Forgotten One: The Benelli MR1

    The Benelli MR1,  a semi-automatic rifle in .223 Remington developed and manufactured by the Benelli Armi SpA of Italy was never a hit in the USA.

    The action is the ARGO system patented by Benelli, and the MR1’s bigger brothers can be found in the Benelli Argo full sized hinting rifles.

    The MR1 is odd in the way that it feeds from an AR15-style magazine.

    Benelli MR1 with a Schmidt & Bender PMII 3-12x. This setup is probably a little overkill for the rifle, and would normally cost more than the rifle.

    The mount is a Spuhr SP-4616 Ø34 H38mm 6MIL with an Aimpoint Micro H2 side mount. Mile High Shooting carry these in the USA.

    MR1 with an Atlas bipod.There are Picatinny rails on all sides (optional I think), as well as on top of the receiver.

    Shooting 100 meters.

    A typical 5 rounders target group. Note there are 2 holes in one. The MR1 rifle will typically set 2-3 bullets fairly close to each other, and spread the 4:th and 5:th. Frustrating when you’re trying to group, but it is not a bolt-action precision rifle.

    There are so many guesses what the “MR” stands for. I have heard all sorts of guesses like Military Rifle or Match Rifle, but it seems even Benelli don’t know.

    These groups are shot with the Benelli MR1 at 300 meters. Not excellent, but pretty good accuracy for the type of rifle used.

    Another try at 300 meters.

    Below: One hundred meters in-door shooting tunnel, no wind to take care of.

    Here you can see the display showing 5 shots at 100 meters with 32,8 mm radius.

    Close-up of the 32,8 mm group. This is shot using the Meopta reticle below (not the best for accuracy).

    And how it was shot, sitting using bipod and support bad at the back.

    To get the optics lower, one option is to use the Spuhr SR-3000. You can find them here (Global) or here (USA). These “cubes” from Spuhr is an excellent way to mount an optic like this, and get it low.

    As you can see this Meopta 1-4x 223 Tactical reticle optics is probably more suited for the MR1. Note that the rear open sights are gone on this rifle. The front open sights are harder to get rid of, as they form a piece of the rifle.

    The reticle of the Meopta 1-4x.

    Fiocchi 223 Rem 55 grs at 100 meters with the MR1. Roughly 28 mm.

    All photos marked “Henrik Nilsson” used with permission by the photographer. All others taken by the author.

    Forgotten Weapons have a great video on the MR1.

    Heckler & Koch showed some examples of MR1-like concept at IWA 2017.

    To the best of my knowledge Benelli don’t sell the MR1 in the US any longer, it was never a success which is understandeable considering the prices versus all the options for AR15 that are available.

    Do you own a Benelli MR1? What’s your experience?

    Eric B

    Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with a European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatics, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too. TCCC Certified medic.


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