARs, including NRA High Power, and I assure you that 77 grainers are stable at 600m with a 1:9 twist. I know this because I only have a 1:12 AR and a 1:9 AR, and I have access to a huge assortment of ammo. There’s a difference between “not very accurate” and “unstable”. However, if you’re shooting NRA-HP then you are required to single load, and most of the guys who have ARs for competition purposes shoot 80 grainers anyways. Considering I can keep all my shots with a skinny barreled 1:12 inside of the 8 ring at 600m using XM193 and open sights, I consider that more than accurate enough for combat, even though it won’t win me any matches against my buddies who have $4K tube guns shooting 6mmBRX and 6.5-284. I have less invested in my rifle and a case of ammo than most of them have in their scopes, so we have different standards, but nobody likes throat erosion, and that’s what happens when you pick a barrel with a twist that’s too fast for what you intend to shoot.

    If you’re obsessed with shooting the heaviest bullet you can fit into an AR magazine for a 2.26″ long cartridge, then I suggest you look at something like a .300 Blackout or 7.62×39 or something. If you care about Ballistic Coefficients and competition only ARs, then the 6.5 Grendel is for you, but if you want to shoot .224″ bullets out of an AR, and shoot everything up to 73 or 75 grains with perfectly adequate accuracy, then a 1:9 is for you. If you absolutely, positively must shoot whatever the SF guys are using because your choices are based purely on image and ego rather than price or practicality, then go ahead and get your MK.262 clones and shoot them out of your Mk.18 SPR clone and fantasize about how that’s magically better than a 73 grainer out of a 1:9. More power to ya, but competition is NOT why I own ARs.

    I prefer a 1:12 because it stabilizes everything I shoot out of an AR VERY well, and gives excellent accuracy for a service gun, and it kills hogs very, very well. JLK 65 grain LD bullets shoot better out of my 1:12 than they do out of my 1:9. That’s because of VELOCITY, and the faster your twist, the less of it you get, and with higher pressures, too. Maybe they get to be unstable at 700 or 800m, but so far I haven’t seen evidence of that being a problem.

  • andrew

    Matt, several years ago I purchased twenty 1/9 uppers and took them to the range with 73s, 75s, and 77s. Very few would properly stabilize the 77s even at 100 yards. Most had issues keeping the 75s tight. All would stabilize the 73s (Bergers) but I get better results at the 600 with Hornady 75s or Sierra 77s, so why bother with the 73s?

    I shoot 1/7 uppers because of my poor experiences with 1/9. You may have a single 1/9 barrel that will stabilize and keep 77s tight out to 600, but that has not been my experience, nor has it been the experience of practically anyone else I have talked to since I started shooting ARs. In fact, you are the first person who has ever told me that 77s and 1/9 are adequate past 300, let alone 600.

    The rest of your snide comments are not appreciated.

  • Anthony

    I can’t dispute anything in the video but a Benelli loving friend of mine has one I shot it and loved it. It took a lot of effort not to go impulse buy one and I’m not even sure why.

  • Jere

    Matt Groom, you must be shooting at high density altitudes because I’ve tried 77 SMK’s that shoot great in a 1:8 carbine, but are all over the place in a 1:9 at 600 yards.
    I’ve tried two different 1:9 rifles with the same results.
    I know of no other shooter that has the results that you have.
    69’s in a 1:12 is accurate? The internet has not been a kind teacher to you.

    Hell, my 1:8 only ACCURATELY shot the 80 A-max when my velocity was pushed HARD in a 20″.
    I experienced occasional flyers when my load was lowered 0.5 gains.
    This was learned by doing, not reading.

    twist rate has a negligible effect on muzzle velocity.
    Been tested many times, no point in arguing, or re-inventing the wheel on that.
    Calculate the rotational kenetic energy of the 77 SMK and you’ll see that you are looking at total energies in the 2 ft x lbs range for 77 SMK’s.
    It looses about 0.25 ft x lbs of muzzle energy going from a 1:9 to a 1:7.

    I would bet (a lot) that you are not an active competitor with any rifle.
    If you are, lets see some scores.
    I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours.
    Distinguished riflemen (service rifle) #1949

    Get off the interweb and go shoot.
    Bad data is worth less than no data.

  • chris vankeeffe

    Hi Steve.
    What were those mean looking rifles in the case behind you?

  • chris vankeeffe

    Sorry Steve!

  • andrew

    Chris, those were also MR1s.

  • chris vankeeffe

    Thanks Andrew!