Inertia Autoloading Shotgun Shoot-Off: Benelli, Browning, Girsan

Ostensibly due to the expiration of the Bruno Civolani patents, there are more and more “inertia” or “inertial” autoloading shotguns being introduced, beyond what is offered by Beretta Group affiliated brands. This is a comparison of three: the Benelli Vinci, the Browning A-5 Hunter, and the Girsan MC312. All are 12 gauges, all with three inch chambers, all have 26 inch barrels, all are autoloaders based on the Civolani action.


Benelli Vinci, Realtree Max-4 Camo, $1469 MSRP, about $1300 street.
Browning A5 Hunter, walnut, $1559 MSRP about $1300 street.
Girsan MC 312, Mossy Oak Break-Up Camo, $699 w/ free shipping.


Vinci, MAX-4 Camo, 26 inch: 7 lbs., 1 oz.
A5 Hunter, 26 inch: 6 lbs., 8 oz.
Girsan 7 lbs., 2 oz.


Vinci: 5 lbs.
A5: 6-3/4 lbs.
Girsan 5-1/2 lbs.


Vinci: Five years.
A5: Five years, 100,000 rounds.
Girsan: Five years.


Vinci: Five Crio Plus
A5: Three Invector DS
Girsan, Five Mobil Choke


Vinci: Speed Unloading

A5: Speed Loading and Unloading + Magazine Cut-off

Girsan: Conventional M2 style


Vinci: raised rib, red front and small silver center bead
A5: flat rib, red front bead and large white center bead
Girsan: flat rib, red front bead


Vinci: 1 oz. and up, 3 inch chamber
A5: 1 oz. and up, 3 inch chamber
Girsan 24 gram – 54 gram, 3 inch chamber
All three shotguns had no issues with factory Federal Top Gun 1 oz., 1180 fps loads.


The Vinci was the softest shooting, followed by the Girsan, with the A5 having the harshest recoil, by far.


Vinci: front of the trigger guard
A5: back of the trigger guard
Girsan: back of the trigger guard


Vinci: ComforTech stock system
A5: “Inflex Pad”
Girsan: Ergonomic Rubber


Vinci: Standard bore, chrome-lined, cryogenically treated.
A5: Browning oversized bore “Invector DS,” lengthened forcing cones.
Girsan: Standard bore, chrome-lined.

On the Benelli Vinci:
When the last batch of “new models” of autoloaders came out (Benelli Vinci, Browning Maxus, Beretta A400 series, Remington Versa-Max) the Vinci was the most problem-free. Of that group, currently, the minor hiccups have been removed from the Browning Maxus (primarily trigger-related) and the Remington Versa-Max, the subject of an initial recall, has also been improved. The Beretta A400 line-up still has nagging issues, inclusive of soft parts.

While the aesthetics of the Vinci seem to equally enthuse and appall, it is a soft shooter, reliable, and in general very good product. The safety reach can be a bit too long for some shooters.

On the Browning A-5:
Browning's entry into the inertia autoloader has been a hard gun to love. Based on two examples, a trigger job is mandatory, the center bead needs removal as it obscures the front bead (fully with a 26 inch barrel, mostly with a 28 inch barrel), but the genuine walnut treatment makes the gun easier to look at that most.

Compared to the other two models discussed here, it is both low in weight and high in recoil. Only three choke tubes are supplied, two of the three do not perform anywhere near as marked, so aftermarket tubes from George Trulock are essentially mandatory.

On the Girsan MC 312:
It is the first shotgun from Girsan, as the A5 is the first inertia offering from Browning. It is made in Turkey, which can be a bad thing in the case of several previously tested models (Stoeger, Huglo), or a good thing as was the case with the Weatherby SA-08.

In the case of the Girsan, it was a pleasant surprise, with build quality and machining done quite well, right at the Benelli Montefeltro level. At approximately $600 less than the A5 or Vinci, it is hard not to call it both an impressive value and a very pleasant surprise. Available through Bud's Gun Shop.


Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.





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