TFB Review: Hayes Custom Competition Ready Benelli M2 Shotgun

    TFB Review: Hayes Custom Guns Competition Ready Benelli M2 Shotgun

    In the world of shotguns, there are endless options when it comes to self-defense, competition or hunting. Depending on your budget and needs, the sky is literally the limit to finding your perfect shotgun. Personally, I’ve always been incredibly curious about the high-end aftermarket autoloading market. Whether it’s Salient Arms, Agency Arms, Hayes Customs, or Taran Tactical, there are a ton of various options for a high-end competition or defensive shotgun. I decided to purchase one of Hayes Customs M2 shotguns and put it to the best. Let’s take a closer look at the Hayes Custom Guns Competition Ready Benelli M2 Shotgun.

    Benelli Shotguns @ TFB:

    TFB Review: Hayes Custom Guns Competition Ready Benelli M2 Shotgun


    Hayes Custom M2 started life as a 26″ Benelli M2 Field shotgun. If you are familiar with the Benelli Super Black Eagle line or M2 line, this shotgun will immediately feel familiar to you. Hayes Custom takes a standard Benelli M2 Field and does a number of changes to transform it into an over-the-top competition/defensive shotgun. One of the first big changes Hayes Custom does to the M2 is opening up the loading port along with polishing the overall area. Cutting and polishing the loading port to a larger diameter allows for easier loading when putting two shells in at a time. Hayes Custom also lightens the bolt carrier group up with lightening cuts as well as a TIN coating to make it look completely different from the stock version.

    One of the most noticeable differences from the standard M2 is the extended stainless steel shell carrier to accommodate the larger loading port. Hayes Custom also includes an oversized bolt handle, an enlarged bolt release paddle and a TTI enlarged safety. Along with all these upgrades, Hayes also modifies the bolt to allow out-of-battery loading which is a nice touch if you like to ghost load. Combine this with a Hiviz Tricomp Fiber optic front sight, Match Saver extra round holder and Nordic Components extended tubes and you have a fully kitted-out shotgun straight from the factory.

    Ordering Process

    Hayes Custom Guns offers a number of different options when it comes to their shotgun line. They offer both complete shotgun builds like this one or upgrading customer-supplied shotguns if you want to send your already purchased Benelli M2 or Beretta 1301 shotgun. If you decide to go the route like me and order a shotgun straight from Hayes Custom Guns, you’ll have a number of choices as well as available add-ons to pick from whether it’s stippling, QD sling mounts, additional sights and lightened trigger springs.

    The gun comes standard with a 12-round Nordic Components extension tube but you can order other tube sizes when placing your shotgun order. I will include my order form down below to show you my specs as well as proof I paid 100% retail for this gun so some of you can’t accuse me of getting things for free. No deals were given here and this is an honest review which is pretty standard here at TFB. MSRP on a Hayes Custom Competition Ready Benelli M2 shotgun varies based on your preferences but it starts at $2,499.99 with a 6-8 week lead time currently.

    Specs List

    • Loading port opened and polished, optimized for twins/quads loading methods
    • Lightened and polished bolt body (standard bolt body is available as an option during)
    • Extended and polished stainless steel shell carrier
    • Shell latch tuned and polished for reduced resistance when loading
    • Bolt modified to allow out-of-battery loading and ‘ghost’ loading
    • Oversized Briley bolt handle
    • Oversized Hayes bolt release button
    • TTI oversized safety
    • Nordic Components magazine tube, capacity of your choice
    • RCI X-Rail magazine spring and follower
    • Match Saver
    • Hiviz Tricomp fiber optic front sight
    • Tested for slug accuracy and re-zeroed if needed

    Range Time

    Since this is my first time with a high-end shotgun like this, my expectations weren’t really set. I know they are built off a Benelli M2 Field which I have a fair amount of time behind, but I was curious if the added extras justified the price. Having a 26″ barrel with a 12-round extension tube seemed like a long option just for hitting the range. I ended up ordering a smaller 7-round extension tube that is more or less the same length as the barrel. The overall fit and finish of the shotgun are top-notch. The loading port is pushed to a shine which helps guide shells into the tube. One of the first things I picked up on was the Hiviz fiber optic front sight which makes point shooting incredibly easy.

    Loading up the shotgun is much easier with the loading port cut out and with the extended shell carrier. One of my favorite aspects of the Benelli M2 is the ComforTech stock which does help dampen recoil compared to the regular models. My example has the lightened trigger springs installed which make the trigger incredibly easy to pull and make fast shooting almost effortless. I opted to not stipple the shotgun as the standard Benelli texture does plenty of work keeping the gun in your hands.


    Out of 550 rounds fired so far with Winchester #7.5 shot shells along with Rio and Federal high brass 00 buck rounds and some slugs for good measure, the shotgun performed with 100% reliability. Initially, I had a few times when the bolt would stay locked back without being locked back, but after a few rounds everything was smoothed over and it feels like the bolt rides on glass now. The subtle touches on this gun make it feel incredibly polished while maintaining great reliability.

    For $2,900, this shotgun should be absolutely bulletproof reliable and I am happy to report it is 100%. It uses the standard M2 Field barrel, so the M2 Competition still has the factory choke pattern which makes extended choke tubes easy to find. Whether you want the regular chokes or something extended for 3 gun, it’s as simple as switching out the factory chokes.


    One of my favorite things about the range sessions I’ve had with the M2 Competition is the overall flexibility it has to change based on what you need it to be. If you need a 3 gun shotgun with a crazy long extension tube for shotgun stages, this has you covered. If you need a home defense shotgun with an 8-round capacity and easy oversized controls for nighttime manipulation, this shotgun has you covered. With a 26″ barrel it can put the factory tube cap and limiter on and have a fantastic sporting clays shotgun that doesn’t look like a camo duck gun.

    My M2 Competition is built for hard use in competition and is ready for abuse in a high-stress competitive environment. As a result, it does everything from sporting clays to defensive training at the range extremely well. Out of every shotgun I own, this is by far the jack-of-all-trades shotgun in my collection. It’s extremely expensive but it’s not hard to spend this amount on a medium range over and under shotgun. It doesn’t have that level of class and sophistication as a classic over and under shotgun but it’s so versatile I think it’s well worth the entry fee.

    Overall Thoughts

    If I’m being perfectly honest, I am very aware of how expensive it is and I won’t lie, it stung shelling out this cash for a high-end shotgun. After spending time with the Hayes Custom M2 Competition, it really has turned into a “do-all” shotgun whether it’s sporting clays, defensive shooting at the range or home defense, all the way to high intensity 3 gun competitions.

    There’s no denying it costs a significant amount of money, but the fact it does so many different activities well I think justifies the price. What do you guys think about having a done-up shotgun like this Hayes Custom? Let me know what your thoughts are down in the comments below. If you have questions about my Hayes Custom M2 or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoeprator.

    I’m an avid shooter and love educating whether it’s at my job or in the shooting community. I’m an average joe that really loves talking with other people about firearms and other passions.
    I’m active on Instagram on @fridgeoperator.