& Harris - Gun
Reviews - Archive - Benelli Crio
are few things that are wholly new in the guntrade most ideas have
been used before in so me form or another. Benelli are one
manufacturer that do have very open minds when it comes to design
and the manufacturing processes that they employ to produce their
latest clay model is the Crio and although uses the same inertia
principle to work the mechanism, as all other Benelli's. it is a
very different looking gun and uses a manufacturing technique that
is relatively new to gunmaking, nd to my knowledge has never been
used in the manufacture of a shotgun before.
the cryogenic treatment of the steel that has been used to make the
barrel and choke tubes.
Most people will have heard of cryogenics as the thing that very
rich, slightly mad Americans do when they die. Their bodies are
cryogenically frozen and kept so that they may be brought back to
life at some stage. I guess if you're rich enough, you haven't got
anything to loose.
from a gun manufacturing point of view cryogenic treatment has been
used in rifle barrels for a few years now, mostly in the USA, to
make them more accurate.
Basically, what happens with a rifle barrel is that the barrel
itself is frozen in liquid nitrogen which is approximately -195
degrees C. the barrels are taken down towards this sort of
temperature. The effect of this is to give a fine and uniform
structure to the steel.
the normal manufacturing process of rifle barrel making heat
treatment is carried out on the barrel after which the barrel is
quenched. Due to varying thickness in the barrel contour as the
barrel is cooled rapidly under quenching, so stresses are introduced
into the steel. These stresses start to show up as the temperature
of the barrel is raised during repeated shooting, which can cause
groups to wander or open up.
What the cryo treatment does is refine the grain structure of the
steel to its finest and most uniform state so that the stresses are
relieved from the barrel.
put in the context of the Benelli Crio the cryogenic treatment to
the barrel and the choke tubes means that as the barrel heats up
during use there is less distortion on the shot as it passes through
the bore and the choke. The barrel is more dimensionally stable and
this translates into better and more consistent patterns. This is
because there is less deformation to the shot load on the periphery
that touches the wall of the bore.
choke tubes have been made longer to give a more gradual transition
of the shot through them.
The other benefit to the barrel is the greater resistance to wear.
Chamber length is 76 mm which goes hand in glove with magnum proof,
so with the exception of high performance steel loads this gun will
accept pretty much anything.
other feature of the barrel is the use of carbon fibre to make the
rib. There are numerous benefits to this:
rib is much lighter so lessening the overall weight of the gun. And
makes the gun inherently better handling.
rib is a greater dissipater of heat so there is little or no chance
of heat haze when shooting on those very hot days.
the rib can be relatively easily changed should it become damaged or
perhaps a different configuration is wanted.
action of the Crio remains unchanged in that it is working on the
proven formula of Benelli's inertia bolt system.
whole working of the Benelli is around the bolt. Basically what
happens is this;
the trigger is pulled the hammer falls onto the back of the firing
pin and so fires the cartridge at this point the hammer also
releases the magazine stop allowing a cartridge to be released
backwards and sit under the bolt. The bolt is, at this point, still
in the forward position. As the cartridge is firing and causing a
great deal of backwards force this causes the rotating locking head
of the bolt which is engaged with the recess in the back of the
barrel to lock up completely. In other words as the gun as a whole
is moving backwards under recoil, so the bolt is moving forwards to
counter it. In effect the bolt is staying still as the rest of the
gun moves backwards around it.
causes a large spring within the bolt to compress and store energy.
As the force of the fired cartridge dissipates the energy within the
bolt spring takes over and throws the bolt backwards, so releasing
the rotating bolt head and ejecting the fired case. The second
cartridge has been sitting under the bolt and is immediately brought
up by the carrier and the bolt comes forward again to take it
forwards into the chamber.
may sound a little complicated, but it really is simple physics. The
net effect is that we have a semi-auto shot gun with fewer moving
parts, which overall is a good omen for long term reliability. And
with no gas flying about under the forend it is not only slimmer in
that area, but there is far less muck and powder residue to clog the
mechanism so there is less need for cleaning.
cover for the bolt itself is made from a separate piece of black
anodised aluminium, which gives a nice contrast with the action
frame. It is separate from the rest of the action frame an is held
secure when the barrel is assembled on the gun.
the action frame is made from aluminium alloy that is in turn nickel
plated to give an attractive satin finish.
is very good on this particular gun, both in quality and finish.
is tight grained American walnut with very good figure both in the
stock and the forend. One feature of the Benelli's in general is
that because of the inertia bolt system there is no mechanism
working under the forend wood as in a gas semi auto. So there is no
movement in the forend and more noticeably, the forend slimmer than
most OU guns.
stock has Benelli's usual 3 position adjustment for drop so it can
be made to suit most shooters.
The chequer is particularly well cut and I would say is almost
certainly machine cut.
I think that the stock is a little short at a fraction under
14.5". And is finished with a thin black rubber pad which is
comfortable. Nearer to 15" would be better for most. I also
thought that the top of the pistol grip would be better a little
deeper in front of the comb to allow a slightly more comfortable
grip, but that may just be me.
I think that Benelli have come up with something different that does
have something more to offer than the autos we are used to seeing
set the standard. It is light and points well. It will need far less
cleaning than a gas auto. And it also is distinctive looking.
comes in a ABS case with stock shims and extra chokes.
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