Benelli M2 Turkey Performance Shop Review: An In-Depth Look at a $3,000 Turkey Gun

May 7, 2024 - Blog

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Turkey hunting for me used to be just something to do in the spring, but it has evolved into a full-blown obsession. The spiral down the rabbit hole has led to less sleep, buying a bunch of custom calls, and acquiring a string of turkey guns. My latest addition to the turkey arsenal is the Benelli M2 Turkey Performance Shop, a tricked out semi-custom 20-gauge that promises the best performance in the turkey gun market. 

I’ve patterned it with three loads and hunted with it in two states. Here’s what I think so far. 

Benelli M2 Turkey Performance Shop Specs and Key Features 

See It

Barrel Length: 24 inches

20 gauge 

Chambered for 2 ¾ and 3-inch shells

Length of Pull: 14 ⅜ inches

Overall Length: 45.3 inches

Weight: 5.9 pounds (measured)

Trigger Pull Weight: 6.45 pounds (measured)

Capacity: 3 + 1

Included Chokes: Extra full turkey, F, IM, M, IC, C

Includes a Burris Fastfire red dot 

Mossy Oak Bottomland camo

Ported Crio Barrel 

Oversized bolt release 

Oversized bolt handle 

MSRP: $2,949 ($2,599 retail)

The Benelli Performance Shop and Rob Roberts

The Performance Shop shotguns are Benelli models that are modified for optimum performance for specific hunting applications. The M2 Turkey is done in partnership with Rob Roberts Custom Gun Works, which is a company that specializes in custom shotguns. They offer a number of services including trigger work, action polishing, lengthening forcing cones, and porting. You can send your shotgun to Rob Roberts to have those modifications made or you can buy the M2 Turkey, which has all that and more. In addition to the performance enhancements Rob Roberts Custom Gun Works provides a computer pattern analysis. My gun’s pattern analysis showed a Federal 1 5/8 ounce, #9 TSS with 253 of its 615 pellets inside a 10-inch circle.

Ported Crio Barrel 

Benelli freezes their barrels at -300 degrees. They say that cryogenically treating barrels relieves stresses from hammer forging, which creates a smoother and more uniform surface. The result is a denser pattern and a barrel that needs less cleaning.

The barrel is also ported, which is designed to reduce muzzle jump for quick follow-up shots.  

Burris FastFire Red Dot 

A look at the Burris FastFire 2, oversized bolt handle, and oversized bolt release.

The Custom Shop Turkey comes with a Burris FastFire 2 red dot. It has a 4 MOA dot, automatic brightness, and on/off switch on the side. The auto brightness worked well for me in various lighting conditions and it consistently produced a clean dot with no bloom. The exposed on/off switch on the side is the biggest con, and a few times it accidentally got bumped off while hunting. 

Oversized Controls 

The oversized bolt release and bolt handle are nice for loading and unloading in the dark, but not necessary on a turkey gun. Afternall I’m not speed loading this shotgun. I especially like the oversized bolt handle because I can rack it with my thumb and then click the carrier release tab with my index finger to lock the bolt back in one smooth motion. 

Inertia Driven 

Benelli’s signature feature is their inertia driven system. It’s simpler and lighter than gas semi-auto systems because it only uses three primary parts: inertia spring, bolt body, and rotating bolt head. It also stays cleaner because it doesn’t use gas to move the bolt. Read OL’s full story on gas vs inertia shotguns for more info. 

20 Gauge Only 

The M2 Turkey Performance Shop is only available in 20 gauge, which is just fine with me. The 20 gauge is the new 12 for turkey hunting thanks to TSS loads and extra-full chokes. With the right 20, you can shoot a lighter weight gun that’s perfectly capable of taking turkeys to 50 yards. Take a look at my patterning data for proof. 

Patterning the Benelli M2 Turkey 

The author patterned the M2 with three loads.

ShotshellPayload40-yard Pattern AveragePercentage Inside 10-inch CircleApex Turkey TSS #91 ⅝ ounce28548 percent Herters Turkey TSS #91 ½ ounce23243 percentFederal Heavyweight TSS #91 ½ ounce15729 percentPellet count is based on a three-shot average at 40 yards. All patterns were shot with the included extra-full turkey choke with a .570 constriction.

Shooting turkey loads from a bench isn’t nearly as fun as shooting them at a longbeard, and counting TSS pellet holes is more painful than the recoil. But, I’ll suffer to bring you solid data. 

I patterned three loads at 40 yards: Apex Turkey TSS, Herters Turkey TSS, and Federal Heavyweight TSS. All were No. 9 loads and 3-inch shells. The Herters and Federal have 1 ½-ounce payloads, while the Apex has a 1 ⅝-ounce load. 

The Apex loads performed the best with nearly 50 percent of the pellets inside the 10-inch circle. This is outstanding real-world pattern performance out of a 20 gauge. Herters loads, which were $8 cheaper per box, shot a good pattern with an average of 232 pellet strikes. The Federal load was a disappointment as its pattern was much more open. This load still threw a turkey-killing pattern, but it put far fewer pellets on target than the other two loads. If your heart is set on shooting the Federal Heavyweight, it’s a good idea to experiment with different chokes to get the best pattern. 

In total I shot 18 rounds on the range with the three different loads, plus one shot in the field. The M2 was 100 percent reliable in feeding and ejecting those 19 shots. 

Read Next: Best Turkey Shotguns

Testing in the Field

The author with Indiana turkey.

Scott Einsmann

I touted the Benelli M2 while hunting in Virginia and Indiana this spring. Even though a 9.5 hour drive separates the two hunting spots, they’re similar in terrain. Both are hilly with a mix of swamps, hardwoods, cutovers, and fields. The biggest difference is that the woods are a little thicker with more pines in Virginia and Indiana has a few more hills.

In the thicker VA woods the M2 Turkey handled nicely. In my various calling setups I never felt like the gun was a factor in choosing where I sat. I particularly like that this turkey gun doesn’t have a pistol grip because I prefer classic ergonomics. I found the gun points naturally and I never had to hunt for my dot. 

The 5.9-pound M2 was easy to carry while covering ground and trying to strike tight lipped Indiana gobblers. Last year I hunted with a Mossberg 500 .410 because I was tired of running around with a heavy 12 gauge. My .410 is about a 1/4 pound heavier than the M2, and it has a more limited range which cost me a few birds last year. For me, this 20 gauge is the ideal package in weight and downrange lethality. 

Those uncooperative Hoosier birds showed themselves in a field around midday. I grabbed a fan, and then belly crawled to 150 yards from them. When I raised the fan I gave it a slight turn side to side. The subtle movement caught the attention of one of the toms and he slowly started my way. I inched up a little farther, brought the fan up again, and let out a few soft yelps. The longbeard’s walk turned into a trot with the second gobbler and five jakes in tow. I got the M2 ready to shoot, and when he picked his head up at 30 yards, I sent 590 TSS pellets his way. He was stone dead and hardly flopped. Shooting a turkey prone isn’t part of my typical shooting repertoire, but it’s a situation where a good handling gun is nice to have. 

What the Benelli M2 Turkey Does Best 

The best pattern shot by the M2.

Scott Einsmann

The M2 is light and easy to carry.

This featherweight turkey killer is ideal for run-and-gun hunting. I thoroughly enjoyed carrying it up and down hills as I searched for birds. It’s easy to maintain and I can disassemble it in a few minutes. It’s most impressive feature is how well it shot the Apex No. 9 load. Its patterns gave me a lot of confidence as I headed into the woods and I saw the effectiveness of that combo firsthand. 

Where the Benelli M2 Turkey Can Improve 

The Benelli M2 Turkey Performance Shop could benefit from a lighter trigger. At 25 yards the Apex load shot the bulk of its pellets into a 5-inch pattern, so a jerked trigger at a close turkey might result in a miss. A pound or two less pull weight would go a long way. 

This Performance Shop shotgun is expensive and it uses premium components throughout. But, I’d consider the red dot that comes with it to be a budget option. A premium red dot would provide the user with a lot more value. 

Read Next: Best Red Dots for Turkey Hunting 

The Upshot 

If you know who won the GNCC, don’t sleep in April or May, and keep diaphragm calls in your refrigerator, the M2 Turkey Performance Shop might be for you. This is a shotgun for the diehard turkey hunter and shotgun connoisseur who won’t balk at its nearly $3,000 price tag. 

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