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Benelli's New Lupo HPR Hybrid Precision Rifle: Review

Benelli's latest model Lupo Rifle, the High Precision Rifle, is a feature-packed, hybrid-style bolt-action rifle that's ideal for the blind or on the bench.

Benelli's New Lupo HPR Hybrid Precision Rifle: Review

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On a recent deer hunt in Oklahoma, I had the chance to ride with a young guide who was also an avid waterfowler. It was a Benelli-sponsored trip, and he mentioned with pride that he’d recently acquired a new Super Black Eagle 3, but in the same breath he said he hadn’t realized Benelli made rifles until now. I guess I need to buy him a subscription to RifleShooter, because we’ve been hot on the trail of Benelli’s excellent Lupo since 2020. To me it’s one of the best production bolt actions on the market today. The latest iteration is the HPR or High Precision Rifle. One of the big changes with this version is the stock, which is a Benelli design built by the company. It features an eight-position adjustable comb, which is spring-loaded and activated by a button on the right side just below the comb. Total travel is about 1.5 inches, in roughly 0.2-inch increments, and it locks up solidly at each stop.

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Built around an aluminum chassis, the HPR retains the Lupo’s distinctive bolt shape and trigger guard. The optics rail is 30 m.o.a.

The stock features a replaceable grip. This particular review gun was shipped to me just before the Oklahoma hunt and didn’t include any accessories, and my test rifle had only the hunting grip, which I loved—a nice shape and angle with just the right amount of palm swell. HPR accessories will include a target-style grip. Turning out a Torx screw at the base of the grip allows the module to slide off in order to swap change grip styles. Doing so also allows you to install or remove the included bag rider at the bottom of the stock. However, if you have a favorite bag rider or monopod you’d rather use, there’s an M-Lok slot down there as well. Previous Lupos have molded-in holes in the stocks for installing traditional post-type quick-detach sling swivels. With the HPR, pockets for button-style QD swivels are located on both sides of the butt, and the stock ships with polymer covers installed. Like previous Lupos, the rifle comes with a shim kit that allows you to customize both cast and drop. (Ed. note: I did a deep dive into how this shim kit works as part of my review of the first short-action Lupo. You can visit RifleShooterMag.com for that article.)

The stock’s removable spacers allow length-of-pull changes from 13.75 inches to 14.75 inches. The HPR stock also incorporates Benelli’s Progressive Comfort recoil management system, which reacts to specific amounts of recoil force through sets of interlocking fingers of varying flexibility. If you need more length of pull, you can buy a larger Progressive Comfort pad that delivers length-of-pull adjustment from 14.2 to 15.2 inches. The fore-end is 1.6 inches wide where it meets the receiver, flares to 2.2 inches in the middle, then tapers to 1.8 inches at the tip. The rear portion has fairly flat sides with molded-in checkering, providing a comfy spot for your off hand—especially in unsupported field positions. Forward of that, the wide, flat bottom offers a stable rest against bags or sticks, and immediately above the flat bottom it tapers inward, creating a shelf for your fingers. The fore-end incorporates QD pockets and M-Lok slots on the bottom and both sides.

I’m sure you noticed the HPR’s barrel right off. It has a heavy, target-style contour with an 0.85-inch diameter along most of its length as well as straight fluting. In the .308 version I tested it’s 24 inches long. Make that 26 inches with the three-port muzzle brake on the end. The barrel is Crio treated, frozen to -300 degrees to relieve stresses imparted by cold hammer forging. From the examples we’ve seen, the process results in barrels that shoot great. The barrel gets Benelli’s BE.S.T. (Benelli Surface Treatment) finish as well. BE.S.T combines physical vapor deposition and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition to create a coating that’s highly resistant not just to corrosion but to abrasion as well. The barrel is attached to the Lupo action via a barrel nut with flats machined into it, whereas previous nuts were smooth—a change made to simplify manufacturing. The receiver is cylindrical, with a slot cut just forward of the front action screw to accommodate the steel recoil lug in the aluminum chassis. The front action screw is a captive one that’s accessed through the fore-end with the supplied Torx wrench. The rear action screw is on the top of the tang. Remove the bolt to get at this one.

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The HPR stock was designed and manufactured in-house, and it has an adjustable comb, interchangeable grips and a removable bag rider. Recoil is managed by the Progressive Comfort system.

The Lupo bolt is pretty nifty, and with the HPR the bolt body gets the BE.S.T. coating instead of the bright finish on other Lupos. It’s a fat-style bolt with three locking lugs, and the midsection is relieved with scalloped cuts around most of its circumference. “Benelli Bolt System” is engraved in the top, and this system allows you to easily disassemble the bolt without tools. There’s a release lever cut into the shroud. Press the lever and turn as indicated to unlock the bolt and remove the striker and spring for cleaning. Reassembly is simple, although you’ll need to press the bolt on something solid to compress the spring. On other Lupos, the gullwing bolt handle is one piece, but with the HPR it is threaded for the bolt knob—which means you can replace the knob if the size and shape don’t suit you.

The Lupo HPR has a sliding tang safety with a raised, serrated ridge that’s easy to access and operate but has enough tension so you won’t move it accidentally. On the original Lupo, the safety was a non-locking two position, but on the HPR placing the rifle on Safe locks the bolt. I prefer non-locking safeties, but it was pointed out to me that for lefties who shoot right-handed actions, carrying the rifle on their left side can cause the bolt to catch on clothing and open when they don’t want it to. And with the way the gullwing bolt handle projects from the side of the Lupo, I can see where this would be a concern. To unlock the bolt while the rifle is on Safe, press down on the small unlock tab directly behind the bolt-handle cutout. In the end I really appreciated this feature, as there was a lot of loading and unloading involved in entering and exiting various blinds, and it does provide some peace of mind knowing that the safety is on when you’re doing this.

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The wide, flat fore-end incorporates M-Lok slots and QD sling swivel pockets at three, six and nine o’clock.

The trigger is outstanding. There’s no creep and no overtravel. Break weight on this sample was two pounds, five ounces. It’s adjustable, with a pull-weight range of 2.2 to 4.4 pounds. The action is partially enclosed, and up top you’ll find a 30 m.o.a. optics rail. If you want to go another scope-mounting route, both the front and rear mounting-hole patterns accept Remington 700 rear scope bases. The rifle feeds from a five-round, double-column polymer magazine. While I lean more toward internal mags and hinged floorplates, the Lupo’s setup is terrific. Damn right I want five rounds at my disposal. Too many of today’s detachable mags limit you to three rounds, and if you’re hunting with an empty chamber—as you would on an ATV or horse, or following a guide or hunting partner—you’ve got only two cartridges for follow-up shots once you chamber a round. The Lupo magazine top-loads easily when it’s in the gun, something I really want both at the range and in the field.

The HPR promises 0.75 m.o.a. accuracy. With a Steiner H6Xi 2-12x42mm scope aboard, I achieved that mark with more than half the loads tested, and the others were no slouches. I can’t say I was surprised. The previous Lupo I tested, also a .308, was the most accurate rifle I’ve ever reviewed. While I was unsuccessful on that Oklahoma deer hunt with Sandstone Outfitters, I got to spend a lot of time with the rifle in various blinds in addition to the range testing. One morning I had the good fortune to ride with Benelli vice president of marketing Tim Joseph, and he asked me what I thought about the gun. To be honest, at the time I wasn’t really sure. The pros? It’s a shooter for sure, and it was rock solid in the blind. I had both a WieBad bag I originally bought for NRL 22 and my good ol’ Bogpod tripod. Sometimes the blind was such that I could use the bag; sometimes the sticks were called for. Regardless, when I got the HPR in position, I was incredibly steady—thanks to the design of the fore-end, a proper head position thanks to the adjustable comb, and the gun’s overall weight and balance.

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While Rupp isn’t a fan of its size, the large three-port brake—combined with the long barrel and gun weight—does make recoil negligible.

The cons? All the blinds I hunted from were fairly roomy, but in smaller confines the long barrel could be a problem. The brake not only adds to this length but also means that hearing protection wasn’t just a good idea but mandatory. Could I have used a suppressor? Sure. My buddy David Draper from Petersen’s Hunting did on this hunt, and he found he had to sit at the very back of the blinds in order to bring the rifle to bear. I’m not a fan of brakes in the first place, and I think this one is over the top. It looks like it belongs on a tank—or on a rifle chambered to something like the .338 Lapua, which the HPR happens to be. A thread cap didn’t come with my particular sample, but one will be included with new HPRs. I would’ve gone that route for the hunt, although I still think you don’t need a 24-inch barrel on something like a .308. The weight that’s a plus in the blind and at the range means this rifle is a handful to lug around. Confession time: The first morning I missed the blind in the dark, had to retrace my steps and then ended up climbing a small hill to locate it. It was maybe half a mile of hiking in pastureland, and I didn’t find the weight—11 pounds, 11 ounces with scope, sling and ammo—to be nearly as bad as I expected. But you wouldn’t catch me carrying it up any mountains, through thick brush or on long marches across the plains.

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The Lupo bolt breaks down quickly and easily thanks to a takedown button, making it simple to maintain this crucial component.

The HPR is meant to be a hybrid hunting/target rifle, and at first I disagreed with that assessment. But in checking the latest rules for Precision Rifle Series, I see its ceiling for rifle price in Production division is now $3,000, and the Lupo HPR’s $2,949 price tag just gets under that. You could also conceivably use it for National Rifle League Hunter Factory division, but you’d be cutting it extremely close with that division’s 12-pound “everything on the gun except ammo and magazine” weight limit. However, with the right scope and today’s lightweight bipods, you could make it. As for the Open divisions in these disciplines, I freely admit I don’t know enough about them to say how well the HPR would allow you to compete. However, as you can see in the chart, I shot the rifle with match ammo from a bipod, and that showed me how capable this rifle could be in steel competitions. That also means if your bag is simply ringing distant steel for fun at the local range, and if you’ve got the cash, the Lupo HPR is a great choice.

Recommended


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To those who don’t care for the Lupo’s aesthetics—and we heard from several readers regarding this after past reviews—beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I happen to like the looks of the Lupo, both the original Lupo and the HPR with their trademark, rakish trigger guard and gullwing bolt. As Tim Joseph told me on our hunt, Benelli’s engineers think of their guns like Rolex watches. To them, form matters just as much as function. In the case of the Lupo HPR, I think the rifle’s form and function are largely in sync. “From a bench or from a blind, this gun is just plain fun to shoot. What makes the original Benelli Lupo so precise and comfortable applies equally to this new Lupo HPR platform: adjustability,” Joseph said. “As a shooter and a hunter, I’m always pleasantly surprised at how quickly and comfortably I can settle into my Lupo that’s adjusted to fit me. That gives me confidence and I know it’s resulted in taking game and shooting groups that I would have found difficult with other rifles.” I can’t disagree with any of that. Sure, the HPR is expensive, but it’s not only an excellent example of modern gun making, it’s also something you can absolutely count on to get the job done whether at the range or in the hunting fields.

Benelli Lupo HPR Specs

  • Type: 2-lug bolt-action centerfire
  • Caliber: .308 Win. (tested), 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .300 Win. Mag., .300 PRC, .338 Lapua
  • Barrel: 24 in., 1:11-in. twist; threaded 5.8x24; 3-port muzzlebrake; thread protector included
  • Overall Length: 46.25 in. 
  • Weight: 9.4 lbs. 
  • Finish: BE.S.T. on barrel and bolt; black 
  • Stock: tan w/black spider-web; adjustable comb, Progressive Comfort recoil system; M-Lok slots and QD sling pockets on butt and fore-end 
  • Trigger: adjustable single stage; 2 lbs., 5 oz. (measured) 
  • Safety: 2-position bolt-locking tang w/bolt unlock tab
  • Price: $2,949
  • Manuacturer: Benelli



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