Benelli’s Lupo Series Just Got Better: Enter The Lupo HPR BE.S.T.

An accurate, balanced, and beautiful precision rifle with all the trimmings, Benelli’s new-for-2024 Lupo HPR BE.S.T. is ready to make your 2024 hunt dreams a reality.

by Jace Bauserman

I get excited about new-for-the-year firearms. That excitement increases when I know I’m taking the gun on a hunt a few weeks after receiving it.

Sure, I love to get a new rifle or shotgun, put it through the testing paces on the range, and then send it back. However, I don’t feel I can provide accurate, in-depth product testing if I don’t use the firearm in the field.

The good news: Not only was I going to get some bench time with Benelli’s new-for-2024 Lupo HPR BE.S.T., but I would also get to take the rifle, chambered in .308 Win. to the Sooner State on a whitetail mission. 

First Impressions

I’ve been fortunate to test several of Benelli’s Lupo Bolt-Action builds. I have harvested a few critters with them as well. I love that Benelli took several of its award-winning shotgun features and blended them with its bolt-action rifle series.

The all-new Lupo HPR (High Precision Rifle) BE.S.T. looked like a custom rifle build when I opened the Pelican hard case and removed it. 

The synthetic stock with interchangeable grip and a push-button adjustable comb height jumped at me from the get-go. With ease, I depressed the black button integrated into the stock and was able to set the comb height at eight different positions. 

My next aha moment was the four drop positions, three deviations (neutral, right, left), and six length-of-pull adjustments via different recoil pads with two thicknesses. It was obvious that Benelli wanted its stylish new rifle to fit almost every shooter.

I was also pleased that with the removal of a single screw, grips could be swapped, and the rifle could transform from a stock with a solid bottom to one that’s airy and rests perfectly on a shooting bag. 

The Picatinny rail was a pleasing sight.  Rails make scope mounting easy and ensure absolute lockdown. Other notable first-glance features include the Double Stack Magazine, BE.S.T. treatment, which means there isn’t a weather event this rifle can’t handle, and BE.S.T. Crio Barrel with Increased Diameter and Muzzle Brake. 

An Ergonomic & Comfortable Design

After a quick inspection and before topping the rifle with a scope and hitting the range, I wanted to get a general feel for it. 

Aside from the well-built stock, I immediately appreciated the wide, flat forearm. A beefy forearm allows the shooter to rest the rifle on or in anything from shooting sticks to a fence post to the palm. The forearm features six M-LOK connections to add a bipod or monopod easily.  

Weighing over 9 pounds, the Lupo HPR BE.S.T. is not light, but with the sling attached to the M-LOK connection on the stock’s side and M-LOK connection on the side of the forearm, the stock carries well, and when shouldered, even without support, feels balanced in hand.

I love both grips, and the steep angle of the pistol-style grip slopes aggressively and is narrow at the throat. The trigger housing is not oversized, but I could fit my hand inside with a slim glove on.

Mounting & Shooting

Steiner’s H6Xi 2-12x42mm scope mounted quickly, and the Picatinny rail combined with the adjustable comb ensured excellent eye-to-scope alignment while keeping a positive cheek weld. 

After a quick bore sight at 50 yards, I slapped the bolt back in the receiver and readied myself to send a 180-grain Norma BondStrike Long Range at 100 yards. Before we go “straight send,” though, a few words about the rifle’s receiver and bolt. The upper receiver is steel, and the lower is aluminum, which promises maximum structural rigidity. I like the long bolt release button on the receiver’s left side, and the bolt design is unique. I found it to promote smooth, fast operation.

The first shot at 100 yards off the bench was three inches high and four inches left. I sent two other rounds to confirm. The three-shot group could be covered with a nickel at 100 yards. I was immediately impressed. With the combination of the Progressive Comfort recoil system, the brake, and the rifle’s overall weight, recoil was almost zero. Staying in the scope at the shot was easy, which built confidence and allowed me to cycle quickly and send the next round. 

After six rounds, I had numerous touching tears an inch-and-a-half high of the bullseye. Next, I quickly cleaned the rifle using Real Avid products — I love the easy-to-transport Speed Stand

Move It Back

I wasn’t thrilled that Norma sent 180-grain bullets for this whitetail hunt. Though the rifle shot these bullets with supreme accuracy, my drop at 300 yards was significant. Still, the scope’s elevation dial allowed me to build a quick dope card. I had zero trouble dialing and punching paper with sub-MOA accuracy at this distance. 

I recommend a lighter-weight bullet like Fiochhi’s Hyperformance 150-grain SST Polymer Tip Boat Tail, especially for whitetails and other medium-sized game. Along with the Norma round, which I would shoot if hunting elk, the Hyperformance grouped excellently. I tested the round to 500 yards. 

Over two weeks, I fired 48 rounds between 100 and 500 yards. I punched paper and rang steel. Shots were taken prone off a backpack, on my butt from BOG shooting sticks, offhand, and on the bench. Regardless of the position or rest method, this rifle delivered accuracy in spades. 

Not only do I love how it shoots, but I also applaud the safety position (above the trigger guard behind the receiver), how easy the magazine is to load, and how quick, smooth, and exact the bolt’s operation is. 

In The Woods

I love Oklahoma. I’ve had many excellent whitetail hunts in the state over the years, and I was excited to be back. The boys at Sandstone Outfitters know their stuff, and after a 1/2-mile hike in the dark, I found a small, rustic shooting house atop a steep plateau. 

As the sun illuminated the Oklahoma landscape, I took immediate note of a large winter wheat field. There was also a massive pastures full of CRP, timber, and other brush. Beyond the wheat and CRP was the Canadian River.

The rut was rocking. Though the 15 or so deer on the wheat field vanished before legal shooting light, the CRP transformed into a chase zone. I watched several bucks run does, and witnessed a few good buck fights. Though the closest buck was over 900 yards away, I was having a blast.

Thirty minutes after first light, things went quiet. Yes, the rut was still rocking, and I know deer were up and moving, but I wasn’t seeing much. As I often do when things go quiet during the rut, I stuck my rattling horns out the blind’s front window and hammered them together for a solid 45 to 50 seconds. 

I’d just sat the horns back in the corner of the blind and started scanning the field when I spied a buck. He was coming at a full run across the wheat field. I love the magic of the rut. 

The problem was the buck was coming so fast I was worried he would get under the hill, out of sight, and come up downwind of my position. After getting the HPR set on the single wooden beam that made up the front shooting window, I ranged the buck at 304 yards and yelled to stop him. The new range was 276 yards, and the flat, wide forearm provided so much balance that I could find the buck quickly, settle the crosshairs, and make a perfect shot.

Final Thoughts

This isn’t a rifle I would want to haul around the Rockies after elk or mule deer. However, it is one I would gladly tote to any destination where sit-and-wait hunting is the primary hunt method. This rifle is ultra-accurate, produces little recoil, and is a blast to shoot. 

The day after my buck harvest, my buddy Scott Sanderford and I took his daughter Ashley on a hunt. Ashely is smaller framed than me, and we easily adjusted the rifle’s length-of-pull, and she was putting lead on the mark in not time at all. That afternoon, we stalked in on a respectable buck, and Ashley made a perfect cross-canyon 308-yard shot. This is the type of rifle that anyone can shoot well.

If you’re in the market for a remarkable long-range shooter built to withstand the harshest terrain and environments and come out smelling like a rose, Benelli’s Lupo HPR BE.S.T. is an excellent choice. The rifle also comes chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. 

 

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