Davy Crockett’s “Ol’ Betsy.” Daniel Boone’s “Tick Licker.” Annetta Morris’ “Netty.”
It takes a remarkable gun to earn a nickname, but Morris’ Benelli Super Black Eagle II has both the track record and the reputation to join the pantheon of firearms with a handle. Netty, as the shotgun is called by its legion of fans, isn’t ornate, pedigreed, or particularly noteworthy. But in just three years, the semi-auto has killed more gobblers than most turkey guns will shoot in a lifetime.
That’s 37 to date, an average of 13 per spring. Part of the reason is that she gets plenty of time in the field, but an equally important part of Netty’s success is her out-of-the-box configuration.
The shotgun sports a 24-inch barrel, Realtree APG camo on her synthetic stock, and a pistol grip.
Annetta Morris joins her husband, Cally, for three months of turkey hunting each spring, and most hunts are filmed for their Bringin’ It Home With Hazel Creek video series. The two are so confident in Netty’s capabilities that they urge hunters being filmed to use the gun in conjunction with shooting sticks.
“When we’re videoing, there are so many things that can go wrong,” says Cally, whose filmed hunts feature his Hazel Creek decoys. “We’re trying to get birds inside 20 yards so they engage the decoys and make better video.”
“I can’t afford for people to miss or have problems with their guns, and people rarely miss with Netty,” continues Morris. “A big part of that is the shooting sticks. Hunters’ arms aren’t tired from holding a gun, and they aren’t waving the barrel around at the moment of truth.”
The grip allows Annetta to wait comfortably and be ready during long sits.
“My wrist doesn’t ache or cramp like it does when I use standard-stocked shotguns. And when I’m on sticks, the grip lets me line up the sight perfectly, every time. It just fits me.”
It also fits a wide range of temporary users: men, women, kids, first-time and experienced hunters.
Daniel Burzon used Netty to kill his first Osceola last spring, then tried to buy the Benelli from Annetta. She gently told him, as she has everyone else who has popped the question, that it’s not for sale.
“I’ll loan that gun to anybody,” says Morris. “But sell it? Never.”
Trulock’s Turkey Extra Full, .665 inch, shipped with the gun. It has delivered killing patterns out to 60 yards.
The cryogenically treated 24-inch tube is dipped in Realtree APG camo. A Tru-Glo bead points naturally without obscuring the target.
The SteadyGrip minimizes side-to-side cant and also promotes a rock-solid cheek weld to the stock, because shooters pull the stock straight into their shoulder.
The 3-lug bolt is strong but finicky. A slight–and often unintentional–backward pull on the bolt handle locks the action.
While it has a 3 ½-inch chamber, the Benelli’s favorite load is 3-inch Federal Premium Heavyweights, with No. 7 shot.
Gel inserts in the stock absorb recoil. Interchangeable recoil pads in the butt also help tame kick and customize the Super Black Eagle’s fit.
BY THE NUMBERS**
37: Total number of gobblers that the Benelli has killed, in three seasons.
13: Birds that owner Annetta Morris has killed with Netty.
20: Merriam’s gobblers that Netty has killed, mostly in New Mexico.
9: Number of doubles and triples that Netty has been part of in three years of hunting.