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View Full Version : Inertia vs gas system in a boomstick?


Super-Dave
March 26, 2009, 11:10 AM
Being a Fudd Ninja I have been wondering which is the best system for an auto loading boomstick?

Gas driven system or Inertia system.

My guess is that the inertia system is much cleaner and more reliable.

For those of you that have used and had both which do you think is best?

RetiredLawman
March 26, 2009, 12:20 PM
Just my own opinion, but there has not been a gun made yet with the reliability of the old Browning long recoil system used by Browning, SKB, Franchi 48, and others. They can go on and on with little care. I have inertia actions and gas guns. I much prefer the long recoil Franchi 48 to any semiauto made. My next special gun is the SKB 900 long recoil action.

The gas guns shoot well but require much more care. The inertia actions are hit and miss quality wise. If you get a good one, you are good to go. Most of the complaints I've read about lately have been quality issues with inertia actions.

I only hope that I lve long enough to wear out my Franchi Black Magic.

RoscoeC
March 26, 2009, 12:24 PM
They both work. Intertia guns are all built on the same patent, i.e. Benelli's. Gas guns do require just a little bit more maintenance. Only a little. The new Beretta gas guns factory recommendation for detail cleaning is thousands of rounds (I forget just how many). I personally wouldn't go that long without cleaning any gun, but that is what they claim.

The biggest difference is in recoil. The gas gun will be "softer" to shoot, but not radically so.

For me, it is a total toss-up, and yes I do have both.

With all of that said, when I head for the skeet range, or for sporting clays I always reach for my trusty old Beretta A390. Shoots anything. Goes bang every time all the time, and is just slightly softer to shoot than my Inertia gun. As far as reliability is concerned I will pit this gun against any auto loader made. My Stoeger M2000 has been just as reliable, but not for as long.

Just my opinion. Someone will come along soon and tell you that a $1800.00 Benelli is the only shotgun on the planet worthy of consideration. They are fine guns, no doubt, but in my opinion terribly overpriced.

BigJimP
March 26, 2009, 12:44 PM
Concept has been discussed on here a lot - but in my opinion, the inertia system does shoot a lot cleaner and it cycles faster than any of the gas guns.

The inertia system is easier to take care of / but the gas operated system isn't that tough to take care of either - it just takes longer. I can clean an inertia gun in 10 min ( take trigger out, etc ) where a gas gun may take 30 min.

I have 2 problems on a gas gun - the gas that blows by my glasses / and I don't like it as the gun cycles. I think the gas guns also cycle pretty slowly - although the newer versions say they're faster. But with the older guns ( 6 or 8 years ago ) - like Browning Gold, Beretta 390 - I felt like I had to wait almost a second before I could fire the 2nd shell. The much older Browning Auto 5 - is way slower to cycle - by almost 2 seconds.

My personal preference on a semi-auto is the Benelli. The US dollar to the Euro is screwing up the price a little - and Benelli's premium gun, the Super Sport is selling now for about $ 1875. Is it too much, you have to decide - but its a heck of a gun - with the comfort tech recoil system in it really works / it shoots clean / personally, I think its worth the money - but a Beretta 391 is a lot less money - and not a bad gun either. Browning has a new semi-auto on market - called a Maxus, I think - it seems to be getting good reviews too.

chucksolo69
March 26, 2009, 02:01 PM
I have had both and I like the gas better. With my "recoil" operated Beretta 12 ga, if you had a tendency to stiffen against the recoil, the gun would get the equivalent of a "stove pipe" jam. You had to learn to "roll" with the recoil and the gun would feed and eject reliably. On a gas gun there is usually no such problem. Once I learned this, the Beretta was my main gun for years until I sold it in dire times. I have since gone back to a Winchester 1400 gasser for my upland needs.

impalacustom
March 26, 2009, 11:01 PM
BigJim, no offense but I own a Browning Gold 3.5 and a Browning A5 and a Remington Model 11 which is exactly the same as the A5 minus the MC. The inertia driven A5 is so much faster shooting than the gas Gold. The lock up time is way faster. I love my recoil operated shot guns so much that I no longer shoot my gas Gold. The felt recoil is less with the gas but the quality of gun isn't there.

The main thing the new Browning Maxxus is missing is the hump on the receiver. The other things missing are furniture grade walnut and good blueing. Somewhere along the lines of shotguns people have moved to the matte and black look and still paying the high price for less quality.

publius
March 26, 2009, 11:16 PM
If we're talking new guns, Beretta gas operated, hands down. Benelli recoil operated is a close second and all the rest fight over scraps. Saying that, the most reliable shotguns ever are the old recoil operated A-5's, Franchi's and Rem 11-48's. Just my opinion.

a27640000
March 26, 2009, 11:52 PM
Maybe this article will clarify! By Randy wakeman! :)

The gas-operated semi-auto shotgun is the most important "revolution" of sorts in the last fifty years of scattergun shooting. Bob Brister described the felt recoil dampening extremely well, in his must-have Shotgunning: Art & Science, using the Remington 1100 as his example. The recoil reduction industry is a huge one, with some rather strained approaches touting tangible benefit. My shoulder tells me that most either don't work, or are grossly over-rated.

Confusing the issue with common sense, the first stop is physics. Shotgun weight affects recoil on approximately a "one-to-one" ratio. Add 10% to a specific shotgun's weight, it kicks about 10% less. Lighten our shotgun by about 10%; it kicks about 10% more. That's all there is to it.

Muzzle velocity and ejecta (wad, shot, etc.) both affect recoil approximating a "two-to-one" ratio. Bump up the muzzle velocity by 10%, recoil increases by 20%. Increase our payload by 10%, again the free recoil goes up about 20%. That also, is about as simple as it gets. There are all kinds of ballistic programs that will give you a number to go along with it, if you need it, but that's about all there is from a "free recoil" standpoint. The matter of "felt" recoil is subjective, and most anything can be claimed in that department--and has been. A more detailed look is at http://www.chuckhawks.com/shotgun_recoil.htm

Nothing kicks harder than a fixed breech gun. Properly set-up recoil actions do attenuate recoil quite a bit, but gas guns are easily the softest shooters. If recoil is significant to you, as it is to anyone that shoots enough to discover the effects are cumulative, a gas-operated shotgun the sole answer to get major reduction. There have been other notable approaches, such as the single shot Browning Recoil-less (it works), but the topic here is repeating shotguns suitable for field or clays work.

When it comes to gas-guns, reliability is often questioned. Properly maintained gas guns are every bit as reliable as any other shotgun. I have a steel-received Browning B-80 with over 100,000 rounds through it as personal testimony to that, with no major parts replacement in all those rounds, just periodic recoil spring replacement. Many military weapons are of course gas-operated, putting far more on the line than just the turtle dove that might get away.

Complete reliability does not address gun neglect, though, nor does it mean poor ammo. Over the years, gas-operated shotguns have been developed to the point where reliability is not an issue, within reason. Reasonable use does not mean avoiding all maintenance, nor does it mean firing with bore obstructions or clumsily dropping your shotgun into the mud. Modern gas valving can accommodated a wider spectrum of loads than can simple blow-back with a spring (misrepresented as 'inertia' actions) or long recoil actions as embodied by the wondrous Browning Auto-5.

It is hard to mention gas autos without speaking of the Remington 1100; certainly the most influential of the breed for many years. From its introduction in 1963 through the mid-eighties, it was a runaway hit.

It began getting a little long in the tooth with its inability to handle a wide variety of loads, though, and Remington seemed to be aware of that. Then, Remington introduced the Model 11-87 (in, coincidentally, 1987), but vacillated a bit. They were unable to displace the 1100 as they appeared they were trying to do. An O ring in an uncaptured, exposed condition is a weak link. Static O ring applications are far easier than dynamic applications. Over time, rubber cuts steel. Those familiar with the Chicago Rawhide "Waveseal" will readily understand that. In fact, the Winchester SuperX1 acknowledged the magazine tube scrubbing and wear-it was reversible, so you could get effectively twice the life out of the magazine tube.

The most common 1100 failures are still O ring related; apparently Remington is having trouble removing burrs from their gas ports these days. If chunks are quickly missing from your O ring, it is a manufacturing defect, an all too common one.

Now, the limitations of the 1100 became a bit more transparent, as a "Barrel Seal Activator" (Remington term) has to be added or removed for reliable operation in 11-87 20 gauge models, as well as the 11-87 Super Magnum models. Both guns have lost ground, failing to gain traction ever since. The Remington QC problems are not helping.

The American shooter is a fickle one; even the simple friction piece adjustment on the timeless A-5 has baffled us. Beautiful gas actions have come and gone, as we have failed to embrace the Browning B-2000's elegant internals, the Winchester SuperX1 was an expensive flop, and Browning's A-500G lasted only two years in production. In the case of the A500G it was ergonomics rather than the action that doomed it, along with the less than stellar reputation of the A-500R.

There was, and is, better approaches than O rings and other simplistic gasketed designs: the SKB XL900 has faded from view, along with many other models.

The Beretta A302 / A303 / Browning B-80 (1981 to 1991) lost the O ring, proving reliable with fast 1 oz loads up to the heaviest 3 inch shells, though both 2-3/4 in. and 3 in chambered barrels were available. Even the rankest novice could clean them and get them together the right way, with losing no parts. Additionally, factory stocks were now user adjustable for drop. The Browning B-80, particularly in its steel-receiver model, proved to be a smooth swinger and a soft shooter.

The A300 / B-80 gas system is non-compensating; the more gas you give it the faster the bolt comes back. It is also a fairly dirty action, as the gas coming back has nothing to prevent it from coating the links and bolt. Easy to clean up, though, and as it is immensely durable made it remains one of my favorite gas guns. B-80's take doves and pheasants for me every year, and did famously for me in Argentina as well as high-volume snow goose hunting.

The Beretta A390 was an outgrowth of the A303; adding a secondary gas bleed system. Finally, a design that could finally compensate. As supplied from the factory, it rarely did so perfectly, but with Rich Cole springs you could easily tune a specific A390 to a specific load, getting reliable 10 to 12 foot ejection with no receiver peening.

Though the 390 and the newer 391 action are billed as "self-cleaning," that notion is a bit of tortured humor. I've spent a lot of time cleaning self-cleaning actions. The grunge in the 390 gas piston (and the corresponding housing attached to the barrel) is easy enough to clean out with a pipe fitter's brush; the same goes for the 303 / B-80. The Beretta 391 action is more of a step backward than an improvement as far as I'm concerned compared to the 390. It succumbs to the over-complication for complication's sake that doomed prior gas guns. Witness the Urika 391 forearm nut (called a fore end "cap" by Beretta) that is comprised of seven parts. It is an over-complicated mess as far as I'm concerned. Nevertheless, the Beretta A390 design is one of shotgunning's best, now available again as the 3901 series.

While all this was going on, Browning introduced the "Gold" in 1994. Over the last 12 years, it has developed into clearly the best semi-auto gas system on the market. I'm not privy to the fine points and running production changes of the Gold system, but I can tell that there have been refinements. I've been advised that older gas guns were ported for lead loads, current gas systems for steel, but I have no idea exactly what that means.

I do know that SAMMI gives shotshell manufacturers 12,000 PSI or so to work with, and H. P. White data shows that 2500 to 3000 PSI is often what is left near the muzzle. The exact pressure past the ports is something that Browning and others monitor, as difficult a task as that likely is. The beauty of the Gold system is one valve assembly, no loose O rings or concoctions of loose springs. I won't call the Gold self-cleaning, but what residue remains after firing forms right on the magazine tube making it breathtakingly easy to get to and wipe off.

Today's gas systems reviewed in a nutshell would be that Remington had it, but lost it, Beretta found it but didn't know what to do with it, but thankfully re-released it, and Browning finally got it, and has it. Part of the issue is that we seem to expect too much out of one system with no adjustments. We think we want the ability to shoot 2 oz. loads, and we think we need to shoot 7/8 oz. loads out of the very same gun all with complete ignorance of what a gas system must necessarily handle. We don't expect gas-operated rifles to tolerate that extreme type of variation, yet we seem to want it out of a shotgun.

The economic reality of the vulgar display of poverty displayed by many shotgunners today has had a vivid affect on product offerings. Obsessing over one hundred dollars over a shotgun that can last many lifetimes, and retains a goodly measure of its original acquisition cost is false, bizarre economy. In terms of the cost of 100,000 rounds through one of my B-80's, it is hard to consider what I paid for that gun to even begin to register.

Yet, that is the "respect" many shooters today approach their new purchases with. As a result, hand work is minimized, surfaces that do no absolutely require polishing or finishing are not, and every last cent of tooling life is squeezed out of the manufacturing process. It is for this reason that the jobbed-out parts go to the lowest bidder, and factory triggers and choke tubes can be easily improved upon. Few will pay a few extra dollars for better quality choke tubes, much less a hundred dollars retail for hand-tuned triggers, so our worship of frugality has given us what we have asked for.

Nevertheless, today's gas-operated shotgun is better than ever; with (of current product) the Browning Gold / Winchester SX2 action the easy winner. The Beretta 3901 (formerly the A390) follows, particularly if you do your own tuning with a Rich Cole spring kit.

The gas operated shotgun is the state of the art. Think of all you've heard about "kick" and recoil. If you aren't shooting a gas gun, you can forget the rest. Think of all the problems and concern about barrel regulation; with one barrel, the problems of pattern convergence don't exist. Want that third dove or pheasant with confidence? That third shot comes in handy. Ever fumble breaking open a break-action in a duck-blind? Gas autos don't need to be broken open to use them. What about a quick shot with an empty gun? Browning's speed-loading, as found on the A-5, B2000, is available on the Gold, and more handy in the field than you might imagine.

Shotgun fit is so very critical, yet it is a rare shotgun that fits all of us perfectly. Shim adjustable semi-auto's are a huge help. With that O/U, it may require re-inletting or stock bending. Ever had a stock bent? Most don't bother. Most don't bother patterning their guns that have a single barrel, much less double guns. One barrel makes things a whole lot easier.

Style, personal preference, fashion statements, and the like will always be a factor to some extent in what you care to enjoy shotgunning sports with. Until you've gone the gas gun route, though, you'll never know what you've been missing.





:)

jmr40
March 27, 2009, 08:44 AM
Both work. I have both types, but have been reaching for the Benelli M-1 a lot more recently. I like simple and lightweight. If I were going to be shooting a lot I would reach for the Beretta 390. A little heavier and softer shooting.

Dingoboyx
March 27, 2009, 08:48 AM
Gas guns are far more complicated, need more regular cleaning and must shoot FMJ's. Inertia's are cheaper, easier, less complicated and can shoot lead. They both do the same thing.... the choice is yours :D

Muzza

oletymer
March 27, 2009, 09:23 AM
Gas guns must shoot FMJs????????

Dingoboyx
March 27, 2009, 10:23 AM
So I have been told.... lead tends to scrape off and block the gas port in the barrel, so you would have to unblock the port to get it to go SA again. Like I said, only what I have heard/read..... can someone back me up or disprove me? I am no expert, I would like to know if I am right :D

Muzza

jmr40
March 27, 2009, 10:44 AM
This is the shotgun forum. Do you mean plated shot? Even with lead shot it is inside a plastic cup until after it leaves the barrel

Dingoboyx
March 27, 2009, 10:47 AM
I am not in the forum I thort I was in :o

sorry, boomstick should have given it away :D

Muzza

BigJimP
March 27, 2009, 12:33 PM
No offense taken impalacustom - its all about our respective opinions.